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August 04, 2009

North Korea's "Propaganda Coup"
Posted by David Shorr

Returning to the category of flimsy conservative argments, we have the idea that President Clinton's mission to Pyongyang was a major PR victory for Kim Jong-il. Today's conservative, appearing on NPR's All Thing Considered, is Peter Brookes of the Heritage Foundation (a sometime participant in Stanley Fouundation programs whom I consider a friend). Peter contends that the visit of a former US president constitutes a morally hazardous ransom for the kidnapping and kangaroo trial of the two journalists.

For those keeping score at home, let me tell you how this looks to me. The Dear Leader got to play host to President Clinton for ONE DAY (make that one or two news cycles). Meanwhile, when it comes to any further discussions with the DPRK, the situation with Laura Ling and Euna Lee is now resolved and no longer on the agenda. I don't see how Kim really gains a PR or diplomatic advantage here. He didn't look so great turning the journalists' lives into a Kafka novel, and isn't going to look much better now that Topic A is all those missile launches and nuclear tests.


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His PR victory is purely an internal one. That is what he wanted most...and that is what he got. If it helps him transfer power and keeps the military at bay in NK...then I would consider it a win for the world.

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As far as I know the United States, along with China, Japan, Russia and South Korea, spent years on a diplomatic effort aimed at persuading North Korea to eliminate its nuclear program...

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