Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Bill Clinton delivers for the U.S.
Now, here’s an extraordinary story. Of a former United States president visiting North Korea, one of the world’s most mysterious nations, to secure the release of two American journalists.
Former President Bill Clinton worked on behalf of Obama against whom his wife, Hillary, had fought a bitter nomination campaign, and flew back from Pyongyang with Laura Ling and Euna Lee, the two journalists who were jailed there. All this while Hillary was in Nairobi on an African nation tour; she herself was deeply involved, according to a New York Times report, in the backroom diplomacy that led to the eventual release of the hostages. Clearly, Bill Clinton would not have travelled all the way to North Korea if a deal had not been struck earlier.
All’s well that ended well. Both journalists were reported to be “overjoyed”, and why not? The Clintons are indeed making a mark in the age of the Obamas, and Bill Clinton’s charisma is as enduring as ever.
A triumph for the U.S. on the foreign policy front. The exercise also brought on to the world stage like perhaps never before the North Korean President Kim Jong-il, who is hardly ever seen in public.
(Picture shows a triumphant Bill Clinton leaving Pyongyang after gaining the release of the journalists. Photo courtesy: KCNA via Reuters; The New York Times)