Today on FNC’s Fox and Friends, Dick Morris claimed that freed Current TV journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee should have stayed in N. Korea and dealt with the consequences of their actions. He said, “Maybe they go to North Korea and they live with the consequences of their decision to go there.”
Here is the video courtesy of Media Matters:
Morris said, “I think this is an awful idea of Bill Clinton’s, and I feel badly for the two journalists, but what were they doing in N. Korea in the first place?…It’s ridiculous to have done this.” When asked how the US should get the girls home, Morris answered, “I don’t know. Maybe they don’t come home. Maybe they go to N. Korea and live with the consequences of their decision to go there. The point is you don’t give a rogue state like N. Korea the opportunity to rehabilitate its image globally simply to get two reporters out of jail and give the former president, the current president, and the Secretary of State a photo op.”
Morris is echoing the failed Bush era policy on N. Korea, a policy which was such as a disaster that the Bush administration ended up going back to the Clinton policy. Morris’ idea that the journalists should have stayed in N. Korea is insane. He is advocating that the United States government abandon its responsibility to protect its own citizens.
I don’t see how the Obama administration helped to rehabilitate N. Korea’s image. The fact is that N. Korea still imprisoned two innocent journalists. Taking a hard line stance with a desperate regime that has nothing to lose is a recipe for failure. Some engagement with N. Korea is necessary, but I see this episode as separate from the overall U.S./N. Korea relationship.
The right wing is angry because they can’t handle any success that the Obama administration has. No administration could afford the political fallout that would have come with the decision to leave the journalists in N. Korea. This is just more empty tough talk designed to appeal to right wing that doesn’t take into account the realities of the situation in North Korea.