The Afghanistan Withdrawal: Update

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The U.S. withdrawal out of Iraq was not quite the “Fall of Saigon,” but we have just seen Fallujah Iraq fall to Al Qaeda. A heartbreaker, given the blood and treasure spent. What about the coming U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan? Do we have a “Fall of Saigon” coming with the return of the Taliban?

Professor Abdul-Karim Khan joins  David Day for a fascinating discussion on this topic. Professor Khan is an expert that grew up in Peshawar, Pakistan and has tremendous depth in the history, the politics, the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and the challenges that both Afghanistan and Pakistan now face.

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Japan’s New Military: A Regional Player Now

A massive, but flawed Fukushima/Tohoku response, the Senkaku islands confrontation with China, proposed amendments to Japan’s post-war Constitution regarding its defense capabilities, developments in relations with other regional militaries, the successful “Dawn Blitz” joint amphibious landing at Camp Pendleton with U.S. Marines, and then the Abe/Yasukuni visit…. what is actually happening on Japan’s military side that many are  missing?

This program is about a new Japanese military with new, enhanced capabilities that have been achieved with remarkable speed over the past 18 months.

This week, Grant Newsham (formerly, Col. USMC), a Senior Research Fellow at the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies in Tokyo and formerly the U.S. Marine liaison officer with the Japan Self Defense Forces joins “Asia in Review” Host David Day for a fascinating discussion on this topic.

Mr. Newsham is also a former diplomat with the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo and formerly a Director of a major Tokyo financial firm.

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North Korea’s Crumbling Facade & Imploding China Relations

Jang Song Taek formerly, Kim Jong Un's Uncle

Jang Song Taek
formerly, Kim Jong Un’s Uncle

 The execution of the No. 2 leader in North Korea, Kim Jong Un’s Uncle Jang Song Taek, was beyond brutal–savage by any account. At the time that this broadcast was made, it was believed that Jang’s execution was by machine gunning him down while tied to a stake (this was the fate of Kim Jong Un’s former girlfriend). Some hours after the show was taped, we learned of an even more savage execution from the Singapore Straits Times (http://www.straitstimes.com/the-big-story/asia-report/china/story/jangs-execution-bodes-ill-china-20131224 )

“According to the report, unlike previous executions of political prisoners which were carried out by firing squads with machine guns, Jang was stripped naked and thrown into a cage, along with his five closest aides. Then 120 hounds, starved for three days, were allowed to prey on them until they were completely eaten up. This is called “quan jue”, or execution by dogs.

Military_dog_barking

The report said the entire process lasted for an hour, with Mr Kim Jong Un, the supreme leader in North Korea, supervising it along with 300 senior officials.

The horrifying report vividly depicted the brutality of the young North Korean leader. The fact that it appeared in a Beijing- controlled newspaper showed that China no longer cares about its relations with the Kim regime.”

It is hard to imagine such savagery which puts it on a scale rivaled perhaps only by Pol Pot’s genocide, the Holocaust, and others of similar ilk. Whether or not the report is true, we shall have to wait and see but whether Jang was e executed by machine gun or by dogs, the result is the same–the former is less sensational.*

Jang’s execution means what for North Korea? Was there, in reality, a coup d’état or an attemped one?  Was the Jang execution a good or bad? Was it necessary?  

Patrick Border Citizen Diplomat Veteran North Korea Visitor

Patrick Border
Citizen Diplomat
Veteran North Korea Visitor

The North Korea policy wonks and observers are all over the map as to why this has happened and what it means for the future of the Hermit Kingdom. We turned to the fascinating perspective of an American who has recently returned from yet another trip to North Korea to understand what is actually going on on the ground. Patrick Border is an American citizen diplomat and veteran Hawaii North Korea traveler. We had an unusual conversation with Mr. Border as to the real “why” behind recent events in North Korea (Kenneth Bae, Merrill Newman and Dennis Rodman’s NBA exhibition game tryouts) and, in particular, Uncle Jang’s execution and its future implications.  

 

During this interview, Mr. Border discusses the armed conflict within North Korea between the respective factions of economic reformer Jang and the North Korean military, with officers of military being killed. He talks about the instability of the Regime, the “overreaching” that Jang’s execution signals as well as the potential for steps towards a “People’s Power” tipping point in North Korea. Mr. Border emphasizes that Jang was North Korea’s point man for its relations with China and that relationship is now bitterly shattered and he reveals just what he has seen in Pyongyang that proves this. He left us with the ominous perspective that North Korean Regime is now isolated–even more than ever with its old mentor and protector, China, shut out–and that the shabby facade that the Regime holds up to the global community is crumbling, its dirty linen has been aired like never before, and there are now clear factions in North Korea with people forced to choose sides.

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* On this particular point, you might be interested in a related piece on this website called, “Execution by dogs or machine guns: ‘What difference does it make?’” here. 


 

 

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A Gift For You

This is our gift to you: “Economics in One Lesson” by Henry Hazlitt                  Hazlitt book jacket

You will find the downloadable pdf  version below.

Our gift is the effort to get a copy into your possession in the hopes that you will read it. We also encourage you to forward copies to everyone that you know, including family, friends, business associates, and in particular give copies to every young person that you can. The book is an easy read, but contains wisdom that is often hard to come by these days.

Here is why we feel that this book is so important:

Most of the critical problems that we are facing in this country today stem from a rampant ignorance of basic economics. A Congress and an electorate that understood simple economics would never have allowed us to get into the budgetary wastefulness and debt crisis that the country now faces. Many people fail to understand that the laws of economics are like the laws of gravity–you ignore them at your peril.

Unfortunately most of our schools don’t teach this, and our children graduate without the necessary knowledge needed to make sound financial and life altering decisions in later life. This book is only a start, but it can be the seed that germinates into the fruit that drives the quest for knowledge and truth. This is true regardless of your political leanings or religious beliefs, and we truly hope that you will benefit from it.

Here is the book description as listed at the Mises Institute, where this and many other related books can be found:

Henry Hazlitt wrote this book following his stint at the New York Times as an editorialist. His hope was to reduce the whole teaching of economics to a few principles and explain them in ways that people would never forget. It worked. He relied on some stories by Bastiat and his own impeccable capacity for logical thinking and crystal-clear prose.

He was writing under the influence of Mises himself, of course, but he brought his own special gifts to the project. As just one example, this is the book that made the idea of the “broken window fallacy” so famous. Concise and instructive, it is also deceptively prescient and far-reaching in its efforts to dissemble economic fallacies that are so prevalent they have almost become a new orthodoxy.

This is the book to send to reporters, politicians, pastors, political activists, teachers, or anyone else who needs to know. It is probably the most important economics book ever written in the sense that it offers the greatest hope to educating everyone about the meaning of the science.

Many writers have attempted to beat this book as an introduction, but have never succeeded. Hazlitt’s book remains the best. It’s still the quickest way to learn how to think like an economist. And this is why it has been used in the best classrooms for more than sixty years.”

 

Economics in One Lesson

 

 

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China’s Next Moves Following its East China Sea ADIZ

So what are China’s next strategy moves in the Asia-Pacific Region? What does the PLA really think about the U.S. military and its capabilities? –a bizarre perception that encourages them to push harder now.

China has now been successful at establishing its Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the South China Sea. In the process, we have seen a bizarre, almost schizophrenic, series of contradictory communications on the subject coming out of Washington that have enhanced China’s successful roll-out.

Following the roll-out,  China’s lone aircraft carrier (sans aircraft) departed for the South China Sea for a “show the flag” cruise. Next, we witnessed a near collision by U.S. and Chinese naval ships in the South China Sea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This program is Part 2 of the conversation between  David Day and China-Hand Michael Sacharski. Mr. Sacharski has spent some 3+ decades in China, met and worked with various members of its leadership and has fascinating perspectives to share about China’s ADIZ planning & gameplan, its unexpected success in the imposition of its new ADIZ in the East China Sea, and what strategic moves we can now expect China to make in the Asia-Pacific Region in the near term. Mr. Sacharski is the CEO of Pacific Enterprise Capital.

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Negotiating the The Nuclear Deal with Iran

 

 

What is the nuclear deal that has been negotiated with Iran and just how did the U.S. get here?

There are serious questions as to whether it will succeed  as there are areas where it does come up remarkably short. What does this initial deal really mean for future US relations with Iran, with Israel, and all the countries of the Middle East? What opportunities and risks does it hold for the US and the world?

 

 

 

 

 

David Day engages in a fascinating and educational conversation with  Professor Jeswald Salacuse from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy of Tufts University, and David Santoro, the nuclear expert at Pacific Forum CSIS in Honolulu. Dr. Salacuse is the former Dean of the Fletcher School, a prolific writer on the topic of international negotiations.

 

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China’s New ADIZ

Are there unusual crossovers of the new China ADIZ (Air Defense Identification Zone) with both Taiwan and South Korea? There are and the Taiwan piece is perhaps something that most people do not know.   Is China’s new ADIZ over the Senkaku islands a precursor to further ADIZs China may have in mind? What is this new Air Defense Zone that China has imposed in the East China Sea all about? How did we get here? What about the schizophrenic, wires-crossed responses coming out of the Pentagon and the State Department? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asia in Review” host David Day engages in a fascinating conversation with special guest Michael Sacharski. Mr. Sacharski has lived and worked in China as an American executive and entrepreneur for some 3+ decades and shares some interesting insights into the Chinese thinking behind this new strategy. Mr. Sacharski is the CEO of Pacific Enterprise Capital.

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Russia’s Asia “Pivot” with Focus on Energy

     In this broadcast,“Asia-in- Review” Host Hong Jiang explores Russia’s recent foreign policy and geopolitical shifts into Asia followed by its fascinating energy moves into the Region with international business lawyer & professor,  David Day.

     The program starts with the recent Russian foreign policy moves into the Middle East after the U.S. Syria debacle, followed by the new Russian military arms sales to Egypt, and some discussion of Russia’s client nuclear state, Iran. The Russian geopolitical moves into Asia are next, as Hong Jiang discusses with Mr. Day, Putin’s recent trip to Vietnam, along with Russia’s  (1) Kilo class submarine sales to Vietnam,(2)  mutual defense pact, and then (3), new joint venture operations between Vietnam’s PetroVietnam and Russian energy companies for joint oil & gas exploration efforts in both the South China (“East Sea” in Vietnam) and the Artic Seas.

     Next, the conversation turns to the critical and fascinating energy “pivot” that Russia is now engaged in, shifting its focus from its former European gas and oil pipeline customers to new pipeline developments with Japan, South Korea, and yes, even North Korea.

     Russia’s foreign policy regarding The Korean Peninsula is also probed.

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