An excellent article reviewing recent events in North Korea and how we got where we are. From Foreign Policy In Focus - read more here...
Five years ago, when George W. Bush took office, North Korea didn't claim membership in the nuclear club. Its plutonium reprocessing facilities were frozen. It was even willing to negotiate away its missile program. Instead of pursuing the diplomatic route, the Bush administration tried to ignore Pyongyang. Then came the schoolyard taunts such as lumping North Korea together with Iraq and Iran in an “axis of evil.” When indifference and insult failed to move the isolated East Asian country, the administration accused North Korea of enriching uranium, which led to the unraveling of the 1994 Agreed Framework and the reigniting of a major crisis. To top it off, Washington began to squeeze Pyongyang economically with sanctions.
Pyongyang has refused to cry “uncle.” Instead, it has replied in kind. With its missile launches in July and its recently announced nuclear test, Pyongyang has demonstrated that it can be as stubborn and as enamored of military playthings as the Bush administration.
With such a miserable track record in inducing behavior change, why has the United States continued to speak loudly and wield a big stick against a hornet's nest like North Korea? It might be, like North Korea's recent test, a fundamental miscalculation. The Bush administration, after all, has shown a pathological inability to learn from its mistakes. Or there might be a deeper, more malign intent at work.