Bill Jeopardizes U.S. Diplomacy?
Yesterday we all woke up to the news that former President Bill Clinton (Blu Phi!!) had traveled on a previously announced visit to North Korea to negotiate the release of two U.S. journalists that were detained, tried, and convicted of ‘grave crimes’:
The journalists were sentenced last month to 12 years’ hard labour by the North after they were arrested at the border with China in March, accused of illegal entry and being “bent on slander”.
The journalists, Euna Lee and Laura Ling, of U.S. media outlet Current TV co-founded by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, were arrested when working on a story near the border between North Korea and China.
While the United States is properly concerned whenever its citizens are abused or held hostage, efforts to protect them should not create potentially greater risks for other Americans in the future. Yet that is exactly the consequence of visits by former presidents or other dignitaries as a form of political ransom to obtain their release. Iran and other autocracies are presumably closely watching the scenario in North Korea. With three American hikers freshly in Tehran’s captivity, will Clinton be packing his bags again for another act of obeisance? And, looking ahead, what American hostages will not be sufficiently important to merit the presidential treatment? What about Roxana Saberi and other Americans previously held in Tehran? What was it about them that made them unworthy of a presidential visit? These are the consequences of poorly thought-out gesture politics, however well-intentioned or compassionately motivated.
Well… damn, fam! You sure do know how to rain on the parade. And here were the rest of us looking at the human aspect of the story, celebrating the release of two innocent people! This, in my opinion encapsulates what’s wrong with neoconservative ideology. Every single decision requires intense political calculation, even when the human element should clearly prevail over all. In this case, he is suggesting that what he deems to be political and dipomatic leverage is more valuable than innocent people being freed. No, dummy. It’s black and white:
1) Two innocent U.S. journalists were imprisoned in NK
2) Bill Clinton felt that an opportunity existed to facilitate their release by his traveling to the communist state
3) He does that
4) #2 happens
It’s a wrap after that. Forget your gray area. Like we needed to hear you’re opinion anyway, Mr. Bolton. Sec. Hillary Clinton has already come out and said that her husband acted independant of U.S. foreign policy towards North Korea, and there is no reason to think that this will adversely affect the six-party talks, or any other official strategy involving the communist state. She, like many others, views this as a story with a happy ending. It has nothing to do with politics. We’ll leave the political calculations to the dweebs that belong to a movement which left the world a more dangerous place.