Stranger in a Very Strange Land

Behind Albright's date with Kim Jong Il

Against the backdrop of a giant airbrushed mural of waves crashing against striated rocks, the U.S. Secretary of State smiled as North Korean protocol officers bustled her unceremoniously from one spot to another in the western building of the One Hundred Flowers Blooming Guest House. Then the attendants joined senior U.S. aides and other North Korean officials on the periphery, leaving America's most powerful woman standing all alone in the center of the room, shifting uneasily on her feet.

You could hardly blame her. Madeleine Albright was about to become the first American official to meet Kim Jong Il, a...

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