Clinton Opens North Korea

5 Aug

Which Clinton has had a greater impact on US foreign policy during the Obama administration, Bill or Hillary? I’m sure it’s Hillary, but Bill is going to be able to take a victory lap this week.  This is one of those moments which was almost certainly the result of many behind the scenes meetings and conversations between the Obama administration and the North Korean government. That being said, Bill is the one getting his picture taken welcoming Laura Ling and Euna Lee onto the chartered flight back to freedom, human rights and cheeseburgers.

Honestly though, former President Clinton may have just done a Nixon on North Korea. I had never seen Kim Jong Il smile in a picture before,and I’d like not to again, but he looks like a kid in a candy store.  For some reason North Korea seems to thrives on attention, that when they get it it’s almost like a pacifier for a baby.  Actually, a better analogy is that North Korea is the annoying little brother to the global community. Every time China and the US play, North Korea gets jealous and wants to play too.

But more to the point,  President Clinton may have been the symbolic key to open a broader channel of discussion between Washington and Pyongyang. There has been some thought, as the CNN video discussed, that President Clinton may be bringining back word that the North Koreans want to start talking on the issue of nuclear proliferation again.

At some point though, we need to come up with a better diplomatic strategy for such adolescent international relations behavior. North Korea holds 1,000 foreign prisoners and countless others in hard labor camps without rights or due process. North Korea is the last true remnant of Cold War communism in the world. There may be no more restrictive and oppresive government left trying to hold up the iron curtain. All I’m saying is that North Korea is trying my patience, and they should be happy that the pacific fleet works for somebody else.

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