I was going to write on the Biden-Ryan debate, but it wasn’t that interesting. Biden came off like that aggressive uncle at Thanksgiving family dinner who takes over the conversation, and Ryan seemed pretty out of his depth on foreign policy. I’d say Biden won, but not by as much as Romney won last week.
So this is just a bits & pieces post instead about the first time I ever spoke on TV (yikes!).
In July, when Vice Marshal Ri Young Ho of the DPRK was sacked, BBC news asked me to speak. I didn’t realize until about 20 minutes beforehand that it would be on TV, and it was 2 am EST. Good grief. So I’m not even wearing a tie, and I sat in my parent’s living room . Good thing they didn’t see the bar behind me!
On August 27, I published an op-ed in Korea’s main and centrist newspaper, the JoongAng Daily. I am happy to say that Real Clear World picked it up too. The long version is here (one) and here (two). Basically I argue that even though America is broke, foreigners are so desperate to hold dollars, that we can still fight long, unnecessary wars and borrow incessantly without a financial crisis. To paraphrase Mel Brooks (sarcastically), ‘it’s good to be the hegemon – you can do whatever the hell you want.’
On August 29, I spoke on BBC again about the upcoming Japan-NK talks. Better dressed this time with excellently dorky academic hair. Awesome! BBC didn’t send me copy, so this is the vid my wife taped with her iPhone on from the live TV stream.
Finally, the European Journal of International Relations just published what I think is the best piece of academic writing I’ve ever done: “A ‘Confucian Long Peace’ in pre-Western East Asia?” If you want a copy of the PDF, email me. Here is the abstract:
“International Relations theory about East Asia has increasingly argued that East Asia before Western penetration enjoyed a protracted peace. As explanations, a Chinese military hegemony would fit realist theory fairly well, while a cultural peace based on shared Confucian norms would be a significant anomaly. A Confucian Long Peace challenges widely held, albeit Eurocentric, realist presumptions including the perils of anarchy, the arms-racing and misperception of the security dilemma, and the regularity of power balancing. This article therefore investigates, first, whether such a peace did in fact exist, and, second, whether this might be attributed to Confucianism. A cultural peace theory requires a strong anti-war cultural norm and a shared sense of community. Skepticism is established by examining three comparative cultural spaces that nonetheless did not enjoy a culturally informed peace: the classical Greek city-state system, early modern Christendom, and the contemporary Arab state system. All were deeply riven and competitive. Nevertheless, empirical investigation of the last Chinese (Qing) dynasty before the Western arrival (1644–1839) demonstrates that it was remarkably peaceful toward its Confucian neighbors, while more ‘normally’ exploiting its power asymmetry against non-Confucian ones. Process-tracing specialized Chinese practices toward fellow Confucians suggests that the low Confucian war finding emanates from cultural restraint.”