This should be obvious

Last week I was at a seaside motel in Monterey and spent an hour watching Bill Maher. He made the most correct sum-up of the situation in North Korea I’ve heard in a while (he had John Bolton as a guest, and Bolton seemed to help Maher along), one that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama cannot seem to understand. Maher said that North Korea is so dangerous and unpredicatable because the country is essentially “the retarded child that has been chained away in the basement its whole life.” While this may sound offensive to some people, its true. North Korea is a stunted, cult of a society that is never going to co-exist through dialogue…an apology from Barack Obama for everything that this horrible country (sigh) has done to “interfere” in the Korean Penninsula is not going to work either.

Here’s where things are heading…

From BBC News:

The families of two US journalists held in North Korea have pleaded with the authorities there to set the pair free.

In a statement, relatives of Euna Lee and Laura Ling said reports that the women had been sentenced to 12 years in a labour camp were “devastating”.

They were convicted of entering the North illegally while filming at the Chinese border in March.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the government was “pursuing every possible approach” to free the women.

Their trial was held amid growing tensions over North Korea’s nuclear programme, but Mrs Clinton stressed that the two issues were “entirely separate”.

“Entirely Separate”? I don’t think she really believes this. I’m hoping that the Obama Administration is just trying to do what a government is supposed to do–protect its citizens. However, it might be more effective if Clinton would call North Korea out and make it obvious to the world that they are holding Lee and Ling because they are either looking for attention or trying to show force–or both. Iran tried to make a similar statement by holding American Roxana Saberi for several months in Iran’s most notorious prison.

Relatives of the two women being held are issuing similar appeals:

The families of Ms Ling and Ms Lee said they were worried about the “mental state and wellbeing” of the two women.

In a joint statement, the families said: “We ask the government of North Korea to show compassion and grant Laura and Euna clemency and allow them to return home to their families.

I am equally concerned about the “mental state and well-being” of the nutjob at the helm in Pyongyang who has decided to put to rest all doubts that his country can slip even further into isolation and despotism. I don’t think that Kim Jong Il is crazy enough to actually use an atomic weapon, particularly because it would mean the destruction of his entire country and himself. Instead, a regional conflaguration could erupt if he decides to intimidate Japan or South Korea by firing a missile over their airspace. In a panic, the Japanese or the South Koreans might shoot it down–or one of the American Trident Submarines operating in the waters of the Peninsula might fire back and Kim Jong Il will find himself in the center of the thermo-nuclear war he has been threatening.

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