Monday, June 8, 2009

North Korea

In response to a series of recent events concerning North Korea, the United States is considering taking decisive measures to further isolate the country with whom the U.S. has had no relationship for decades.

On May 25th, the communist state conducted its second nuclear missile test in three years provoking Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to publicly announce that the Obama Administration is considering reinstating North Korea on the list of state sponsors of terrorism in hopes that other nations will cease sending shipments of nuclear material to the country. North Korea was removed from this list during the Bush Administration in exchange for the country's promise to dismantle its nuclear program--something it did not do.

The already dismal situation has only been aggravated further as news from Seoul reached the US today regarding two US journalists that have been detained there under the accusation that they entered the country illegally. Despite pressure from the Office of the President of the United States and advocacy organizations such as the ACLU, North Korean government officials handed out an unexpectedly harsh sentence of 12 years of hard labor to the young women.

Take this opportunity to discuss the concept of diplomacy with your students. Access the interactive constitution and examine Article II Section 2-- where the powers of the president to appoint ambassadors and advisers is specifically delineated. What is the role of the Secretary of State for example? How may she aid in diplomacy? Have your students brainstorm ideas for Hillary Clinton as she continues to negotiate the situation in North Korea. What would they do if they were her?

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