Was Eric Schmidt wrong to go North Korea? Could it harm Google?


Vote Up (10)

For starters I wouldn't worry too much about John McCain's position on anything. I do understand that the State Department could be miffed because of the efforts to isolate/punish North Korea over the recent rocket launch, but in the big scheme of things I doubt that a short visit by a few Americans is going to sway other governments either way in their relationship with North Korea.

I also think that nothing AT ALL gets accomplished through cultural isolation. Sure, block technology transfers, impose financial sanctions, seek a unified multilateral approach to the country, etc. But when you are talking about Eric Schmidt (presumably going as a private individual and not as a representative of Google - just like the other vacationing Google employees along for the trip), you are talking about a possible opening for increasing North Korea's connection to the rest of the world. That is a very good thing. Richard Nixon faced massive criticism for visiting China, but look at the changes that have taken place there over the past few decades as it opened up to the world.

Do I think the North Koreans are welcoming this trip out of pure self-interest? Yes. Do I think that it will move North Korea towards a more open society? Unlikely. But it could put a few hairline cracks in the wall between North Korea and the rest of the world, and over time, with enough cracks, the wall could come tumbling down. Just ask East Germany.

There was an excellent article in The Atlantic about this trip. It's pretty long, so wait until you are at work. J/K. http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/01/engaging-north-...

Oh, and no, I don't think it will have any impact on Google as a company, except maybe that John McCain will keep using AOL.

Join us:






Ask a Question