China must have pounded Kim Jong Il in private meetings to get the kind of confession of error he was reported to have made.
North Korea needs a deal — and so does the United States. The North Korea nuclear problem will require a high price to resolve, but it’s worth it. And if America fails to resolve the North Korea matter through a combination of diplomacy and potential coercion, then Iran will be emboldened to press harder against perceived American impotence.
A collapse in North Korea will be devastating for the region — so the best outcome would be a slow, incremental take-over of the governing order in North Korea by potential profiteers around Kim. We need a “Nixon Goes to China” approach for North Korea.
Shinzo Abe did his Nixonian trip to China. Now, America needs something like that with North Korea — maybe send the Bush family problem fixer James Baker — as soon as he finishes his Iraq work.
— Steve Clemons