During those tense days [of trying to stop North Korean reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel for weapons], an op-ed in the Washington Post caused considerable excitement. Brent Snowcroft, the former national security advisor, and his colleague Arnie Kanter (both long-time friends), wrote a column essentially stating that the United States would strike the Yongbyon reactor if North Korea did not verifiably stop its reprocessing. The key sentence was: “It either must permit continuous, unfettered IAEA monitoring to confirm that no further reprocessing is taking place, or we will remove its capacity to reprocess.
Not surprisingly, that op-ed attracted a lot of attention both in the United States and in Korea. In reality, while we had a contingency plan, we were not planning to make such a strike. (Indeed, the strike would have required authorization from President Clinton and concurrence from the South Korean president, which had not yet been sought.) But I have always believed that the public call for a strike by Snowcroft and Kanter played a positive role in the crisis because it focused the minds of North Korean officials on the stakes in play. It is likely that North Korean officials wrongly thought that Snowcroft was speaking for the US government; indeed, even some Americans mistakenly imagined that I had encouraged Snowcroft to write the piece. For whatever reason, North Korea moved quickly to diminish the crisis, inviting former president Jimmy Carter to Pyongyang, where they proposed a resolution that Carter could relay to the American administration (there being no official channels of communication).
Perry, William. My Journey at the Nuclear Brink. Stanford Security Studies. 2015. p. 107-8 (paperback)