Nuclear Relations: Loveboat Diplomacy

Few things have been as dependable as animosity between the United States and North Korea—until now. This month, U.S. sailors helped a North Korean ship repel a pirate attack near Somalia, winning a courteous public "thank you" from Pyongyang. Earlier this fall, U.S. evangelist Franklin Graham chartered the first direct flight between the countries since the Korean War, bringing in a planeload of aid. Now there's talk of the New York Philharmonic visiting Pyongyang. North Korean U.N. diplomats have even been allowed to go sightseeing in Washington.

The thaw shows just how determined the Bush administration is to ensure nothing derails its efforts to coax the North out of it nukes; a U.S.-led team recently began disabling the North's facilities. Never mind recent revelations linking a suspected Syrian nuclear site to Pyongyang. Washington has downplayed the tie. Seems George W. Bush, in his last days, is determined to strip the Axis of Evil of another charter member.