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

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.

Read More

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.

____________

* 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. 


 

 

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

Afghanistan & Pakistan: Forgotten States in Crisis

 

     If you have not noticed, the Washington focus on the Middle East has moved from Libya to Egypt to Syria and now to Iran. There are, however, other countries that continue to struggle with seemly insurmountable challenges to their very existence as nation states—namely, Afghanistan and Pakistan. They are all but forgotten.

                     In this global broadcast, both on audio and video, David Day engages in an unusual and in-depth discussion with Dr. Abdul-Karim Khan, an expert that grew up in Peshawar, Pakistan. Dr. Khan has tremendous depth in the history, the politics, the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and the challenges that both Afghanistan and Pakistan now face. He also discusses the background and makeup of the Syrian rebel army and the linkages and non-linkages between Afghanistan, Pakistan and the civil war in Syria.  

Read More

Taiwan (Republic of China) at a Dangerous Crossroads

 

America’s relationship with Taiwan has waxed and waned since 1949, when Nationalist forces fled there following defeat by the Communists on mainland China in a lengthy and bloody civil war. 

Kerry Gershaneck, former US Marine Officer stationed in Taiwan

Kerry Gershaneck, former US Marine Officer stationed in Taiwan

Following this disastrous defeat and retreat, the US provided the security umbrella and economic incentives that helped propel the Taiwan into one of Asia’s leading economic “Tigers”.  Taipei, in turn, supported US foreign policy and military policies.  In recent years, however, a number of factors have caused that once-close relationship to drift.  Some analysts say that actions by Taiwan and the US have placed Taiwan on a trajectory towards absorption by the PRC. 

 As one analyst noted, “Taipei is doing more damage to its own ability to deter mainland coercion and military attack than any weapon the People’s Liberation Army could conceive. This damage represents a serious threat to Taiwan’s national security, and by extension to the national security of the U.S. and Japan.” And the U.S., for its part, appears increasingly ready to sacrifice its national security and regional stability–and its fundamental beliefs as a nation–by refusing to reverse this drift.

David Day hosts this illuminating conversation with Kerry Gershaneck, a former US government official previously responsible for both “front line defense” of Taiwan and for developing key security cooperation programs with its military forces.

 

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