Sunday, August 9, 2009

Haiku 080909

he points out
the low-hanging cloud
a white pine

Photo courtesy of Steven Katovich, USDA Forest Service,


Recently, we read the following:

Star Tribune: “North Korea: Kim Jong Il orders release of 2 American journalists during Bill Clinton visit” by Jean H. Lee (Associated Press)

“North Korean leader Kim Jong Il issued a "special pardon" freeing two jailed American journalists after talks with former U.S. President Bill Clinton, North Korea's official news agency announced Wednesday…

“State media said Clinton apologized on behalf of the women and relayed President Barack Obama's gratitude. The report said the visit would "contribute to deepening the understanding" between North Korea and the U.S…

“North Korea accused Ling, 32, and Lee, 36, both of former Vice President Al Gore's Current TV media venture, of sneaking into the country illegally in March and engaging in unspecified ‘hostile acts.’ The nation's top court sentenced them in June to 12 years of hard labor…

“Clinton was accorded honors typically reserved for heads of state. Senior officials, led by Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan, who also serves as the regime's chief nuclear negotiator, met his private unmarked plane as it arrived Tuesday morning…

“Clinton is relatively well-regarded in North Korea, mostly for a less-bellicose attitude toward the country during his administration…


And we thought:

… As many will acknowledge, diplomacy has its uses. Bill Clinton just showed us one – and picked off a low-hanging fruit. George Bush and his ilk did not understand the concept and its subtleties and, in turn, its various applications. During Bush’s two terms, Kim Jong Il saw Bush as a bully, who even egged others to follow suit. Maybe Kim simply wanted to be treated as a peer, not as a bully’s fool of a target.

Although ostensibly private, the visit of Clinton, a former head of state – not an Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian Affairs or some such functionary -- apparently affirmed Kim’s desire to be treated as a head of state. On this matter of the two journalists, Clinton acknowledged the imperative for Kim to be what he needed to be before his own people – a leader who’s not going to lose face.

One wonders whether the same principle of mutual respect could be applied to resolve concerns about North Korea's nuclear program...

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