by John Feffer
Why North Korea Today is Not East Germany 1989 (Photo: Gabriel Britto / Flickr)
Policymakers have long predicted that North Korea will go the way of East German Communism. Not so fast
Policy analysts, pundits, and politicians have long predicted that the North Korean government will go the way of East German Communism. Just as the seemingly impregnable Honecker regime rapidly disintegrated along with the Berlin Wall in November 1989, the Kim dynasty in North Korea has been expected to collapse at any minute. This minute, of course, has lasted for more than two decades.
The latest trend is not simply to predict regime collapse but to prepare for it. As far back as 1999, the United States and South Korea teamed up to draft CONPLAN 5029 as a set of military contingency plans in the event of political chaos north of the 38th parallel, a conceptual plan that only became a completed operational plan in 2009. In 2008, the South Korean government altered its defense strategy to incorporate rapid response brigades, anchored by 2,000 advanced wheeled armored vehicles that could move quickly to secure cities and critical infrastructure in case of internal instability in the North. The most recent, and most detailed, set of contingency plans have been laid out in a recent RAND report authored by Bruce Bennett, who has advised both the U.S. and South Korean militaries on how to plan for North Korea's eventual collapse.
The North Korean regime might indeed collapse at any moment, and contingency planning is rarely a bad thing. But certain assumptions that carry over from the East European experience of 1989 cloud the debate on North Korea's future, assumptions about the "inevitable" trajectory of history, the appropriate strategy for dealing with non-democratic governments, and the kind of contingency plans that make sense in a tripwire environment. North Korea today is, for many reasons, not East Germany circa 1989. Still, there are lessons that can be learned from that time and place and applied to the current situation on the Korean peninsula.
North Korean on the Verge of … What?
Over the last quarter century, North Korea has endured three major systemic shocks, any one of which would have spelled the end of a less hardy regime. The collapse of many Communist governments in 1989 created a domino effect that nevertheless didn't topple the government in Pyongyang. The death of the founder and only leader of the country in 1994, which occasioned much speculation about political turmoil, led to a relatively smooth transition in power to the son (and then, in 2011, to the grandson). And the wide-scale famine of the latter half of the 1990s -- on the heels of dramatic drops in agricultural and industrial production -- killed a large portion of the population but left the ruling elite in place.
Today, by comparison, the situation is relatively quiet in Pyongyang. The economy has registered a modest improvement in GDP growth. The agricultural yields are slightly up, and malnutrition is dramatically down. China continues to direct considerable investment eastward and is responsible for the bulk of trade as well. A new wealthy class has emerged, particularly in Pyongyang, where it takes advantage of high-end restaurants and stores. Equally important, the now well-established markets provide opportunities for those without impeccable political pedigrees to survive and even prosper.
Politically, Kim Jong Eun has apparently consolidated his leadership. He has shaken up the ranks of the military and the Party, elevating people like Choe Ryong-hae to the top of the military's General Political Bureau. Rumors of assassination plots and rivalry abound. But the third leader in North Korean history has acted with the same ruthlessness as his predecessors in eliminating potential challengers. The recent execution of his uncle and presumed force behind the throne, Jang Song Taek, along with a number of his confederates, suggests that the Kim Jong Eun's position is currently unrivalled. Importantly, the executions did not appear to alter any of the regime's talking points -- on negotiations with the United States, economic engagement with South Korea, or trade with China.
The Communist regimes in Eastern Europe collapsed so quickly in part because the populations there had shed any identification with the official ideology. In North Korea, Communism remains a rhetorical flourish -- much as the word "democratic" in the country's official name -- but doesn't shape the government's programs or the population's affections. The official dogma of juche (roughly, self-reliance) is too abstract and infinitely pliable a concept to command fealty. What is left, however, is nationalism, which the Kim dynasty has deployed in increasing doses to tie the regime's legitimacy to a putative 5,000-year-old history, distinguish North Korean "purity" from South Korea's "polluted" cosmopolitanism, and offer an illusion of security to contrast with the insecurities of globalization.
In short, North Korea -- unlike the East European regimes of 1989 -- seems to be on the verge of remaining the same, with some minor variations, for some time.
How North Korea Differs
North Korea has not followed the same trajectory as East Germany because, to state the obvious, the countries are very different. The differences in their experiences, however, are worth noting in brief.
The leadership of East Germany was not only geriatric but also widely perceived by the population as subservient to Moscow. The same applied to other leaders in the region (with the notable exceptions of Romania, Yugoslavia, and Albania, all three of which had broken to one degree or another from the Soviet Union). Every country in the region, moreover, possessed a small group of high-profile dissidents that represented an alternative to the ruling elite -- from the massive Solidarity movement in Poland to the handful of anti-regime voices in East Germany.
The North Korean leadership, by contrast, prides itself on being independent from everyone, even those countries on which it is dependent (juche being the opposite of sadaejuui or flunkeyism). The head of state is far from geriatric. There are no public dissidents in the country. Nor, as the case was in Bulgaria and Yugoslavia, are there any ethnic divisions. And unlike Romania or East Germany, not to mention Poland, there have been no significant displays of worker discontent.
Economically, the North Korean system operates at a considerably lower level than East Germany in 1989. But what drove spikes in public discontent in Eastern Europe was rising expectations. In the 1970s, fueled by Western loans, the Communist governments in the region shifted resources away from heavy industry and toward a more consumer-oriented economy. It was the inability of the governments to meet rising demands from consumers (for more goods) and workers (for higher wages) that created the legitimation crisis in the 1980s. North Koreans, by contrast, have endured the collapse of their economy and not overthrown their leaders. Over the past decade, the markets have also provided a release valve -- offering a wide variety of consumer items for those with money and an alternative path to success outside established structures for those willing to take the entrepreneurial risk. Such markets can satisfy expectations raised as a result of trips to China or viewings of South Korean TV shows on illicit DVDs.
There has been a perennial expectation that China will play the role of the Soviet Union in 1989. From the Rumsfeld memo of 2003 to the more detailed analysis of the recent RAND report, U.S. observers have expected Beijing to cut loose its putative ally and find common geopolitical cause with Washington. In such a scenario, once the North Korean leaders found themselves as isolated as the East German leaders did in 1989, they would crumble just as quickly.
But China is making a different set of calculations than the Soviet Union did in the late 1980s. It values stability in its "near abroad" as a precondition for its own preferably double-digit economic growth. It will not do anything to jeopardize this economic imperative. China has made important investments in North Korea and views the future extractive resources as key inputs for its own growth. But the negative scenario of regime collapse -- and the shock waves it would send through the regional investment climate -- is more important than the relatively small impact these North Korean investments have on the Chinese economy. Even if such a drop in investor confidence in Northeast Asia were brief, it could still pose a considerable risk to the Chinese Communist Party's maintenance of domestic political stability.
Of course China is frustrated with North Korea -- with its nuclear weapons program, its failure to implement more substantial economic reform, and its tendency to attract undue attention to the region with its precipitous actions and rhetoric. Beijing has thus backed UN sanctions against Pyongyang and will put pressure on the government to be more amenable to negotiations. But in the end, China treats North Korea much as the United States treats Israel -- as a difficult, exasperating, and ultimately irreplaceable ally. The economic and geopolitical calculations of both countries toward their recalcitrant allies might change, but probably no time soon.
Finally, the United States and its allies have approached North Korea in a very different way than they approached the Soviet bloc in the 1980s. There are some similarities in the strategies of military containment in both cases. But containment, particularly in this era of "strategic patience" toward North Korea, is the only arrow presently in the U.S quiver. During the era of U.S.-Soviet confrontation, however, Washington maintained a variety of strategies for influencing the course of events in Eastern Europe. On the economic side, the United States engaged in significant trade with the Soviet bloc, and U.S. banks extended substantial loans to East European countries ($230 million in loans to Poland in the 1970s, for instance). Throughout the 1970s, the United States and its allies engaged in various diplomatic endeavors culminating in the Helsinki Accords of 1975. And at the geopolitical level, Washington was constantly on the lookout for ways to drive wedges between Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, for instance by reaching out to both Romania and Yugoslavia when they sought to put distance between themselves and Moscow.
So, in sum, North Korea doesn't look at all like East Germany (or the rest of Eastern Europe) circa 1989 for economic, political, and ideological reasons. China, with its overemphasis on regional and domestic stability, is playing a different game -- on a different playing field -- from the Soviet Union of the late 1980s. And external actors like the United States have adopted a largely monochromatic policy toward North Korea in comparison to a much more multicolored approach to the Soviet bloc during the Cold War.
Lessons to Learn
The changes in Eastern Europe in 1989, followed by the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, created a certain expectation that Communist governments would all inevitably collapse. When the domino effect largely bypassed Asia, the next expectation was that Communist governments would have to change substantially -- as in China's economic reform or Vietnam's doi moi -- or else face collapse. North Korea has neither collapsed nor embarked on significant reforms. Still it endures.
Since North Korea has proven so different from both its distant European and close Asian Communist cousins, what possible lessons can be drawn from the experiences of 1989? The three categories of relevant experiences pertain to contingency planning, developments in North Korea, and the influence of regional integration.
In terms of contingency planning, the emphasis has been on military preparedness -- to secure nuclear material, prevent a humanitarian crisis, and reduce the potential for civil war or regional conflict. Within certain parameters, such planning is useful. Although North Korea doesn't appear to be near collapse, the unexpected does happen. And it certainly doesn't make sense to train State Department officials or NGO aid workers to find and secure nuclear weapons and material.
However, the deployment of military personnel, particularly U.S. soldiers, should be approached with a great delicacy. Outright collapse of regime followed by complete chaos -- a scenario that might produce a consensus in favor of outside military intervention -- is only one possible future for North Korea and not necessarily the most likely. More probable would be an ambiguous situation in which some force asserts leadership in Pyongyang, from within the Party or the military, and only sporadic opposition to the new order emerges. Would military intervention in such a situation be beneficial, particularly in a country so thoroughly imbued with nationalist ideology and especially given the recent experiences of outside intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan? The RAND report also slips rather easily from preparing for contingencies to precipitating those contingencies, for instance by recommending a covert operation to convince the North Korean military to turn against the regime.
The experience of Eastern Europe in 1989 is also valuable here. Except in a limited sense in Romania in December 1989, the military forces aligned with the Communist regimes did not intervene against growing opposition movements -- even though in many circumstances, it would not have taken that much force to suppress the demonstrations. This may well have simply been a matter of luck. However, if foreign forces had been introduced into the situation -- or even if there had been the threat of such an intervention -- the events of 1989 might have gone very differently. The Soviet Union also may not have taken such a laissez-faire attitude if NATO forces had been poised to intervene.
The experience of East Germany after 1989 offers some guidance in terms of developments inside North Korea. Even today, nearly 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, former East Germans complain about their second-class treatment in unified Germany. East German lawmakers produced a constitution for a democratic East Germany that was ignored; reunification proceeded according to Article 23 (absorption) instead of Article 146 (a new constitution) of the West German constitution; Treuhand privatization privileged West German firms. On the economic side, East Germany was the beneficiary of enormous West German largesse. But East German lander have still failed to close the gap. Although wages have narrowed considerably, overall household income in the eastern lander remains only 70 percent of that in the western lander, and the unemployment rate in the east is nearly double that of the west. The gaps between the rest of Eastern Europe and the West are even larger. Finally, the issue of justice remains foremost in the minds of citizens from the East: did those who benefited under the previous system unfairly prosper under the new dispensation as well?
But perhaps the most important lesson of 1989 has been the importance of regional integration. The countries of Eastern Europe had an immediate goal after the collapse of Communism: membership in the European Union. Reforms that might not have ordinarily been popular were borne for the simple reason that EU accession required them. Although the initial expectations of Eastern European countries have not been met -- their standards of living have not reached that of Austria -- the promise of regional integration established a set of political, economic, and social criteria that were negotiable within certain parameters and not the diktat of one country.
Any effort to apply the experiences of one part of the world to another part should necessarily be modest. Much of this brief, after all, has been devoted to why North Korea is so different from Eastern Europe. But as we think about North Korea's future, it is imperative that we not restrict our contingency planning to the military sphere. As in Eastern Europe in 1989, the emphasis should be not on military but on diplomatic, humanitarian, and eventually economic responses to change in North Korea. North Koreans, furthermore, should be at the center of determining the future of their country rather than simply being the objects of the foreign policy making of other countries. The economic gap between North and South -- and the concerns of the population about justice -- should be addressed up front, with clear benchmarks, and without unrealistic promises.
Finally, it will be important to consider North Korea's future not simply in terms of the peninsula but for the region as a whole. Although Northeast Asia is far from the kind of regional cooperation that existed in Europe prior to 1989, it is never too early to pursue a regional security model (as proposed, for instance, by China in the latter stages of the Six Party Talks).
Contingency planning is a useful exercise. But preparing for a wished-for result should not substitute for policies that could ameliorate the current situation. Much as European countries did in the 1970s, alongside the United States and Soviet Union, countries in and around the Korean peninsula can and should take actions to make the transition of the entire Northeast Asian region from its current Cold War environment as conflict-free as possible.
- What was D-Day?
- First Redistribute Vatican Wealth
- Modern World Still Premodern in Many Ways
- Russia: A Real Risk of War
- From Democracy to Veto-cracy: Destabilizing World Politics
- The New Tribalism and the Decline of The Nation-State
- The Myth of the Strong Leader
- Climate Change and Interstate Conflict
- International Money Is International Politics
- The New Politics of International Currencies
- MH370: The Overkill News Network
- The Limits of Power in the Nuclear Age
- 'The Grapes of Wrath' Resonates 75 Years Later
- Why This Cold War Reboot is Different
- Getting the Poorest 4 Billion Online
- An Internet Governance Model for the 21st Century
- Companies Crunching Big Data Winning Competitive Advantage
- Decisive Year in the Battle to Maintain Freedom of the Web
- The Limits of Strategic Thinking
- Bill Gates Almost Right on World Poverty
- The News Should Aim to Improve Our Lives
- The Audacity of a Pope
- Pope Francis Continues to Afflict the Comfortable
- Canvassing for 'None of the Above'
- Exceptionally Mediocre on a Global Scale
- The Growing Importance of the Arctic Council
- Ending War for All Children Everywhere
- The Path of Hubris and War
- The Lever of Social Action
- Tax Havens Under Attack
- How to Help The Poor in a Rich Man's World
- Global Domination and Databases
- Hague Tribunal Controversy Hints at US-Israeli Aims
- Pope Francis' First 100 Days Give Signs of Hope
- Sci-Fi Worthy of Malthus
- Should the United States Continue to be the Indispensable Nation?
- Sudan: Forced Faith is Not Faith
- Moral Compass Points Toward Retribution in Nigeria
- Nigeria: Extremist Islam Scared of Little Girls
- What We Can Do for the Kidnapped Nigerian Girls
- Nigeria's Stolen Girls and Clueless Leaders
- South Africa Takes Stock Ahead of Elections
- South Africa: ANC and Zuma Enjoy Wide Support Despite Discontent
- 'Crimes Against Humanity' in South Sudan
- UN Criticizes South Sudan Leaders Over Famine Response
- African Union Hopeful on Resolving South Sudan Crisis
- Outrage As Nigerian Schoolgirls Reportedly Sold As Wives
- Getting the Poorest 4 Billion Online
- Cameroon Says No Terrorists Training on its Territory
- East African Nations Ready to Send Stabilization Force to South Sudan
- Africa's Supposed Failure to Achieve Millennium Development Goals
- Jose Manuel Ramos-Horta on Restoring Democracy to Guinea-Bissau
- Africa: Diaspora's Remittances are Relative Advantage
- Nigeria's Bright and Young Mean Business
- Mangos, Not Mining, the Future of Guinea
- Guinea: How to Stamp Out Corruption in the Mining Sector
- West Africa's Vast Marine Wealth Being Depleted
- Nigeria's Economy About to Achieve Global Status
- Nigeria: Progress and Crisis Will March Hand in Hand
- Superpowers Making Strategic Moves in Africa
- Mandela's Gift: A Model of Leadership
- Two Mandelas
- Steve Biko: Father of Black Consciousness
- International Justice Should Prosecute Beyond the Bounds of Africa
- Africa: The Growing Continent
- Mali: After the War, The Hard Part
- Nigeria's Squandered Opportunity
- Victims of Forgotten War Need the World's Attention
- China Works to Improve Image in Africa
- India's New Leader Could Have Global Impact
- Third Obama Disappointment Seems Imminent
- United States and China Go Private with the Cold War
- Trans-Pacific Partnership Bad Deal for America
- Mao's Little Red Book: China's Spiritual Atom Bomb
- The Rise of China and Its Impact on International Economic Governance
- Examining China's Strategic Interests in Latin America
- Crusade Against Cronyism Shaking Up India's Political Landscape
- Benazir Bhutto's Assassination: The Case Goes Cold
- Is China Copying the Old Imperial Japan?
- North Korea and the Myth of U.S. - China Rivalry
- Branding Japan
- Desertification: The Real North Korean Threat
- Korean Democracy at a Crossroads
- Learning The Wrong Lessons from the Three Gorges Dam
- In India Book Withdrawal Sparks Criticism
- Japan's Sun is Rising Again
- Why North Korea Today is Not East Germany 1989
- Afghanistan: Americans Show More Signs of War Fatigue
- Learning to Look on the Bright Side Chinese Style
- India: A Sacrifice That Went Unrecognized
- China's Space Program Tries to Catch Up
- India's Neglected Generation
- Can Taiwan Pull China Toward Democracy?
- America's Pivot to Asia a Misguided One
- China's Low-Profile Imperialism
- Dicing with Death Penalties in Indonesia
- Afghanistan: Talking to the Taliban
- A Costly Effort in Afghanistan
- Responsibility for Asian Sweatshop Safety Lies with Us, Too
- Asian Sweatshops: A Floor of Decency
- China and North Korea: A Tangled Partnership
- North Korea Following a Well-Worn Pattern
- Outcome of the European Parliament Elections
- The Tea Party Lives -- in Europe
- Europe: The Social Immune System
- Ukraine: The War to End All Wars
- What Ukraine Really Needs
- The Rich List and The West's Culture of Envy
- What do the Putins of the World Want?
- Putin's Well-Worn Fascist Lies
- How the Russian Intelligence Mind-Set Differs From America's
- The Right Rises Again in Europe
- Germany's Elite Falling Out of Love with EU
- Euroskepticism and Political Fragmentation in the EU
- Ukraine: Not Time to Turn Virtual War into Real One
- Outcome of the French Municipal Elections
- Why This Cold War Reboot is Different
- Next Step in Ukraine Crisis is Unknown
- Ukraine and Russia have Created an International Disorder
- Reforms Push Greece to Economic Recovery
- Superpower Europe or Disintegration?
- Obama Clings to Diplomacy to Resolve Ukraine Crisis
- Obama's Diplomatic Dance with Putin is a Sad Sock Hop
- Legacy Of France's Colonial History Being Played Out in Paris Suburbs
- Russia: Not Your Father's Cold War
- Dangerous Mischief-Making in Ukraine
- Russia: What Do United States and the West Now Want?
- How to Rein in Putin
- Export Opportunity to Ukraine, Not Ukrainian Nanny State
- Obama Rules Out Military Solution on Ukraine
- Hitler Analogy Overstates Situation in Ukraine
- Why The West Shouldn't Abandon Russia's Reluctant 'Little Brother'
- The Year of the Russians
- Ukraine Only Promises Trouble for Russia
- Venice: La Serenissima Turns the Tide
- We Cannot Afford to Forget Bosnia
- Serbia Focuses on EU and Reforms
- Turkey & Armenia: Are Erdogan's Condolences a Turning Point?
- Spain's Unemployment Rate Should Improve
- The West Needs Russia's Help More than it Realizes
- Obama's Cool-headedness is Diplomacy, Not Appeasement
- Ukraine and the 'Little Cold War'
- Obama in Denial on Russia
- Ukraine: Beautiful Kiev has been Brutalized
- The Untold Story of the Ukrainian Revolution
- The Dark Side of the Ukraine Revolt
- Ukrainian Uprising is a Rebellion, Not a Revolution
- Why Greeks are Leaving Athens for the Good Life
- Greece to Develop Former Athens Airport Site
- Greece Hopes to Rejuvenate Privatization Effort
- What Happens Now in Ukraine?
- Switzerland and the Growing Resistance in Western Europe
- Dispute of Ukraine's Relationship with Russia Rages On
- Demystifying the Media Caricatures of Pussy Riot
- Coverage of Hollande Displays Media's Misplaced Priorities
- Hollande-Trierweiler Split and The Question of Marriage
- Postwar Era Has Ended, But Not Appetite For War
- A Flickering Flame of Faith in Sochi's Oldest Orthodox Church
- Ireland: From WWI Conflict to Respect
- Russia After Putin: Inherent Leadership Struggles
- The Search for Belonging and Ballistic Missile Defense in Romania
- Snowden Leaks Reveal American Trojan Horse in Europe
- Colombia's Challenger Vows Hard Line on Venezuela
- Pope Francis Carrying Out Silent Diplomacy in Argentina
- Many Expect Post-Kirchner Economic Boom in Argentina
- In Cuba, Technology May Beat Censorship
- Chile's Success Story May Be at Risk
- The Future of Latin America's 'Growth Engine'
- Santos May Oversell Colombia Peace Deal
- Uruguay Wrong About Not Taxing Pot
- Latin America's Growing Press Freedom Troubles
- Believers in U.S. Decline Will Be Disappointed
- Vargas Llosa Deserves Nobel for Courage
- Latin America's Other Big Internet Problem
- Costa Rica's New Leader Says He's a 'Moderate' Leftist
- Latin America's Economic Forecasts May Be Too Rosy
- Cuban Twitter Project was a Tweet in the Dark
- Venezuela's Best 'Anti-Coup' Medicine - Dialogue
- Latin American Inventors Thrive in United States
- Who's Winning, Who's Losing Innovation Race
- Russian Bases in the Americas: A Bluff?
- Colombia's Santos Re-election Won't Be Easy
- Bachelet's Chile Moving Closer to Venezuela?
- OAS Vote for Venezuela and Maduro May be Short-Lived
- Mexico's New Friend: Castro's Cuba
- Getting the Poorest 4 Billion Online
- Examining China's Strategic Interests in Latin America
- Argentina Forced By Ailing Economy To Change Populist Policies
- Trying 'El Chapo': Let's Let Mexico Handle This
- What's Wrong About 'El Chapo's' Capture
- Venezuela's Maduro Faces Hard Choices
- Should U.S. Cut Venezuelan Oil Imports?
- 10 Questions for Venezuela's President
- Venezuela Protests: The View from West Caracas
- United States Shouldn't Rescue Socialist Venezuela
- Chile: President Pinera Leaves Office on a High Note
- Cuba Poll Won't Change U.S. Policy
- Venezuela's Biggest Enemy: Hyperinflation
- Argentina has a lot in Common with Justin Bieber
- Summit in Cuba Mostly Political Tourism
- South America May Not Head Zimbabwe's Way
- Latin America Will Do Well, But Not Great, in 2014
- Latin America's Low Philanthropy Ratings
- Miss Venezuela's Murder Reveals Culture of Violence
- Zapatista Rebellion Failed to Help Mexico's Impoverished
- Mexico: Will Los Zetas Unravel Without Their Leader?
- Understanding Pena Nieto's Approach to the Cartels
- The Decline of the Colorado River
- The Plight of Latin America's Teachers
- Obama Could Spare Israel Terrible Outcome
- John Kerry's Folly in the Middle East
- Israel Projects Its Own Nuclear Behavior on to Iran
- New Books: Spotlight on the Middle East
- Getting the Poorest 4 Billion Online
- Overcoming the 'Manufactured Crisis' with Iran
- Certainties That Underpin Saudi Arabia Need Reappraisal
- Did Nonviolence Fail in Egypt?
- American Departure Will Leave Behind Carnage and Ruin
- Syria: The People Have Lost Their Voice
- Zbigniew Brzezinski on How to Avoid a New Middle East Explosion
- Why Are Governments Not Looking After Themselves?
- Isolationist Instincts of Americans are Sound Ones
- Obama Firm: No Boots on the Ground in Iraq
- Syrian Refugee Plan Poses Security Risks
- Egypt: How the Brotherhood Failed
- Rays of Hope in Egypt
- Syrian Dead End
- Egypt: The Opposition's Next Steps
- Egypt: Persistent Issues Undermine Stability
- The Next Phase of the Arab Spring
- The Foreign Policy Impact of Iran's Presidential Election
- Turkey's Violent Protests in Context
- Then What in Syria?
- The Monotonous Middle East
- Maya Angelou was Deeper than a Pithy Quote
- Give Killers Coverage, Not A Soapbox
- Our Culture Behind Wisconsin Girls' Stabbing Case
- Are Hispanics in Danger of Becoming White?
- Obama Outlines the Limits of Foreign Intervention
- Just Don't Call It 'Reparations'
- Small Men with Ugly Thoughts, Expressed Aloud
- It's Time to Show Our Veterans Some Love
- Justice for All, Except Those Too Big to Jail
- On the 9/11 Memorial and Museum
- Policing Thought Crime
- Turmoil and Intimations of Gender Bias at The Gray Lady
- Jayson Blair and All The Lies Not Fit to Print
- Mental Illness and Guns have Created a National Epidemic
- Army of One
- Mass Killers Hold Culture and Country Hostage
- Florida Governor Takes Deep Dive into Climate Change
- Charlie Christ Flip-Flop is a Bad Idea
- Botched Execution Should Be Death Knell of Capital Punishment
- Cruel and Unusual Ways of Execution
- Bring Back Firing Squads? We Do Worse
- Clayton Lockett: A Just Execution, Regardless
- Supreme Court Rules 5-4 on Public Prayer
- Supreme Court Rules on Public Prayer -- But Should It?
- John Kerry Warns of Excessive Isolationism
- Obama's Foreign Policy Nonexistent
- On Race: Meet Dumb and Dumberer
- Believers in U.S. Decline Will Be Disappointed
- A Nation Divided with Liberty and Justice for Some
- Can Ethnic Hate Be a Mental Illness?
- Pulitzer Committee Makes Stand for Free Press, Accountable Government
- NRA Members Need To Step Up on Ending Gun Violence
- Military Chief's Plea: Put Returning Soldiers to Work
- Home from War, Our Soldiers Continue to Die
- Better Gun Laws Needed to Protect Mentally Ill and Rest of Us
- Guns: Monsters in Our Midst
- The Knowing Donald Rumsfeld
- United States Never Reaped Bonus of Post-Cold War World
- America's Quiver of Outrage is Empty
- U.S. Foreign Assistance: More Guns than Butter
- Infrastructure Terrorist Attacks Cause for Concern
- Obama's Disposition: Combine Threats with Accommodation
- The Good and the Bad of North America Summit
- Sincerest Sympathy to the Filthy Rich
- Asphyxiating Education
- Welcome to Florida, Where the NRA Rules and We Proudly Stand Our Ground
- Trigger Happy in Florida: The Gunshine State
- If It Doesn't Work, It Doesn't Work. Period
- The Fourth Amendment is Going, Going ...
- Americans Shunning the 'Evil Weed' and Embracing Another
- Nuclear Safety Issue Lingers
- Robert Gates Reflections Flawed on America's Last 40 Years of War
- Detroit's Decline Did Not Have to Happen
- Triumph of the Vulgarians
- Keeping the NSA in Perspective
- There Ought to Be a Better Law
- Fracking: A Deadly Power Surge
Article: Distributed via Foreign Policy in Focus
"Why North Korea Today is Not East Germany 1989"