Some good responses to our question of the day about Bill Clinton, John Bolton, and Kim Jong Il, which was: After Bill Clinton secured the release of journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling from North Korea, former UN Ambassador John Bolton suggested this was "rewarding bad behavior" and that Clinton's trip, despite its apparent success, had legitimized Kim Jong Il's regime. Is he right? Did North Korea successfully use Lee and Ling as pawns for legitimacy?--and, if the two are now safe, does it really matter if that's the case?"
Who cares? The girls are free. We are not Kim Jong Ils parents.
From Marc Adin:
Simplicity is Bolton's strong suit. He has failed to understand the complexities of statesmanship as demonstrated by the mindless Cheney/Bush administration he 'represented' at the U.N.
North Korea is no more 'legitimate' today than they were yesterday. If anything, this incident illustrates the weakness and the pathological nature of the current regime in North Korea. Plus, Pres. Clinton had the opportunity to see if Kim Jong Il was dead or alive...
...More to the point, I don't see how this is a propaganda coup for Kim Jong Il and his regime anywhere but inside North Korea. What did Kim Jong Il get for this whole episode? More people are now focused on his regime's repression than before. He reinforced the highly negative international image of himself, his regime, and his country. He also looks increasingly desperate to provoke and/or engage the United States. In the end all Kim Jong Il really got for the whole episode was a photo op with Bill Clinton. Thats all well and good I guess, but anyone with enough money to pay his speaking fee can do that. Most importantly, I haven't seen any reports of North Korea getting anything tangible in return for this.
I think, barring any revelations that we accepted their right to make a bomb or something, the Obama administration hadnled this probably as well as they could have. The didn't let the journalist languish in jail for their whole 12 year sentence. They didn't reflexively give into initial public pressure to get the journalists back at any price either. They secured the release of the journalists and didn't give up much to do it.