Patterico's Pontifications

8/4/2009

Clinton Negotiates Reporters’ Release from North Korea

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 1:29 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

That’s Bill Clinton, not Hillary:

“[Former President Bill] Clinton expressed words of sincere apology to Kim Jong Il for the hostile acts committed by the two American journalists against the DPRK after illegally intruding into it,” the news agency reported. “Clinton courteously conveyed to Kim Jong Il an earnest request of the U.S. government to leniently pardon them and send them back home from a humanitarian point of view.”

Reporters Laura Ling and Euna Lee, employees of Al Gore’s Current TV, have been held in North Korea since March 2009 and were sentenced to 12 years in prison in June.

Hillary Clinton’s State Department initially requested the journalists’ release on humanitarian grounds but recently shifted to an appeal for amnesty. Obama’s Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Clinton was on a “solely private mission to secure the release of two Americans.”

This is good news for the reporters and their families but who’s really running the State Department?

– DRJ

68 Responses to “Clinton Negotiates Reporters’ Release from North Korea”

  1. Jim Geraghty on twitter: “BREAKING: BILL CLINTON ARRIVES IN NORTH KOREA ALONE, DEPARTS WITH TWO YOUNG WOMEN”

    Phil Smith (1cf25d)

  2. I assume your question is rhetorical.

    Dmac (e6d1c2)

  3. good news for the reporters and their families

    And according to John Bolton, not so good news for everybody else.

    This is a good illustration of the problem we have in saying ‘sorry, but no, we’re not going to…’. Hostages get ransomed, screw the ramifications. Health care is a right, screw the ramifications. Repeat offenders are left on the street, screw the ramifications. People defaulting on their mortgages are bailed out, screw the ramifications. People without jobs are given (seemingly) endless unemployment benefits, screw the ramifications.

    steve sturm (369bc6)

  4. But I have to add that at least Clinton’s doing some actual good since leaving office – compared to Carter he almost looks like Anwar Sadat.

    Dmac (e6d1c2)

  5. I appreciate Bill Clinton doing something great for his country.

    North Korea is a dangerous damn place, even for him. They are completely unpredictable.

    I don’t like everything about Bill Clinton, but I’m proud of this man for helping his country. He is 100 times the man Obama will ever be, and I would love to wake up to find that he’s the president instead.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  6. Those are good panda bear names if you have nameless panda bears about this might could be a good time to rectify that I think.

    happyfeet (71f55e)

  7. People without jobs are given (seemingly) endless unemployment benefits, screw the ramifications.

    I agree with your previous points, but not this one, not by a long shot. There are millions of the jobless who only want to work, and work at anything available, but are still stymied by the relentless recession. You talk as if you’ve never had to visit the unemployment office nor had a bad streak of joblessness – and if so, good for you, but your lack of empathy for this group is way off base. Of all the inane prescriptions coming from this administration regarding the economy, extending unemployment benefits is definitely not one of them.

    Dmac (e6d1c2)

  8. Bill just followed the Barcky apology tour model – the evil capitalists were wrong wrong wrong.

    JD (138f58)

  9. Bill just followed the Barcky apology tour model – the evil capitalists were wrong wrong wrong

    which never comes back to bite us in the …

    steve sturm (369bc6)

  10. Hillary Clinton’s State Department initially requested the journalists’ release on humanitarian grounds but recently shifted to an appeal for amnesty.

    Probably because the two reporters “expressed great remorse for this incident” and no tape of the border incident has surfaced.

    They’re coming home.

    steve (2b7ca6)

  11. dmac, there’s the idea that unemployment benefits takes jobs away in myriad ways.

    Job numbers aren’t static, of course. Paying for lots of these entitlements takes jobs away, and taking some of the desperation out of job searches decreases productivity.

    I’ve never been on unemployment, thought I do sympathize with good people who have a hard time getting a job. But it creates a perverse incentive structure where a person can get a job, but it will cut off his higher entitlement rate if it’s not ‘good enough’. If it’s the best job he can get right now, it’s good enough.

    ‘Screw the ramifications’ is exactly how it sounds to listen to someone defend this policy. Let’s get these people back to work. Give them food and a housing loan, and pay for that out of a much cheaper unemployment insurance program.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  12. steve,

    You’re right that the main issue is that the reporters are coming home but the details nag at me. The Obama-Clinton-Clinton triangle (with a little Gore mixed in) is interesting: It’s hard to believe Bill is operating completely independent of Obama and Hillary, but who is behind this? Also, why did Hillary apparently switch to an amnesty appeal but this article states Bill negotiated the release on humanitarian grounds? Finally, FWIW, there might be a tape.

    DRJ (8d138b)

  13. Dmac: a safety net is one thing, giving someone up to 92 weeks of unemployment is wrong. If someone is still unemployed after a year, I say they’re not serious about finding a job, any job. And even if they were, society (i.e., me and the other taxpayers who pay more than we consume) doesn’t have the responsibility – or the resources – to keep giving them money. At some point, and long before 92 weeks, society needs to say “sorry, but no, we’re not giving you more money, you’re on your own”.

    steve sturm (369bc6)

  14. … just as society needed to say in this case, ‘sorry North Korea stuck you in prison, but no, we’re not going to make everybody else less safe in order to buy your freedom’.

    And yes, I would hate it if I or someone I knew was being held, but society can’t be held hostage to never saying sorry.

    steve sturm (369bc6)

  15. Dmac: a safety net is one thing, giving someone up to 92 weeks of unemployment is wrong.

    I agree with that tenet, absolutely – since you clarified the parameters, never mind my earlier comment.

    I’ve never been on unemployment, thought I do sympathize with good people who have a hard time getting a job.

    Juan, for the great majority of folks unemployment insurance covers less than a third of their monthly expenses – most cannot hope to survive for long on that kind of stipend.

    Dmac (e6d1c2)

  16. Bill wouldn’t have been able to go without some form of a deal from the Obama Administration – While his wife is Secretary of State, he nor she have the ability to make any sweeping offers on their own.

    It is likely that what the release of the ladies cost us was exactly what happened – an influential former President had a sit-down with The Dear leader, giving him prestige.

    The second thing we got, besides the release, was a guy who is – no matter what you think of Bill – an observant guy who could easily be told specific things to look for sitting face to face with someone who’s health is in question. He could easily report back with details and from there we could decide what Kimmie’s health is.

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  17. However, this highlights why I would be a lousy President…

    “What do you get if you let the reporters go? How about we not bomb you into utter and complete oblivion, how’s that sound? Let them go, or we turn your shit-hole country into one giant gravel pit.”

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  18. Juan, for the great majority of folks unemployment insurance covers less than a third of their monthly expenses – most cannot hope to survive for long on that kind of stipend.

    That sounds about right, then. I think there’s a bit of a variety of approaches to this issue.

    I don’t have a problem with an insurance program of this sort, so long as it’s not going so far as to encourage laziness. There’s a lot of misfortune for great people out there, and letting them move to a new job without losing their car and house is obviously better for society and productivity.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  19. Also, why did Hillary apparently switch to an amnesty appeal but this article states Bill negotiated the release on humanitarian grounds?

    The article states Clinton expressed “words of sincere apology to Kim Jong Il for the hostile acts committed by the two American journalists against the DPRK after illegally intruding into it,” according to Pyongyang.

    It may be inconsistent with what he actually declared,
    but it’s not inconsistent with a pardon request or an amnesty appeal.

    steve (91c3f5)

  20. I kind of like North Korea’s border control policy. Could we get a North Korean to be in charge of our Border Patrol?

    nk (8200d5)

  21. How did Bent Dick Bill make money from this? With him you always have to follow the money.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  22. steve,

    I think we can agree this was nuanced and very Bill-like. So what’s your guess: Did Bill do this at Hillary’s behest, at Obama’s, as a joint undertaking, or was he really on his own as Gibbs said?

    DRJ (8d138b)

  23. Well, if anyone knows how to apologize, it’s Bill Clinton!

    AD - RtR/OS! (03e729)

  24. And while he was in N. Korea, he asked old Kim to nuke Kenya so they can destroy Obama’s real birth certificate, had sex with two of Kim’s yard children and a stray dog. The N. Koreans later bar-b-qued the dog and served it to Clinton as a midnight snack.

    HonestAmerican (847a6c)

  25. Did Bill do this at Hillary’s behest, at Obama’s, as a joint undertaking, or was he really on his own as Gibbs said?

    Gore-financed, probably. The administration was plainly involved and had apparently wanted Gore to go. Kim gets his photo-op and maybe two-way talks on non-nuclear issues. As the women were being held in a “well-appointed guest house,” the opening was foreshadowed.

    steve (ec6bfb)

  26. Did Bill do this at Hillary’s behest, at Obama’s, as a joint undertaking, or was he really on his own as Gibbs said?

    I suspect it was a little of both, actually. Officially, it was all Bill, while in reality it was at the request of SOMEONE with a pile of pull at the WH.

    Why say it was all Bill’s idea?

    Because if he failed, just how horribly pathetic and weak would that have made the Obama Admin?

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  27. If the only price to be paid was a few photos of Bill Clinton and Kim Jong Il together, I say it was worth it. Let North Korea believe whatever it wants to about its own importance in the world, and we’ll get our people back.

    And I can’t believe some of you are reading statements from the North Korean press as though they would ever explain what really went down.

    Nels (a474bc)


  28. for the great majority of folks unemployment insurance covers less than a third of their monthly expenses – most cannot hope to survive for long on that kind of stipend

    Not on just that, but if they hadn’t spent everything (plus?) they earned while they were working, they would have savings to help tide them over. Jane Bryant Quinn advised having six months cash (or other liquid assets) in case of just this kind of disruption.

    But I guess it’s societies fault, if only we hadn’t put such pressure on people to live only in the moment, to run up their credit cards, to buy houses and cars that ate up a huge part of their paycheck… (and I know this doesn’t apply to everyone, there are some people who, like Patterico, weren’t irresponsible).

    steve sturm (3811cf)

  29. steve, I know you were being sarcastic, but society does ask people to spend spend spend.

    I recall when Bush did so during the recession he ‘inherited’ (joke). I thought he was a putz to do so… we would be far better off as a nation if everyone had 6 months in the black instead of 6 months pay in credit card debt.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  30. Did Bill do this at Hillary’s behest, at Obama’s, as a joint undertaking, or was he really on his own as Gibbs said?

    It’s hard to believe Obama would ask Bill to do anything that might possibly bring more attention to someone other than himself. They’re both rather narcissistic as well as less than friends and I don’t see our president willing to share the limelight with someone who feeds off it like Bill does.

    Hillary must have requested him to do this because I can’t imagine him actually wading into this without at least tacit approval, if not something more significant.

    Either way, it’s wonderful the women are on their way home. I hope if anything, they end up speaking out against the brutal regime and atrocities committed to the citizenry of NK. Imagine how hard it must be to leave there only able to free two while so many others have no chance of escape. Good on Bill, though.

    Dana (57e332)

  31. argh. …less than friendly...

    Dana (57e332)

  32. Aside from who arranged this, I wonder why Kim Jong agreed to these journalists being released? Did he get assurances of some sort (nuke development), or just a PR moment with an international figure of stature? Obviously this is a feather in Obama’s administrative cap (via Bill), but what’s with Kim Jong so easily agreeing to this (seemingly so…)?

    Dana (57e332)

  33. Dana – The Norks were comfortable negotiating with Clinton, as they knew from past experience that they did not have to actually do anything as a result of the negotiations. At least he didn’t bring Dancing Madeline Albright with him, or they would have been forced to ignore another nuclear agreement.

    JD (f96a20)

  34. I’m aware of that, JD, but it would seem to have been a plum opportunity to demand ask for something in return. Why waste any sort of perceived leverage or upper hand? I would like to know what really was negotiated out of view of the public eye.

    Dana (57e332)

  35. Dancing lessons from Madeline and a Hannah Montana autograph. And, our continued spineless response to their nuclear program.

    JD (f96a20)

  36. Mr Clinton jsut can’t stand being out of the spotlight.

    JEA (edf231)

  37. JD @ 5:51 p.m.,

    Heh. That sounds like a real possibility.

    Dana (57e332)

  38. It is quite evident that, as usual, the dems have decided to give hillary a keep-her-busy job called secretary of state, while the real job is farmed out to the men working for obama (or doing obama’s job, I can’t really tell).

    J (0f2b1a)

  39. This is good news ?

    The slimeball negotiates the release of two of the state run media’s hard working party members ? The two would probably be happier in N.K.

    DaveinPhoenix (8c6b07)

  40. The cost of giving the NK regime this kind of face could be non-trivial. The two women likely should not have been where they were trying to get their story, but the gloating and posturing this will empower the NK regime to do stengthens that regime internally.

    In short, the women have actually enabled the NK regime to do more of what the women were trying to stop by publicizing a story.

    jeb2 (ae01c8)

  41. Actually I think the one’s name might actually be Euna which isn’t all that great a panda name really.

    [You’re right, happyfeet. I’ve corrected it in the post and thanks for pointing this out. — DRJ]

    happyfeet (42470c)

  42. I appreciate that Al Gore didn’t have the stones for this assignment.
    If that smarmy creep would have show a bit of good character it would have set back the anti – global warming movement.

    Luckily the spaggetti spined narcissist performed true to form.

    papertiger (127d58)

  43. “At least he didn’t bring Dancing Madeline Albright with him, or they would have been forced to ignore another nuclear agreement.”

    JD – The Norks would let her back in the country. They were worried she would eat all their remaining food.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  44. Why are folks surprised?

    Bill Clinton on his private G-5 with two young girls on a twelve hour flight home and his wife no where in sight …..

    Love to get video of that flight.

    HeavenSent (01a566)

  45. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/aug/04/laura-ling-euna-lee

    Pictures ….. Bill is having a great party. G5, booze, girls, and then lots of public love when he gets home.

    Makes Obama look tiny.

    HeavenSent (01a566)

  46. Makes Obama look tiny.

    Makes Obama look smart.

    Makes Bush and walrus face look tiny, dumb too.

    spart (ebb300)

  47. So Bill goes and fetches two girls from North Korea and Barack is smart?

    U R an ObamaTard.

    HeavenSent (01a566)

  48. Shart – I know it is ridiculous to ask you a question, but what in the hell does Barcky have to do with this? Or Bush and Cheney?

    JD (f96a20)

  49. #48, Because Barack handled the whole thing himself and was so humble he decided to send Bill Clinton to close the deal. SO he is BRILLIANT!

    Teh Narrative for all ObamaTards is same.

    1) It fails — Boosh.
    2) It works — Obama.

    HeavenSent (01a566)

  50. How many hummers you think Bill got on his G5 in 12 hours?

    HeavenSent (01a566)

  51. The harshest critique came from John Bolton, the former Bush administration U.N. ambassador, who said: “It comes perilously close to negotiating with terrorists.”

    Dipshit

    spart (ebb300)

  52. G5 is childs play for big Bill.

    Looks like a 727. Sweet.

    HeavenSent (01a566)

  53. How many hummers you think Bill got on his G5 in 12 hours?

    That was no G5 it was a BBJ, apt no?

    spart (ebb300)

  54. [...]   At what cost did we secure the freedoms of reporters Laura Ling and Euna Lee and by the way, who is running the State Department these days? Share [...]

    Daily Commentary - Wednesday, August 5th, 2009 - Bill Clinton Negotiates Release of Hostages in North Korea | Scared Monkeys (1b1833)

  55. Dipshit

    The ObamaTards always resort to an epithet when they can’t defend their positions – and it was ever thus.

    Dmac (e6d1c2)

  56. CNBC reported that they were flown out on one of those “evil” (oh so evil) corporate jets. This one owned by Dow Chemical. So evil are these jets that it forced the House to buy 3 of their own.

    Neo (46a1a2)

  57. Neo:

    Nice to see you are making the rounds with the same comment everywhere. Actually just because DOW threw in a jet doesn’t mean that they aren’t lobbying and ripping American off. One nice turn doesn’t cover for all the sins.

    Cheers

    muffler (54df94)

  58. Neo

    You may want to investigate where in the US those corporate Gulfstream jets Congress authorized are made.

    spart (3095d8)

  59. spart, you really have no clue. What has been revealed is that Obama has no coherent policy with respect to North Korea and the NK’s are playing him like a cheap guitar.

    SPQR (5811e9)

  60. Congress ‘authorized’ these jets? I thought congress straight up bought them for its own use. Authorized sounds like someone else wanted them.

    Democrats being democrats.

    Spart calls Bolton a dipshit, but is that his entire argument? North Korea is a terrorist state, they just practiced terrorism, and we just negotiated with them. The democrats can lie and pretend Bill Clinton went on his own, but the US President now has a policy fo rewarding terrorists.

    If Spart’s only response is to this banal observation is to shout ‘dipshit’, then why is he here? Just to show he’s got nothing?

    Once again, Obama can’t live up to Bush’s leadership ability. Bush inherited a recession too… and a disaster like no other. He turned it into a boom that lasted until the dems took over congress in 2006. Obama can’t even deal with a tiny matter like this.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  61. Either way, it’s wonderful the women are on their way home. I hope if anything, they end up speaking out against the brutal regime and atrocities committed to the citizenry of NK. Imagine how hard it must be to leave there only able to free two while so many others have no chance of escape. Good on Bill, though.

    Good sentiment that I agree with.
    Ling’s sister, Lisa (used to be on The View), went on a covert reporting assignment into NK for National Geographic. There was a one or two hour special on it in which she showed the stark reality of life in NK, summary execution at the border included. Quite a contrast to Diane Sawyer’s state sponsored visit.

    voiceofreason2 (10af7e)

  62. This is good news for the reporters and their families but who’s really running the State Department?

    I’m not sure that Obama is entirely pleased about this. Seeing Bill waltz in and obtaining their release has to have some of the Dems who voted for Obama thinking “Would Hillary have been better?”

    voiceofreason2 (10af7e)

  63. SPQR

    See We agree on something – except maybe a cheap uncrtified copy of a Ukelele

    EricPWJohnson (a7d970)

  64. Didn’t Bill provide the tech necessary to jump-start NK’s nuclear program? I can see why he’s a Nork hero!

    Chuck Roast (266ab7)

  65. Obama can’t live up to Bush’s leadership ability.

    Oh my, the stupid it burns.

    spart (3095d8)

  66. Not sure which is more naive — assuming Bill Clinton was acting alone or assuming that the two reporters were innocent. Maybe they were — and they were actually kidnaped. Or maybe they stepped across the line. Why assume an apology wasn’t in order?

    terrence (8fd35a)

  67. terrance,

    What in the hell did these reporters do? whatever it is, we would have heard about it from the norks if it was truly bad.

    You must not know much about this awful demonic nation of monsters if you think the reporters were arrested for anything other than reporting. It really doesn’t matter though, North Korea is your enemy, or you are a terrible person. It’s that simple, my friend.

    Please look into this place so you can come to the right conclusion. They are simply evil.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  68. Juan — of course, they’re evil. But they’re a soverign nation and they get to have their own laws. (The world is full of such countries, and god knows, we’d be better off without them.) If the reporters were indeed trespassing as charged (and I’m not saying they were, but let’s pretend they were), than an apology is not inappropriate to get their release.

    Terrence (06fcdd)


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