On North Korea

The detainment and subsequent release of the two American journalists was big news, yet the politicizing of their release surprised me. As a country, North Korea is an isolationist. The United States does not have an embassy in this country and has diplomatic communications with is typically through a third party.

The North Koreans asked for a visit from President Clinton as a condition of the release, and the White House approved the condition. The former president met with Kim Jong-Il, and if it made the North Koreans feel better, so what. Surely this visit didn’t open the door wide open for thawing the strained relations, and at best, maybe it put a slight crack in the door.

In the big picture, let us remember these key points.

  • No matter what the U.S. says or whatever the U.N. does, only China can apply significant pressure on North Korea
  • A unified Korea would not serve in China’s best interest
  • The U.S. can’t pressure China because of the amount of U.S. debt China holds

Just giving some points to ponder.

On Iraq and Afghanistan

As a reaction to 9-11, the U.S. targeted Afghanistan. As the action was swift, the Bush administration took their eye off the ball and shifted their focus to Iraq. Although many Americans initially supported the invasion of Iraq, time demonstrated a changing public sentiment as the public had little patience on continual use or our country’s armed forces and resources.

Out of Iraq we come as President Obama returns to the initial focus – Afghanistan, thus this will become his war, just as Iraq become President Bush’s war. The public eye will shift from Iraq to Afghanistan, so how long will it take for the American public to again have little patience with continual use of our armed forces and resources? Time will tell.

On a View of Iran

I like to travel – and that includes watching Rick Steves travelling. Not that long ago (2008) Steves went to Iran, and as he normally does, he incorporates people and culture into his thoughts and shows.

Today, we’re keeping an eye on the demonstrations resulting from the country’s election process. Journalists had been a source of information, but then they were limited or removed. YouTube and Twitter served as communication outlets, and then those sources have now been limited.

As we debate over meddling or watching, Mr. Steves recently wrote a column (in an editorial sense). Since he’s not championing a political party or special interest, it’s worth reading. Below are links to the column and other Rick Steves’ posts on Iran.

Resources

On Iranian Demonstrations

People want freedom.

As the world watches the post-election events in Iran, I can’t help to think about those words that President Bush (43) echoed so many times. Yet, as we watch from this country, the political partisans align against one another as if the Iranians are mere pawns of our politics. On one side we have claims that President Obama is being “too passive” toward the Iranian events. On the other side we have President Obama proceeding with caution.

Only fools believe the State Department and the White House aren’t closely monitoring the events as we are clearly seeing a practice of how the United States government is changing its approach toward conflicts in that part of the world. With his Cairo speech of not long ago acting as an extended hand, President Obama is remaining cautious so this country is not portrayed as instigators and meddlers, especially after long-time portrayal as the Great Satin – kind of a practice-what-you-preach approach.

I think back to our own presidential election in 2000. It was hotly contested, yet no violence. Issues that took time to sort, yet there were no demonstrations. Those of us outside of Florida shook our head in amazement while others claim our nine Supreme Court justices decided the election.

Yes, President Bush was right – People want freedom. But are the Iranian demonstrations an internal or external issue? How would we have reacted if nations of the world voiced their disapproval, made demands, and wanted to get involved in 2000? Maybe being a world leader by example has more power and influence than some think.