I tend to take a more dovish approach to global politics than most, but even I found it extremely odd that Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google (GOOG), was embarking on a four-day trip to North Korea.
Not only does it seem weird that he would visit a country so at odds with America (and technically still at war), but the fact that the country is so unwired makes the trip even more confusing.
When it comes to censorship, no one can compete with North Korea. Google has already found it challenging to operate in China, another country with rampant censorship, but their stance on censorship pales in comparison that of North Korea.
North Korea's new leader, Kim Jong-Un, has placed an emphasis on science and technology, but at the same time he has made it crystal clear that he intends to keep the influence of the outside world away from North Korean citizens. The message is clear… the general population of North Korea is a long way away from ever sitting down in front of the internet.
Washington is, needless to say, not very happy with Schmidt's decision to visit the country, especially considering that just last month North Korea fired a satellite into space using a long range missile. the country said the goal was simply to put a satellite into space, but the U.S. believes the goal was to test its long-range missiles, and to send a message to the rest of the world that it had the ability to use them.
The big question remains what does Schmidt hope to accomplish with this trip? His influence is definitely not going to change North Korea's view on the internet, and while perhaps he is hoping to improve relations to give his company an upper hand when the day comes that the internet does find its way to North Korea, is that really necessary?
In my opinion, the whole trip seems to be ill timed and poorly designed.
Michael Fowlkes is a financial writer who has been with the Fresh Brewed Media family since 2004. Over the course of his tenure with Fresh Brewed Media, he has worn many hats, including portfolio manager, options analyst, and writer. Michael received his undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech in Accounting and got his start in finance working as a stock trader for six years at Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Va. His articles typically cover big-picture events and forecasting what impact they will have on the stock market. In addition to writing for Fresh Brewed Media, Michael also wrote for AOL's BloggingStocks for three years, focusing most of his attention on the energy and technology sectors. Follow him on Twitter at @MFatMICenter.