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.

Read More

The China-U.S. News Media Imbalance

“The first social responsibility and professional ethic of media staff should be understanding their role clearly and being a good mouthpiece.

Journalists who think of themselves as professionals, instead of as propaganda workers, are making a fundamental mistake about identity.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         –Hu Zhanfan, President of CCTV

     All news media in the People’s Republic of China is state-controlled, with the larger ones (Xinhua, People’s Daily, CCTV) reporting directly to the Communist Party’s Central Propaganda Department (CPD). The watchdog group, “Reporters without Borders,” ranked China 174 out of 179 countries in its 2012 worldwide index of press freedom.  Journalists face harassment and prison terms for violating government censorship rules. Chinese media disseminators usually employ their own monitors to ensure political acceptability of their content.  

Hong Jiang Deputy Director New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV) Assoc Prof, UH Manoa

Hong Jiang
Deputy Director (Hawaii)
New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV)
Assoc Prof, UH Manoa

    The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has roughly 700 credentialed news media representatives United States. The number of U.S. reporters in China is generally less than 20.  The Chinese reporters are, for the most part, government agents who are allowed free rein in the U.S. to fulfill their mission. Their U.S. counterparts in China work for independent news organizations and are routinely harassed, including having their visas denied or delayed, sources beaten and arrested, travel restricted, and their physical safety threatened. 

Kerry Gershaneck fmr US Govt Public Affairs Official fmr U.S. Marine Officer Senior Associate at Pacific Forum CSIS Adj. Prof. Hawaii Pacific University in Strategic Communications

Kerry Gershaneck
fmr US Govt Public Affairs Official
fmr U.S. Marine Officer
Senior Assoc, Pacific Forum CSIS
Adj. Prof. Hawaii Pacific University in Communications
Strategic Communications Expert

      In this program, “Asia in Review” host David Day engages in a fascinating conversation on this sensitive topic with special guest Ms. Hong Jiang, the Deputy Regional Director (for Hawaii) from the independent US-based TV network, New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV) and an Associate Professor at University of Hawaii at Manoa; Also joining Ms. Jiang is Mr. Kerry Gershaneck, a former senior US government Public Affairs official who teaches Strategic Communication at Hawaii Pacific University.

     The show focuses on the implications of this news media coverage imbalance and how it plays into the larger “information war” between the US and the PRC that former Secretary of State Clinton alluded to in testimony before Congress.  Ms. Jiang and Mr. Gershaneck address the question of whether this imbalance now gives the PRC a significant advantage in its “Soft Power” and other “influence operations” directed at the U.S. and what the U.S. can begin to do to level the Information playing field with the PRC.


Read More

CyberSecurity: Protecting the Essential Business

Amin Leiman U.S. nuclear powerplant cybersecurity consultant

Amin Leiman
U.S. nuclear powerplant cybersecurity consultant

In this fascinating and educational program, Mr. Amin Leiman, a cybersecurity consultant for nuclear power plants in the U.S. and formerly, the Director of IT Audit at Hawaiian Electric Industries, lays out the vulnerabilities of “essential” (e.g. banks, power plants, air traffic control, etc.)  businesses in the United States to cyber hacking. 

The show conversation moves from an examination of the vulnerabilities and risks to a discussion with David Day on how it is that the essential business conducts itself to protect against cyber attacks and espionage. The discussion includes interesting disclosures and tips how knowledgeable and even low-level employees are “socially hacked.”

The program concludes with an overview of the safety/preventative measures and how the most dangerous of our business enterprises, nuclear power plants, are actually protected.

Read More

American Eyes Inside North Korea’s Nuclear Facilities and Others

Nicole FinnemanFormerly, Korea Economic Institute, Washington, D.C.

Nicole Finneman
Formerly, Korea Economic Institute,
Washington, D.C




Hosted by David Day, this television program aired statewide in Hawaii and features, as its special guest, Ms. Nicole Finneman, formerly with the Korea Economic Institute in Washington, D.C.  Ms. Finneman, an American eyewitness inside North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear facility and other fascinating facilities and locations throughout the country, talks about those experiences.

The conversation turns from the Yongbyon visit to the potential business and commerce development in North Korea and references American firms now lining up to do business in North Korea in the future, including the Korean-American-owned, Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (a private university).

Ms. Finneman talks about her visits to various commercial enterprises, the Koryolink mobile phone explosion in the country, and the market/commercial developments within the country. (Koryolink, a joint venture between the Egyptian company Orascom Telecom Holdings and the state-owned Korea Post and Telecommunications Corporation, is North Korea’s only 3G mobile operator.)

Nicole also discusses  her visit to the digital libraries at Kim Il Sung University and their remarkable high tech facilities which many universities in the U.S. currently do not have…but only connected to an intranet–no internet.

Finally, Ms. Finneman and David Day talk about the infrastructure for commerce and foreign investment that is now being put into place in North Korea and her crystal-ball view of the potential for change in that country.

Read More

Power, Diplomacy, Crisis, and Consuls: The Role of the U.S. Embassies

Two career diplomats, a husband and wife team: Ambassadors James and Lauren Kahea Moriarty join David Day in a conversation over the wide range of roles that US Embassy staff play, and how they work and live in countries that range from the glamorous and technologically sophisticated to the brutal and primitive.

Amb. James Moriarty

Amb. James Moriarty

The closure of U.S. embassies in 19 Middle Eastern and African cities in the face of terrorist threats highlights the important—yet often dangerous—work of the thousands of men and women serving in U.S. Embassies as they represent American interests around the world. These men and women play crucial roles in the success of American foreign policy, economic growth, national security, and international influence.  However, relatively few Americans understand what these diplomats and other Embassy staff do, nor the unique challenges and perils they face on a daily basis.

Amb Lauren Moriarty

Amb Lauren Moriarty



Program sponsored by Pacific Forum, CSIS

Read More

Fall of Saigon: What Did We Accomplish and What have we learned?

April 30, marks the 38th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War for the United States. This year is also the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Paris Peace Accords. This program looks at the linkage between these two momentous events and how they impacted American and Vietnamese lives, Southeast Asia, as well as the Cold War.

Gene Castagnetti USMC Col. (Ret.) Director, U.S. Memorial Cemetary of the Pacific

Gene Castagnetti
USMC Col. (Ret.)
Director, U.S. Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific

In this conversation,  former combat USMC (ret) Col. Gene Castagnetti and Stanford’s Nguyen Van Canh examine the background of the U.S. involvement in Vietnam, the impact of the Paris Peace Accords, and then the collapse of the government and country of South Vietnam on April 30, 1975. Wars, like elections, have consequences, and the discussion includes a look at the downside of the U.S. withdrawal and the losses on the South Vietnamese side, the genocide, imprisonment, executions, re-education camps and then the bloodbath in Laos and Cambodia that followed. Both guests talk about the victory in Vietnam that has gone unrecognized and unappreciated as well as a theme of betrayal of our men and women in arms by our own political leadership.

Prof. Nguyen Van Canh Stanford University

Prof. Nguyen Van Canh
Stanford University



Hosted by David Day

Read More

Myanmar and Its Struggle on the Way Ahead

     The dramatic reforms currently underway in Myanmar have grabbed headlines, but it is not yet clear whether progress is real or simply imagined. Western perceptions of the leadership situation in Myanmar are clouded by vested interests and myths that may prove harmful in the long run. Ethnic strife, and religious and political tensions, have been exacerbated by a variety of internal and external forces. The result is continued—and potentially increasing–violence. Conversely, there is reason to be optimistic, and there are bridges between Hawaii and Myanmar that are being built through business, education, and non-governmental organizations.


In this program, David Day hosts Ms. Paula Helfrich, born and raised as a child in Myanmar, and now again living in that country. Ms. Helfrich comes from a family history of expertise in Burma and Myanmar with her father having served in the country as an OSS officer during WW II and both her parents were invited back by the provisional government following the war to assist in rebuilding the country. Paula was born in Myanmar, lived there the first 17 years of her life, and then returned to live there again in 2009. 


Paula Helfrich

Paula Helfrich


     Ms. Helfrich engages in a discussion, along with Kerry Gershaneck of Pacific Forum CSIS, concerning the current conditions on the ground in Myanmar, what it is like doing business there, and the attitudes of the Myanmar people towards the United States. The discussion is very frank on the official policy of the United States, insisting on calling Myanmar, “Burma” and the impediment that policy imposes for undertaking legal contracts as well as the distaste that the people have for the use of the wrong name. Ms. Helfrich also addresses the  singular focus of the international media,  the State Department, and U.S. political leaders, on  Daw Aung Sung Suu Kyi to the exclusion of other political leaders within the country. Finally, Ms. Helfrich describes the real impetus behind the shift of the Junta to the path of reform and why it all came together when it did.

Kerry Gershaneck Pacific Forum CSIS

Kerry Gershaneck
Pacific Forum CSIS

     Ms. Helfrich comments critically upon  the “stick and carrot” approach of the United States towards the country, its successes and failures.  Mr. Gershaneck adds important depth to the discussion concerning important history of the Junta’s rise, its arms trading with North Korea, and the drug and human trafficking. Both engage in a discussion about the current U.S. sanctions, the various programs and policies of the U.S. government now  into place to assist Myanmar with the upcoming 2015 elections, the country’s upcoming leadership of ASEAN and the ethnic challenges Myanmar now faces. The conversation concludes with a view of what Myanmar will look like at the coming 5 and 10-year marks.

Hosted by David Day

Read More

Eastern Europe & Stability on the Korean Peninsula

A provocative discussion on North Korea’s relationship with the former Soviet Eastern-Block countries and their impact upon the stability on the Korean Peninsula. This interesting conversation examines the diplomatic history, the current ongoing trade and aid relationships, and examines the soft power that these Eastern European nations now have with North Korea and how that soft power might be utilized to assist North Korea to navigate a path of economic reform.

This program also proves the viewer with an unusual glimpse of recent European private sector company investments in North Korea.

This television show , aired statewide in Hawaii, features as its special guest, Petra Dunne, a Kelly Fellow at Pacific Forum CSIS and a former member of the Czech Republic delegation to the UN. The show is hosted by David Day.

Read More