Obama should send Cheney to negotiate with North Korea

The North Koreans have seized two American citizens for the apparent purposes of aggrandizing Dear Leader, Kim Il Jong, and for extracting a ransom in the form of concessions for their release. http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D98ML4IO0&show_article=1 Past negotiations have followed the pattern of Dear Leader getting the attention he sought, receiving payment through various concessions, and then reneging on his part of the deal.

One option being discussed among pundits is to send former Vice President Al Gore to negotiate. Gore was identified in the 2000 campaign as “an inspiration to the millions of Americans suffering from Dutch Elm disease.” He could accordingly be counted upon to avoid confrontation. The two women seized were reporters for Al Gore’s TV network. But, a pundit asked, should Gore say when he went to North Korea? There is no easy answer to that. The same problem would exist if Vice President Biden or Governor Richardson were sent. Nothing they could say would fail to be interpreted as a form of groveling concession, again fulfilling Dear Leader’s ambitions.

The best approach is to send former Vice President Cheney. One thing Cheney could say is: “Nice setup you have here. It would be a shame if anything happened to it. We want our citizens returned.” That would be more effective than anything Gore or Biden could say, but it is not quite the right diplomatic tone. Instead, he should say, “President Obama has sent me express his very deep concern over the situation in which two American citizens are being held in error by the government of North Korea. It is difficult to express the depth of President Obama’s concern, but he has told me that this could lead to a dramatic worsening of relations between our countries. Therefore, I hope that you will act quickly to resolve this situation.” Or words to that effect.

President Obama has taught us that the words used to say something are not nearly as important as who says them and how they are said. Unfortunately, Darth Vader is unavailable to do the job, so Vice President Cheney will have to suffice. What Cheney would say is not substantially different from what any other representative would say. The message is in who is saying it. The move would have the greatest potential for resolving the situation peacefully by causing Dear Leader to back off.

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