Former UN Ambassador John Bolton is quoted on Countdown as describing the potential precedent that may have been set when Bill Clinton flew to North Korea to rescue Laura Ling and Euna Lee. While his sentiment that Clinton should have done nothing to free the women is disgusting, his concerns may come to play in the days ahead following the capture of three UC Berkeley graduates on the Iraq-Iran border.
Shane Bauer, a reporter for New America Media, his girlfriend Sarah Shourd, a freelance reporter and their friend Joshua Fattal have apparently been captured by the Iranian government after accidently stumbling across the Iranian border, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Sound familiar? But unlike Ling and Lee who work for a company headed by a man who has President Bill Clinton’s cell on his speed dial, these three intrepid travelers must rely on whatever strings Bauer’s small nonprofit employer can muster.
I couldn’t disagree more with the pundits on Fox News and am thankful to have seen Clinton step in to secure Ling and Lee’s freedom, but their concerns over how this will bode for the next group of Americans caught in a similar situation, which has already happened, is not completely irrational.
If asked, should Clinton agree to meet with Mahmud Ahmadinejad to secure the release of Bauer, Shourd, and Fattal? Would he be willing to step in for a repeat performance?
Or would that set a dangerous precedent equitable to negotiating with terrorists?