Saturday, April 07, 2007
Stanton, J. 2007. Thailand and laos planning mass repatriation of N. Korean refugees. One Free Korea. April 4, 2007. Available online: http://freekorea.us/2007/04/04/thailand-and-laos-planning-mass-repatriations-of-n-korean-refugees/.
Two e-mail messages in as many days convey some very bad news about North Korean refugees in two Southeast Asian nations, Thailand and Laos. Both nations, apparently seeing no U.S. objection and a new U.S. disinterest in the subject of human rights for North Koreans generally, are catching refugees and are planning to send them to their deaths, or a fate worse than. A reader writes:
Just caught this story on naver - It seems about 52 defectors have been apprehended by Thai authorities and if convicted of entering the country illegally are expected to be sent back to North Korea.
That would be the first mass repatriation of North Koreans by Thailand, and a grave development indeed.
If you have an account, please digg this.
Monday, April 02, 2007
South Korea and U.S. reach free trade agreement. Associated Press. April 1, 2007. Available online: http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/04/02/asia/AS-FIN-SKorea-US-Free-Trade.php.
Despite intense skepticism, the United States and South Korea reached an agreement on a future free trade deal. If ratified by both countries, the deal will be the largest in Korean history and the larges for America since NAFTA. Besides the obvious economic gains, this deal has very good strategic implications, as well.
A South Korea - American free trade agreement would two pillars of the core, East Asia and North America, closer together. It will be the second major free trade agreement under the Bush Administration (the first being the Central American Free Trade Agreement). Further, South Korea is greatly admired in China for being an oriental state that modernized without losing its traditional, Asian characteristics. Further connecting South Korea to America demonstrates to potentially warry Chinese that ever-increasing globalization between a Western and Oriental country can allow both to get materially richer without getting culturally worse.
Of course, stumbling blocks can still be thrown up. While most South Koreans support increased openness, left-wing factions linked to North Korean racist-isolationism have already held violation demonstrations. And in our own country, Democratic hostility to orientals is as typical of the rear-end of that party as is Republican hostility to latinos.
Definite props to President Bush for pushing things this far. Let's hope that the Democratic Congress passes the South Korea Free Trade Agreement as quickly as possible.
Update: One Free Korea has more.
Update 2: Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog analyzes the deal in the context of ASEAN.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Two recent events, within twenty-four hours of each other, give hope to us all. First, India and the United States signed a nuclear accord which will allow that Republic to develop technology to deter deter an unseemly neighbor (Pakistan) and a neighbor that should be deterred from war as much as possible (China). Meanwhile, North Korea continues to show obstinance in her nuclear talks, which encourage Japan's nuclearization. This encourages Tokyo to develop technology to deter an unseemly neighbor (North Korea) and a neighbor that should be deterd from war as much as possible (China).
Sometimes, proliferation is grand.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
"Bitterness in Beijing over North Korea's betrayal may mean war," by Rowan Callick, The Australian, 18 December 2006, http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,20943831-2703,00.html
Very hopeful, if true:
The dynamics have shifted dramatically since the last talks. When Pyongyang tested its first nuclear bomb two months ago, defying pleas from Beijing, it alienated itself from its only ally.
The extent of that alienation has been revealed in essays by China's leading strategic thinkers. The bitter sense of betrayal felt in China about its communist neighbour, on whose behalf 360,000 soldiers, mainly volunteers, died during the Korean war 53 years ago, sets the tone for the extraordinarily frank essays in China Security.
He sees the biggest winner, after the North Korean regime, as Japan - unless China acts firmly against Pyongyang. "If China continues its ambiguous policies on the North Korean nuclear issue, the US will encourage Japan to become nuclearised."
Zhu Feng, director of the international security program at Beijing University, says a recent opinion poll shows 44per cent of Chinese people dislike North Korea more than any other nation. "The Chinese leadership now understands it may have deluded itself about the Kim Jong-il Government pursuing a good-neighbourly policy that Pyongyang would gradually be won over by China's kindness," he says.
Mr Zhu says that while Beijing's support of UN resolutions against Pyongyang's nuclear testing is seen in North Korea as "an act of treachery by its socialist big brother", when the test happened, "in Beijing, ire turned into fury. It was no less than a slap in China's face".
The important meeting of the central committee of the Communist Party three months ago proclaimed that a nuclear North Korea was a formidable challenge to China's "core interests" - a phrase previously used only about Taiwan independence.
Chinese help would be need to kill Kim.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Imagine if by 1953, President Truman was faced with the following situation:
An almost completely victorious Republic of Korea succeeded in completely landlocking their evil opponent. Meanwhile, the Republic of China vowed unremittingly hostility against the DPRK holdouts.
Now imagne that the Republic of Korea somehow finds oil all over the place -- as does the Republic of China. Further, imagine that there is nothing in the DPRK remnant state.
Further, imagine if, in the closing days of the Korean War, the greatest problem facing the American government was that a ROK/ROC alliance might defeat the DPRK too well -- that Koreans and Chinese would be so united in the fight against Communism that Stalinism would never again have a fighting chance in north east asia.
That is an almost perfect analogy to today's situation in Iraq. Our "catastrophic victory" blinded our power elite to the magnitude of their victory.
There is no reason for us to remain in Iraq for the same reason as US Forces Korea would have had no reason to exist in the above version of 1953.
Leave Iraq now. When we do, al-Ba'ath and al Qa'eda lose in Iraq. Forever.
Friday, December 08, 2006
"Korean War Criminals Cleared," by Robert J. Koehler, The Marmot's Hole, 13 November 2006, http://www.rjkoehler.com/2006/11/13/korean-war-criminals-cleared/ (from Coming Anarchy).
"Panel issues list of pro-Japan collaborators," Yonhap News, 6 December 2006, http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/Engnews/20061206/610000000020061206210859E2.html (from One Free Korea).
South Korea is an immature state whose power should be limited to the extent possible. South Korea is not an ally, but merely a state that must be "engaged."
American policy in the Korean peninsula should be aimed at moving North Korea closer into the orbit of the People's Republic of China. The only valid alternative is the total collapse of the North Korean regime and the return of immediate & full citizenship of all north Koreans in the Republic of Korea.
South Korea should not be allowed to extend its position and power by administering North Korea as a colony. South Korea is too volatile a state -- too obsessed by Arabesque conspiracies and fetishism for revenge -- to be trusted as a regional power
Don't Blame actual War Criminals:
A Korean government commission cleared 83 of 148 Koreans convicted by the Allies of war crimes during World War II.
The commission ruled that the Koreans, who were categorized as Class B and Class C war criminals, were in fact victims of Japanese imperialism.
Of the 148 Koreans convicted of war crimes, some 23 would eventually be executed.
Blame the Children of Political Enemies:
The panel, launched in May last year, was formed under a special law enacted in 2004 to seek out collaborators who endorsed Japan's colonization of the peninsula.
Another 104-member presidential committee was launched in August with the mission of seizing assets owned by the descendants of the pro-Japan collaborators.
For what it's worth, I hereby endorse Japanese colonization of the Korean pennensyla.
Like the Europeans in Africa, Japan's sin in Korea is this: they left too soon.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Kyungjunyo. (2006). Asians' lower sexual dimorphism: the main reason for interracial marriage amongst Asian women?. Kyungjunyo's Xanga Site. Web Site: http://www.xanga.com/kyungjunyo/548957287/asians-lower-sexual-dimorphism-the-main-reason-for-interracial-marriage-amongst-asian-women.html.
Richardson. (2006). Height Differences in North and South Koreans. Retrived November 22, 2006, from DPRK Studies. Web Site: http://www.dprkstudies.org/2006/11/20/height-differences-in-north-and-south-koreans/.
Wilson, E.O. & Holldobler, B. (2005). Eusociality: Origin and Consequences. PNAS 102(38): 13367-13371 (from tdaxp).
E.O. Wilson on insects:
In eusociality, an evolutionarily advanced level of colonial existence, adult colonial members belong to two or more overlapping generations, care cooperatively for the young, and are divided into reproductive and nonreproductive (or at least less-reproductive) castes.
When in evolution does eusociality become irreversible? We infer that this comes very early in the evolution of that condition, in particular when an anatomically distinct worker caste first appears, hence when a colony can most meaningfully be called a superorganism. Three lines of solitary halictine bees and one of allodapine apid bees are known to have originated from primitively eusocial lines, in which the worker caste was not yet anatomically distinct (14, 15). In contrast, not a single such reversal is known among the >11,000 described species of ants (family Formicidae) or 2,000 described termites (order Isoptera).
A second phenomenon possibly biased by relatedness and established in the later, irreversible stage of eusocial evolution is policing, the use of harassment or selective egg removal to restrict reproduction to the reproductive individual. Kin selection has been strongly indicated as a binding force in one species of social wasps, where policing decreases with the relatedness of the workers (30). On the other hand, the role of kin selection has been eliminated altogether in favor of group selection in the Cape race of the honey bee (31) and several species of ponerine and formicine ants (32-36).
Richardson on Koreans
Height statistics for 1,075 North Korean defectors ranging in age from 20 to 39 were compiled by the Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention, while equivalent South Korean statistics were obtained by the Ministry of Health and Welfare. Both organizations collected the information in 2005. The results should not be surprising, unless it’s the fact that the differences aren’t even more pronounced:
South Korean anthropologists who measured North Korean refugees here in Yanji, a city 15 miles from the North Korean border, found that most of the teenage boys stood less than 5 feet tall and weighed less than 100 pounds. In contrast, the average 17-year-old South Korean boy is 5-feet-8, slightly shorter than an American boy of the same age.
The height disparities are stunning because Koreans were more or less the same size — if anything, people in the North were slightly taller — until the abrupt partitioning of the country after World War II.
E.O. Wilson on insects and humans:
If the conclusions drawn here about eusociality in insects and other arthropods are correct, they could have implications for advanced social behavior outside the arthropods. Rarity and the preeminence of group selection in unusual environments that favor cooperation are shared by the bathyergid rodents, the only highly eusocial phylad known in the vertebrates. Rarity of occurrence and unusual preadaptations characterized the early species of Homo and were followed in a similar manner during the advancement of the ants and termites by the spectacular ecological success and preemptive exclusion of competing forms by Homo sapiens.
If this seems a little speculative and unlikely, read below for something nearly inevitable about the evolutionary future of the Korean race
Saturday, September 09, 2006
"When North Korea Falls," by Robert Kaplan, Atlantic Monthly, October 2006, http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/prem/200610/kaplan-korea (see commentary on Coming Anarchy, DPRK Studies, Left Flank, and ruNK, full text at Marmot's Hole).
When I led recitations for International Relations last year, I gave a brief lecture to my class
"You will care about your neighbors as long as you live by them
You will care about anyone else until they get bored.
Countries can't move.
Countries will care about their neighbors forever.
Countries will care about other countries until they get bored."
On that theme, I am very greatful to Eddie of Live from the FDNF for mailing me (and Mark, I suspect) the complete text of Robert Kaplan's article on the fall of Pyongyang:
The concluding paragraphs are the most relevant
But South Korea also provides a lesson in what can be accomplished with patience and dogged persistence. The drive from the airport at Inchon to downtown Seoul goes through the heart of a former urban war zone. South Korea’s capital was taken and retaken four times in some of the most intense fighting of the Korean War. Korean men and women who lived through that time will always be grateful for what retired U.S. Army Colonel Robert Killebrew has called American “stick-to-itiveness,” without which we would have little hope of remaining a great power.
In the heart of Seoul lies Yongsan Garrison, a leafy, fortified Little America, guarded and surrounded by high walls. Inside these 630 acres, which closely resemble the Panama Canal Zone before the Americans gave it up, are 8,000 American military and diplomatic personnel in manicured suburban homes surrounded by neatly clipped hedges and backyard barbecue grills. I drove by a high school, baseball and football fields, a driving range, a hospital, a massive commissary, a bowling alley, and restaurants. U.S. Forces Korea and its attendant bureaucracies are located in redbrick buildings that the Americans inherited in 1945 from the Japanese occupiers. Korea is so substantial a military commitment for us that it merits its own, semiautonomous subcommand of PACOM—just as Iraq, unofficially anyway, merits its own four-star subcommand of CENTCOM.
The United States hopes to complete a troop drawdown in South Korea in 2008. Having moved into Yongsan Garrison when Korea’s future seemed highly uncertain, American troops plan to give up this prime downtown real estate and relocate to Camp Humphreys, in Pyongtaek, thirty miles to the south. The number of ground troops will drop to 25,000, and will essentially comprise a skeleton of logistical support shops, which would be able to acquire muscles and tendons in the form of a large invasion force in the event of a war or a regime collapse that necessitated a military intervention.
Patience and dogged persistence are heroic attributes. But while military units can be expected to be heroic, one should not expect a home front to be forever so. And while in the fullness of time patience and dogged persistence can breed success, it is the kind of success that does not necessarily reward the victor but, rather, the player best able to take advantage of the new situation. It is far too early to tell who ultimately will benefit from a stable and prosperous Mesopotamia, if one should ever emerge. But in the case of Korea, it looks like it will be the Chinese.
We will not care about Korea forever. Pretending we will sets us up for a big mistake. Not only are Americans not imperialists (thank heaven!), we are far away.
North Korea's neighbors will care about northern Korea forever. Beijing and Seoul will care about northern Korea forever.
So, should we build a future worth creating for northern Koreans by changing facts that will will build either a Chinese Korea or a Greater Korean Republic? How do we choose between a Zhongua Hanguo and a Daihan Minguk?
With news that North Korea has become a South Korean satellite, it looks like "Greater Korea" is already here. It's in part a Stalinist dictatorship. It is going the wrong way.
America should support Chinese designs in North Korea, and the overthrow of the "Kim Family Regime" by a pro-Beijing government. It may be better than a Untied Nuclear Leftist Korea any day.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
This map was seen in the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the USA Passport Application page (accessed to verify a point for a debate over at The Korea Liberator and this blog). Among other weird aspects
- The map extends significantly north of the Korea-Chinese border, and emphasizes the topographic continuity of "Korea" through Eastern Manchuria.
- The map emphasizes irredentist claims against a fellow democracy, Japan
- The map makes no mention of the Stalinist regime which controls half of Korea's territory
More is available on Korea's bizarre "We love Dokdo" page, dedicated to Chosen's domination of the Liancourt Rocks.
During a time when North Korean refugees seek refuge in the United States, The Pyongyang Regime that is increasingly legitimized by South Korea devalues our currency, Secretary Rumsfeld is right to let South Korea defend herself. She is not an ally like Japan, and increasingly not even a partner like China.
The best idea moving forward?
1. The Israel Model: U.S. forces leave Korea, but continue giving it substantial assistance aimed toward a robust, independent self defense. This would require much larger capital and human investments by the South Koreans and an expansion of the South Korean reserves.
2. The Thailand Model (circa 1970’s): U.S. ground forces leave, except for regular exercises and relatively small units. A robust air component remains. This was sufficient to deter Vietnam at its apex after the fall of Saigon, Luang Prabang, and Phnom Penh.
3. The Taiwan Model: U.S. forces leave, U.S. assistance is tightly restricted, and the nation’s government, placing its faith in trade with its foes and hopes of an American rescue, allows its defense to gradually decline to a point of vulnerability.
7. Terminator V: U.S. forces leave Korea. Korea, with a declining human population, turns to a new race of super-intelligent warrior robots, programmed with nihilistic tendencies by a vengeful Dr. Hwang Woo-Suk. The robots, backed by their own robot air force, then conquer and subjugate both Koreas, except for a small band of ultra-nationalists on Tokdo. This band successfully defends Tokdo against the robot invasion, but starves to death a few weeks later because Tokdo is, after all, just a couple of godforsaken barren rocks.
Give Korea to the robots.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
"Time to Leave Iraq," by Ed Schmersal, Lincoln Journal Star, 29 August 2006, 5B.
Unlike T.M. Lutas I don't normally blog letters, but a recent one was so very close to perfect that it demands tdaxp attention.
Iraq is broken.
Sure is. The Baath Party did tremendous damage in Mesopotamia, destroying what little middle class it inherited.
and even after billions of dollars and thousands of lives lost, the United States can't put Iraq back together again.
True. America is not an Empire, and unlike Britain, Rome, and others before us, we do not export a maximal ruleset. Instead, we enable networks of connectivity. We have neither the taste nor will to forcefully remake others.
The U.S. needs to exit Iraq.
Yep. We can win militarily without being there in large numbers.
in order to focus on other problems: Iran
Iran has us by the neck as long as we are in Iraq. A great reason to leave.
Kill Kim. A much more pressing issue than whatever we think we are doing.
Preventing the rise of another Eurasian land power -- that means encouraging devolution in Russia -- is a great idea. Leaving Iraq would free our attention to this important work.
China is critical to globalization -- she can enable it through a "Revese Domino Theory" of multinational capitalism, she can wreck it by invading Taiwan, she can secure globalization through military cooperation.
Don't forget more mundane goals, like boxing in France.
Iraq needs to be divided into three regions: the north Kurdistan, a pro-West place for some U.S. forces to remain close; the south Shiite-controlled pro-Iranian region; and the Sunni middle area.
Like former Iraqi Governing Council President Hakim and United States Senator Biden, I agree.
The US. needs to regain our European allies and stature as the world's superpower.
Europe doesn't matter that much. Those whites over the ocean are doing what they can -- Britain is in Iraq, Spain is in Afghanistan, Italy, France, and Turkey will be in Lebanon. These contributions are important, but Europe represents the past, not the future.
We need decisive leadership now!
As long as it doesn't decisively try to lose.