@AlGore and @GovRichardson are certainly both well qualified to go to North Korea on behalf of the U.S. government to try and negotiate the pardon-release of detained American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee. But another possibility popped into my head this morning while answering a tweet from @tacet4ever. What about @schwarzenegger?
True, the Governor of California does not have extensive foreign relations or diplomacy experience. Nor am I trying to suggest capitalizing on any echo of the fictitious scenarios he once made $20 million enacting (though how I wish he could travel back in time to March 16th and counsel Lee, Ling and their cameraman Mitch Koss to abort their next-day trip to the border).
No, the reasons @schwarzenegger might prove a uniquely valuable choice are threefold:
1) As sitting Governor of one of the world’s top economies, he has the requisite stature;
2) Because he is a “fresh face” choice, he also represents possibly in the eyes of the North Koreans a more emblematic reflection of the seriousness of the U.S. government;
3) Kim Jong-il is (still, presumably) crazy for Hollywood movies.
The catch-22 of the U.S. taking a new, tough stance against North Korea vs. initiating bilateral negotiations on behalf of these two journalists is a serious and very complicated challenge. But given that we have reached a humanitarian crisis point, and assuming that a set of mutually acceptable ground rules can be established for these discussions, the man from Lisa and Laura Ling’s hometown – Sacramento, CA – should perhaps be considered. (And if I’m way off on this – e.g. Schwarzenegger‘s lack of subject matter experience outweighs all other considerations – so be it.)