Wednesday, February 11, 2004

le parcours coréen

Everyone's got the goods on the riot from a couple days ago. Here's the Marmot to start you on your journey, but pay special attention to the Flying Yangban link-- the Yangban's remarks on the ritualized nature of riots caught my attention as someone sensitive to ritual studies issues.

Kevin at IA has a long quote from Claudia Rosett of the WSJ. It says in part:

North Korea has been gaming our endlessly credulous system for years. Having admitted in 2002 to running a secret uranium-enrichment program, North Korea is now denying it ever had one. And although revelations about the marketing activities of Pakistan's nuclear godfather, Abdul Qadir Khan, suggest that North Korea was very much in the uranium game, the Washington diplomatic establishment is now gravely pondering whether the U.S. envoy, James Kelly, really heard what he thought he heard. Never mind that North Korea has since pulled out of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, fired up its old reactor, announced that it is making bomb fuel and--with all the courtesy of Tony Soprano fingering his gun--invited an unofficial delegation last month to come have a look.

By the accounts of that delegation, by the presumptions of our narrow negotiating concerns, by the lights of the same illogic that looks to despotic and self-interested China to help save our bacon in North Korea, we are for the umpteenth time invited to believe that North Korea's regime is striving to achieve serious internal reform and aching to abandon its nuclear program, if only the U.S. would help.

We do need a coherent NK policy. Whether we have one right now is debatable. While I'm an advocate of a certain amount of diplomatic insanity where NK is concerned, ultimately backbone is more important than froth. The Infidel says over and over that Washington needs to penalize Seoul; I agree: that should be one of the vertebrae in the backbone.

As for the question of China... here's the thing: there are at least two very good reasons to adopt a multilateral approach to NK. First, the simple, commonsense issue of geography-- it's the neighbors who should be most immediately concerned with what goes on in a rogue state. This common sense seems lost on China et al., and one of the results of China's "diplomacy" is the rise of hawkish politics and legislation in Japan. Somewhere, a bitch-slap is waiting to happen. Second, the multilateral approach is diplomatic judo-- a response to NK's constant insistence on reducing the situation to a false NK-US bilateralism.

These two reasons are related to each other. It is indeed our goal to get several parties at the table so they can see and hear, firsthand, NK's raving-- to impress on NK's neighbors the danger that Kim's government represents. The Chinese, being forced to witness NK's instability while in front of Russians, Americans, and South Koreans, will experience a certain discomfort-- one that might lead to action.

The question, though, is what kind of action? Some folks are wondering whether this whole Koguryo flap is China's way of licking its chops before eating half the peninsula (I'm visualizing a postmodernist paper presentation on the subject: "Fellatio-as-Hegemony: A Foucaultian Understanding of Korean Peninsular Politics, the Chinese Agenda, and Swedish Pornography").

The Vulture posts some not-so-flattering pics of the Financial Times, that show a shameful contrast between Japan's behavior as an ally and South Korea's directionless internal flailing.

Ouch. Mike at Seeing Eye Blog disses Dave Matthews. He also notes a tradition dangerous to farm animals. Ah, yes, those lovely, lovely farm animals...

The Infidel has a wry post on creative legality in Korea. And hey-- why the hangdog expression, man? Chow down!

Pop culture demythologization over at Ruminations in Korea.

Overboard is added to the blogroll. Interesting personal insights, rants (the latest is a food/drink rant), and posts about komdo, the Korean sword-way (Andi's a komdo practitioner). I'm afraid to ask Andi why her URL contains the word "babypocket" because she might lop off my fool head. But what better way to drop 60 pounds, eh? Oy! Andi! What's up with the babypocket? You smuggling North Koreans into Seoul?

Anyway, the addition of Overboard continues the liberalization of my blogroll, which started off rather right-heavy but has since branched out. Lefties on the roll now include Cathartidae, Peking Duck, Atrios, Calpundit, Oranckay (sorta lefty?), Kathreb, Brainy Smurf, the Homeless Guy, and Stavros the Wonderchicken, who doesn't want to be known as a lefty, but who wrote this presidential porn piece a while back and, uh, seemed to be showing his true colors. Heh.

Kathreb on trade and anti-American sentiment.

Perhaps the promised post on The Philosophical Challenge of Religious Diversity will appear later this evening. Photoshop colorization of the cartoons I've done is proceeding in fits and starts as I do laundry with my broken washing machine. I'll be curious to see whether I end up posting on religion or on Harry Potter (and Hagrid's nads) first.

Would anyone be interested in a Howard Dean mug based on the previous Dean-penis cartoons? I might do something up for CafePress. But we have to stay current; there's a real question as to whether Dean didn't prematurely shoot his wad in this race.

By the way, before it became associated with sex, do you know where the term "shoot his wad" came from?


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