Kim Jong Il

"a Hostage Ransom"
August 05, 2009

That's how Charles Krauthammer derisively refers to Bill Clinton's trip to Pyongyang, which Krauthammer speculates must have involved some kind of secret payoff, perhaps in the form of fuel or food supplies, to Kim Jong Il. Maybe so; at minimum, clearly we would have preferred not to give Kim what was undeniably a propaganda coup.

Kim Jong Il, Crazy Like A Fox
August 04, 2009

Politico reports on the genesis of Bill Clinton's North Korea trip: A Washington source said the Clinton trip came about after North Korean officials told relatives that the government would release the women to the former president.. The families then approached Clinton. I have to admit, this does display a certain level of diplomatic sophistication you don't normally associate with the North Koreans.

Maybe Obama Should Meet With Kim Jong-il
May 28, 2009

I've never read a piece of work by Robert Kagan that hasn't challenged my brain, and this one is no exception. He co-wrote it with Dan Blumenthal, whose writing I do not know. But the little article they've contributed to the Washington Post certainly added a fresh perspective to the problem of dealing with North Korea and its frantic rush for nuclear weapons. Why, they ask, go through Beijing to get to Pyongyang?

The Truth Will Not Set You Free
August 27, 2008

Why we didn't prevent the genocide in Darfur.

The Truth Will Not Set You Free
August 27, 2008

The Devil Came on Horseback: Bearing Witness to the Genocide in Darfur By Brian Steidle and Gretchen Steidle Wallace (PublicAffairs, 237 pp., $14.95) War in Darfur and the Search for Peace Edited by Alex de Waal (Global Equity Initiative, Harvard University and Justice Africa, 431 pp., $24.95) Darfur's Sorrow: A History of Destruction and Genocide By M.W. Daly (Cambridge University Press, 368 pp., $22.99) Darfur: The Long Road to Disaster By J. Millard Burr and Robert O.

Work It Kim, Work It
February 16, 2007

I don't know what kind of crack they are smoking over at Newsweek, but they have really done it this time. In "celebration" of Kim Jong Il's 65th birthday, the news magazine has asked fashion designers to make over the Dear Leader. The whole thing just smacks of effort. Check out the Newsweek homepage, and click on the Kim Jong Il icon for an interactive look at several designers' visions for the birthday boy. Whether you think he's "generationally too cold war," needs to accessorize with a nuclear warhead, or "needs a more casual look," you're bound to be delighted.

July 06, 2006

Amid the tension surrounding North Korea's unwelcome contribution to last week's Fourth of July fireworks, there were, fortunately, dashes of comic relief. There was John Bolton, who has been devoted to extracting the United States from its arms control commitments, lamenting that a nation transgressed a voluntary arms control commitment.

February 09, 2004

 EVEN IN NORTH KOREA, BOYS and girls fall in love. On a cool autumn afternoon in Pyongyang, I watched as a young soldier, looking sharp in his dress uniform, took his new bride to receive a blessing for their union from a 40-ton bronze statue of Kim Il Sung. The statue stands on Pyongyang’s Mansu Hill, and it receives thousands of visitors each day. Like everyone else in the country, the bride and groom wore pins celebrating the late Kim. They laughed nervously when asked to pose for photos with foreigners, but they agreed, looking curious and distrustful at the same time. It was the first tim

New Deal
December 21, 2003

It was a perfect day for a provocation. In late August, Norbert Vollertsen, a German human rights activist, traveled in a chartered bus from Seoul to Cholwon, just a few miles from the border with North Korea. His mission was simple: to launch a flock of hot air balloons, each bearing a small cargo of radios, that the day's brisk wind would carry into the North, where everyone but the elite is deprived of radios that would enable them to listen to foreign broadcasts. In addition to the balloons, the bus contained roughly a dozen journalists.

Look Away
December 14, 2003

The Bush administration's internecine squabbles over Iraq policy have gotten a lot of press, but no issue has divided its foreign policy team more than North Korea. For two years, engagers (who generally favor using diplomacy to get Pyongyang to give up its nuclear program) and hawks (who are suspicious of negotiations and believe rewarding North Korean leader Kim Jong Il could encourage other proliferators) were unable to resolve their differences. "It's as stark as stark could be--we weren't even on the same page," says one American official.