August 6, 2009
Who among us is unhappy about the safe return of two female journalists from North Korea? It does not diminish the joy their family and loved ones feel to ask some serious questions.
First among them is: what ransom did the United States pay to Kim Jong-il? The propaganda bonus he received from the picture with former President Bill Clinton will be of enormous value to him. But Kim likes cash, and questions need to be asked concerning any payment that might have been made for the release of the two women.
Diplomatic questions should also be asked. Did we agree to anything concerning Kim’s nuclear weapons buildup? We know he had shipped nukes to Syria, which were destroyed by Israel. He has pulled America’s strings over negotiations like a master puppeteer. Reporters need to ask these questions and more.
You can’t placate or buy-off dictators. Doing so encourages terrorists and dictators in their pursuit of Americans to kidnap and hold hostage, thinking they might get a similar deal. Inquiring minds what to know what price we paid in cash and prestige for the release of the two women.
Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C.