Dick Morris and  Eileen McGann

Was it only a week ago this past Sunday that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the North Koreans "unruly children" on "Meet the Press" and said all they wanted was attention and that "we shouldn't give it to them"?

Yes, that was Hillary. The wife of the same Bill Clinton who gave Kim Jung Il 10 years' worth of free good publicity by traveling to North Korea and shining the global spotlight on the "Dear Leader's" generosity in releasing two journalists, whom Jung had illegally seized in the first place. North Korea's last good press was before 1949, but now they shine in the glow of worldwide approval thanks to Bill (and Hillary) Clinton.

Those two nuclear explosions? Hey, so what? Those rockets that can go 4,500 miles and someday hit Hawaii? Lots of countries have them. And haven't the North Koreans proven that they are just plain folks?

History is curiously repeating itself. In 1993, President Clinton was working up the gumption to impose sanctions against North Korea after they were caught enriching uranium, but his momentum -- always difficult to sustain at best -- was derailed when former President Jimmy Carter traveled to Pyongyang to announce a deal with North Korea to stop them from going nuclear. The deal turned out to be nothing more than a green light, but no sanctions were imposed.

Now former President Clinton has upended the world's efforts to isolate and punish North Korea by letting it in from the cold.

Why did he do it? He and Hillary saw a chance for positive publicity. She, newly consigned to the inside pages of the newspaper, and he, entirely absent from them, chaffed at their irrelevance and jumped at the chance to get back into the limelight.

Obama may or may not have initiated the trip, but he knew of it and approved it. Why did Obama OK it? In the upside-down world of Obama's foreign policy, the more a nation is our enemy, the more he feels he has to show it kindness, love, warmth and support. The more it is our ally (Colombia, Israel, Britain, Honduran democracy advocates), the more he must give it the cold shoulder. He calls it engagement. It is really something more than appeasement but, one hopes, less than disloyalty.

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann

Dick Morris, a former political adviser to Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and President Bill Clinton, is the author of 2010: Take Back America. To get all of Dick Morris’s and Eileen McGann’s columns for free by email, go to www.dickmorris.com