What Does Kim Jong Un Want?

What Does Kim Jong Un Want?

Virtually every week, politicians and journalists and policy experts attempt the impossible: mind reading. Specifically, they want to know what’s going on inside one man’s mind. They want to know what Kim Jong Un is thinking and, more importantly, what he wants. It’s...
Cyberwar Doesn’t Have a Code of Conduct

Cyberwar Doesn’t Have a Code of Conduct

The political theorist Thomas Hobbes warned in the 17th century that without the modern state and its sovereign control of territory, humanity would slip back into a state of nature in which violence was uncontrolled and ever-present. “A war of all against all” would...
When States Dream, Is Syria Their Nightmare?

When States Dream, Is Syria Their Nightmare?

The war in Syria is a nightmare. It’s a nightmare for all the civilians who suffer from constant aerial bombardment, who are trapped without food and medical assistance inside crumbling cities, who experience the retribution of either the Islamic State or the regime...
Film: People Are the Sky

Film: People Are the Sky

Join Dai Sil Kim-Gibson, a North Korea born, Korean American filmmaker for the screening of her film, People Are the Sky. The screening is co-sponsored by IPS, CodePink, National Association of Korean Americans, Veterans for Peace—Korea Peace Campaign, and Women Cross...
Donald Trump: Joker’s Wild

Donald Trump: Joker’s Wild

In poker, a wild card can add to the fun of the game. But it throws off the odds and makes the hands more unpredictable. That’s why poker purists prefer to keep jokers and other wild cards out of the deck. In American politics, the presidential primaries usually...
Should South Korea Get the Bomb?

Should South Korea Get the Bomb?

In 2012, a year before he died, the distinguished political scientist Kenneth Waltz wrote an article in Foreign Affairs arguing that everyone should stop worrying about Iran getting a nuclear weapon. He didn’t think that Iran was likely to voluntarily abandon its...
Darkness at High Noon in Korea

Darkness at High Noon in Korea

As the world focuses on the war in Syria, the refugee crisis in Europe, and the primary slugfest in the United States, the two Koreas are heading toward a catastrophe in the Far East. Although relations on the Korean peninsula have been deteriorating for the better...
East Asia Is Invisible

East Asia Is Invisible

Americans don’t care about East Asia. That’s a strong statement. So, let me make a few qualifications. First, Americans love Chinese, Japanese, and (increasingly) Korean food. They like to visit East Asia. They will, on occasion, watch a Hong Kong action film or the...
North Korea’s Sorry Politics

North Korea’s Sorry Politics

In the famous tearjerker Love Story, a young woman dying of cancer tells her boyfriend that “love means never having to say you’re sorry.” North Korea has generally adopted the same attitude toward South Korea, with a small twist: juche means never having to say...
After Iran, Is North Korea Next?

After Iran, Is North Korea Next?

During the George W. Bush years, pundits and journalists were constantly speculating whether North Korea would be next in line for regime change. After all, Bush had included North Korea in his “axis of evil” speech in 2002. One year later, the Pentagon invaded Saddam...
Hollywood’s ‘Furriner’ Problem

Hollywood’s ‘Furriner’ Problem

I was waiting to buy a ticket to see the new film American Sniper when the guy next to me provided a capsule review. It was a fantastic movie, he told me. The main character, Chris Kyle, was a great guy, and the film really showed what the war over there was like....
Korea’s Balloon War

Korea’s Balloon War

Korean human rights activists send all sorts of things by balloon across the border into North Korea. The winds propel thumb drives containing movies, anti-government leaflets, dollar bills, even ChocoPies. One evangelical Christian group boasts that it has sent...
Competitive Suffering

Competitive Suffering

I was nearly at the end of a presentation on the North Korean prison camp system, when the last person in the audience grasped the microphone to ask a question. His question was so unexpected that I was literally blindsided. Up to that point, I’d already described the...
Egging On North Korea

Egging On North Korea

As our dust-up with North Korea stumbles inexorably onward, the U.S. media is tearing its hair out over how any sovereign nation could possibly act so irrationally. Well, how about looking in the mirror? North Korea’s policies and supreme leader may seem kooky,...
Empire, Capitalism, and Human Trafficking in Northeast Asia

Empire, Capitalism, and Human Trafficking in Northeast Asia

As a Pentagon report revealed widespread sexual abuse in the U.S. military, the mayor of Osaka, Japan, Toru Hashimoto, came up with a remedy. Speaking to a U.S. military commander, he suggested that U.S. marines stationed in Japan make more use of Okinawa’s sex...