Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Bubba Diplomacy

Although we’re delighted that Laura Ling and Euna Lee are now free, we can’t keep from wondering what the US gave away in order to obtain the release of the two American journalists held by North Korea. To the untrained eye, President Clinton just showed up for a friendly visit and Kim Jong Il suddenly agreed to let the young women go free.

But it’s certain that all was arranged ahead of time even though Obama’s spokesmen valiantly tried to play down any collaboration on his part.

However, the real danger, as former Ambassador Bolton pointed out, is that such diplomacy puts Americans at greater risks in the future. What promises will Tehran now extract from us to set the three American hikers free? Will future hostages require presidential rescue, complete with escalating demands and concessions? Will more Americans now be at risk?

But, putting aside such worries, their release provided an effective distraction from Obama’s sinking poll numbers, especially in the health care arena. In that respect, Bubba Diplomacy worked.

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