I think it is interesting that, while the underlying themes in the diplomatic dance between the U.S. and Iran over nukes all revolve around oil, the export of oil, the development of oil fields and the like, the underlying themes in the diplomatic dance between the U.S. and North Korea seem to revolve around . . . jet skis and iPods:

In a novel effort targeting the lifestyle of North Korea’s eccentric president, the Bush administration wants to make it tougher for him to buy iPods, plasma televisions, Segway electric scooters and more.

It is Washington’s first-ever attempt to use trade penalties as a way of personally aggravating a foreign leader. They target items believed to be favored by Kim Jong Il or presented by him as gifts to the roughly 600 loyalist families who run the communist government.

Kim, who orchestrated a secret nuclear weapons program despite international efforts to stop him, has other options for obtaining high-end consumer electronics and other luxuries.

But the list of proposed U.S. penalties, obtained by The Associated Press, aims to make Kim’s swanky life harder: No more cognac, Rolex watches, cigarettes, artwork, expensive cars, Harley Davidson motorcycles or even personal watercraft, such as Jet Skis.

Full article here.

Christmas is coming soon — and Kim Jong Il and his 600 loyalist families are gettin’ nothin’ but coal in their stockings. Coal and cheap knock-offs of luxury goods from somewhere other than the U.S., apparently.