By letting a former president hold talks with North Korea, the current president leaves a democratic ally, South Korea, in the cold.
The welcomed release of two female American journalists from a North Korean prison – while humanitarian for them and their families – was hardly done with a humanitarian goal in mind by Kim Jong-il, that country's cunning despot.
What did Mr. Kim really achieve by working behind the scenes with the Obama administration, by insisting on a former US president as the rescuing envoy, and then putting Bill Clinton through nearly four hours of discussions on issues between the countries?
For one, Kim was able to raise suspicions in South Korea about the US as a reliable ally, especially when Mr. Clinton didn't bring home five South Korean citizens – a factory worker and four fishermen – held captive in North Korea.
Lost in all the coverage of this "pardon" and homecoming of Laura Ling and Euna Lee is the basic fact that the 1950-53 Korean War has never officially ended. The evidence for that is clear to anyone who visits the Demilitarized Zone that divides the two nations and sees the US soldiers stationed there, like potential road bumps for hundreds of North Korean tanks on the ready.