August 4, 2009
Obama sends Bill Clinton to North Korea
President Obama has sent former President Bill Clinton to North Korea in order to negotiate the release of two American journalists who have been convicted of spying.
This is actually a good move to get our people out. The dorks who run North Korea love to think they're a grown up country so sending a former president shows how "serious" we are in negotiating the innocent American citizen's release.
Of course, as this Los Angeles Times article by John M. Glionna and Paul Richter points out, this move will probably confuse a few nations who we have been urging to curb ties with the NoKo's recently:
Clinton, the husband of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, is the highest-profile U.S. official to visit North Korea in nearly a decade. His surprise visit comes as Washington presses other nations to curb ties with the country, which recently resumed its nuclear program and tested ballistic missiles in defiance of United Nations resolutions.
In Washington, a person familiar with the mission said the negotiations leading to Clinton's trip "lasted for months."
He said that although North Korea's nuclear negotiator, Kim Kye Gwan, was among those who received Clinton at the airport, the former president's goals were strictly humanitarian, and he had no intention to delve into the disputed disarmament issues.
Among the officials deeply involved in the negotiations was Sen. John F. Kerry, (D-MA), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Kerry's involvement tells us a lot about how this mission is going to go. We will be forced to bribe the NoKo's into releasing our people - probably with food and fuel. Kerry's belief, oft stated, is that this is the way to get North Korea to stop being such meanies with their little toy nukes. No doubt, Clinton's "humanitarian" mission will turn into a flea market where the NoKo's will have a veritable cornucopia to choose from.
And this will be just the beginning. The North Koreans have never made a secret of what their price is to give up the nuclear program - or pretend to, anyway. We have to be nice to them. We have to give them presents. We have to say nice things about them. Any backsliding and they will restart their nuclear mischief - even though they have proven that it doesn't take much for that to happen.
Scott Snyder, an analyst with an Asian policy think tank, asks the obvious question:
"The question is going to be how could he go to Pyongyang without some assurance that they would be released," Snyder said.
"For someone at his level to go without a prior assurance of some kind would be to risk a huge loss of face."
Two things at work here; I don't think the Obama administration has demonstrated that they care about the US "losing face" one iota. In fact, they believe a little humiliation of the US is good for us.
Secondly, that wouldn't stop Clinton from going. His hubris is such that he might actually believe he can charm the pants off of Kim Jong Il and get our people released without much trouble.
Anyway, let's hope Bill Clinton can get these Americans out of that living hell of a country.