Friday, February 5th 2016
News of a hockey tournament with retired NHL players slated for March in Pyongyang – “a charity event to raise money for sports equipment for disabled North Korean athletes” -- prompted Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute to challenge some of the comfortable assumptions about “sports diplomacy.” His essay, “Is Engaging North Korea ‘Innocuous’?” was posted to the Commentary magazine website on January 31, 2016. For details of the hockey tournament, see the full article by Kent Boydston of the Peterson Institute for International Economics – and a back-and-forth between Rubin and Boydston -- here. These are some of Rubin’s key points on sports diplomacy in general:
- First, does sporting diplomacy really break barriers or come without a cost? The record is spotty.
Sunday, January 10th 2016
“Mina Yoon” is a North Korean who escaped and now lives in Seoul. She answers questions about North Korea in a blog on the nknews.org website. A reader asked, “Who do North Koreans think started the Korean War?” Ms. Yoon wrote, “I was one of the many people who found it extremely hard to believe that North Korea started the Korean War.Read More
Tuesday, November 24th 2015
News Item (AP, 25 Jun 2015) -- June is something like Hate America Month in North Korea.
Officially, it’s called “Struggle Against U.S. Imperialism Month” and — more so than usual — it’s a time for North Koreans to swarm to war museums, mobilize for gatherings denouncing the evils of the United States and join in a general, nationwide whipping up of anti-American sentiment.Read More
Friday, November 6th 2015
On October 9, 2015, Greg Scarlatoiu, the executive director of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, posted a report, “Muddying the Waters: North Korea’s Deceptive Media Offensive,” on his organization’s website. He refuted North Korean charges of the kidnapping of a waitress at a North Korean state-owned restaurant in Phnom Penh, using the case study to reveal the larger “media offensive” and disinformation that serve the purposes of the North Korean regime.Read More
Friday, November 6th 2015
To think offense – and for concepts “outside the box” – call a Marine.
“In an information wilderness in which massive battles of ideas are raging and ideas are used as weapons, a defensive strategy is only part of the solution. The services must go on the offense in more than just covert and clandestine intelligence and cyber actions. They need the capability to launch or strongly support ideas as well, and should do so through the most effective medium they have: the individual soldier, sailor, airman, and Marine.”
This radical call for decentralization and empowerment was made by Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel G. John David, a student at the Inter-American Defense College, in an article, “Taking the Offensive,” in the October, 2015, issue of the U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings. He described the current Joint Information Environment (JIE) as a well-protected, defensive “stockade.” Borrowing from the concept of the “strategic corporal” as a key to the success of American arms, he argued that an offensive posture must rely on individuals rather than tight message control.Read More