Former President Bill Clinton traveled to North Korea to apparently win the release of two American journalists kidnapped by the despotic Communist regime. Their release had already been negotiated in advance between the United States and North Korea. Clinton, the husband of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was obviously making an official trip, despite the Obama Administration’s claim that the trip was not official.
Through Clinton’s trip, the Obama Administration rewarded the North Korean’s for its hostage taking by sending such a high-ranking envoy. Clinton’s presence, which followed an official expression by his wife of “remorse” for the crossing of the journalists into the Hermit Kingdom, granted North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il political legitimacy. Kim had been trying to push the U.S. into sending some senior envoy to engage in direct negotiations directly with his regime in regard to his nuclear weapons program in order to make him appear as an equal to the superpower. Indeed, Clinton was met on the airport tarmac in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang by the Communist dictatorship’s lead nuclear negotiator in what was a successful attempt to make it appear as if the U.S. was coming to the North Koreans in a position of weakness – a typical North Korean tactic. It is also typical of hostage-taking regimes like North Korea to release their hostages for maximum diplomatic advantage for appearing to be merciful, after having first made a show of power by taking the hostages, which is an act of terrorism.
The North Koreans prefer to bully the U.S. or others into this or that concession instead of negotiating diplomatically in good faith. Therefore, giving into their demands encourages the North Koreans to continue their bad behavior. The Clinton visit was similar to the visit during his administration to North Korea of former President Jimmy Carter, who negotiated the 1994 Agree Framework, which turned out to be a major example of appeasement, as the U.S. promised generous aid in return for North Korean promises to suspend its nuclear weapons program – promises it broke. Although the stakes were not nearly as high this time, the Clinton North Korean trip continues the Obama Administration's dangerous liberal policy of treating our enemies with greater respect than our friends.