If the declaration by North Korea is indeed a breakthrough in more than a decade of US efforts to persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons, it has been achieved by two things George Bush once derided - patience and multilateral diplomacy.
Barely six years ago, North Korea was famously lumped with Iran and Iraq into Mr Bush's "axis of evil", while the then Secretary of State Colin Powell had been publicly rapped across the knuckles by the President for daring to suggest Washington would continue the Clinton policy of engagement with the reclusive communist regime.
Now the White House is hailing the declaration - albeit six months late and apparently lacking details on at least two key issues - as a success sufficient to warrant removing North Korea from the US terrorism blacklist. So what happened?
First, it is triumph of realism and pragmatism, embodied by General Powell's successor Condoleezza Rice and Washington's chief Korea negotiator Christopher Hill, over the neo-conservative ideology that held sway in Mr Bush's first term. The lesson has been learnt the hard way - after the war in Iraq, whose unintended consequences have been a big …