Ridiculous Video Shows Results of Clinton Admin's Prep for NK Meeting


On Tuesday, a sitting U.S. president and leader of North Korea will sit down face-to-face for the first time in history. It’s a momentous event — and one that few could have seen happening as this year dawned.

President Donald Trump’s summit with Kim Jong Un in Singapore will be the most serious attempt at rapprochement between the two nations, and many mainstream media commentators are questioning how prepared the president is. There have been plenty of headlines like this one from CNN: “Trump’s improvisation faces decades of North Korean preparation.”

Whether Trump is really prepared is anyone’s guess. However, he can’t have done worse getting ready than what Bill Clinton’s administration did.

Few remember that the Clinton administration led the last serious attempt at rapprochement with the North Koreans, back in the autumn of 2000. In the closing days of Clinton’s presidency, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright trekked to Pyongyang in the hope of getting North Korea to give up its long-range missiles.

At the end of the trip, Albright said she had obtained an “unqualified pledge” from then-North Korean leader Kim Jong Il (the current Kim’s father) that he would give up the missiles. However, The New York Times‘ Jane Perlez wrote that the issue got lost as the fallout from the 2000 election dragged on and Kim Jong Il demanded that a summit between the two leaders take place in Pyongyang without any actual promises of disarmament, preferring to do it “on the spot” there.

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There was also the fact that Clinton much preferred to pursue an elusive peace between Israel and the Palestinians before he left office. Thus, the summit didn’t happen.

However, few people talked about how Albright and the rest of the Clinton administration prepped for the secretary of state’s visit to the hermit nation. Apparently, it was spent in part on dance moves:

If there’s ever a celebrity edition of “America’s Got Talent,” Albright ought to be a top contender.

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By the way, it’s not as if all of Albright’s mistakes were rhythmic in nature. There was also her decision to attend a propaganda display at a North Korean stadium, which ended with predictable results.

“Dr. Albright’s aides knew that she might be put in an awkward spot by sitting next to Mr. Kim as the stadium erupted in a frenzy over a highly choreographed performance by well-trained dancers and gymnasts celebrating the 55th anniversary of North Korea’s Communist Party,” The Times reported.

“But they decided to risk her appearance at the event, fearing that rejecting Mr. Kim’s invitation would anger him.

“The two sat together in the first ring of the stadium. Halfway through the show, an image of a ballistic missile launch was superimposed on the wall of the stadium in front of her — showcasing the very weapon Dr. Albright had come to persuade the North Koreans to stop producing.

“It was an incongruous and embarrassing moment. Dr. Albright had made democracy in dark places her leitmotif but was put in the position of watching, and applauding, a propaganda spectacle by a tyrannical Communist regime,” the article. “Afterward she said that Mr. Kim had turned to her as the image of the missile was displayed and ‘quipped’ that the launch of the Taepodong 1 missile that was being shown was the first  such test of the weapon — and would be the last.”

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Great preparation there, too.

Of course, this summit takes place in a different country with a different North Korean leader and a very different president, and Madeleine Albright is definitely different from members of the Trump administration (by a long shot). That alone makes it infinitely more probable we won’t see an embarrassment like that. There’s also the fact that preparation can be handled rather effectively by aides and other surrogates — if, of course, they have the right direction from the top.

When it comes to criticizing presidential preparation, however, we don’t hear a lot about Albright’s trip and what happened in its aftermath.

“I had a chance at the end of my presidency — I kind of regret this now, but I would do the same thing again (if) faced with it — to end their missile program, but I would have had to go to North Korea,” former President Clinton said during a recent interview on “Today.”

“But I couldn’t do that and finish the Middle East peace,” Clinton added. “And Arafat begged me not to go and then backed out on his promise.”

That’s apparently what the Clinton administration’s “preparation” got them. And unsurprisingly, you don’t hear about it much.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture