It was strange as I sat holding my grandson and watched as the two journalists who were held captive for 140 days by North Korea debark from the plane and realized that they were finally back on American soil and their ordeal was over. They were escorted by former President Bill Clinton, secret service, State department personnel, and a host of others who had flown to N. Korea to bring these Americans home.
Their release wasn’t accomplished by threats, or by anger, but rather by going through the appropriate channels, the press, the United Nations, cooperation with foreign ambassadors, and the Obama Administration working behind the scenes to bring them home. It was about how the Obama Administration’s understanding of how the N. Korean culture works and using that knowledge, while working in tandem with the other methods being used, was able to secure the release of these reporters.
It was about how North Korea had found itself in a situation that it probably wanted to end. It had been running “amok” over the past few months between its nuclear development and missile launching and its coup de grace was the seizing of the two female reporters. Whether or not these reporters had actually crossed over into North Korea or whether N. Korea had crossed into China has yet to be determined. North Korea’s actions were escalating and they found themselves in situations that had condemned them in the eyes of the World.
What can be determined is that by understanding how another culture works, it is possible to solve a problem and/or find a solution to a crisis without rattling the sabers or rounding up the “cowboys” and force, what just might have been, an unnecessary confrontation.
The belief in manifest destiny no longer works for America. We are no longer loved or respected around the world thanks to eight years of republican “thuggary”. We are no longer greatly feared, as illustrated by 911 when a terrorist group was able to plan and carry out such destruction on American soil. Our feeling that “we know better” is not welcomed around the world.
As we become more global, and our young people begin to interact more and more with the rest of the world’s population, as they will be traveling and working in foreign countries, it will become more and more important that our young understand the complexities of other cultures and respect the differences that exist.
It will be that respect and understanding that will empower America to be able to come to the negotiation tables with an insight into how that country thinks and because of that insight be given the respect America deserves. It will be important, as it was with North Korea, that sometimes the answer is the simplest action. In this case it was all about” how can we lessen a crisis and still walk away with dignity.”
It was all about sending in a requested individual to meet with Korea. In this case, it was a man that the Koreans trusted, former President Bill Clinton. By Obama’s sending in Clinton, he was allowing the best scenario to be played out.
Send in Clinton, the requested negotiator; sit down and discuss whatever issues need to be addressed that will be permitted to be placed on the table, get the women, get them on board a plane and home, leaving the Koreans with dignity and having saved face.
No bombs! No threats! No army build up! Just what actions have to be done so that in the end our citizens are back safe and unharmed on American soil and everyone has saved face so that this crisis could end.
Because in this instance, that was all that really matters!
This is a lesson that anyone living anywhere in America, including New Jersey, could take a lesson from.