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East Asia

Aristocracy Is Samsung

Believe family succession is only an embarrassing, northern Korean cultural habit? Check out Samsung's latest coronation gossip. The founding family of Samsung is royalty in South Korea, and the country’s Supreme Court, it turns out, is not inclined to regicide. In late May it ruled that Everland, the privately held de facto holding company for the [...]

Sic Semper Optimates (Audio)

Sic Semper OptimatesLinks:Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim DynastyTragedy of the Geopolitical NerdDPRK: America's Oldest Soap Opera Powered by ScribeFire. alternate frame of change©2009 Left Flank. All Rights Reserved..

No Right to Remain Silent (Audio Review)

No Right to Remain Silent Link: No Right to Remain Silent: The Tragedy at Virginia Tech Powered by ScribeFire. alternate frame of change©2009 Left Flank. All Rights Reserved..

DPRK: America's Oldest Foreign Soap Opera

Is a foreign soap opera the only model a moderately liberal "Journal of the Arts and Politics" has for understanding DPRK? Papa anoints one of his progeny, excluding his daughter, of course, to become the Maximum Leader. Sahil was the first to notice that his young son (no one seems to know how young) was his [...]

ROK Wartime Control Freaks

Some of us go on a bender when our wives go away for the weekend; others teach themselves how to make a podcast. Honestly, worse than listening to a jerk for 26 minutes is listening to oneself a hundred times all day long. I never knew I sounded so stoned. It just dawned on me, [...]

The More We Know about DPRK....

...the less we really will want to deal directly with Pyongyang. I really wish would recruit some Asia specialists - and, it's not as if I've not tried to tell the dullards who populate its technical staff! - because no matter how wonky Jacqueline Shire and Jeffrey Lewis try to handle nukes like [...]

Back to The Philippines

An under-reported aspect of Defense Secretary Robert Gates Pacific junket is this nugget that U.S.-Philippines partnership may be model for fighting terrorism elsewhere. In another report, "Gates and Teodoro talked about how to move forward to build capacity of the Philippine armed forces, which Gates said is a fundamental tenet of American foreign policy in [...]

Where Reasonable Men's Best Instincts Will Go to Die

Some of the quotes from this GSN article render any bitchy WSJ rant tame."There's a morbid joke around that we should encourage them to keep testing so they use their plutonium up," said one defense policy expert who spoke on condition of anonymity.An Obama administration decision to keep mum about the North Korean test preparations [...]

Fooled by Low Baselines

I just don't comment on The Becker-Posner Blog enough - mostly because I don't read it enough as I would like. Yet the topic, "Is the World Economic Center of Gravity Moving to Asia?"", caught my attention. Posner is a bit pedantic on his main criticism of Becker's essay, or defining Asia. Becker actually does a [...]

Did the North Korea CD Just Skip Backwards

The United nations Security Council looks to be trying the Stanton Gambit - sanctioning companies facilitating North Korean bravado. If Beijing stonewalls, or if a resolution with sanctions leads to another abortive multilateral diplomatic campaign, then that's the end for that shibboleth. A few years more of talking is the best probably to be [...]

The Breakaway Republic of Kebapistan

Turkish House is a classy restaurant in Okpo that doesn't put kimchi and picked turnips on the table. It looks quite modest from the exterior, but every chair is upholstered and the air is clean and fragrant. And, Turkish House, unlike every Turkish joint in Busan, has baklava without a reservation. All the times my [...]

Leave the Party with the Allies You Brought

James Mann debunks the China-as-savior meme on TNR-TV. My only question is, whether an American assurance not to camp on the Yalu would satisfy Beijing's dread of an American military presence on the peninsula. Powered by ScribeFire. alternate frame of change©2009 Left Flank. All Rights Reserved..

Koizumi Is a Class Act

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Send In the Anti-MacArthur

Tobias Harris makes selecting an ambassador for Japan sound like an act of political subversion. Roos actually may be uniquely capable of managing what could be the other important task of his ambassadorship, welcoming a DPJ-led government into power. As someone removed from the circle of US-Japan alliance insiders, Roos presumably will arrive in Tokyo free [...]

A Holiday on Fear-Mongering and China Love

I've played along, and I've joked, but I don't plan to to burn in an atomic fireball anytime soon. But, I might implode in my own frustration while reading requests from North Americans for a handle on that "North Korea" situation. The last time I got worked up was, when an NCO convinced me the [...]

Pyongyang, Suck My Kiss! (Cut/Paste)

(I sincerely apologize for associating any serious authors with this miserable attempt at blowing off...steam!)* [Kaplan]So North Korea has tested a nuclear bomb. What should President Barack Obama do about it? Ideally, nothing. A shrug may be the response that Kim Jong-il fears most. [Lake]The test served in some ways as North Korea's full induction into a [...]

Fresh Voices on DPRK

If I had to offer the most thought-provoking debate on DPRK's recent provocations, it's this three-way discussion between Ray Suarez, Douglas Paal, and Joel Wit on the PBS Online Newshour. Firstly, what's to be done?RAY SUAREZ: Is it worthwhile to head back to the table?DOUGLAS PAAL: Not soon. We rushed back to the table after [...]

Cool, Calm, and Pleased

It looks like the Obama administration might need another special negotiator for Northeast Asia.Yang Jiechi, the Chinese foreign minister, in a meeting with his South Korean counterpart, Yu Myung-hwan, at the Asem summit in Hanoi called for the international community to deal with the latest example of Pyongyang’s brinkmanship in a “calm and cool-headed manner”, [...]

More Roh Loving

There's just one question I have for Aidan Foster-Carter in this hagiographic obituary of Roh Moo-hyun.In 1971 he had married his childhood sweetheart, Kwon Yang-sook; her father was once jailed as pro-communist. At first more upwardly mobile than political – with a comfortable tax practice, he joined the local yacht club – in 1980 Roh [...]

DPRK-Induced Finger-Pointing Syndrome

I can't fathom the intent of the evasions and buck-passing going on between Seoul and Washington - even Beijing is involved - about their intelligence failures, and I'm glad Blake Hounshell has the spirit to try. Interestingly, South Korean presidential spokesman Lee Dong-kwan said that North Korea may have even notified the United States ahead of [...]

Roh Moo-Hyun: ROK's Nixon, Lincoln?

The fracas is now in the works! Was Roh Moo-hyun Mr. Clean, or merely ineptly and insufficiently corrupt?In his retirement Mr Roh criticised his successor’s policies towards North Korea. At his village he began to reclaim some of his former popularity. His home became popular among tourists and the former president would often greet holiday-makers [...]

Disproportionate Scrutiny Falls on Foreigners for H1N1

Hey! Hot For Words! Meet Sparkling Chaos. H1N1 certainly looms large in Brian's life. I did get an email from a good friend, the Reuters Bureau Chef for Seoul and he said that internationally, our H1N1 story is not making a splash yet, due to the Roh suicide and the nuclear test. [...]

Between a Rock and the Spastic

Without elections to hold or a stock market to bolster, DPRK is conducting a realist push for nuclear status and sovereignty in Northeast Asia. Governments regurgitated the standard, bloated adverbs and scary factoids. Two reports in The Economist and NYT make contradictory claims without attribution, about whether Washington - "The test [...]

Roh Moo-Hyun, Failure

You must know that since the beginning of the world a wise prince is a mighty rare bird, and an upright prince ever rarer. They are generally the biggest fools or the worst scoundrels on earth; therefore, one must constantly expect the worst from them and look for little good...Temporal Authority, Martin LutherI do not [...]

Practice Makes Liberal

Xian Qiang's nuanced perspective on Chinese Internet expression is very reassuring.Qiang says strong Internet voices are emerging in favor of democratic reforms in China. He notes that this strain of opinion can at time conflict with nationalistic voices in the country, such as those that emerged in response to last year's pro-Tibet rallies, which have [...]

Spontaneous Pro-LMH Expressions of Grief

Jason at kimchi-icecream posted this video and pics from the 2009 Chuncheon Mime Festival Opening Ceremony today. Well, at least it wasn't "Welcome to the Jungle"! Roboseyo had a chance to eavesdrop on some other spontaneous demonstrations of condolence...but the police just couldn't refrain from paranoia. I can debate whether [...]

Forget North Korea on Huntsman's Watch

Two unsettling claims are presented in this TNR love letter to Utah's Republican governor, Jon Huntsman. Firstly, the Obama administration will continue to paint the GOP as the Cheney-Limbaugh party. Huntsman nomination for ambassador to PRC ensures, that a moderate Republican with the chops to challenge President Barack H. Obama in 2012 is out of [...]

Korea Ranked Fifth in OECD for Broadband

As I sit here tweeting, The Economist reminds me ROK is the fifth-ranked country for broadband subscriptions in the OECD, and they're fairly cheap. Yet, what's missing is a demographic or geographic breakdown of those subscribers. Once again, thse graphs are little more than raw material for propaganda. Powered by ScribeFire. alternate frame of change©2009 Left [...]

Roh Moo-Hyun's Death Clouded in Scandal, Uncertainty

Final Update (3:20): I thought this headline tactless, but it's supposedly accurate. And, amid all the anti-Roh sentiment, with which I agree, I'm conflicted. Is one suicide a just price to endure for a family alleged to have committed felonious acts? In the end, and to end on a hopeful note: Perhaps it’s time for a [...]

Don't Let Honda Insight Take the Bullet for the Auto Industry

I don't know why Hyundai is in particular danger of attracting Jeremy Clarkson's displeasure - aside from the Accent and a few nasty words amid the praise, Clarkson's recent reviews of Hyundai autos are positive - Clarkson's assault on the Honda Insight is really an assault on automakers.But let me be clear that hybrid [...]

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