As Carrie Lukas posted earlier, the release of American journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling is good news…for the Lee and Ling families.  But I’m not so sure its good news for the greater American public.   In an interview with Agence France Press, former US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton sums up the potential downside to the Clinton negotiated release–we may once again be rewarding North Korean bad behavior.   He states:  

“I think this is a very bad signal because it does exactly what we always try and avoid doing with terrorists, or with rogue states in general, and that’s encouraging their bad behavior,” Bolton said.  In a US television interview here on July 26, Secretary Clinton warned North Korea that even its traditional allies had turned against it and that the communist state’s rogue behavior will no longer “be rewarded.”  

He added it “is hard to imagine” that Clinton did not talk about the nuclear issue when he had dinner with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, given the nuclear negotiations that Clinton pursued when he was president in the 1990s.  “If you wanted to divorce the kidnapping, abduction issue of the two reporters from the nuclear issue, you couldn’t have picked a less likely envoy than president Clinton,” Bolton said.   

Reuters also has a story on the Clinton visit to Pyongyang and focuses on how this diplomatic “victory” might be received in Tokyo and Seoul.   

U.S. allies South Korea and Japan both have politically sensitive concerns about citizens held in North Korea. Beyond those issues is a fear that the example of Clinton’s trip will weaken Obama’s firm stance against rewarding North Korean bad behavior.

“South Korea and Japan remain exceedingly nervous that Obama will eventually abandon the U.S. policy of denuclearizing North Korea and accept a lower standard of merely preventing future nuclear proliferation,” wrote Korea expert Bruce Klingner of the conservative Heritage Foundation.