We're finally tired of it:
Gates and the defense ministers of Japan and South Korea said North Korea must not be allowed to continue playing a dangerous game of brinksmanship in hopes of winning aid.
"We must make North Korea clearly recognize that it will not be rewarded for its wrong behaviors," South Korea's Lee Sang-hee said.
Gates said Pyongyang was engaging in familiar tactics. "They create a crisis and the rest of us pay the price to return to the status quo ante."
Actually, paying North Korea to stay non-nuclear, as odious as that is, is at least arguably a cost-effective policy--as long as the example doesn't inspire too many thug regimes to do the same.
But the problem is, we haven't gone back to the status quo ante each time. If only that was the case. Each time we cut a deal and send aid, North Korea makes a little more progress toward nuclear missiles.
The common feature is that North Korea continues to make progress toward nukes. I think we should really conclude that North Korea wants nukes and isn't just spending scarce money on nukes to get us to give them money. In a perfect Pillsbury Nuke Boy world, they have nukes, our aid, and sell their missile and warhead designs to wealthy Persians.
I continue to believe we must quietly squeeze North Korea without really calling attention to that fact. If we are too open about it, that might compel North Korea to officially notice and possibly role the dice to reverse their slow collapse by taking major military action. We'd win any war, but the price in lives would be tremendous, for South Korea especially.
Lovely decade we're having, eh?