If one were to accept the claims of Enormous Thriving Plants' Audrey at face value, one would believe that Audrey has always been implicitly logical and reasonable with her political arguments.
One would be led to believe that her critics are merely bending at windmills over matters that are factually apparent.
Unfortunately for Audrey, this is pure fiction. The truth is rather different.
In fact, it seems that the arguments that Audrey often raises fall far short of the "implicitly logical and reasonable" benchmark, and instead veer way off into the margins of a vast ideological intellectual morass, from which for ideologues as dedicated as Audrey, there may truly be no way out.
One needs look no further than Audrey's recent rantings about former American Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, who recently had something to say about Bill Clinton's recent trip to North Korea to negotiate the release of two imprisoned American journalists.
Before one gets into what Bolton actually had to say about it, let's examine what Audrey had to say:
"A mere hours after his Washington Post column calling Bill Clinton's trip to North Korea "kneejerk" / "an act of obeisance" was published, North Korea pardons the American journalists it had imprisoned.While it is true that Bolton's comments on Clinton's efforts to secure the release of the captured journalists are less than flattering for the former President, Audrey draws a rather peculiar conclusion -- that because Bolton criticizes Clinton's actions that he wanted to see Ling and Lee remain in prison.
If the former (Bush appointed) UN ambassador had had his way, Laura Ling and Euna Lee would still be sitting in a North Korean labour camp, simply to satiate his PNAC fantasy of American-strength-through-non-diplomacy.
...Another Neocon joins the Kristol/Perle "Wrong about everything" club."
Yet Bolton's own comments contradict that statement.
"The reporters' arrest, show trial and subsequent imprisonment (twelve years hard labor) was hostage taking, essentially an act of state terrorism," Bolton wrote. To any rational individual, that hardly seems like the words of someone who favours the injudicious arrest, incarceration and enslavement of American citizens.
But Audrey's comments that Bolton would rather see Ling and Lee remain in captivity "simply to satiate his PNAC fantasy of American-strength-through-non-diplomacy" is actually a very revelatory remark.
It demonstrates that Audrey clearly doesn't understand the recent history of diplomatic efforts with North Korea, and the tendency of the Kim Jong Il regime to throw these diplomatic efforts back into the face of the western world. Oddly enough, Bolton refers to such an episode in his column:
"In some ways the trip is a flashback to the unfortunate 1994 journey of former president Jimmy Carter, who disrupted the Clinton administration's nuclear negotiations with North Korea and led directly to the misbegotten 'Agreed Framework.' By supplying both political legitimacy and tangible economic resources to Pyongyang, the Agreed Framework provided the North and other rogue states a roadmap for maximizing the benefits of illicit nuclear programs. North Korea violated the framework almost from the outset but nonetheless enticed the Bush administration into negotiations (the six-party talks) to discuss yet again ending its nuclear program in exchange for even more political and economic benefits. This history is of the United States rewarding dangerous and unacceptable behavior, a lesson well learned by other would-be nuclear proliferators."As anyone who has paid attention to the issue of North Korean nuclear proliferation would know, Kim Jong Il's regime had gone back on this deal -- which Hans Blix was dissatisfied with in the first place -- by resuming missile tests under the guise of launching satellites.
Bill Clinton isn't the only US President to try and fail to reach a diplomatic resolution with North Korea. George W Bush tried (and failed) to reach such a resolution, offering aid packages to North Korea as part of a multi-lateral deal. A more substantive deal was eventually reached in which North Korea would shut down its nuclear program in exchange for the unfreezing of accounts in American banks.
By 2008, North Korea had again reneged on the deal, declining to report its nuclear activities. By May of 2009 North Korea had restarted its nuclear reactor and threatened to attack South Korea.
The history of North Korea's renunciation of diplomatic efforts -- often demanding broad concessions before talks could even begin -- now spans three American Presidents. To pretend that North Korea is engaging in diplomatic negotiations over its nuclear program in good faith would, at this point, be a sham.
There is also, as Bolton muses, the risk of emboldening criminal regimes like Kim Jong Il's by legitimizing their effectively taking foreign citizens hostage:
"While the United States is properly concerned whenever its citizens are abused or held hostage, efforts to protect them should not create potentially greater risks for other Americans in the future. Yet that is exactly the consequence of visits by former presidents or other dignitaries as a form of political ransom to obtain their release. Iran and other autocracies are presumably closely watching the scenario in North Korea. With three American hikers freshly in Tehran's captivity, will Clinton be packing his bags again for another act of obeisance? And, looking ahead, what American hostages will not be sufficiently important to merit the presidential treatment? What about Roxana Saberi and other Americans previously held in Tehran? What was it about them that made them unworthy of a presidential visit? These are the consequences of poorly thought-out gesture politics, however well-intentioned or compassionately motivated. Indeed, the release of the two reporters -- welcome news -- doesn't mitigate the future risks entailed."These risks are especially pronounced when one considers how these deals will be accepted by a regime that so routinely violates its diplomatic agreements.
Against the backdrop of North Korea's malfeasance in regards to diplomacy, it takes a special kind of ideologue to use the fact that an individual was appointed as Ambassador to the UN by George W Bush -- who himself tried and failed to reach a diplomatic accommodation with Kim Jong Il -- as evidence that they would rather see American journalists enslaved in a North Korean prison.
Particularly when that very same ideologue seems to go to such lengths to overlook entirely the manner in which the North Korean regime has approached diplomacy in the first place.
Of course, when it comes to Audrey, one should never, ever be surprised.