Bill and Barack
Bill Clinton, carrying no message from or portfolio in the Obama Administration, just waltzed into Pyongyang, sat down with reclusive leader Kim Jung-Il who was supposed to be gravely ill from a stroke he might have suffered last year and left with the two Americans, who were granted amnesty.
The Right-wing U.S. media just can't stand it: The Wall Street Journal Online simpered that the favor dispensed by North Korea "will bolster Kim’s bid to dissolve the six-party negotiations in favor of the direct talks with the U.S. he has long sought. It will also dismay some in South Korea and Japan, which have their own hostages in North Korea and will wonder why Mr. Clinton couldn’t obtain their release as well."
The fact of the matter is that the United States is now back in the hands of adults who are willing to put their reputations on the line and who are, more importantly, willing to bear the future risks of peaceful solutions rather than the far more perilous and fool-hardy risks of bellicose non-solutions that were the hallmark of the Bush Administration. President Obama showed this same character in personally sitting down with Professor Henry Gates and the law enforcement officer who arrested him, Sergeant James Crowley. While some media sources sneered that it was a "distraction," a more mature and attentive audience understands that this is precisely what leadership means: leading pragmatically from the front, on the ground, instead of from the clouds of vapid, simplistic ideals.
Imagine George W. Bush in these, his happy retirement years, going to any nation hostile to the United States, much less going there as a revered elder of the world. To imagine that, one must first suspend any thought of the possibility that a former President of this country might be arrested elsewhere on this planet as a war criminal. While our Right-wing fanatics will spend the remainder of this century shrieking down even the hint that a higher order of morality has already judged the man, his policies, and his underlings, the nations of the world have moved on, rectifying as they can the almost incomprehensible mess Bush created, even as they return to what remains of hope for leadership from the once great empire that is the United States of America.
Bill Clinton walked right into a closed, bitter, impoverished, marginalized, dangerous nation; and there he sat with the very man our own CIA spends untold billions of dollars trying to decipher.
Barack Obama sat right down with angry, embittered rivals of different races; and there, he got those men to talk civilly, bluntly, and constructively in a way that racists would hate and airheaded Leftists would insist only billions of dollars in federal programs could achieve.
As much as I shall harshly criticize Mr. Obama and his policies in the years and days ahead, and as much as I shall condemn the weakness, cowardice, and foolishness of the Democrats now in charge of Congress, I must also recognize that these are matters fundamentally less important than one overriding consideration to bear in mind, now: finally, for the first time in too many years, we have adults in charge of this nation.