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Yes, American interactions with North Koreans are incredibly constrained. It’s rare for tourists to have a serious conversation with anyone besides their minders and occasionally with a guide at a monument or a museum. Perhaps the most important encounter happens the other way: it humanizes North Koreans in the minds of the Americans who visit.
Isaac Stone Fish: Otto Warmbier’s death is a tragedy. But war with North Korea would be, too - 23rd Jul
Protecting the lives of Americans abroad is essential, and one of the state department tasks that citizens most value. And yet, responding to the passing of Warmbier by provoking or attacking North Korea goes against American interests – and would cause other tragic deaths.
The Congressional Budget Office recently estimated the impact of “repeal-and-delay” and found that, while it would decrease budget deficits significantly, it would also leave 32 million more Americans uninsured in 10 years, as compared to Obamacare.
Isaac Stone Fish: Who Killed Otto Warmbier? - 17th Jul
Tens of thousands of foreigners visit North Korea each year. Many are Chinese. The exact number of Americans is unknown, but it’s likely around 1,000 annually. The US State Department strongly warns against it, and Congress is considering legislation to ban American tourism to North Korea.
In terms of connectivity, which I consider to be one of the major trends in further growth and future sustainability of these cities, Moscow should probably move to considering itself as the largest agglomeration between Western Europe, Far East and Asia, acting as a mediator and a connecting link for these regions.
John Pomfret: Liu Xiaobo showed the world that China has a great tradition of liberal thought - 17th Jul
When the Nobel committee awarded Liu Xiaobo, who died Thursday in China, the Peace Prize in 2010, Fang Lizhi, the Chinese astrophysicist dissident, wrote from exile in America that the award “challenged the West to re-examine a dangerous notion that has become prevalent since the 1989 massacre: that economic development will inevitably lead to democracy in China.”
This is just more evidence that the US-Russia relationship is going to be characterized by manage confrontation. Despite what Trump may aspire to have in terms of a personal relationship with Putin, the differences on Syria, Ukraine – but the never-ending distraction of Russia-gate in the United States is going to be a huge domestic political constraint on Trump’s ability to improve the relationship.
The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom: America and China, 1776 to the Present (by John Pomfret).
No other history of U.S.-China relations is as comprehensive, authoritative, or fascinating to read as veteran foreign correspondent John Pomfret’s book.
Wish Lanterns: Young Lives in New China (by Alec Ash).
This book is a superb introduction to China in the early 21st century as lived by people born in the 1980s. Ash befriended six young people from a variety of backgrounds, including a patriotic daughter of a Party official, a would-be rock star, and an internet gaming addict, and tells their stories with sympathy and humor.
We will have to come to grips with the reality that digital tools are essential to successful real-time governance, and that elections themselves are just one data-point in the broader stream of information that can help governments craft better policy. Indeed, the success of societies on the whole may well be determined far more by which adopts to the latest technologies than by which most resembles 18th century American democracy.
Evan Medeiros featured in: The US is not interested in making any deals with North Korea right now. Here’s why - 13th Jul
Over the next 6-12 months, the focus of U.S. policy is going to be pressure, sanctions and isolation via economic, diplomatic and military means. Washington will encourage, coerce and bribe as much cooperation from South Korea, Japan, China, ASEAN, and the EU as possible.