The Collective
Sunday, August 9, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Writes Henry A. Kissinger in today’s WaPo:

A visit by a former president, who is married to the secretary of state, will enable Kim Jong Il to convey to North Koreans, and perhaps to other countries, that his country is being accepted into the international community — precisely the opposite of what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has defined as the goal of U.S. policy until Pyongyang abandons its nuclear weapons program.

My question: what state in the world is going to take the Clinton visit as a signal that North Korea is any more accepted now than it was before the visit? I will allow that Kim can possibly use the photos with Clinton for internal political advantage, but since he controls the media anyway, I consider that a negligible win. However, it is wholly unclear to me how the visit could have actually enhanced world opinion of NK and the Kim Jun Il regime.

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6 Responses to “A Question for Kissinger”

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    1. Alan Robinson Says:

      Mr.Taylor, are you daft? Russian and China have just been given a waiver on sanctions on North Korea. So much for the 6 party talks. Do you not grasp the implications of a former president being summoned to North Korea for a photo op as a condition precedent to the release of two rogue journalists who illegally entered that country? Obama has just surrenedered any pretense of moral authority in dealing effectively with a country that routinely conducts nuclear tests and launches rockets on dates that coincide with Presidential Inaugurations and July 4th-The Birthday of our country. One thing your lack of understanding does accomplish definitively, Bill Maher was 100% correct when he characterized the American People as being too stupid to be worth of democracy.

    2. Steven L. Taylor Says:

      Nothing says”let’s have a reasonable discussion” than starting off with “are you daft?” and concluding with a statement about stupidity.


      Regardless, the notion that either Russia or China changed their basic views on either North Korea or the United States as a result of this visit is a stretch of credulity.

      And what, pray tell, does any (if not all) of your comment really have to do with Clinton’s visit?

    3. Bill OConnor Says:

      Mr Robinson, by implying that those you disgree with are stupid fails to establish the validity of your position. Please try reasoned argument.

      So, Please explain why it is now in the national interests of Russia and China to waive sanctions on North Korea. How did Clinton’s visit change what is in it for them to lift sanctions?

    4. Dan541 Says:

      The impact of a former presidents going to N. Korea to rescue those two girls will come in two flavors.

      Those folks out there in the world that think highly of N. Korea, if there are any, will think he put one over on the U.S.

      Everybody else will see that N. Korea’s government is, once again, really as bad as we thought it was.

    5. anthony watson Says:

      Ultimately, the Kissinger position here and in the past has been very Machiavellian. Henry K. espouses a position based upon a cold, cruel geopolitical calculus. Some would say that this is the only way to view the world; neo-cons for one. However, I disagree and will probably always disagree. Those two journalists were in a very unhappy circumstance. Sometimes, just sometimes, can we not simply do things for humanitarian reasons. Now more than ever America needs to show her human side and Bill Clinton has done that in spades I’d say. The cold, cruel and ruthless calculus that led us to invade and occupy Afghanistan and Iraq has borne bitter fruit. Additionally, and above all this cold calculus turned out to be wrong and did not yield the “profit-making” war that the invasion and occupation of Iraq was supposed to be. Remember this military adventure was supposed to pay for itself. The failure to take into account the “human factors” in Iraq, like religious differences and ethnic hostilities were a root cause of the failure. In North Korea, we best heed these lessons and do our best come to some kind of “touchie-feelie” understanding that reins in North Korea. Bill Clinton’s trip had a great “human” outcome and who knows what interesting ripples it may send through Moscow and Beijing providing potential opportunity for a lasting solution to this problem.
      Elvis said it best, “What is so funny about peace, love and understanding?”

    6. Mike Says:

      Alan Robinson, first, you have no credibility in this forum. Totally you’re own doing. Hopefully, you’ve learned something and will argue on the merits next time instead of looking to insult a genuine and legitimate question. And personally attacking the questioner was a total waste.

      Second, we should be clear that Bill Clinton is no longer an elected official and does not create policy. Sure he has the ear of many who do. So do lobbyists. So do foreign prime ministers. But they do not speak for the U.S. That is clear in the minds of other world leaders. It’s clear in my mind, in the minds of Poli Sci 101 college kids. I hope it becomes clear in your mind. Does the former mayor of your town still hire and evaluate the police chief or determine city spending priorities?

      Third, while Bill Clinton is an influential private citizen–he is just that. And only that. If Obama would have yelled at him and said “hey slick Willy! I forbid you from going to North Korea to free those girls.” Do you think Obama really has the power to prevent a private citizen from exercising his right to influence the world in the legal manner he/she deems positive? I suggest to you the answer is no. Obama could have even said, “hey Bill! I’ll fire your wife if you go. I mean it! I’ll send her back to New York and she’ll be pissed at you for harming her career. Because as you know Bill, I am more concerned about your actions as opposed to the policy I set for Hillary to follow and execute.” How absurd. What logical connection of Obama’s power as current U.S. President and Commander in Chief are you drawing to give him the deciding voice in an action taken by a private citizen? In the life’s work of a private citizen. I also suggest that Bill Clinton did an honorable and patriotic thing by aiding two American families in traveling to North Korea, exerting his influence, and rejoining these two young ladies with their loved ones.

      Fourth, Kissinger, also a private citizen, has the right to disagree in the marketplace of public opinion. Let Bill and Henry fight it out. Based on their arguments, let the American people decide if Bill did a good thing or harmed his country. If Bill’s visit gave North Korea the leg up that they needed in the world to cause mischief and exert their will. But how, tell me how can you honestly hold Obama accountable for the actions of any private citizen? It’s a reach in logic and intellectual honestly. Was Bill Clinton’s trip really Obama’s fault? Should Obama even be able to take credit for the return of those young ladies? Did he? Hold Obama 100% accountable for his actions–be they good or bad. I’ll be there next to you. But focus Alan. And require that others do the same. I require that of you. –Mike

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