Mike Crowley spoke with Mitchell Reiss, a former NoKo negotiator under Bush and Clinton:
Reiss argued that the U.S. debate about North Korea ignores a fundamental truth: That Kim Jong Il's regime exists, in large part, in opposition to the United States, and thrives on a cycle of provocation of America followed by our humiliation in the form of appeasement (Bill Clinton's visit, photos of which were triumphally splashed all over North Korean media, is just the latest example.) Normalized relations, and a concession on the scale of dismantling the nuclear program, would run so fundamentally against the regime's identity that it could no longer exist.
[...] Reiss's analysis seems depressingly plausible. And if he's right, our best hope--short of a supremely ill-advised military confrontation--might be a coup from within.