North Korea

Kimpossible
December 02, 2010

As the North Korea crisis spirals into its second week, and seemingly out of control, many American policymakers and pundits agree on one thing: China needs to do something about Pyongyang. “China is not behaving as a responsible world power,” Senator John McCain told CNN.  “They could bring the North Korean economy to their knees if they wanted to.”  State Department spokesman P.J.

A Defense of Wikileaks
December 01, 2010

The Obama administration has condemned Wikileaks for its second release within a year of classified foreign policy documents. And some liberal commentators have backed up the administration’s complaints. And I am not going to argue that the administration doesn’t have a case. Governments rely on candid assessments from their diplomats; and if Americans in overseas embassies have to assume that they are writing for the general public and not for their superiors back home, they are not likely to be very candid. But there is also something to be said in defense of Wikileaks.

Why Wikileaks Is Bad for Progressive Foreign Policy
November 30, 2010

Will the latest Wikileaks dump really matter that much? It’s true, as both Laura Rozen and Kevin Drum have observed, that many of the secret messages don’t seem to reveal big secrets. As Rozen wrote yesterday: one is struck overall that the classified diplomatic discussions on Iran revealed in the cables are not all that different from what one would expect from following the public comments senior U.S.

What Should We Do About North Korea?
November 23, 2010

What shall we make of North Korea's attack on the small South Korean island of Yeonpyeong? Well, by the everyday standards of International relations, a 90-minute barrage of over 200 artillery shells that killed at least two South Koreans and wreaked havoc on a civilian town would justifiably be described as what it so obviously is: a crisis and an act of war. But in the Alice in Wonderland world of U.S. policy toward the Hermit Kingdom, all the White House can summon itself to do is "condemn" the attack.

North Korea's Uranium Enrichment Centrifuge Plant Is Not Just About Pyongyang. It Is Also About Iran. Does Obama Know ... Or Care?
November 23, 2010

The last time I looked the president was still trying to entice (or maybe the word I should say “entrance”) the Iranians into...Well, what? As with the North Koreans, Obama still has faith that Tehran -with all the evidence against this proposition notwithstanding- is a rational actor in its drive for nuclear weapons. In fact, given the assumption that atomic war is probably something that Iran would very much like to wage, Dr. A’jad and the ayatollahs are playing the game just right. They have gotten time and more time...and time is not really money.

Abused by Hope
October 19, 2010

Famine and Foreigners: Ethiopia Since Live Aid By Peter Gill (Oxford University Press, 280 pp., $27.95) In the fall of 1994, James P. Grant, the executive director of UNICEF, sent a message in the name of his agency to the upcoming Cairo conference on population and development, in which he declared that the world had within its grasp the means to solve “the problems of poverty, population, and environmental degradation that feed off of one another in a downward spiral [bringing] instability and strife in its wake.” Grant was a great man, a giant of the development world.

The Rise of Lil' Kim
September 16, 2010

The best way to understand North Korea is to think of it not as a traditional nation-state, but as a nuclear-armed organized crime family, albeit one that will soon find itself in need of a new boss.

The Coming North Korean Coup?
September 09, 2010

In the next few days—perhaps Thursday—the Korean Workers’ Party will begin its national conference, the first since 1966. The meeting, according to state media, will “mark a meaningful chapter in the history of our party.” Some reports indicate that the gathering already started on Monday, with the registration of participants. The event, the third in the history of North Korea, is the result of a national mass mobilization. South Korean sources say military units have been converging on Pyongyang, presumably to take part in a show of might.

The Coming North Korean Coup?
September 09, 2010

In the next few days—perhaps Thursday—the Korean Workers’ Party will begin its national conference, the first since 1966. The meeting, according to state media, will “mark a meaningful chapter in the history of our party.” Some reports indicate that the gathering already started on Monday, with the registration of participants. The event, the third in the history of North Korea, is the result of a national mass mobilization. South Korean sources say military units have been converging on Pyongyang, presumably to take part in a show of might.

Does China Have Any Friends Left in the Obama Administration?
August 26, 2010

Over the last few months, China has had several fairly nasty public rows with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of State Robert M.

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