While the world has been focused on negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, there is a potentially ominous development with that other member of the “axis of evil,” the one that already has nukes, North Korea. Over at The New Republic’s website, I report out the burgeoning debate within the administration over recent activity at North Korea’s missile test site in Musudan-ri. According to sources I talked to, while the State Department’s intelligence analysts think a test launch of the Hermit Kingdom’s long-range taepo dong II missile is imminent, other analysts at the CIA see North Korea’s test preparations as a probable bluff. To read more go here.
The situation with North Korea is a reminder that while direct engagement with Iran may be an important step toward resolving the crisis over its nuclear program, it is only that — a step. Years of talks with the North Koreans have yielded a number of apparent breakthroughs that have quickly collapsed. Meanwhile, Pyongyang has continued to develop both its nuclear capability and its ability to deliver those weapons through long-range missiles. The U.S. needs to try to avoid the same thing happening with Iran.
Jeremy Kahn is managing editor of The New Republic.