SEOUL — While the United States and North Korea remain stuck in a standoff over the format of future meetings to deal with the North’s programs to develop weapons of mass destruction, a scout on the upper deck has sighted an iceberg — not landfall ahead. The warnings of this seasoned statesman issued in ominous tones to The Washington Post earlier this week drove home the message that, without a course correction, the ship is doomed.

Former Defense Secretary William Perry, who has navigated the shoals of Korean politics for a decade, is known for holding his tongue and speaking only when absolutely necessary. He now believes that the Korean crisis is fast becoming uncontrollable, approaching critical in nuclear parlance, with war looming on the near horizon.

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