Tag Archives: East Asia

God, I Hate Confucius!

4 Dec

Confucius the JokeI would never eschew a humorous observation, but Stephen M. Walt’s laudable boost for the value of humility in IR study struck me as a bad path to take. I blame Daniel Nexon for associating a bit maladroitly Walt’s witticism to Robert Kelly’s excellent blog on IR and Asia, which provides guidance for why East Asia is an important topic to investigate. I would charitably associate Walt’s “confusionism” – Get it, Confucius? The Laughing Buddha smirks – with pragmatism; And, not the trite common meaning of that other abused word. Walt’s appropriation of Confucianism also has that watered-down, commercial quality, like an ancient greeting card.

Walt offers “confusionism” as a corrective against arrogance and folly, a theme humans don’t need Confucius or greeting-card Asian culture, to thrust into our stupid brains. Ask Odysseus. Or, consult the Old Testament. Actually, I can’t think of a folkloric tradition that wouldn’t be helpful to the moronic.

1. New circumstances. When leaders are facing a completely new set of problems, it will take them awhile to figure out what it all means. Until then, confusion will reign. It took a decade or more before Americans and Soviets understood the full implications of the nuclear revolution, and even then a lot of idiotic things were published and uttered on that topic for decades afterward. And because both sides were deeply confused about how deterrence worked, they spent trillions building well over 60,000 thermonuclear weapons, more than enough to destroy each other many times over.

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ROK Wartime Control Freaks

6 Jun

Some of us go on a bender when our wives go away for the weekend; others teach themselves how to make a podcast. Honestly, worse than listening to a jerk for 26 minutes is listening to oneself a hundred times all day long. I never knew I sounded so stoned. It just dawned on me, too, that April 17, 2012 – the day the US hopes it can divest itself of its South Korean duties – will be the 15th anniversary of my arrival in Seoul, ROK.

The podcast is probably filled with copyright violations, but enjoy!

ROK Wartime Control Freaks


Transfer of Wartime Command Should Be Delayed

In The Bag S01E09

White Mountain Links, 1-7-09

7 Jan

Sucker in the Middle: FP The Argument‘s Nikolas K. Gvosdev explains how Gazprom is paying dearly for increasing demand for gas in Western Europe and PRC.

To meet ever growing demand in Europe, not to mention in Russia itself, Gazprom has been forced to buy larger quantities of gas from outside the country, and it has significantly raised the price it is prepared to pay, particularly to Turkmenistan. Gazprom has done this to protect its Central Asian sources of natural gas from a growing and rapacious Chinese market for energy — and to drive a stake through the heart of a proposed gas pipeline that would link Central Asia to Europe while bypassing Russia.


Why Should We Trust Beijing: PRC’s Health Ministry promises one death from the H5N1 bird flu virus is “isolated”. So, who gets executed this time?


20-Year after Hirohito: The anniversary of the controversial WW2 monarch’s death raises the old questions again.


What Comes from Too Much Soju: Ambassador James Laney calls for a peace treaty ending the Korean War.

Time to Make the Rubber Stamps: A new class of North Korean MPs are ready for sitting.

The Philippines

One Thumb Up: Fitch says The Philippines don’t suck as bad as other economies in the region.

2019 Bond: Manila offers a 10-year bond.

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