Since 2009, seven Americans have been detained in turbulent North Korea. For the most part, the government of North Korea had their reasons (as negligible as those reasons may seem) for doing so. Some were tourists who crossed the border illegally, and others were ethnically Korean Christian missionaries.
Just before Halloween, an 85-year-old Korean War veteran named Merrill Newman was pulled from his plane back home after visiting North Korea and has not been seen or heard from since. Newman was traveling to the country with a friend and had hoped to go where he had fought as a younger man. At this point, no one knows what he said or did to garner the attention of North Korean officials. His disappearance led the State Department to issue a terse warning against Americans visiting North Korea.
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Dealing with foreign nations requires a finesse that only a great statesman or woman can manage. When the country in question is one with whom we have less-than-awesome relations, it becomes much more treacherous. Any misstep and you don't just jeopardize the life of the captive, but the lives of the whole country's citizens should a crisis occur between the two nations.
To that end, it's understandable why the government was initially so quiet about Newman's situation. They only continued to remain mum, apparently, at the behest of his family who was concerned about his safety. All these considerations aside, the country has a responsibility to Newman. Why aren't they doing more to bring him home? He fought for his country and is now being repaid by being virtually abandoned.
Do you think the government should take more decisive action to bring Newman home?
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