Should we extend the olive branch to North Korea?

Everyone remembers former President Bush’s famous "axis" jab with a conciliatory gesture toward North Korea, calling for North Korea to open its borders and pursue normal relations with its neighbors. To this day the radical communist state remains bordered by barbed wire, landmines and a standing army of 1 million, an enduring hangover from the Cold War. Now that its leader Kim Jong-il has passed away, from exhaustion no less, can the United States finally work with North Korea as “a friend and partner” in the rebuilding of their country?

From Bush to, now, President Obama there have been several gestures intended to placate North Korea, reminiscent of the hard line President Reagan directed toward the Soviet Union even as he pursued a peaceful end to the Cold War. Similarly, President Obama has taken a strong stance on the accumulation and sale of weapons technology by North Korea, but by offering America's support in their peaceful development, Obama is also offering a clear and beneficial line of retreat by which the North Korean government can save face and —dare we dream — move away from the dark tribalism that presently keeps the country stagnated and impoverished.

This seems extraordinarily diplomatic given that North Korea has recently been supplying terrorist states with weapons technology that is used to target our way of life. Should President Obama extend more peaceful overtures as an olive branch to the new regime that will soon take over the helm of that isolated dark sovereign nation? Could we witness a reconstruction in Korea that would be on par with the end of the Cold War? Should they abstain, America must be prepared to fight evil — and alone, if need be.