They came back with the impression that the North Koreans were really nice guys and they US should give up its leverage and start providing the rogue nation with food aid.
“The trip was arranged at short notice and due to busy schedules and given everything else going on we were not able to arrange meetings at the right level,” a spokesman for the Elders told The Cable. The State Department offered no comment on the situation.
I did hear rumors that everyone at the State Department scheduled root canal surgery so they could avoid meeting with Jimmy and his traveling band of appeasers.
But while the State Department might be too busy to hear from the Elders, your humble Cable guy has a bit more free time. Before the cancellation, The Cable had an exclusive interview with Ahtisaari, who at that time was very excited to brief State Department officials on his first visit to North Korea. He even held out hope for a meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Ahtisaari called on the international community and the Obama administration to resume food aid to North Korea and to delink humanitarian assistance from political negotiations. He said the World Food Programme had better monitoring capabilities than before, better access, and there was less chance the DPRK would divert food aid to feed its military
He also called for the beginning of a political dialogue with the DPRK on all outstanding issues and said that the North Koreans were interested in both bilateral talks and discussing a return to the Six Party Talks on its nuclear program. Ahtisaari also said the Elders were told that Kim Jong Il was prepared to join a summit meeting with his south Korean counterpart, Lee Myong Bak.
“I’m not asking anyone to believe every word that the North says, but we have to take seriously when they say they are prepared to talk,” Ahtisaari said. “How do you expect your present policy of not talking to solve any of the issues you presumably you want to be solved. I don’t have any other answers but to sit and talk.”
It’s no secret at all that the Elders’ trip to North Korea was viewed as extremely unhelpful by the governments both in Washington and Seoul. Chris Nelson reported on April 29 that Clinton reacted strongly when asked in a morning meeting if she wanted to meet with Carter. From the Nelson report:
The performance of President Carter and his delegation in N. Korea this week was either shameful or fatuous…or both…and exemplifies why Carter had no…zero…USG support going in, and even less coming out, per an alleged eye witness account of Sec. St. Clinton at the morning meeting the other day:
“Do you want to meet with Carter?” Clinton is looking at papers, and just says “No.” Then she pauses, looks up and adds, “HELL no!!!”
Besides going to North Korea without any administration support, Carter alienated Washington’s policy community when he declared at a Seoul press conference on April 28 that “to deliberately withhold food aid to the North Korean people because of political or military issues not related is really indeed a human rights violation.”
Remember when Willie Mays playing for the 1973 Mets? How sad it was to see this all time great looking pathetic on the field. Carter kind of reminds me of that, well except for the fact that he was always lousy, but with age his poor judgment got worse.