Skip to comments.Richardson Campaign Ends in North Korea
Posted on 04/11/2007 8:24:52 AM PDT by yoe
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson may have just ended his fledgling campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, shipwrecked on the rocky coast of North Korea.
Although Richardson's trip to North Korea was authorized by the White House, how it played out must have come to a surprise to White House advisors, let alone to Richardson himself.
The former energy secretary and popular New Mexico Democrat had gone to the hermit kingdom to claim the remains of six U.S. soldiers killed during the Korean War. He was also expected to deliver a tough message from Washington, that the United States expected North Korea to uphold the 60-day deadline that expires next week for shutting down its nuclear weapons programs.
Instead, Richardson was sandbagged by his North Korean hosts yesterday when he was taken on a guided tour of the USS Pueblo, the "spy ship" attacked and seized by North Korea in international waters on Jan. 23, 1968. One U.S. sailor was killed during the North Korean attack.
The Pueblo's 82-man crew was held hostage by the communist regime for 11 months. North Korea has never paid a price for its act of piracy.
Veterans of the ship have set up a memorial Web site to keep alive the memory of their captivity and to document how they were abandoned by the U.S. Navy during an authorized mission to gather intelligence in international waters off North Korea's coasts.
Today the ship is moored in the Taedong river in the capital, Pyongyang. Schoolchildren are taken on guided tours of the ship to see the face of American "imperialism." While on board the Pueblo, Richardson gamely watched a propaganda film denouncing the United States, and was captured in the act by NBC News reporter Andrea Mitchell.
Footage of Richardson on the Pueblo, standing alongside his smirking North Korea hosts, will haunt him for their rest of his political career. His posture will be compared unfavorably to the 1988 campaign photographs of Michael Dukakis trying to ride a tank. Richardson's outrageous kow-towing to the North Koreans makes Dukakis look like an all-American hero, or a four-star general.
This is what happens when the White House tries to placate the opposition party by sending a leading Democrat on a diplomatic mission that should be reserved for professional diplomats. When Richardson realized he was being taken to the Pueblo, he should have politely refused the North Korean offer. Instead, he chose to play to the cameras.
"You don't have to be a professional diplomat to understand the I spit on your grave' transaction the North Koreans were proposing," says American Enterprise Institute scholar Nicholas Eberstadt. But Richardson is not the first high-ranking U.S. visitor to serve as a "stage-prop" for North Korean propaganda.
In one of her last official visits as secretary of state in December 2000, Madeline Albright visited North Korea and was "dancing in the streets" at a huge propaganda festival arranged in her honor, Eberstadt recalled.
As for the Pueblo, Eberstadt said the North Koreans regularly trot it out when "it's serious shakedown time," then put it back into mothballs.
Richardson is liked by the MSM and by various talking heads of both stripes. But when Clinton had him as UN Ambassador, Richardson was totally out of his league and his news conferences were an embarrassment.
its also interesting - if you do a google news search for Victor Cha you get 1,702 stories about the the Nuclear negotiations and the Chinese funds and 6 stories about the POW remains and no stories about Peublo
A google news search for Bill Richardson shows 1,715 stories about the nuclear negotiations , 8 articles about the POW remains, 39 articles about Richard supporting a bill that benefited a large donor and none about the Pueblo.
The Pueblo just really isn’t the story here - we have nuclear crisis and we have decided to negotiate with North Korea after 6 years of saying we would not do that.
That’s the story.
"Veterans of the ship have set up a memorial Web site to keep alive the memory of their captivity and to document how they were abandoned by the U.S. Navy during an authorized mission to gather intelligence in international waters off North Korea's coasts."
Doesn't that sound eerily familiar!
Indeed. The ABQ Journal reported the story thus:
N. Korea 'Breakthrough' Reported
Journal and Wire Reports
A U.S. delegation to North Korea led by Gov. Bill Richardson has apparently reached a "breakthrough" deal with the rogue nuclear nation that clears the way for the dismantling of its nuclear reactor and the admittance of nuclear inspectors, NBC News reported late Tuesday.
The deal struck after late-night negotiations between Richardson and North Korea's top nuclear negotiator would start the dismantling process and allow U.N. inspectors back in, said Andrea Mitchell, the network's chief foreign affairs correspondent, who accompanied the group.
Mitchell in her telephone report on NBC Nightly News said that stalemate appeared to be broken after a meeting with Richardson and the North's top nuclear negotiator, Kim Kye Gwan.
I don’t know why we don’t just send a submarine in there and sink our ship. What, are the NKs going to go to the U.N. to protest?
Hardly, kow-towing to the North Korean's will probably give him a 10 point jump in the polls and earn him a significant amount of support from the Soros/Moveon.com crowd..
May be funny it happened to a Democrat, but he was sent by this admin, and ended up making us all look stupid.
Richardson always struck me as a dim bulb. How he (and many other RATs) got where they are, is a mystery to me.
Neither. They'll pick door number three and ignore it.