LEARNING TO LIVE WITH THE BOMB….The Los Angeles Times reports today that, having done absolutely nothing so far, the Bush administration has already given up on North Korea:

In closed briefings and private conversations with members of Congress over the last several weeks, administration officials have indicated that they expect North Korea to begin reprocessing its plutonium stockpiles soon, perhaps within a few weeks, the sources said. Once reprocessing begins, North Korea will be able to produce enough plutonium for one nuclear weapon a month.

A Senate staff member who is privy to the briefings said the administration was “preparing people up here for a de facto, if not declared, North Korean nuclear state and saying that this is something we can deal with through isolation, sanctions, deterrence and national missile defense.”

This is just a “rumors” report, of course, but it seems pretty well sourced and certainly fits with the administration’s actions to date. So this is the story so far:

  • Bush declared loudly last year that he would never negotiate with North Korea

  • North Korea didn’t budge

  • Bush is now backed into a corner

  • Apparently he feels that allowing North Korea to build a few dozen nuclear bombs is actually preferable to just sitting down at a table with them

Words fail me. It’s like watching a slow motion train wreck ? except we’re all in the path.

And since I seem to have forgotten, can someone from the Bush-is-smarter-than-you-think crowd please remind me how this is better than that awful Clinton/Carter treaty that prevented this from happening for a decade?

POSTSCRIPT: Hey David, does this change your thoughts any? This is bad news, no?