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China is pursuing “opinion deterrence” - 20th Jul
The biggest worry to Beijing—and this goes back to the general influence picture—is not what Americans think about China but what Chinese think about China and what Chinese think about the Party. One of the changes in a recent important Communist Party meeting was putting the body that manages China’s relationship with Hollywood more firmly under Party control. In China, there is the Party and the government. They’re interlinked and they’re related, but they’re not the same thing. The Party serves above the government.
A summit would be the best, most realistic outcome to the current tensions. It would allow the United States to assuage Pyongyang’s fear of invasion and regime change, in exchange for something meaningful in return, perhaps a freeze on missile testing. More importantly, it would increase trust between the two nations.
North Korea is going to keep having these provocations, but we lose by engaging with them, by playing with them on their own level. That’s one of the big problems with what Trump is doing – the way North Korea speaks is not a good rubric for international diplomacy.
The heartening – and, for Americans, deeply sad – reality about this particular crisis is that neither Trump nor Pyongyang feel any fealty to the truth. Neither side believes the other will take his remarks at face value, and both sides seem to understand that the other rarely follows through.
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.
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.
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