That the North Korean regime has taken another American tourist hostage—this time it’s one Jeffrey Edward Fowle of Miamisburg, Ohio, who was seized in May after a Bible was reportedly discovered in his hotel room—is hardly surprising. North Korea is ferociously repressive, and, as Paul Marshall notes elsewhere in this issue, it targets Christians. What is odd is that the United States continues to allow Americans to travel to North Korea without any restrictions.Read more
A U.S. Army soldier goes missing at night from a remote post on the edge of enemy territory. Depressed and anxious, he has expressed doubts about the U.S. mission and disillusionment with the war. He allegedly leaves behind a note recording these doubts. There are some reports that he consumes alcohol before he disappears. He crosses enemy lines and is detained by hostile forces who subsequently publicly announce his conversion to their anti-American cause.Read more
In an age of hypersensitivity to sexism and homophobia, why does the North Korean regime escape censure? North Korean media specialize in a gutter rhetoric that, from any other source, would be met with immediate condemnation. The world, however, seems so accustomed to hearing astonishingly repellent remarks from the North Korean propagandists that now anything goes.Read more
President Obama is rushing to implement the six-month interim agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran that went into effect last week. Together with five other world powers, he is now working to negotiate a long-term agreement aimed at keeping Iran from developing a nuclear bomb. He regards his opening to Iran as a signature achievement of his presidency and has proudly declared that diplomacy opened a path to “a future in which we can verify that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful and that it cannot build a nuclear weapon.”Read more
Now that the hoopla has begun to die down over Kim Jong-un’s execution of his uncle—reportedly Mafia-style with machine guns—the Young General is anticipating his athletes shooting a few hoops under the expert tutoring of Dennis Rodman.Read more
Secretary of State John Kerry told ABC News in an interview that North Korea "potentially" having a nuclear weapon would be "even more unacceptable." North Korea first tested its nuclear weapons capabilities in 2006 and had a more successful test in 2009. The country's most recent nuclear test was earlier this year.
ABC News journalist Martha Raddatz asked Kerry, who was in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, about the execution of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un's uncle.Read more
Even after 65 years of hideous barbarity, the murderousness of the Kim regime still holds the capacity to shock. Korea-watchers are baffled at the news that Kim Jong-un had his uncle and former mentor, Jang Song-thaek, summarily executed for “treason” this week. (For analysis of the events leading to Jang’s purge and execution, see Dennis C. Halpin’s piece in this week’s magazine.)Read more
In recent years, as its regime has been increasingly hemmed in by sanctions, North Korea has encouraged foreign tourists to visit the country. Unfortunately, it’s been working—nearly 10,000 Westerners now travel to the North Korea each year. One of them, 85-year-old Merrill Newman of Palo Alto, California, has been detained there for the last several weeks.Read more
The press, for whatever reason, has been strangely Panglossian on North Korea ever since Kim Jong-un took over as supreme leader back in December 2011. No Stalinist tyrant is he, we’ve been told time and again. In fact, he may just be a bona fide reformer!Read more
When it comes to North Korea, it’s helpful to keep a simple rule of thumb in mind: don’t trust anybody who refers to the country as the “DPRK.” (That would be the “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” the country’s official – and yes, bleakly ironic – name.) Calling North Korea the “DPRK” is not only woefully misleading – there’s nothing democratic, republican, or people-oriented about the brutal dictatorship – but it also lends legitimacy to the ruling regime.Read more
The small Southeast Asian country of Laos outraged civilized people everywhere last month by repatriating nine escaped North Koreans orphans. The escapees, who had travelled through China and into Laos, are now likely to suffer harsh punishment. Repatriated North Koreans are known to face internment in brutal labor camps upon their return. They're occasionally even executed.Read more
It's become an all too familiar tale: A naïve, amoral Westerner travels to Stalinist North Korea and returns with breathless tales of what a wacky, weird, and wild time he had there! (Somehow, the country’s extensive gulag never makes it onto the visitor’s itinerary.)Read more
Over the past fifteen years, Pakistan has demonstrated how nuclear weapons can allow a country to engage in limited hostilities without triggering all out war. It has also shown that once a nuclear-armed state initiates hostilities, the international response will focus on restoring stability, with denuclearization reduced to a secondary goal.Read more
There are plenty of ways that the New York Times could have chosen to refer to South Korea’s new president, Park Geun-hye, whom Ethan Epstein profiled in these pages a few months back (“Democracy, Gangnam-Style,” December 17, 2012). In fact, The Scrapbook would probably have chosen just that: “South Korea’s new president.” Still, it was at least moderately defensible when the Grey Lady called President Park the “daughter of a famed South Korean dictator from the cold war” in a news story on Korean relations published last week. Even if the reference was a bit of a non -sequitur, it’s true that President Park’s father, Park Chung-hee, was the autocratic leader of South Korea from 1961 to 1979.Read more
In February, North Korea conducted its third nuclear weapons test since 2006. The test, performed in defiance of scores of United Nations sanctions, outraged the international community. Within weeks, the U.N. had leveled more sanctions on the rogue regime, beefing up inspections of North Korean cargo, banning luxury exports to the impoverished nation’s appallingly self-indulgent ruling coterie, requiring countries to freeze all financial transactions that might somehow aid the North Korean nuclear program, and barring the transport of bulk cash into the country.Read more
Disappointing Western hopes that he would put North Korea on a more rational and humane path, Kim Jong-un relishes showing his regime as one of the most odious and dangerous on the planet. Following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, the young new leader is acting the part of a real-life Dr. Evil, recklessly threatening atomic attacks on South Korea, Japan, and the United States. His conventional weapons alone could wreak nuclear-like mass destruction on Seoul.Read more
President Obama shared his thoughts on North Korea in an interview that aired this morning on NBC:
"Let's move to North Korea," said the NBC journalist. "Is Kim Jong-Un unstable?"Read more
John Kerry’s first visit as secretary of state to Asia this week will be rightly dominated by the heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula, where Kim Jong-un’s regime continues to generate headlines around the world with its bluster and brinksmanship.
Tulsi Gabbard, a congresswoman representing Hawaii's Second Congressional District, responds to President Obama's proposed budget by expressing concern over missile defense cuts. "It would also cut our missile defense budget, even as Hawai‘i and the rest of the country face direct and heightened threats from North Korea," she says in a statement.
Gabbard is a Democrat, who otherwise praises Obama's budget, except for president's proposed Social Security "cuts."Read more
Steve Hayes, with Jim Rutenberg and Charles Krauthammer, last night on Fox News:Read more
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