NORTH KOREA UPDATE….It looks like we’re finally ready to talk to North Korea:

U.S. officials have indicated to Asian allies they would open with discussion of how the administration could reassure North Korea it does not face a U.S. invasion and then move toward what one official called a “whole gamut” of issues between North Korea and United States, such as providing energy and food aid if the North Korean government meets a series of tough conditions, including progress on human rights.

….A White House official, however, disputed any notion the administration had shifted in its public refusal to negotiate with North Korea. “As we have said many times, we will not submit to blackmail or grant inducements for the North to live up to its obligations,” he said.

You know, I’m glad to see that we’re finally making moves in the right direction, so I guess I shouldn’t complain. But “we will not…grant inducements for the North to live up to its obligations”? North Korea has been asking for a nonagression pact forever, and if we give it to them that’s definitely an inducement to live up to their obligations. The ability of the Bush administration to call black white and up down ? and get away with it ? is truly astonishing.

Of course, none of this would matter if we hadn’t removed all possible wiggle room for ourselves with our macho posturing six months ago, but better late than never. At least we’re talking. Maybe.