The neocons want regime change in North Korea, in an attempt to constrict the rise of China. And they see any deal as helping the North Korea dictator remain in power.
After initially suspending talks with North Korea, and unraveling the diplomatic progress made by the Clinton Administration, the Bushies then agreed to "six-party" talks.
But the move was not intended to make new diplomatic progress. It was intended to make the Bushies look like they tried diplomatic avenues, when in fact, they made no serious proposals.
We can now see the results of this so-called "hard-line" strategy. A nuclear North Korea. A greater risk of more nuclear proliferation. A more unstable world.
This is the latest Republican foreign policy failure, after the Iraq debacle, the freedom of Osama bin Laden, and the spread of the "global jihadist movement."
Conservatives are trying to spin this to further their reckless, unilateralist agenda. The W. Post reports:
...a number of senior U.S. officials have said privately that they would welcome a North Korean test, regarding it as a clarifying event that would forever end the debate within the Bush administration about whether to solve the problem through diplomacy or through tough actions designed to destabilize North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's grip on power.
"Clarifying" is a favorite conservative code word for spinning bad foreign policy developments, meaning: "Now we don't have to pretend to be diplomatic anymore."
Having said that, this does not mean Bush will attack North Korea. After all, North Korea has nukes and could destroy South Korea. (Neocons may be crazy, but not that crazy.)
But as the W. Post piece indicates, we'll probably see an attempt to economically strangle North Korea in hopes of undermining the regime.
The problem with that strategy is: it's giving North Korea even more incentive to sell nukes to other countries or even terrorist organizations.
Economic sanctions can be an appropriate response to the nuclear test, but only if they are coupled with a sincere strategy of good-faith negotiations, which will never happen with this White House.
And bringing freedom to the North Korea people absolutely should be a goal of our government. (It's the goal of the South Korea government, which desperately wants real talks with the North.)
But the Bushies don't care about freedom, they care about geopolitical chess games.
And their poor strategic judgment is putting America and the world at risk.