This week marked the fourth American to enter and leave North Korea in a year. Two journalists were rescued by President Clinton. One guy apologized and was set free after 40 days of work camp. Yesterday, a teacher was rescued by President Carter.
This has got to stop.
People should not assume that breaking the laws of a country—just because they don’t personally agree with them—entitles them to a rescue by our government. This is like purposely walking into a Wyoming forest with no gear expecting to be helicoptered out by Harrison Ford.
If Carter and Clinton went on “humanitarian missions”, not representing our government, then why were they having political discussions about resuming the six party nuclear talks? If the government wanted to rescue these people through humanitarian means, they should have sent George Clooney and Brad Pitt to negotiate their release. Sending ex presidents gives Kim Jong Il fodder for his propaganda to show how he can make the mighty United States, occupiers of the southern half of Korea, bend to his will.
Anyone who walks into North Korea should accept their fate. We all know they will be fined and sent to work camp. We all know these conditions are miserable. These were educated people. They did not cross the border without a good understanding of what would happen to them. Even if they did, ignorance is a lousy excuse. But if they chose to cross the border—if they chose to personally fuck with foreign policy—then they also chose to accept the consequences. If they want to write policy, they should negotiate for their own release, or run for elected office, instead of walking into a mental institution state and declaring themselves crazy and then expecting to be saved.