Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Hope in North Korea

This news perked me up from reading about tea-baggers disrupting town meetings and Kenyan birth certificates and nonsense like that. After years of deteriorating relations with North Korea there are signs that they might be again interested in emerging from the wilderness of international isolation. The first sign of that is the release of the two American journalists held since March. Hats off to ex-President Clinton acting as the distinguished unofficial emissary from the United States on a "private" mission perhaps arranged in part by his wife, the Secretary of State.

Oh yes, and Happy Birthday to President Barack Obama (and Helen Thomas!) (and coincidentally to my sister also)!

4 comments:

  1. N. Korea loves getting appeased. Right after Obama said he wasn't going to reward their bad behavior they get a photo shoot with a former US president... perfect!

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  2. Of course the test will be whether they back down on nuclear weapons development. If rewarding North Korea with a Bill Clinton visit turns out to give North Korea space to continue developing nuclear weapons, then you might be right to call it appeasement. But if turning over the two journalists is instead a real concession by North Korea and a sign that North Korea has some interest in what the world thinks of them, then it might also be a sign that they are willing to come to an agreement on limiting nuclear weapons. Time will tell. It is entirely possible that I am too quick to seize on this concession by North Korea as a sign of hope, but it is also possible that you are too quick to call Bill Clinton's visit appeasement.

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  3. I feel like adding that I am not sure you are using the term appeasement correctly. Appeasement means that you acquiesce in an illegal action by the evil actor, or maybe even make some additional concession to the wrongdoer, in the hope that that will satisfy them and keep them from engaging in further aggression. In this case, if we had told the North Koreans that we were withdrawing any claims for the return of these two prisoners in the hope that acquiescing in their arrest would satisfy the North Koreans and prevent them from making further aggressive moves, that would be appeasement. But instead all we did was accord the North Koreans a certain amount of respect that goes along with a visit by an ex-President, in exchange for release of the two prisoners.

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  4. I'd say meeting with a former US president is appeasement in that it gives N. Korea a good photo op.

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