Friday, December 13, 2019

Tokyo Olympics 2020 Sing a Long

Japanese hit song “Paprika”that is the official Tokyo Olympics song 
has gone global and viral with this English version and multi-cultural cast. 
It was released November 19, 2019.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Merry Christmas Mr. Trump


By Daniel Sneider, Associate Editor, Nelson Report, Stanford University, and APP member

The resumption of a war of words between the North Korean regime and the Trump administration should set off alarm bells in Washington, Tokyo and other capitals. While it is not yet at the level of the 'fire and fury' rhetoric of 2017, the North Koreans are clearly laying the groundwork to resume the testing of long-range ballistic missiles suspended since early 2018. Analysts report signs of preparatory activity at launch sites. Hanging over this is a deadline, set by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last April, of the end of the year to reach a deal with the United States.

The North Koreans have rolled out a series of statements from senior foreign ministry and military officials, reiterating those warnings and responding with unusual speed to comments from U.S. officials, including the loose talk of President Donald Trump at the NATO meeting. North Korean Chief of the General Staff, General Pak Jong Chon, warned Trump about "elated spirit and bluffing" leading to war. "The use of armed forces is not the privilege of the U.S. only," Gen Pak said in a statement released on December 4.

Despite these signs, many analysts interpret this as business as usual for Pyongyang. They see the escalating rhetoric as a standard North Korean tactic designed to force the U.S. back to the negotiation table. In this view, the North Koreans still want to make the deal they have been seeking since last year -- to lift economic sanctions in exchange for limited steps to cut back their nuclear arms capability. According to those analysts, the breakdown in negotiations at the Hanoi summit last February was mainly the consequence of an 'all or nothing' American approach and the road to a limited bargain more along the lines of what Pyongyang offered remains open.

"Their goal has not changed: they want the Americans back at the negotiation table," wrote Seoul-based Russian scholar Andrei Lankov in NK News. "They still need a deal that will serve their interests - above all, in regard to sanctions relief. But as they have not been able to find a sufficiently sweet carrot to get what they want, they will stick to the stick for now."

The North Koreans have reason to believe they can successfully escalate tensions without much risk. "The North Koreans seem confident that the U.S. and ROK non-response to their ballistic missile tests and other recent actions means there is room for Pyongyang to push the envelope of U.S.-ROK tolerance and even toe-up to a U.S. red line," observes former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific, Evans Revere. "They may well be right, since we currently have two conflict-averse leaders in the Blue House and the White House, both of whom are under some pressure because of upcoming elections.

The resumption of a robust testing program risks reinvigorating the sanctions regime, which has been eased in the last year and a half. "At the moment, it is very difficult to see the rekindling of 'maximum pressure' but long-range missile testing could resuscitate that effort and that is not in North Korea's interest, particularly since it can already claim a long-range missile capability," Naval War College expert Terence Roehrig told me.

"However," he added, "I'm not sure they see it that way. If the economic situation is sufficiently dire, Pyongyang may believe it has no choice but to roll the dice on this."

Pyongyang's Strategic Decision
As is often the case, there is a tendency to impose on North Korea our own logic. Some long-time analysts of North Korea in the Intelligence Community believe, however, that the North Korean leadership made the decision to abandon the negotiations last summer, convinced that there was little hope of getting what they wanted out of Trump. They point to a trail of evidence - - mostly in open statements by the regime - - of a significant shift in strategy.

At the beginning of the opening of Pyongyang's peace offensive, in early 2018, Kim had announced that the regime was moving away from the byungjin policy of pursuing parallel goals of economic growth and building military strength, in favor of a shift of resources and focus to a more open, market-driven economy. Analysts argued the regime had made a strategic shift, and therefore it was open to denuclearization in exchange for economic development. Skeptics who pointed out the consistent refusal of the North Koreans to open its program to outside scrutiny or take irreversible steps to shut down its weapons program were dismissed.

The Singapore summit in 2018 seemed to lend credibility to those views, clearly held by Trump himself. But things clearly changed in the aftermath of the failed Hanoi summit in February 2019, where the North Korean bid to exchange lifting of all the major economic sanctions in exchange for vague and limited steps to shut down some of its nuclear facilities fell flat. In his April 12 speech, which set the year-end deadline for a negotiated deal with the U.S., Kim re-embraced the goals of autarchic economy and a nuclear armed defense. "As we put an end to the prolonged nuclear threat by dint of nukes," Kim declared, "we must frustrate the hostile forces' sanctions on the strength of self-sufficiency and self-reliance."

On August 31, the North Korean party paper published a 'special article' declaring that defense industry must now "lead" the national economy. Only military power can guarantee the survival of the state and the country, the paper wrote, echoing earlier comments by Kim at a weapons test. The tests of missile systems, including of a submarine launched missile, resumed with growing frequency. At the same time, the North Korean regime escalated pressure on the progressive Moon Jae-in government in Seoul to cut ties with Washington, demanding an end to even minor joint military exercises planned with the U.S.

The decision to effectively end negotiations appears to have been made sometime in the summer, a long-time former senior U.S. intelligence analyst believes. Kim agreed to hold working level talks after a hastily organized meeting with Trump at the Demilitarized Zone in Panmunjom in June but those talks did not convene until early October, in Stockholm. The talks lasted only one day, with the North Koreans issuing a lengthy statement at the end of the day denouncing the U.S. for failing to move from "its old stance and attitude."

Some U.S. and South Korean commentators leaped to echo this statement, blaming the U.S. for refusing to shift away from its demand for major steps by the North Koreans before giving any sanctions relief. But U.S. negotiators led by envoy Steve Biegun insist that they in fact had offered new ideas to ease sanctions and offered a phased approach.

Instead there is evidence that the North Koreans never had any intention to engage in serious negotiations. According to two former U.S. intelligence officers who have been in close touch with Amb Biegun and his team, the North Korea delegation arrived at the talks with their full statement already in hand. The North Koreans also insisted that the talks last no longer than one day. Both are taken as evidence that the North Koreans never intended to grapple with the substance of a possible agreement to be discussed at a summit. Any previous serious talks have always taken at least two days, to allow for consultation with the leadership, even talks held in Pyongyang.

The door to a third major summit with Trump remains slightly open - - the North Koreans are still careful not to attack him personally and are said to seek a Trump visit to Pyongyang. That would be an enticing prospect for Kim, but there is no indication of Trump's readiness to take such a political risk.

The clearest sign that Pyongyang is no longer waiting on Trump came with a rare announcement this past week by the Workers Party of Korea (WPK) Central Committee Politburo Presidium (the inner core of the leadership) to convene a Party Plenum in the last 10 days of December. The plenum, the announcement said, will "discuss and decide on important issues in line with the demands of the changed internal and external situations," a formula that hints they have concluded already that the U.S. will not "withdraw its hostile policy."

The announcement was accompanied by a propaganda show in the form of photos and videos of Kim, astride a white horse, accompanied by his wife, senior party leaders and key military commanders, all following on horseback, visiting the sacred site of Mt Paektu, the symbol of the birth of the regime. That visit, the second in the last two months, was preceded by a visit to a showcase tourist complex near the Chinese border, intended to attract a growing flow of Chinese tourists. This is now the path for regime survival - - self-reliance, with key Chinese support, and emphasis on a toughened militarized regime.

"The announcement of the plan for the plenum later this month, along with the unusually long report of Kim's latest appearance on Paektu (accompanied by corp commanders) means we won't have to wait long to see what's in store," a former senior intelligence community expert told me. "There are still three weeks left in December for Washington to head off Kim's deadline, but scheduling the plenum suggests Kim has already made up his mind and isn't going to wait."

What will Kim do?
What is Kim going to do? Most U.S. experts see no evidence of preparation, either on the ground or in statements, for a resumption of nuclear tests, at least for now. Instead speculation has focused on a long-range missile test, perhaps one disguised as a satellite launch. Satellite imagery analyzed by non-proliferation program at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies this week shows renewed activity at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station, including the facility's engine test stand which had been shut down as part of the test freeze. There are also some signs of renovation work at a launch site in eastern North Korea which had been dormant since 2009 but used to launch missiles over and toward Japan, says Middlebury senior researcher Joshua Pollack.

"I had been inclined to seeing a renewal of space launches as Kim's best shot at threading the needle - sticking to his April 20, 2018 commitments, and therefore not unduly alarming or offending Beijing - while defying the Security Council and poking Japan in the eye," he told me. But Pollack thinks the North Koreans may not even bother with that thin cover. "ICBM testing may be in our near future, perhaps even over Japan into the Pacific," he said.

The North Koreans, in typical fashion, have already set the stage for precisely this kind of missile test. In a nasty attack on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, published on November 30, a senior foreign ministry official responded to Abe's criticism of the test of a multiple launch rocket system with a much more ominous threat. "Abe may see what a real ballistic missile is in the not distant future, and under his nose," the statement said.

Japanese may well celebrate the New Year with alarm bells on their cell phones, alerting them to a North Korean missile heading their way.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Chinese Repression of Muslims in Xinjiang Echoes Across Central Asia

By: Paul Goble

First Published by Eurasia Daily Monitor, Jamestown Foundation, November 21, 2019

Beijing’s efforts to expand its power in Central Asia by investment and cooperation with the governments in the region (see China Brief, November 19, 2019; see EDM, April 4, 2019, January 30, 2018, August 2, 2016) are currently being undercut by the reactions of Central Asian populations to China’s repression of their co-ethnics and fellow Muslims in Xinjiang. Central Asians know far more about Chinese actions there than many might expect for three reasons: 1) the flight of such people from China to Central Asia, 2) the use of the Internet by Uyghurs and other activists to tell the world and particularly Central Asia about their plight, and 3) the exploitation of this information by opposition politicians in Central Asian countries.

Many members of the Central Asian nationalities currently living in Xinjiang have ancestors who escaped there after the Soviets crushed the Basmachi movement (Turkestan Liberation Organization) in the 1920s and 1930s. But over the past several months, they have been fleeing western China in increasing numbers and, upon arrival to their ancestral homelands, telling their co-ethnics about the concentration camps that the Chinese authorities have confined them to in the hopes of “re-educating” them away from Islam and national traditions and toward Beijing’s preferred values. The massive scale of this flight was highlighted in a recent report issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan. It states that during the first nine months of 2019, 4,500 ethnic Kazakhs from China resettled in Kazakhstan with the right of permanent residence as “oralmans,” the name Nur-Sultan has used for co-ethnic returnees (, November 17;, September 19).

Their personal accounts of mistreatment at the hands of the Chinese have inflamed Kazakhstani opinion, which had already been growing more hostile to Beijing because of Uyghur use of the Internet to document Chinese repression. In a recent issue of the Central Asian Survey, Rachel Harris of London’s SOAS and independent scholar Aziz Isa report on the way this works in an article entitled “Islam by Smartphone: Reading the Islamic Revival on WeChat.” Because this channel has proven so influential in Central Asia, and especially in Kazakhstan, it has attracted enormous attention there by independent media there and, thus, had a dramatic effect on the populations (, March 6).

This development appears to have contributed in a significant way to the spread of anti-Chinese protests in Kazakhstan this fall. Those demonstrations, some of the largest in that country’s history, have taken place in almost all major cities and have put strains on relations between Kazakhstan and China. To be sure, the reports from Xinjiang and first-person accounts by those who fled that Chinese region are not the only cause. Many Central Asians have long resented the fact that the Chinese have often behaved extremely arrogantly in their dealings with the governments in the region, seemingly exploiting them in an openly neo-colonial way, and not providing these countries with the kind of support (relative to the Russian Federation and other outside powers) they had hoped China’s involvement would create (see EDM, September 10).

Anti-Chinese attitudes, linked to the Xinjiang case and otherwise, are not confined to Kazakhstan but exist, and appear to be intensifying, in all the countries of the region, with Chinese involvement in their economies and politics and Chinese mistreatment of their co-ethnics in Xinjiang being the leading causes. According to Bishkek-based journalist Pavel Dyatlentko, anti-Chinese attitudes have been on the rise throughout Central Asia; and whenever they have led to protests, Beijing reacted quickly and punitively, shutting consulates and suspending investment projects—actions that are only making the situation worse (, September 11).

In Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, he says, some Kyrgyz and Tajiks have expressed alarm at the massive debts to China that Bishkek and Dushanbe have run up, a development that many fear Beijing will exploit to gain political dominance. Elsewhere, the fact that Chinese investments have sparked Chinese immigration rather than created jobs for Central Asians is the bigger problem. Central Asians resent the appearance of “China towns” in their countries just as much as some in Russia’s Far East do (Vzglyad, August 15, 2018). And protests against the Chinese presence and Chinese repression have become part of the domestic political struggle in many of these countries.

According to Dyatlenko, as China has expanded its presence with the full cooperation of the regimes in power, opposition politicians have begun to play on this theme, recognizing that the Central Asian populations are not on the same page as their governments, as far as China is concerned. Given that China is likely to continue to expand its presence, further irritating local publics, the temptation of opposition groups to exploit such anger will only grow. If that happens—and the Bishkek commentator argues it will unless alternative sources of foreign investment appear—the anti-Chinese demonstrations that have taken place to date will be only the prelude to a situation that could easily spiral out of control, ethnicizing politics in these countries still further.

Should that occur, the consequences of the impact of China’s actions in Xinjiang and its moves to expand its position in Central Asia could transform the regional republics still further, sparking more Russian flight and even becoming another source of discord between Moscow and Beijing. The timing of such a cooling of relations would be particularly inauspicious for the Kremlin considering President Vladimir Putin’s current efforts to both promote a Russian-Chinese alliance against the United States as well as to recover Russia’s influence in Central Asia.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

600 Years of China-Korea Relations

November 20, 2019 at the MacMillan Center of Yale University

Odd Arne Westad, Elihu Professor of History and Global Affairs, Yale University talks about Empire and Righteous Nation: 600 Years of China-Korea Relations.

Professor Westad is a scholar of modern international and global history, with a specialization in the history of eastern Asia since the 18th century. He has published sixteen books, most of which deal with twentieth century Asian and global history.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Monday in Washington November 4, 2019

CATO'S 37TH ANNUAL MONETARY CONFERENCE: FED POLICY: A SHADOW REVIEW. 11/4, 8:00am-5:00pm. Sponsor: Cato Institute’s Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives. Speakers including: James A. Dorn, Vice President for Monetary Studies, Cato Institute; Richard H. Clarida, Vice Chairman, Federal Reserve Board; Peter Ireland, Murray and Monti Professor of Economics, Boston College; Jeffrey M. Lacker, Distinguished Professor of Economics, ​​​​​​​​Virginia Commonwealth University, and former President, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond; Carola Conces Binder, Assistant Professor of Economics, Haverford College; Eric R. Sims, Michael P. Grace II Collegiate Chair and Professor of Economics, University of Notre Dame.

IMPROVING THE U.S.-MEXICO-CANADA AGREEMENT. 11/4, Noon-1:00pm. Sponsor: Speaker: R Street Institute. Clark Packard, Trade Policy Counsel, R Street Institute; Jennifer Hillman, Senior Fellow for Trade and International Political Economy, Council on Foreign Relations; Bill Watson, Associate Fellow, R Street Institute.

NUCLEAR AND CONVENTIONAL ARMS CONTROL ON THE KOREAN PENINSULA. 11/4, 2:00-4:00pm. Sponsor: Institute for Korean Studies, GW. Speakers: Yong-sup Han, Professor, Korea National Defense University; Young-jun Kim, Professor, Korea National Defense University; Joanna Spear, Associate Professor of International Affairs, the George Washington University; Yonho Kim, Associate Director, GW Institute for Korean Studies.

AUSTRALIA, INDIA AND THE MAKING OF AN INDO-PACIFIC STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP. 11/4, 3:00-4:30pm. Sponsor: Georgetown U. Speaker: Dr. Ian Hall of Griffith University will discuss the Australia-India strategic partnership in the Indo-Pacific.

IMPEACHMENT, FOREIGN INTERFERENCE, AND ELECTION SECURITY IN 2020. 11/4, 3:30-5:00pm. Sponsor: Brookings. Speakers: William A. Galston, Ezra K. Zilkha Chair, Senior Fellow, Governance Studies, Brookings; Elaine Kamarck, Senior Fellow, Founding Director, Center for Effective Public Management, Brookings; Molly E. Reynolds, Senior Fellow, Governance Studies, Brookings Benjamin Wittes, Senior Fellow, Governance Studies, Editor-in-Chief, Lawfare, Brookings; Darrell M. West, Vice President and Director, Governance Studies, Brookings.

MEASURING ENERGY SECURITY RISK: ASSESSING RISK IN A GLOBAL ENERGY MARKET. 11/4, 4:00-5:00pm. Sponsor: Institute of World Politics (IWP). Speaker: Stephen D. Eule, Vice President for climate and technology, U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute.

THE RISE AND FALL OF "GOOD GOVERNANCE" PROMOTION. 11/4, 6:00-8:30pm. Sponsors: Embassy of Canada; National Endowment for Democracy. Speakers: Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, Professor of Democracy Studies, Hertie School of Governance. 

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Monday in Washington October 28, 2019

PROSPECTS OF THE RUSSIAN PROTEST MOVEMENT. 10/28, 2:00pm. Sponsor: Atlantic Council. Speakers: Dr. Olga Khostunova, Author; Ms. Ksenia Kirillova, Author; John Herbst, Ambassador; Dr. Maria Snegovaya.

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THE RED SEA REGION BETWEEN WAR AND RECONCILIATION. 10/28, 4:00-5:00pm. Sponsor: Institute of World Politics (IWP). Speaker: Dr. Col. (Res.) author, Shaul Shay, senior research fellow, International Policy Institute for Counter Terrorism (ICT), former Director of Research at the Institute for Strategy and Policy (IPS), Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, Israel.

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THE BATTLE FOR PAKISTAN WITH SHUJA NAWAZ AND STEVE INSKEEP. 10/28, 5:30pm,Washington, DC. Sponsor: Atlantic Council. Speakers: Steve Inskeep, NPR; author Shuja Nawaz, Distinguished Fellow, South Asia Center.

THE UN AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN 2019. 10/28, 5:30-7:00pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: United Nations Association, National Capital Area (UNA-NCA). Speakers: Mr. Andrew Gilmour, Assistant Secretary-General, Human Rights, United Nations; Ambassador Keith Harper, Former U.S. Permanent Representative, UN Human Rights Council; Ambassador Sarah Mendelson, Former U.S. Representative, Economic and Social Council, UN.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Can the Statue of Peace find Peace?

On Sunday, October 27, 2019 at 3:00pm on the front lawn of 7601 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, Virginia a Comfort Woman Statue will be unveiled.

Known as the "Statue of Peace," and also called Sonyeo Sang [Statue of a Girl] this is THE Comfort Woman statue. It was designed by the Korean sculptor couple, Kim Seo-Kyung and Kim Un-Sung. The first statue was installed in front of the Embassy of Japan in Seoul, Korea by the Korean Council for Justice and Remembrance for the Issues of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan on December 14, 2011 in commemoration of the 1000th Wednesday demonstration.

This powerful, interactive artwork has been displayed by Asian American civic groups throughout the United States, despite Japanese rightwing and government opposition. The Annandale memorial is the 5th Statue of Peace and the 14th Comfort Women memorial in the U.S. Only a small number, however, are on public land.

Why are these statues necessary? What is it about the visual image--especially one that is well done with artistic grace--that can persuade where words cannot? Why is not recognized that what happened to the women, girls, and boys who were used for sexual service to the Imperial Japanese military is obviously wrong? Why is taking responsibility even harder?

Recently, the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward interviewed the New York Times’s Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey about their best-selling book, She Said, that discusses their investigation of sexual assault and harassment allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. The exchange highlights how far we still have to go to educate people, not just men, about sexual violence.

Woodward was genuinely puzzled by Weinstein's motivations and pathology. “If you spent all the time on him, you have to ask the question, which you really don’t address in the book, and that is: Why did he behave this way?” Woodward asked. “I know you’re not psychiatrists or psychologists, but share with us the ‘Why?’ … because there’s so many strange things he does.”

"I’ll tell you what we know. It’s that this story is an X-ray into power, and how power works,” Kantor said, as the crowd erupted into loud applause. “It’s also about sex, isn’t it?” Woodward asked. “No!” several attendees yelled at the same time. “It’s not about sex in the romantic sense,” Kantor said, adding that “part of the way it’s about power is that it’s about work.”

Thus, many people in prominent positions are still going through the motions of understanding how sexual violence works. No more is this true than in Japan as you can see in Abe's recent encounter with Nobel Laureate Nadia Murad. This meeting was only reported by JiJi and is NOT recorded on Abe's social media or official daily news. It is odd that it is not.
Abe Meets Nobel Peace Prize Winner Murad. JiJi, 9/25/19.Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held talks with Nobel laureate Nadia Murad in New York on Tuesday. Murad, who won the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, is a human rights activist who drew attention to the use of sexual violence by the Islamic State militant group against members of the Yazidi minority in Iraq. Abe told Murad that Japan will continue to work on efforts to prevent rape in conflict and on support for female victims. [There is no mention of this meeting on the PM's website or MOFA]
Japan [and Korea] will have an opportunity to display its commitment to preventing rape next week, October 29th, at the UN Security Council's annual debate on women, peace and security. You can check up on them at the UNSC news site. They usually publish a good summary of events. You can also watch the debate either live or later. This day is the 19th Anniversary of UNSC Resolution 1325 and the creation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.

click to order
The next day, October 30th, will be a celebration for the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the UN Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict by Security Council resolution (SCR) 1888 (2009). All are welcome.

Both 1325 and 1888 are part of a 20 year series of UN resolutions recognizing the detrimental impact that sexual violence in conflict has on communities and acknowledging that this crime undermines efforts to ensure peace and security and rebuild societies once a conflict has ended. These resolutions signal a change in the way the international community views and deals with conflict-related sexual violence. It is no longer seen as an inevitable byproduct of war, but rather a crime that is preventable and punishable under International Human Rights Law and International Criminal Law.

In other words, it was not until 2000 that the UN Security Council began officially to mandate that a gender perspective be integrated throughout all aspects of peace and security. It was not until this century that a political framework was established to recognize that women and sexual violence in warfare are relevant to negotiating peace and reconciliation agreements. There is still much to do to educate that rape is about power. The objections that the Abe government and friends have about recognizing the Comfort Women as sex slaves are products of an antiquated view of women and warfare. Unfortunately, they have not grown with the times.

How Impeachment May Reshape American Foreign Policy

By Daniel Sneider, Lecturer, International Policy at Stanford University and APP member.
Toyo Keizai, October 25, 2019

Japanese are understandably riveted by the procession of deadly storms marching across the Pacific Ocean toward their shores. But there is another catastrophe forming an ocean away that deserves attention too.

The American President is building up into a fury, driven by the prospect of his impeachment. And the winds being generated could bring a different kind of destruction to Japan and Northeast Asia.

The inquiry into the President’s conduct in Ukraine in the Democratic party-controlled House of Representatives is moving rapidly. Increasingly damning testimony by senior officials is confirming that the President and his close allies tried to pressure the Ukrainian government, by withholding Congressionally-authorized military aid, to help build a case of alleged corruption against his likely Democratic presidential opponent, former Vice President Joseph Biden.

If the House votes to impeach Trump, he will be tried in the Senate where a conviction would require at least 20 Republican Senators to cross the line. At this moment, that is unlikely, but that could change as we head deeper into this crisis.

“The likelihood of impeachment has risen quickly from highly unlikely just a few months ago, to highly probable today,” says former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific Daniel Russel.

“The prospects of conviction by a vote of two thirds in the Senate currently seem very low. But we should bear in mind that this is a dynamic situation and that Trump’s behavior has rapidly become more problematic as the pressure on him has mounted,” Russel, who is Vice President of the Asia Society Policy Institute, told me.

Japanese readers need to grasp that the decision to investigate and impeach a president is incredibly rare in American political history. Congress has only twice passed articles of impeachment—against Andrew Johnson in the 19th century and against Bill Clinton—leading to a trial in the Senate. The Senate voted in both cases not to remove the President from office. A third president, Richard Nixon, resigned when it was clear that he was destined for a similar fate.

All three impeachment cases were deeply divisive moments in American history, led by the party that was not in power in the White House. No matter what the outcome of this situation, it is likely to send the United States to the verge of political civil war.

What is already clear is that the prospect of impeachment is consuming the President’s every waking moment, evident in the flood of Tweets and his recent rambling attempts to defend his record. The crisis is driving foreign policy decisions that are even more impulsive than previously, ones where he relies entirely on his own personal judgment and deeply seated beliefs.

“The political crisis at home means that on foreign policy, Trump acts like Trump...only more so,” comments Russel.

“Decisions with far-reaching consequences, such as green-lighting Turkey’s move against the Kurds in Syria, were made on the fly and entirely without deliberation or input from his national security team. Others, such as the defiant decision to award himself the lucrative contract for the upcoming G-7 meeting site, created strong political blowback from his own party — forcing a rare reversal.”

Does the impeachment crisis make Trump even more likely to take risks? Or less likely, fearful that it will generate resistance from his own party, whose votes he needs to avoid the ignominy of an impeachment conviction? There is no clear answer to this question.

Some observers believe Trump will be too embroiled in his troubles to do much of anything on the foreign policy front. “With impeachment, I think it’s even less likely that he will get anything major done in the next 12 months, either for good (a North Korea deal) or for ill (pulling out of alliance commitments),” former Obama Amb to Moscow Michael McFaul, the head of Stanford’s Institute for International Studies, told me.

While domestic politics may make him risk averse, “his recent actions suggest to me that his decisions are increasingly based more on instinct and impulse than they are on any calculation,” observes John Walcott, a contributing editor for Time magazine and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

While Trump has tended to avoid conflict, such as in the Middle East, he may see war as a way to rally the country if his impeachment troubles deepen, he warns.

Will Donald Trump Go to Pyongyang?
North Korea may be the most unpredictable test of the impact of impeachment and election on Trump’s foreign policy. The North Koreans have drawn a line at the end of this year, threatening to return to unrestrained testing and buildup of their nuclear weapons capability.

The abortive attempt to restart talks at a working level in Stockholm earlier this month suggest that Kim Jong Un still hopes to draw the President back into direct talks, where he can get sanctions lifted without giving much in return.

But impeachment may mean the clock is running out on talks, and a return to tensions, and even the danger of war, is increasingly likely.

“It’s certainly possible that the North Koreans could turn to an ICBM test to pressure Trump, but my concern is that they would misread the situation, decide that negotiations would go nowhere given disarray in Washington and thus they might as well take the opportunity to test and move to the next level in their force,” a former senior North Korean analyst in the U.S. intelligence community told me.

“I think that will set off a very dangerous action-reaction cycle, worse than we’ve ever seen, especially if it unfolds in the midst of a political crisis in DC.”

When it comes to the idea of another summit, this analyst believes the North Korean leadership would approach this with great caution.

“I can’t imagine that Pyongyang would want to have Kim Jong Un in the same room with Trump while this impeachment process is in play,” he told me. “Moreover, one would think the North Koreans would be leery of coming to any sort of deal with the US (especially one where they make irreversible moves on their nuclear program) when the US situation is in such turmoil.”

A Trump visit to Pyongyang, offering dramatic television, may still be possible however.

Officials involved in the administration's East Asia policy say the President continues to think he can negotiate a denuclearization agreement with Kim Jong-un if the two of them sit down together, reports Walcott.

“Having already claimed to have ended the North’s nuclear threat, yet faced with an escalating pattern of provocative North Korean missile tests, Trump is confronting a dilemma,” observes former senior State Department official Russel.

“A return to ‘fire and fury’ would expose the failure of Trump’s approach and present yet another challenge to a president who vowed to end foreign military entanglements but has instead stumbled into crises in Syria and Iran.”

The China Question
While Trump ponders a deal with Kim, he seems ready to embrace one with China’s Xi, even at the cost of his own policies. The months of tough negotiations to force China to adopt to serious structural reform, protect intellectual property, strip away the mercantile policies to promote technological competition, and open the Chinese market to global firms has been set aside. Instead Trump eagerly settled for a so-called Phase One agreement that basically amounts to overinflated claims of Chinese agricultural purchases designed to win votes in farm states like Iowa.

“Senior officials in the U.S. Government believe quite widely that deepening political trouble at home is likely to make the President more anxious to strike deals abroad that he can trumpet as victories,” veteran Washington correspondent Walcott told me. “Facing increasing unrest in the farm states he carried in 2016, for example, he's already tried to do that with a China trade deal, which apparently isn't even a deal yet. If it is, it is a hollow one.”

Host Nation Support Talks
One place where Trump’s impeachment troubles may show up is in the talks with Japan and South Korea on defense cost burden sharing. Talks with South Korea are about to begin and the Host Nation Support agreement will be negotiated with Japan from early next year.

According to senior officials, Trump is demanding that the Koreans and Japanese pay 5 times more than in previous agreements -- $5 billion from Korea and $7.5 billion from Japan.

It is not yet clear how serious those demands will be. “Maybe it is an opening position,” says a former senior State Department official, “maybe it is NOT.”

The demands that U.S. allies shoulder more of the cost of defense is a popular one among many American voters, and certainly for those who back Trump and his America First stance. Nor does Trump seem to care what those allies think about the reliability of the United States as a global power. Increasingly, Trump under fire at home, and isolated within his own administration, is reverting back to his core beliefs.

For Japan, this may be more destructive than the storms now pounding the country.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Monday in Washington October 21, 2019

THE SCIENCE OF BUREAUCRACY. RISK DECISION-MAKING AND THE LEGITIMACY OF THE US ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY. 10/21, 8:30-1030am. Sponsor: Consortium for Science and Policy Outcomes. Speaker: author, David Demortain, research centre Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire Sciences Innovations Sociétés (LISIS), a centre of the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA).

THE TRADE AGENDA: WHAT’S AT STAKE FOR DEVELOPING COUNTRIES? 10/24. Sponsor: Washington International Trade Association (WITA). Speakers include: Orit Frenkel, Executive Director, American Leadership Initiative; Edward Gresser, Assistant USTR, Trade Policy & Economics, USTR; Katrin Kuhlmann, President & Founder, New Markets Lab, Visiting Professor, Georgetown Law School.

THE WORLD TRADING SYSTEM IS NOT DYING. 10/21, 9:00-10:15am. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: Ambassador Alan Wolff, Deputy Director-General, WTO; William A. Reinsch, Senior Adviser, Scholl Chair, International Business, CSIS.

ARE THE US AND CHINA IN AN IDEOLOGICAL COMPETITION? 10/21, 9:00-10:30am. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: Toshi Yoshihara, Senior Fellow, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments; Jessica Chen Weiss, Associate Professor of Government, Cornell University; Dan Tobin, China Studies Faculty, National Intelligence University.

CAMBODIA BUSINESS ROUNDTABLE. 10/21, 9:00-10:30am. Sponsors: US Chamber of Commerce; US-ASEAN Business Council; AmCham Cambodia. Speakers include: Allen Tan, Chairman of the Board of AmCham Cambodia; Steven Path, CEO of Pathmazing; Rithy Sear, Chairman of World Bridge Group Ltd.; William Heidt, Former US Ambassador to Cambodia.

IN THE SHADOW OF IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS, DUELING VISIONS FOR THE NATION. 10/21, 10:00-11:45am. Sponsor: Brookings. Speakers: Robert P. Jones, CEO, Public Religion Research Institute; E.J. Dionne Jr., W. Averell Harriman Chair, Senior Fellow, Governance Studies, Brookings; William A. Galston, Ezra K. Zilkha Chair, Senior Fellow, Governance Studies, Brookings; Joy Reid, Host, AM Joy, Political Analyst, MSNBC; Jennifer Rubin, Opinion Writer, Washington Post.


FUEL TO THE FIRE: HOW TRUMP MADE AMERICA’S BROKEN FOREIGN POLICY EVEN WORSE (AND HOW WE CAN RECOVER). 10/21, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: Cato Institute. Speakers: John Glaser, Director, Foreign Policy, Cato Institute; Christopher Preble, Vice President, Defense and Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute; Trevor Thrall, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute; Associate Professor, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University; Heather Hurlburt, Director, New Models of Policy Change, New America.

U.S. POLICY PRIORITIES FOR AFGHANISTAN: A CONVERSATION WITH REPRESENTATIVE MIKE WALTZ. 10/21, 3:00-4:00. Sponsor: Middle East Institute (MEI). Speakers: Representative Michael Waltz (R-FL); Dr. Marvin Weinbaum, director of Afghanistan and Pakistan Studies at MEI. 

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Monday in Washington October 14 2019

Columbus Day Holiday - Indigenous Peoples’ Day

PROSPECTS FOR A NUCLEAR DEAL WITH NORTH KOREA. 10/14, 3:00-5.00pm, Sponsors: GW Institute for Korean Studies; GW East Asia National Resource Center. Speakers: Amb. Joseph Yun, Senior Advisor, U.S. Institute for Peace; Jisoo M. Kim, Associate Professor, Korea Foundation, Director, Institute for Korean Studies, GW; Yonho Kim, Associate Research Professor, Practice and Associate Director of Institute for Korean Studies, GW.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Monday in Washington October 7, 2019

MORE THAN A WALLET: THE ROLE OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR IN DEVELOPMENT. 10/7, 10:00-11:30am. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: Richard Crespin, CEO, CollaborateUp; Melissa Scudo Gasmi, Senior Vice President, Middle East and North Africa, Chemonics International; Ky Johnson, Senior Advisor, mClinica; Michael Eddy, Private Sector Engagement Coordinator, USAID.

DEMOCRACY, NATIONALISM AND POPULISM: THE US, ISRAEL, AND BEYOND. 10/7, 10:00-11:30am. Sponsor: Brookings. Speakers: William A. Galston, Ezra K. Zilkha Chair, Senior Fellow, Governance Studies, Brookings Institution; Shany Mor, Associate Fellow, Hannah Arendt Center, Bard College; Former Director, Foreign Policy, Israeli National Security Council; Yael (Yuli) Tamir, President, Shenkar College of Engineering and Design; Adjunct Professor, University of Oxford; Moderator: Natan Sachs, Fellow, Director, Center for Middle East Policy, Brookings Institution.

A VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF MISSILE DEFENSE. 10/7, 9:30-10:30am. Sponsor: CSIS. Speaker: Vice Admiral Jon Hill, Director, Missile Defense Agency.

PROTECTING AMERICAN INTERESTS IN FRAGILE STATES. 10/7, 10:45am-1:00pm. Sponsor: Hudson Institute. Speakers: James Richardson, Director, Office of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources, U.S. State Department; Raphael Carland, Managing Director for Policy, Office of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resource, U.S. State Department; Jessica Trisko Darden, Visiting Jeane Kirkpatrick Fellow, American Enterprise Institute; Rob Jenkins, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance, U.S. Agency for International Development; Rachel Kleinfeld, Senior Fellow, Democracy, Conflict, and Governance Program, Carnegie; Blaise Misztal, Fellow, Hudson Institute.

AFTER THE MERGER: PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AT STATE. 10/7, Noon. Sponsor: Public Diplomacy Achievement Awards. Speakers include: Ambassador Cynthia Efird; Ambassador Kenton Keith; Ambassador Jean Manes; Dr. Shawn Powers.

RUSSIA AND THE EUROPEAN HUMAN RIGHTS SYSTEM. 10/7, 2:00-3:00pm. Sponsor: Wilson Center. Speaker: Jeffrey Kahn, Professor, Dedman School of Law, Southern Methodist University.

MELANCHOLY, REMORSE, AND RESIGNATION IN A YEAR OF COMMUNIST ANNIVERSARIES: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION: THE GLOBAL IDEA OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY. 10/7, 4:00-5:30pm. Sponsor: Wilson Center. Speakers: Eric Arnesen, Fellow, Professor of History, The George Washington University; A. James McAdams, William M. Scholl Professor of International Affairs at the University of Notre Dame; Christian F. Ostermann, Director, History and Public Policy Program, Cold War International History Project, North Korea Documentation Project, Nuclear Proliferation International History Project. 

DISCUSSION ON WORLD EVENTS WITH GENERAL DAVID H. PETRAEUS. 10/7, 4:45-6:00pm. Sponsor: Johns Hopkins, SAIS. Speakers: General David H. Petraeus, Chairman, KKR Global Institute, Ambassador, Counselor, William Davidson Distinguished Fellow, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy; Eliot A. Cohen, SAIS, Dean.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Monday in Washington September 30, 2019

JOONGANG ILBO-CSIS FORUM 2019: NAVIGATING GEOSTRATEGIC FLUX IN ASIA: THE UNITED STATES AND KOREA. 9/30, 9:00am-4:00pm. Sponsors: CSIS; JoongAng Ilbo. Keynote Speaker: Ambassador John. R. Bolton, National Security Advisor (2018 - 2019), United States Ambassador the United Nations (2005 - 2006). Speakers: Hong Seok-Hyun, JoongAng Holdings, Chairman, Korea Peace Foundation; John Hamre, President, CEO, CSIS; Courtney Kube, Reporter, NBC; Victor Cha, Senior Adviser, Korea Chair, CSIS; Kim Byung-Yeon, Professor, Seoul National University; Park Myung-Lim, Professor, Yonsei University; Sue Mi Terry, Senior Fellow, CSIS; Mark Lippert, Senior Adviser, CSIS; Richard Armitage, President, Armitage International and Trustee, CSIS; Choi Byung-il, Professor, Ewha Womans University; Bonnie Glaser, Senior Adviser, CSIS; Kim Heung-Kyu, Director, China Policy Institute, Ajou University; Shin Kak-soo, Former Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs & Trade; Michael Green, Senior Vice President for Asia and Japan Chair, CSIS; Lee Keun-Gwan, Professor, Seoul National University; Park Cheol-Hee, Professor, Seoul National University; Kathleen Stephens, President, KEI.

HIDDEN FORCES: THE ROLE OF WATER IN ECONOMIC PROSPERITY. 9/30, 9:30-11:30am. Sponsor: Wilson Center. Speakers: Lauren Herzer Risi, Project Director, Environmental Change and Security Program; Maitreyi B. Das, Manager, Global Practice for Social, Urban, Rural, Resilience, Global Lead for Social Inclusion, World Bank; Sam Huston, USAID WASH-FIN Chief of Party, Gordon Mumbo, Team Leader, Sustainable Water for the Mara Basin, Winrock International.

IMPEACHMENT: WHAT HAPPENS NOW? 9/30, 10:00-11:30am. Sponsor: Brookings Institution, Speakers: Susan Hennessey, Senior Fellow, Governance Studies, Executive Editor, Lawfare, Brookings; John Hudak, Senior Fellow, Deputy Director, Center for Effective Public Management, Brookings; Elaine Kamarck, Senior Fellow, Founding Director, Center for Effective Public Management, Brookings; Margaret L. Taylor, Fellow, Governance Studies, Senior Editor, Counsel, Lawfare, Brookings; Moderator: E.J. Dionne, Jr., W. Averell Harriman Chair and Senior Fellow, Governance Studies, Brookings.

PUBLIC DIPLOMACY IN THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION. 9/30, 11:00-12:30pm. Michelle S. Giuda, Assistant Secretary and Senior Official for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Bureau of Global and Public Affairs, Department of State; Nicole Chulick, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Global Public Affairs, Department of State; Matthew Lussenhop, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Department of State; Chris Dunnett, Deputy Coordinator, Global Engagement Center, Department of State.

CHINA'S AI INNOVATION ECOSYSTEM. 9/30, 1:00-2:30pm. Sponsor: Technology Policy Program, CSIS. Speakers: Naomi Wilson, Senior Director of Policy, Asia ITI; Paul TrioloPractice Head - Geotechnology Eurasia Group; Helen Toner. Director of Strategy, Georgetown's Center for Security and Emerging Technology, William A. Carter, Deputy Director, Fellow, Technology Policy Program, CSIS; Moderater: Kaiser KuoHost and Co-Founder The Sinica Podcast.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR AFGHANISTAN PEACE TALKS? 9/30, 1:45-3:30pm. Sponsor: Hudson Institute. Speakers: Javid Ahmad, Senior Fellow, South Asia Center, Atlantic Council; Ambassador Husain Haqqani, Director, South and Central Asia program, Hudson Institute; Ambassador Ronald Neumann; President, American Academy of Diplomacy & Former US Ambassador to Afghanistan; Bill Roggio, Senior Fellow and Editor, Long War Journal, Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

REDUCING THREATS AND BUILDING STABILITY. 9/30, 5:00-7:30pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Middle East Institute (MEI). Speakers: Ambassador William Burns, President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Michelle Kosinski, Senior diplomatic correspondent, CNN; Ernest Moniz, Former Secretary of Energy; Michele Flournoy, Former Under Secretary of Defense; Moderator: Paul Salem, President, MEI.