Invading them and using military might to push out their leadership didn't work (China intervened), undermining them politically and economically didn't work (the Soviet Union and China intervened), smothering them with kindness didn't work, nudging them toward a market economy hasn't worked (China intervened), and so far a return to a hard-line stance hasn't done anything.
The regime is still in power. They still thumb their nose at what Washington, Seoul, Tokyo, Europe, and even Beijing want, and this will go on for some time.
Let's say "never again" to theories about how to topple or change North Korea. Nothing will work until the current regime is gone or fundamentally changed from within. Maybe that change will come with a regime shake-up when Kim Jong-il dies, if not sooner, but maybe it won't.
And that means we can do little more than contain their toxicity to within their borders.
Kushibo officially throws up his hands.
This doesn't mean that every effort shouldn't be made with Beijing to get humane treatment for North Korean refugees outside North Korea, but I fear that there is, for now, nothing that can be done for those inside.
I hate this feeling. It makes me sick.