The XX Factor

A Sigh of Relief

Wow, that might be the fastest Bill Clinton has ever picked up two women…

In all seriousness, it’s fabulous news that North Korea is releasing journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee. But Torie, I don’t know how much light will be shed on this. According to this CNN story, North Korea’s infamous state-run media is claiming that Clinton “expressed words of sincere apology to Kim Jong-il for the hostile acts committed by the two American journalists.” I don’t buy that for a second, but given the delicate negotiations that apparently preceded this trip-the United States dropped a request for a straight-up release and instead agreed to amnesty, which implies wrongdoing-I also don’t think the the former president will waste his breath countering such obviously ridiculous claims.

Besides, Clinton probably has bigger things on his mind. Fred Kaplan writes today in Slate that it’s unlikely that someone of the former president’s stature would be sent to a hostile country merely for the purpose of getting some prisoners released. Could Clinton be trying to re-open a dialogue with the rogue nation that in May tested a nuclear device? Perhaps.

Photograph of Bill Clinton being greeted at a North Korean airport by KNS/AFP/Getty Images.