Yesterday morning, Americans woke up to see former President Bill Clinton return from Stalinist North Korea with two former hostages - Current TV News reporters arrested in the CCP's Korean colony - in tow (Washington Post). Pictures of happy reunions were beamed across the grateful nation as talking heads abounded at Clinton's ability to bring the reporters back and speculated as to just what role the Obama Administration played in all of this.
Half a world away, in Tehran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (or, as he is known in this corner, Mad Mouthpiece Mahmoud) was officially inaugurated to a second term as President - despite thousands of protesters in the streets and a slew of boycotting legislators still angry over the obvious fraud behind his "re-election" two months ago (Washington Post).
Most would presume that these events have nothing to do with each other. I'm not so sure.
First of all, we need to remember that Kim Jong-il is a lot like Teamsters pension-fund head "Andy Stone" from Casino - "by all appearances . . . a powerful man . . . but Andy Stone also took orders." Kim Jong-il may be many things (including on death's door), but he remains the Chinese Communist Party's Korean viceroy - even more so now that he is desperate to ensure his son as his successor. Thus, if the CCP wanted those two journalists back in America and out of the headlines, it would have gotten exactly what it wanted.
The question becomes, then, why now? What made early August different from July? Or, for that matter, April? That's where the Iranian inauguration farce comes in.
The CCP has a habit of using the Korean colony to change the subject from any unfortunate matter it would rather avoid. The most dramatic example of this came just over two months ago when Kim and his cronies conducted a nuclear test less than two weeks before the twentieth anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre. So, it was fairly obvious the moment these reporters were captured that this could be of use to the CCP.
How they could be useful wasn't clear until the Iranian uprising, which was as much of a surprise to Beijing as it was to the Tehran regime itself. Under normal circumstances, the CCP would pay no attention to a tyranny cracking down on its own frustrated people - besides making sure everyone knew it stood with the tyranny.
Things became a bit more sensitive when the Iranian people - noticing Beijing's long alliance with the mullahcracy - included "Death to China" among their street slogans. Suddenly, the CCP was itself the target of the protesters, and any trouble coming out of Iran could redound to the free world (whose anti-Communists continue to make the regime very nervous) and China itself (ditto - and then some).
Thus, August 5, the date Iran requires its president to be inaugurated for a new term, became a very important date the cadres in Beijing - important enough to ensure the rest of the world paid no attention to the ongoing battle between the Persian people and the Tehran tyranny. Can we really be surprised that North Korea suddenly jumped on Bill Clinton's trip as an excuse to release the captured journalists just as Iran was approaching another flash point?
As it is, hardly anyone paid attention to Tehran, even when White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs slipped and called the Mad Mouthpiece Iran's "elected" leader (Fox News). All eyes were on North Korea, Bill Clinton, and the two released reporters. Speculation swirled around Kim Jong-il's motives, pundits praised Bill Clinton to the skies (although some are now wondering what was offered in return), breathless reports about the "deep involvement" of the Obama Administration (now that things went well) were whispered and then broadcast.
In short, the plight of the hostages dominated the news day - and the ongoing reverberations of the Iranian uprising did not. The Chinese Communist Party not only saw more press for its Korean colony, but also no press for its Iranian ally. Whatever kind of day it was for Clinton, the reporters, the president, and the media, it was certainly an excellent day for the CCP.