Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Kodak Moment

I read ' Let The Big Dog Run' by Maureen Dowd but am not in full agreement with her conclusions. While she writes of Bill Clinton being willing to 'bow but not scrape', I think the North Korean view was that there was indeed much scraping going on.

It was a New York Times 'a picture is worth a thousand words' story in front of my eyes as I looked at the somber faces of the former President of the United States and his entourage, in the company of the North Korean leader. It reminded me of the videos we have seen through the years of those who have been captured being paraded in front of the cameras by their captors. Look, Kim Jong-il seemed to be saying, I have brought the past leader of the great and mighty US to me to plead for the release of 2 insignificant reporters.

North Korea wishes to be seen as a player on the world stage. It has been flexing its nuclear muscles for months in an attempt to make the world take notice. The capture and conviction of Ms. Ling and Ms. Lee was but one more strategic play on the part of this nation. Whether or not Mr. Clinton was smiling, or whether or not he apologized to the North Korean leader (even the report in the Times seems to be in conflict on this issue), the US was forced into a ' North Korean Kodak moment' to get the women back. It was more than, as Ms. Dowd suggests, North Koreans 'giving the limelight to Daddy to punish Mommy' for what they viewed as intemperate remarks recently directed at them by Hillary Clinton. It was so much more than that.

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