On Vacation for awhile – Here’s Some New Year’s Reading – See you in March

I break from blogging twice a year, but try to compile a good list of relevant articles I’ve found over the past few months. See you in about a month. Enjoy:


The Atlantic runs lots of good stuff on NK it seems to me: this on how NK impossibly continues to survive and this on how just about every NK watcher has wrongfully predicted its collapse.

Mixin Pei’s important piece on why China’s rise is overrated. My own sense of this is that Pei will be proven right in the next 10-15 years, but not sooner. China’s demographic, ecological, and corruption caps strike as growing worse, not better.

A nice piece from the FT on Korea’s biggest company – too bad no one wants to plumb the far-too-close relations between the chaebol and the ROKG


Sequestration is not Armageddon for America’s position in Asia.

Existential angst in S Korea?

Here’s the piece on the Japanese view of the Liancourt Rocks mess that set off such a scandal in Korea. The SK press called the author a ‘right-wing extremist.’ At the very least, it’s worth reading to get Japan’s sense of the issue.

Great piece on why international relations academics should have a bigger voice in foreign policy-making. Best reason IMO: we don’t have a deep bureaucratic-financial interest in choices, especially the threat-inflation that DoD and the think-tank set need in order to stay in business. We should steer clear of the state somewhat in order to keep our independence (although that is hard to do given what we do)

Why AirSea Battle is overrated, even in Asia

Ok, so this has nothing to do with Asia, but it’s a wonderfully clever marriage of Star Wars and international relations theory – pretty much nerd-topia for me Smile


China and Japan in a new Cold War in Asia? Thank god we’re not a part of it too much

Important roundtable on Confucianism and peace. Basically says I am wrong Sad smile

FT on the messy Japan-SK relationship

Washington Post article on travelling to NK that cites yours truly’s account of going there

Good essay on the problems of the BRICS. Money quote: “Although deeply out of balance, Russia remains a member of the BRICs, if only because the term sounds better with an R.” When I argued in the spring that Russia should get kicked out the BRICS as a hyper-corrupt oversized middle-power, I got hammered, but I still think that’s true.

Reflects my continuing belief that Americans care way more about the Middle East than Asia, regardless of the ‘pivot’

The most important news of the millennium (my comments at the bottom)

Great take-down of the narcissism on Korea’s ‘image’ and ‘branding’ that you get in the newspapers and official media. Note to the ROKG: this is why no foreigner with a brain in Korea watches Arirang television

Don’t like this picture at all


Just how much do you think we can throw at NK to try to explain it? Here’s new one: it’s like the Roman Empire…huh?….. I dunno. Just read it, I guess

The Kagans say we have to stay in Afghanistan pretty much indefinitely. If you’re wondering why you have to read them say the same thing again and again on the same op-ed page, you’re right – you don’t. You’ve already read this op-ed even though you haven’t. (I can’t understand why the Washington Post gives broken-record neocons so much space to keep repeating the same awful argument over and over, which are pretty much the same ones they made in Iraq too.)

Bruce Cumings on Kim Jong Un

Joe Nye on Japanese nationalism as a sign of Japan’s weakness in the face of rising China

Another example of why I think the ‘pivot’ to Asia is bunk: we’re way to caught up in the Middle East


Yeah, it’s trashie, but you know you went to see the Red Dawn remake. Here are some reviews.

Here is a nice piece on NK from a friend of mine. I like the idea of NK as a gangster state a lot. North Korea is what a country would look like if the Corleone family from the Godfather somehow managed to take over a whole government. Instead of thugs shaking down the labor rows or casinos, they would bully everyone.

Good piece on how the current Sino-Japanese rivalry goes back to Japan’s post-Meiji Restoration break with Confucian traditionalism in Asia

Why Moon Jae-In lost the Korea presidential election, by a friend of mine who works at the Asan Institute in Seoul

5 thoughts on “On Vacation for awhile – Here’s Some New Year’s Reading – See you in March

      • I am quite disappointed by the Asan Institute’s report breaking down the election results.

        They basically reported cross-sectional poll numbers at some key points of the media’s election narratives – no look at how structural factors like party incumbency and economic growth affected the outcome.

        I’m not necessarily saying that Asan’s brief is wrong – they very well could be right – but they need to do a better job of marshalling evidence to support their analysis.


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