NUCLEAR CHICKEN….The LA Times reports that North Korea will probably be testing a nuclear bomb soon and could shortly have nearly a dozen working weapons. Juan Cole speculates that Iran will also have nuclear weapons before long and there’s not much we can do to stop them.

Suppose this happens. Here’s what I want to know: conservatives have lambasted Bill Clinton for the past decade because he cut a bilateral nuke deal with North Korea in 1994. The North Koreans reneged and ? perhaps ? had already built one or two nukes by the time Clinton left office.

George Bush’s alternative has been to refuse to engage in bilateral talks with either North Korea or Iran. The former has been dealt with primarily via threats and desultory multiparty talks, while the latter has been left up to the Europeans to deal with. So here’s the question: if both countries do end up with serious arsenals of nuclear weapons, will conservatives conclude that there are worse things than bilateral talks after all?

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