Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings has a great analysis about the whole thing - namely Bush's inability to enforce his own ultimatums with regard to Kim Jong Il:
We allowed North Korea to take an irrevocable step that made any future attempts to control its nuclear weapons program vastly more difficult. Moreover, we laid down a line, we let it be crossed, and then we did nothing. In so doing, we forfeited our credibility. And that really is a foreign policy disaster. It ought to be completely unacceptable.And yet, we looked the other way and pursued Iraq with the tenacity of a raging bull. Bush's inability to resolve even the internal conflicts within his own administration is symptomatic of his inability to foster smart foreign policies. Moreover:
While Bush has allowed disagreements within his administration to fester unresolved, and while the anti-negotiation camp has scuttled any number of diplomatic initiatives, North Korea has been reprocessing spent fuel into uranium and building nuclear weapons, and we have done nothing whatsoever to stop them. In so doing, we have completely destroyed our own credibility: after having said that we would not tolerate a North Korea with nuclear weapons, we barely responded when they went ahead and started to make them. North Korea called our bluff, and we folded.Just read.
Now we face the delightful prospect of one of the world's most loathsome and nutty dictators having nuclear weapons. Moreover, this particular dictator is known for his willingness to sell arms to anyone and everyone. Nothing whatsoever suggests that he would not sell nuclear weapons to Osama bin Laden.
Today's U.N. approval of sanctions against North Korea are supposed to help the situation by punishing Kim Jong Il and his actions regarding nuclear testing, but will it be a case of "too little, too late"?
(Props to Glenn Greenwald at Unclaimed Territory for the heads up.)