Wednesday, August 05, 2009
The North Koreans are using President Bill Clinton's visit for all their own reasons. Attention world: Here we are, our leader is alive, Bill Clinton is paying his due.
They couldn't be happier if they'd set the whole thing up. Which, of course, they did, by grabbing the journalists in the first instance. Crime pays.
With children, we call this rewarding bad behavior.
With many of the world's bad guys, we call it negotiating with terrorists -- something we are absolutely against, except when we aren't.
With kidnappers, we just call it paying ransom.
So yes, we paid ransom. We rewarded bad behavior. We negotiated with very bad guys. A former president touching down with his "delegation" (I did recognize some other old friends as well) is worth more than money to North Korea. Does Bill Clinton count as "preconditions"? Remember that fight? Don't.
Conservative talk show hosts will get a day off health care and taxes to take a midsummer's walk down Memory Lane. Clinton-bashing -- what could be sweeter? Bill back in the bull's-eye. Oh, for the carefree '90s, when you could bash a president who actually cared about what you thought.
Bash away. I don't care if the North Koreans are using him, using us, using sob sisters like me. Two girls are coming home. Two families can breathe again.
North Korea's welcome mat was a well-staged performance by an outlaw nation, but it's also something of a relief. At least they want to look better in the eyes of the world. They want to look like a regular country, the kind of place that presidents and former presidents visit, the kind of place with pretty little girls in fancy dresses carrying beautiful flowers.
Of course North Korea is not a regular country. We don't sit around wondering whether regular countries can bomb Hawaii. Or whether they will. North Korea doesn't play by the rules that we think, generally, make "states" less dangerous, which is why the girls were seized, why the families held their breaths, why it took Bill Clinton to bring them home.
Still. Being used is better than being bombed. Lives are more precious than photo opps. It's still a happy ending, and there aren't so many of those to celebrate that I'm going to give this one up.
COPYRIGHT 2008 CREATORS SYNDICATE INC.
See Other Political Commentaries
See Other Commentaries by Susan Estrich
Views expressed in this column are those of the author, not those of Rasmussen Reports.
Rasmussen Reports is a media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information.
We conduct public opinion polls on a variety of topics to inform our audience on events in the news and other topics of interest. To ensure editorial control and independence, we pay for the polls ourselves and generate revenue through the sale of subscriptions, sponsorships, and advertising. Nightly polling on politics, business and lifestyle topics provides the content to update the Rasmussen Reports web site many times each day. If it's in the news, it's in our polls. Additionally, the data drives a daily update newsletter and various media outlets across the country.
Some information, including the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll and commentaries are available for free to the general public. Subscriptions are available for $3.95 a month or 34.95 a year that provide subscribers with exclusive access to more than 20 stories per week on upcoming elections, consumer confidence, and issues that affect us all. For those who are really into the numbers, Platinum Members can review demographic crosstabs and a full history of our data.
To learn more about our methodology, click here.