Update to the North Korea commentary a couple of days ago : the Bush will be in Korea next month for his third meeting with Kim Dae Jung, which will be his first one in Korea. During the meetings, President Kim will ask Bush to ‘be nice to North Korea’. “Seoul’s request will be part of a package […] in order to allow Pyongyang to save face and come to the negotiating table,” is the description of the request from a government official.
It is interesting (to me, at least) to note that my comments recently, to the effect that America’s refusal to play a positive role in negotiation between the two Koreas is politically and financially motivated and not based upon any rational or realistic estimation of the ‘threats’ involved, are confirmed to a degree by this article in the Washington Post, which states, among other things, that:

“Some consumers of intelligence within the government say the shifting forecasts of the ballistic missile threat are a case study of how an ostensibly objective intelligence process can be buffeted by conflicting political pressures, from home and abroad.
“Nobody believes the CIA estimates,” said a longtime counter-proliferation expert from another government department. Another analyst said that “nuances” tend to get taken out of the estimates as they proceed up the bureaucratic ladder. “The job of the CIA is to warn, but they never back down from previous warnings,” the analyst said. “

An argument could be made (and I can hear it on Metafilter already) that it’s in America’s larger interests to behave in the way it has, and that Americans need only be concerned with what’s in the best interests of America. That’s fine, but tell that to the two million people who’ve starved to death in North Korea over the past few years. Better yet, tell that to those who’ve managed to survive while family members died. Even better, have a representative few of the fat, burger-inhaling, obnoxious drunken louts that pass themselves off as ‘American soldiers’ in this country do it, with a beer in one hand, a fried chicken in the other, and a prostitute hanging around their neck.
Sorry – I got off on a rant there.
Crikey. I’m turning into a ranting, bizarro-world Steven Den Beste, here. Time to post some more silliness, toute de suite!
It’s all about face…