Those private American citizens that willingly place themselves in harms way abroad, shall have no expectation that we’re coming for them. The harm done to our nation as we’re trying to negotiate the end of North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, for instance, is incalculable. While I am touched that two young ladies have recently been reunited with their families, I worry about what we gave up in the negotiations. Laura Ling and Euna Lee were convicted of crimes against the communist nation, or the DPRK in June of 2009 and sentenced to 12 years in a hard labor camp.
In a surprise to many in August of 2009, we heard news that former President Bill Clinton was on the ground in North Korea, securing the release of Ling and Lee. For the North, and Kim Jong IL, if all they received was a photo op; that was still too much to give up. Legitimizing rouge regimes, terrorist organizations, and human rights violators serve to prop them up. This further reduces the chances of peacefully securing freedoms for millions within their borders. Dictators have to fight everyday to tamp down the basic human desires and quest for freedoms from their citizens. One of their main weapons to accomplish this after their use of force is propaganda. Photo opportunities and unchallenged false rhetoric from human rights violators does nothing to support our fellow man.
For those who argue against a more direct intervention into the lives of the oppressed, I submit that their alternative answer should be an unyielding support of every man, woman, and child on this Earth whose basic human freedoms are suppressed. Our unwavering support for them now, just may gain their support in our concerns at a later date and time. This alternative is virtually free. Turning our backs on rouge regimes is not turning our backs on their citizens. Quite the contrary, the more unified our approach is in isolating these characters, the better the results for our fellow man.
Some folks have no useful solutions whatsoever, though. They say not only shall we not rattle sabers, but we should not be seen meddling into the affairs of their states. You can’t have it both ways, that’s just utopian foolishness. If we turn our backs on our fellow citizens of the world, then we become culpable for their sufferings. Photo ops, trade, and otherwise normal acceptance on the World’s stage are no way to end oppression in North Korea. Nations who let their dollars trump their ideals and continue to do business with dictators, tyrants, and terrorists fail everyone.
Now we see in the news that three American hikers have been arrested by the Iranians for purportedly crossing their border with Iraq. What will it cost us to get them back? Something tells me that if you choose Iraq for your hiking destination, you’re looking for something more than just a strenuous and picturesque walk.
The free nations of this World ought to abide by an unflinching and unwavering boycott of states who abuse human rights. Let us stand in the right while those who don’t value such basic freedoms for their citizens stand out like soar thumbs. It would be a fine divide to pit ourselves against them and call them out on such a worthy endeavor as human freedom for all mankind. So you see, nothing is ever as simple as a joyful reunion between two young ladies and their families. Euna Lee, Laura Ling, Bill Clinton, and the Obama administration all took part in questionable diplomacy last week. What now for our intrepid hikers in Iran?