Thursday, August 6, 2009

Proceed at your own risk

Former President Bill Clinton has been getting mostly good press for his mission to North Korea that won the release of wayward American journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling, who had been sentenced to 12 years of hard labor for illegally entering the country. It might sound harsh, but I have to question why he bothered. Bush administration United Nations Ambassador John Bolton leapt into action to accuse Clinton of rewarding North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il by making the mission of mercy, but I really don't think that's the case. What is Kim going to do? Put up a sign that says "Bill Clinton slept here"? Heck, half the women in Arkansas could probably do that. But why should any effort have been extended? There are indications that the two women, who were working for a media outfit founded by Clinton's vice president, Al Gore, crossed deliberately into North Korea. Surely they knew they were dealing with a repressive military regime led by a raving lunatic. My feelings are the same regarding the three hikers who reportedly crossed accidentally into Iran and are now being held as spy suspects by Tehran. One could ask why the three – one of whom was a journalist – were hiking anywhere near the Iranian border. The kind of blatant disregard for personal safety and common sense displayed in both these cases leads me to think that the folks involved pretty much got what they were asking for. And they shouldn't have expected anyone to come running to bail them out.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was wondering why they were hiking in Iraq at all! Doesn't seem like the world's grooviest spot for r&r even in the best of times.

They should have gone to the Appalachian Trail instead. According to Mark Sanford, the hiking is great there.

--Brad Hundt

August 6, 2009 at 3:15 PM  
Anonymous the anonymous one said...

You missed the humor in all of this. Iran can catch all three illegal immigrants crossing the boarder and N.K. can catch both of the illegals that ever tried to cross it's boarder.

I think we should learn their immigration standards and imply their rules. Every Mexican crossing the boarder shall be a spy! Put them in a prison, house them for 20 years and send a bill to Mexico for their prison time. Puts Americas to work!

August 6, 2009 at 8:42 PM  
Anonymous the anonymous one said...

i think my kkkkkeyboard is getting hosed.. sorry for the typo's *americans

August 6, 2009 at 8:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two issues in this one:
1. Bill Clinton's diplomacy work in getting the two released,
2. The actions of those on/over the borders in the first place.

On (1), I am really glad the two women were released, and are back home. But, I believe Bill Clinton was used as a N Korean pawn. The pictures of him sitting in the chair with the N Korean leader looked almost hostage-like. It was done to their standards, portraying an image of their choosing. They wanted to see a high-level official be part of the process, in essence, "... tell Sec of State to stay home, we will only deal with somebody of higher notoriety." I think they played him like a fiddle on this one.

However, the bigger question, what other nation will do the same thing? Others have seen it work here, why won't they try the same thing. And, when they demand to have Bill Clinton in the diplomacy role, what will be the response? If the Obama Administration says "yes," then they leave themselves wide open to bogus attacks by others. A "yes" would be to say "we will bend to any wish you want," including circumventing usual diplomatic routes. In this case, a private person funded the trip. Who will fund the next one? The US Government?

Despite a great outcome on this one, what precedent did this trip and retrieval set?

On (2), yes, the individuals made a stupid move to walk these borders. They should have known better, and I wonder why they chose to tempt fate. Maybe they had other plans in mind in order to gain closer looks and access to the inner workings of these governments. I know, seems far fletched, but why?

August 6, 2009 at 9:16 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

You raise a good point about others demanding to see Bill Clinton. And his success has to diminish his wife's standing in world affairs.

August 7, 2009 at 6:20 AM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

I'm with Brant...they know the rules, they're in a part of the world is dangerous and doesn't give a rat's ass about an American's rights. Why poke the bear?

August 7, 2009 at 8:06 AM  
Blogger Lori said...

Ditto what you said Brant

August 9, 2009 at 3:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They caught these chicks, we missed Bin Laden.

August 12, 2009 at 11:43 AM  
Blogger Lori said...

You as a Journalist understand it better than any of us. (Let's hope they don't breed)

August 26, 2009 at 6:35 PM  

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