Going Home for the Summer – Back in Sept – Some Summer Reading



Ok, I am going to Mi-Guk-istan for the summer. I need a break. The editors of an unnamed IR journal are ruining my health with the biggest r&r (revision for resubmission of an article) of my career. Like everyone else, I say I believe in peer-review, but in reality, I am convinced it is massive conspiracy to keep me out of print by telling me to read more. Hah! So much work…  So that guy in the picture will be me reading game theory at the beach.

So let me ruin your summer too. I thought a list of good articles on Asia security might be a valuable halfway-through-the-year exercise. Here is a list of some important newspaper reports on the region’s security that I have found so far.



SK-Japan military cooperation: This gets kicked around all the time but seems more serious this time. If this happens, it’s ground-breaking, and China will pay attention.



Egypt’s revolution in perspective: Way too much of the commentary on Arab Spring has been focused on the US or Israel, not on the people themselves of these revolutions.

The aging of the US-SK alliance: It’s creaking.



The economic fallout of the Japanese earthquake: Of course the earthquake was bad, but it damaged Japan far less than the media made it seem.



More on a Japan-SK alliance: Maybe just because I live in SK I think this is a huge deal…

The real Afghan debate starts now: Now just about everybody agrees we’re losing but don’t have the money to stay anymore. So I guess we’re back to Vietnam-era ‘respectable interval’ talk. At least we tried…



A full-throated roll-out of the ‘China Threat’ position on China’s rise: Friedberg is excellent, although I am not as pessimistic. I think soft containment of China is more likely than a real clash.

Enough with the western enthusiasm for Asian autocrats! Korea is oligarchic enough without western analysts telling the world that dictatorships that make ‘tough decisions’ are cool.



War and State Formation in Ancient China and Early Modern Europe by Victoria Hui is most definitely not beach reading, but it’s the best book on Asian security I’ve read this year. By the end, it reaches for a unified theory of political science as a whole. Breathtaking.

As for beach fun reading that isn’t completely stupid, I recommended Rising Sun last year. That still applies, if only because its hard to find fun books on Asian security. After that, you could try Freakonomics, or Starship Troopers. You’ve probably already read the former, so try the latter. It is easy enough for the beach but has enough politics to be relebvant. Creepily, it is the closest you’ll ever find to a major American intellectual embracing fascism. It has none of the wit of the film, and even more of the militarism and machoismo.  Avoid The DaVinci Code like the plague. I finally read it, and it was worse than Tom Hanl’s mullet in the film.


Shameless Self-Promotion:

I recently published a bunch of op-eds and other stuff:

Joong Ang Daily op-ed on why the EU should be disqualified from running the IMF for awhile.

Korea Times op-ed on why SK doesn’t need nuclear weapons yet

Korea Times op-ed on releasing the Korean economy from the vise of it mega-conglomerates

The Imapct of Arab Spring on North Korea (RINSA, no, 17): lesson 1: when in doubt, shoot everyone

International Political Science Review on why the IMF and World Bank don’t listen to NGOs much (email me if you want the PDF)


Best East-West movie of the year:

Ok, so I can’t imagine this category has too much good stuff in it. The Matrix would probably qualify, but I can think of only one decent ‘fusion’ film so far this year: Shanghai. I liked it. It’s not great, but it’s hard to find many pictures at all about Asia that are meant for a western audience. So take what you can get.


Random final thought:

I have become addicted to the euro-meltdown-Greek soap opera. Is anyone else watching every day to see if the ECB will finally come out and say that Greece should get out? I find it increasingly hard to believe Greece can stay in. I bet Greece is out by the end of next year. Anyone else?

3 thoughts on “Going Home for the Summer – Back in Sept – Some Summer Reading

    • It is a great neologism. I would be happy to contribute something fun and a bit insightful like that which was widely picked up. Well done 🙂

      It is nice to hear from you. I recall that you plugged my website on you site on 11/25/2010. Thank you. That was kind. I find your site good and helpful for my own work. I would enjoy communicating with you more, out of the spotlight of this response chain. Please email if you read this: robertkelly260@hotmail.com.

      Have a good summer. – Bob


  1. Hello, Dr.Kelly, the best professor ever. This is Dylan from PNU. I’ve been such a big fan of your blog. I regularly visit here to read your articles, it’s one of my habits for sure. Please do not close the blog in future years 🙂 Always take care and have a great summer.


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