Sunday, September 23, 2018

Monday in Washington, September 24, 2018

SCIENTIFIC, SOCIAL, AND ECONOMIC DIMENSIONS OF DEVELOPMENT IN THE AMAZON. 9/24, 9:00am-5:00pm. Sponsors: Environmental Change and Security Program, Wilson Center; Brazil Institute, Wilson Center; São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPSEP); Alcoa Foundation. Speakers: Paulo Sotero, Director, Brazil Institute; Paulo Artaxo, São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP); Rita Mesquita, Senior Researcher, National Institute of Amazon Research (INPA); Thomas Lovejoy, UN Foundation and George Mason University; Douglas Morton, Earth Scientist, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; Celso von Randow, Researcher, National Institute for Space Research (INPE); Gustavo Fonseca, Director of Programs, Global Environment Facility; José Marengo, Senior Researcher, National Center for Monitoring and Early Warning of Natural Disasters (CEMADEM); Rita Mesquita, Senior Researcher, National Institute of Amazon Research (INPA); Fábio Abdala, Alcoa Foundation.

ADDRESSING CHALLENGES IN THE MARITIME COMMONS. 9/24, 9:00-10:30am. Sponsor: National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR). Speakers include: Admiral Eduardo Bacellar Leal Ferreira, Commander of the Navy, Brazilian Navy; Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, Chief of Navy, Royal Australian Navy; Admiral Tomohisa Takei, 32nd Chief on Staff, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, Distinguished International Fellow, U.S. Naval War College. Moderator: Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert (ret.), 30th Chief of Naval Operations, U.S. Navy, Shali Chair in National Security Studies, NBR.

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AND PEACE IN SOUTH AND SOUTHWEST ASIA. 9/24, Noon-1:00pm. Sponsors: Hudson and Heritage. Speakers: Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester (1994-2009) and President of Oxford Centre for Training, Research, Advocacy & Dialogue; Husain Haqqani, Senior Fellow and Director for South and Central Asia, Hudson Institute; Emilie Kao, Director of the Richard and Helen DeVos Center.
INDO-PACIFIC AND REGIONAL TRENDS: TOWARDS CONNECTIVITY OR CONFLICT? 9/24, 12:30-1:45pm. Sponsor: Sigur Center, GW. Speakers: Dr. Mike Mochizuki, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, GW; Dr. Robert Sutter, Professor of Practice of International Affairs, GW; Dr. Jagannath Panda, Research Fellow and Coordinator of the East Asia Centre at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi; Moderator: Dr. Deepa M. Ollapally, Director of the Rising Powers Initiative, GW.

AGENDA OF THE FINANCIAL STABILITY BOARD. 9/24, 12:45-1:45pm. Sponsor: Peterson Institute (PIIE). Speaker: Klaas Knot, President, De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), Governing Council, European Central Bank. Webcast Only

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BORROWED TIME: TWO CENTURIES OF BOOMS, BUSTS, AND BAILOUTS AT CITI. 9/24, 4:00pm. Sponsor: Cato. Speakers: Author, James Freeman, Assistant Editor, Editorial Page, Wall Street Journal; Author, Vern McKinley, Visiting Scholar, The George Washington University Law School; Christy Ford Chapin, Associate Professor, University of Maryland; Moderator: George Selgin, Director, Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives.

NORTH KOREAN MILITARY PROLIFERATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA. 9/24, 4:30-5:30pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Institute of World Politics. Speaker: Author, Dr. Bruce E. Bechtol Jr., President, International Council on Korean Studies.

THE GENDER GAP IN 2018: SUPPORTING WOMEN IN THE INTERNATIONAL SECURITY COMMUNITY. 9/24, 6:00-7:30pm. Sponsors: Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), Women In Defense (WID), Women's Foreign Policy Group (WFPG), Women's Foreign Policy Network (WFPN), and Women In International Security (WIIS) Global, Women in International Security (WIIS-DC). Speakers: Jenna Ben-Yehuda, Women’s Foreign Policy Network; Tamara Cofman Wittes, Leadership Council on Women in National Security; Chantal de Jonge Oudraat, Women In International Security; Kim Kahnhauser Freeman, Women’s Foreign Policy Group; Women in Defense Representative (TBD); Moderator: Laura Holgate (Nuclear Threat Initiative). 

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Constitutional revision in Japan by 2020?

Emperor Hirohito signing
1947 Constitution
Don’t count on it

EastAsiaForum, 13 September 2018

by Michael Cucek, Adjunct Professor of Political Science and History at Temple University Japan and an Adjunct Professor of Social Science at Waseda University.

Revision or amendment of the 1947 US-drafted Constitution of Japan has been the aim of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s existence since the day it was founded. Yet in 60 years of nearly unbroken rule, the party has failed to table a single draft proposal for a constitutional amendment.

Scepticism is justified regarding the vow Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made to Nippon Kaigi — a group that advocates constitutional revision — that before the opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, he would lead the National Diet and the people to vote for the first amendment of the post-war constitution.

Abe has advantages in this endeavour that his previous Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) presidents did not. His LDP–Komeito ruling coalition holds over two-thirds of the seats in the House of Representatives and has held on to this supermajority the coalition through two successive elections. Together with allied micro-parties, independents and revision-sympathetic conservatives of the Ishin no Kai party, the ruling coalition also secured a two-thirds supermajority in the House of Councillors (the upper house) in 2016.

These two supermajorities guarantee the first two requirements for the passage of a constitutional amendment: a more than two-thirds vote of approval in both houses of the Diet.

None of Abe’s projected opponents in the scheduled September 2018 LDP presidential election are noted opponents of revision. Indeed, former defence minister and LDP secretary-general Shigeru Ishiba, Abe’s most viable opponent in an intra-party power struggle, desires much more radical revisions than Abe and his allies have been considering.

Crucially for a party driven by factionalism, the LDP’s internal constitutional revision apparatus is in the grasp of Abe loyalists. An overlooked achievement was Abe’s wresting the chairmanship of the LDP Headquarters for the Promotion of Revision of the Constitution away from Hajime Funada. Funada had used control of the revision committee as means of hobbling the initiatives of his fellow party members. Buoyed by the great victory in the October 2017 election, Abe shoved Funada aside, replacing him with a more senior and supportive leader: Hiroyuki Hosoda, the head of Abe’s own faction within the LDP.

But things are not so sanguine outside the Party. A unique feature of Abe’s years in power has been a lack of voter enthusiasm for his policies. While public opinion poll numbers in support of the Abe cabinet have fluctuated in between 40 and 60 per cent — remarkably high for any Japanese administration, particularly one in its sixth year — the numbers supporting his administration’s policies have almost never risen above 50 per cent. These approval ratings usually hover in the mid-30s, with most voters either doubtful about or actively opposed to constitutional change. Expending time and effort justifying changes has proved counterproductive for Abe: support for policy proposals has consistently declined the more that Abe and his lieutenants have tried to explain them.

The combination of these two phenomena — initial low support for Abe policies and declining support for those policies over time — seems deadly for constitutional revision. Article 96 of the constitution requires a national referendum to be held on any proposed amendment or revision, and a strict majority of votes must be in favour of the proposal for it to pass. Any significant amendment will start out with less than 50 per cent support, if the history of the Abe cabinet is any guide, meaning that it will have an essentially zero chance of surviving the referendum process. And polling has shown that at least 60 per cent of voters do not want the constitution altered under Abe.

Of the four main constitutional revision proposals that Abe and his allies have considered, one (the emergency powers revision) is seen as too controversial and has been shelved. Two others (free education through high school and the assignment of at least two senators to each House of Councillors electoral district) are matters of legislation, not constitutional revision. Indeed, the senator assignment issue was resolved by legislation in the recently concluded Diet regular session.

This leaves the proposal to add a sentence to Article 9 — the Peace Article — constitutionalising the Japan Self-Defense Forces. This is the amendment proposal that many voters fear.

First, this proposal is completely unnecessary. The Self-Defense Forces are broadly admired, and their constitutionality is accepted by nearly every part of Japan’s political spectrum. Second, putting the amendment to the voters could backfire spectacularly. A ‘No’ vote in the first ever constitutional revision referendum would force Abe’s immediate resignation. It would also bury, possibly for perpetuity, further attempts at revision.

Finally, a rejection would be the equivalent of finding that the Self-Defense Forces are unconstitutional. Abe has testified that his government would ignore a referendum rejection and continue to consider the Self-Defense Forces constitutional, whatever the voters say. But given that a rejection would force his resignation, he and his team would not be in charge to make that decision.

Nevertheless, Abe promised at a conference in August that he would add the extra sentence to Article 9. What is more, he said he wanted the amendment proposal through the Diet by the end of 2018.

Abe’s speech triggered a lot of speculation about his intentions. The conventional wisdom is that Abe is averse to career-ending challenges. His ignominious premature exit from his first term as prime minister in 2007 made him a more cautious and patient radical. He does not succumb to time pressures and never takes any stance on which his side does not have an overwhelming chance of prevailing.

The question revolves therefore around what Abe means when he says he ‘wants’ to have a constitutional amendment before the year is out. We all ‘want’ many things, most of which we cannot have. Abe’s most fervent supporters want a constitutional amendment, now. Abe seems to have merely been playing to the crowd.

Besides, Abe knows of a precedent on pushing against public opinion — one he does not want to follow. In 1960, Abe’s grandfather Nobusuke Kishi staked his premiership on a deeply unpopular renewal of the Japan–US Security Treaty. Kishi lost power because of his commitment to deliver the renewal. Abe is not likely to follow in his grandfather’s self-sacrificial path — not for a promise that the LDP has failed to honour for 63 years.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Monday in Washington, September 17, 2018

WILL DEMOCRACY WIN? THE RECURRING BATTLE BETWEEN LIBERALISM AND ITS ADVERSARIES. 9/17, 9:30-10:45am. Sponsor: Brookings. Speakers: Robert Kagan, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Program, Brookings, Former Member, State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, The Jungle Grows Back: America and Our Imperiled World; Amb. Norman Eisen, Senior Fellow, Governance Studies, Brookings, Former U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic, The Last Palace: Europe’s Turbulent Century in Five Lives and One Legendary House. Moderators: William A. Galston, Senior Fellow, Governance Studies, Brookings; Alina Polyakova, Fellow, Foreign Policy, Brookings. Moderator: John R. Allen, President, Brookings.

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CONVERSATION WITH SIX FORMER USTRS. 9/17, 10:00am-Noon. Speaker: William Brock, U.S. Trade Representative (1981-1985); Carla Hills, U.S. Trade Representative (1989-1993); Michael Kantor, U.S. Trade Representative (1993-1996); Charlene Barshefsky, U.S. Trade Representative (1996-2001), Susan Schwab, U.S. Trade Representative (2006-2009); Ronald Kirk, U.S. Trade Representative (2009-2013); William Alan Reinsch, Senior Adviser, Scholl Chair in International Business, CSIS.

CHINA'S ROLE IN MYANMAR'S INTERNAL CONFLICTS. 9/17, 11:00am-12:30pm. Sponsor: U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP). Speakers: Amb. Derek Mitchell, Former U.S. Ambassador to Myanmar, President, National Democratic Institute; Daniel Twining, President, International Republican Institute; David Steinberg, Professor Emeritus, Asian Studies, GTU, Nancy Lindborg, President, USIP. Moderator: Jennifer Staats, Director, East and Southeast Asia Programs, U.S. Institute of Peace.

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WHY ISLAMIST EXTREMISTS QUIT TERRORISM: INSIGHTS FROM INDONESIA'S DE-RADICALIZATION PROGRAMS. 9/17,12:30-1:45pm. Sponsor: US-Indonesia Society (USINDO). Speakers: author, Julie Chernov Hwang; Moderator: William M. Wise, Practitioner-in-Residence, Southeast Asia Studies, SAIS. cation: USINDO, 1625 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Suite 550. Contact:

DISCUSSION ON NATIONAL SECURITY WITH DIA DIRECTOR ROBERT AHSLEY. 9/17, 1:30-3:00pm. Sponsor: CSIS. Speaker: Lieutenant General Robert P. Ashley, Jr., Director, Defense Intelligence Agency; Moderators: Seth G. Jones, Harold Brown Chair, Director, Transnational Threats Project, Senior Adviser, International Security Program; Juan C. Zarate, Chairman, Financial Integrity Network, Senior Adviser, Transnational Threats Project and Human Rights Initiative.

JAPAN IN ASIA: ECONOMIC DIPLOMACY IN THE NEW GEOPOLITICS. 9/17, 2:00-3:30pm. Sponsor: Brookings. Speakers: Pek Koon Heng-Blackburn, Assistant Professor, School of International Service, Director, ASEAN Studies Center, American University; Fukunari Kimura, Chief Economist, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), Professor, Economics, Keio University; Meredith Sumpter, Head, Research Strategy & Operations, Eurasia Group; Shujiro Urata, Dean, Professor, Graduate School of Asia Pacific Studies, Waseda University. Moderator: Mireya Solis, Philip Knight Chair in Japan Studies, Senior Fellow, Center for East Asia Policy Studies, Brookings.

SINO-US ECONOMIC AND TRADE RELATIONS IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY. 9/17, 9:00am-4:30pm. Sponsors: Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE); China Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). Speakers will include: The Hon. Jacob J. Lew, Former Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, Partner, Lindsay Goldberg; C. Fred Bergsten, Senior Fellow, Director Emeritus, PIIE; Cui Tiankai, Ambassador to the United States from the People’s Republic of China; Caroline Freund, Director, Trade for Regional Integration and Investment Climate, World Bank; Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Nonresident Senior Fellow, PIIE; Jiang Xiaojuan, Vice Chairperson, Committee of Social Construction of the National People’s Congress; Adam S. Posen, President, PIIE; Xie Fuzhan, President, CASS; Yu Yongding, Former Director, Institute of World Economics and Politics, CASS. Streaming only.

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LEGACY OF ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI: REMARKS BY MADELINE K. ALBRIGHT. 9/17, 4:30-6:00pm. Sponsor: Foreign Policy Institute, (FPI), SAIS, Johns Hopkins. Speakers: Vali Nasr, Dean, SAIS, Johns Hopkins; Madeline K. Albright, former Secretary of State; Moderator: Carla P. Freeman, Director, FPI, SAIS, Johns Hopkins.

FOOD INSECURITY AS A SECURITY CHALLENGE. 9/17, 6:00-7:00pm. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: Amb. Ertharin Cousin, Former Executive Director, World Food Programme; Moderator: Nina Easton, Senior Associate, CSIS Chair, Fortune Most Powerful Women International, Co-Chair, Fortune Global Forum.

MY FAVORITE MOVIE WITH FRANCIS FUKUYAMA: THE LIVES OF OTHERS. 9/17, 6:30-8:00pm. Sponsors: Future Tense; Slate; New America; Arizona State University. Speaker: Francis Fukuyama, Senior Fellow, Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University, author End of History and the Last Man.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Know your Abe Cabinet

Do you know who's who in Abe's 4th Cabinet?

Shinzo ABE  reshuffled his Cabinet on November 1, 2017. This was the fourth time since he was elected Japan’s prime minster for the second time in December 2012. Abe is the first prime minister to launch a fourth Cabinet since October 1952, when then Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida did so.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) landslide victory in the general election held October 22, 2017 gave Abe the confidence and stability to present a new cabinet barely three months after his last redo. The average support rate of the 4th Cabinet has been 43 percent and non-support 41 percent. The LDP’s support rate during this period averaged 40 percent.

September 7th was the start of the official campaign for president of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, 63, is expected to win more rank-and-file party member votes than his opponent former LDP Secretary General Shigeru Ishiba in the September 20th election. 

To examine how Abe may organize his next government and again reshuffle his Cabinet, we present you with a directory and analysis of the members of his Administration or greater cabinet. It is designed to be a reference by both ministry and last name.

There is biographical information, professional history, electoral district data, party and faction affiliations for each official identified. The descriptions also contain links to online primary sources, where available, including cabinet members’ personal homepages and blogs, their official Diet pages, and their official social media accounts.

This report also identifies each member’s known affiliations with eight prominent conservative nationalist parliamentary leagues, caucuses, and issue groups. Japan’s parliamentary leagues are non-government-managed, semi-permanent groups of Diet members sharing an interest or holding a particular ideological stance.

The current 4th Cabinet after some minor changes this year due to scandal is his most conservative. There are nine pages of charts, tables, and graphs to help you visualize the extent and depth of the ideology of Abe’s cabinet members.

This 90-page report is free to Asia Policy Point members and congressional staffers. 

All others we ask for $20 from non-members. CLICK HERE TO ORDER YOUR COPY.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Visualizing Japanese Fascism (1931-1945)

Asia Policy Point sponsors a lunch discussion on the state sanctioned visual representation of Japanese fascism and militarization during the war years.

Friday, September 7, 2018, Noon-2:00pm

Mansfield Foundation
1156 15th Street, NW, Suite 1105
Washington, DC

Fordham University Professor Asato Ikeda will discuss her new book, The Politics of Painting: Fascism and Japanese Art during the Second World War, University of Hawaii Press, 2018.

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Dr. Ikeda examines Japanese war art produced the 1930s and early 1940s. Like Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan carefully managed the visualization of Empire and the image that the state felt would engender state pride and support of militarism. The arts were restricted within certain themes and mediums.

You can reserve a copy of The Politics of Painting: Fascism and Japanese Art during the Second World War (Honolulu: University of Hawaii, 2018) for only a $40 donation to APP, a savings of over $20 from the order price.

Asato Ikeda, originally from Tokyo, Japan, received her B.A. from the University of Victoria in 2006, her M.A. from Carlton University in 2008, and her Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia in 2012. Her research interests lie in modern Japanese art in particular and Asian art in general, and the topics of imperialism/colonialism, war, fascism, museums, sex, gender, and sexuality. She is an active as a curator, keen to engage with the public about important social and political issues through the visual arts. Ikeda is currently an Assistant Professor of Art History at Fordham University in New York.

Professor Ikeda has also co-edited the first English-language anthology on the topic of Japanese war art, Art and War in Japan and its Empire, 1931-1960 (Brill, 2012) Twenty scholars, including art historians, historians, and museum curators from the United States, Canada, France, Taiwan, Korea, and Japan examine artistic responses to the Fifteen-Year War (1931-1945) within and outside Japan in the wartime and postwar period.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Monday in Washington, September 10, 2018

DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION: A PROMISING AREA FOR CHINA-U.S. RELATIONS? 9/10, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: East-West Center in Washington. Speakers: Dr. Denghua Zhang, Research Fellow, Department of Pacific Affairs, Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, Australian National University; Dr. Satu Limaye, Director, East West Center in Washington.

AFFORDABLE AND CLEAN ENERGY FOR ALL. 9/10, 12:30-2:00pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: SAIS, Johns Hopkins. Speaker: Rajiv Shah, President, Rockefeller Foundation; Moderator: Johannes Urpelainen, Director, Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Professor, Energy, Resources and Environment Program, Founding Director, Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy, SAIS, Johns Hopkins.

GREAT AUSTRALIAN CHINA DEBATE: ISSUES AND IMPLICATIONS FOR THE US AND WORLD - DISCUSSION WITH PROF. RORY MEDCALF. 9/10, 12:30-1:45pm. Sponsor: Sigur Center, GW. Speaker: Dr. Rory Medcalf, Head of National Security College, Australian National University in Canberra; Moderator: Dr. Benjamin D. Hopkins, Director, Sigur Center for Asian Studies, Associate Professor of History and International Affairs, GW.

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JAPAN’S LEADERSHIP ROLE IN THE INTERNATIONAL ORDER: GLOBAL EXPECTATIONS, DOMESTIC CHALLENGES. 9/10, 2:00-3:00pm. Sponsor: Wilson Center. Speakers: Takamasa Sekine, Associate Professor Nagoya University of Commerce and Business (NUCB); Akai Ohi, Adjunct Lecturer, University of Tokyo; Hosei University, Showa Women’s University; Tobias Harris, Fellow for Economy, Trade, and Business, Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA and Vice President, Japan, Teneo Holdings; Moderator: Shihoko Goto, Senior Associate for Northeast Asia, Asia Program.

PROGRESS AND OBSTACLES IN ADDRESSING WAR LEGACY ISSUES IN SOUTHEAST ASIA. 9/10, 2:30-4:00pm. Sponsor: Stimson. Speakers: Amb. Ha Kim Ngoc, Embassy of Vietnam; Chuck Searcy, Member, Project RENEW, Co-chair, Agent Orange Working Group in Vietnam, Former Intelligence Analyst, Combined Intelligence Center, Vietnam (CICV); Jamie Franklin, Executive Director, Mines Advisory Group; Channapha Khamvongsa, Founder, Executive Director, Legacies of War; Patricia Sheik, Director, Roots of Peace, Former Deputy Adminstrator, Office of Capacity Building and Development, Foreign Agricultural Service.

EVERY DAY IS EXTRA: A CONVERSATION WITH JOHN KERRY. 9/10, 5:30-6:30pm. Sponsor: Carnegie. Speakers: Author John Kerry, Former U.S. Secretary of State, Visiting Distinguished Statesman, Carnegie; William J. Burns, Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, President, Carnegie.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Monday in Washington, July 29,2018

INDO-PACIFIC BUSINESS FORUM. 7/30, 8:30am-3:30pm. Sponsor: U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Speakers: Karan Bhatia, President, Government Affairs & Policy, General Electric; Hon. Katrina Cooper, Deputy Head of Mission, Australia; Amb. Jeffrey Gerrish, Acting President, EXIM Bank and Deputy United States Trade Representative; Mark Green, Administrator, US Agency for International Development; Tadashi Maeda, Governor, Japan Bank for International Cooperation; H.E. Ashok Kumar Mirpuri, Ambassador of Singapore to the US; Matt Pottinger, NSC Senior Director for Asia Affairs; H.E. Navtej Sarna, Ambassador of India to the US.

SPACE FORCE: THE PROS AND CONS OF CREATING A NEW MILITARY BRANCH. 7/30, 10:00-11:30am. Sponsor: Brookings Institution. Speakers: Deborah Lee James, Former Secretary, U.S. Air Force; Steve Jacques, Managing Partner, Velos CC; Michael E. O’Hanlon, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence, Director of Research, Foreign policy, The Sydney Stein, Jr. Chair; Frank A. Rose, Senior Fellow, Security and Strategy, Foreign Policy; Brian Weeden, Director of Program Planning, Secure World Foundation.

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? ONE YEAR AFTER THE ROHINGYA CRISIS. 7/30, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: Heritage Foundation. Speakers: Amb. Kelley E. Currie, Representative of the United States on the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations; Francisco Bencosme, Asia Pacific Advocacy Manager, Amnesty International; U Kyaw Min, Former Member of Parliament, Burma; Olivia Enos, Policy Analyst, Asian Studies Center, Heritage Foundation; Moderator: Walter Lohman, Director, Asian Studies Center, Heritage Foundation.

REQUIREMENTS FOR A SUCCESSFUL MILITARY CLOUD: BEST PRACTICES, INNOVATION AND SECURITY. 7/30, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: Hudson Institute. Speakers: Roger Waldron, President, Coalition for Government Procurement; William Schneider Jr., Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute; Tod Lindberg, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute.

HALLYU AT HIGH TIDE: KOREAN CULTURE TAKES OFF IN THE UNITED STATES. 7/30, Noon-1:30pm, Lunch, Washington, DC. Sponsors: KEI; Korea Society. Speakers: Tamar Herman, Billboard K-pop Columnist, Forbes Contributing Writer; Luz Lanzot, Program Officer for Education, Korea Society; Adam Wojciechowicz, Public Affairs Specialist; Korean Culture Center, Washington, DC; Moderator: Jenna Gibson, Director of Communications, KEI.

THE NUCLEAR FUTURE: CAN THERE BE ORDER WITHOUT TRUST? 7/30, 12:30-2:00pm. Sponsor: Stimson. Speakers: Heather Williams, Lecturer in Defense Studies, Kings College London; Justin Anderson, Senior Research Fellow, National Defense University’s Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction; Rebecca Gibbons, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Project on Managing the Atom, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Sara Kutchesfahani, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation; Michael Krepon, Co-Founder, Stimson; Hannah Haegeland, Research Analyst, South Asia Program, Stimson.

BOOK LAUNCH: GOVERNING THE UNGOVERNABLE: INSTITUTIONAL REFORMS FOR DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE IN PAKISTAN. 7/30, 3:00-4:00pm. Sponsor: Asia Program, Wilson Center. Speaker: author Ishrat Husain, Global Fellow, Dean and Director, Institute of Business Administration (Karachi); Moderator: Michael Kugelman, Deputy Director and Senior Associate for South Asia.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Monday in Washington July 23, 2018

ECONOMIC MOBILITY AROUND THE WORLD: NEW DATA AND EVIDENCE. 7/23, 9:30-11:00am. Sponsor: AEI. Speakers: Eric A. Hanushek, AEI; John McArthur, Brookings Institution; Ambar Narayan, World Bank; Scott Winship, Joint Economic Committee; Moderator: Aparna Mathur, AEI.

THE UNMAKING OF JIHADISM: THE CURRENT EFFORT TO COMBAT VIOLENT EXTREMISM. 7/23, 11:00am-Noon. Sponsor: Transnational Threats Project, CSIS. Speakers: Mitchell Silber, Principal and Co-founder, The Guardian Group; Jesse Morton, Founder and Co-director, Parallel Networks; Dr. Seth G. Jones, Harold Brown Chair, Director, Transnational Threats Project, Senior Adviser, International Security Program, CSIS.

CELEBRATING NASA'S 60TH ANNIVERSARY. 7/23, 1:00-2:30pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: CSIS Aerospace Security Project. Speaker: Jim Bridenstine, Administrator, NASA; Sean O'Keefe, ​ Senior Advisor, CSIS, Former Administrator, NASA; Charlie Bolden, Former Administrator, NASA; Moderator: Todd Harrison, Director, CSIS Aerospace Security Project.

VERIFYING NORTH KOREAN DENUCLEARIZATION: WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? 7/23, 1:30-4:45pm. Sponsor: CSIS; International Crisis Group. Speakers: Andrew Schwartz, Chief Communications, Officer, CSIS; John Hamre, President and CEO, CSIS; Stephen Pomper, Program Director, United States, International Crisis Group; Rebecca Hersman, Director, Project on Nuclear Issues and Senior Adviser, International Security Program, CSIS; Richard Johnson, Senior Director, Fuel Cycle and Verification, Nuclear Threat Initiative; William Tobey, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School of Government; David Nakamura, StaffWriter, The Washington Post; Christopher Green, Senior Adviser, Korean Peninsula, International Crisis Group; General (Ret.) Walter “Skip” Sharp, Former Commander, United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command/United States Forces Korea; Sue Mi Terry, Korea Chair, CSIS.

RINI SOEMARNO, MINISTER FOR STATE-OWNED ENTERPRISES OF INDONESIA. 7/23, 4:00-5:00pm. Sponsor: CSIS. Speaker: Rini Soemarno, Minister for State-Owned Enterprises of Indonesia.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Monday in Washington, July 16, 2016

ANNUAL HALEH ESFANDIARI FORUM WITH SENATOR CHRIS VAN HOLLEN. 7/16. 11:00am-Noon. Sponsor: Middle East Program, Wilson Center. Speaker: Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD); Moderator: Jane Harman, Director, President, CEO, Wilson Center.

PULLING AT THE STRINGS: KREMLIN’S INTERFACE IN ELECTIONS. 7/16, 2:00-4:00pm. Sponsor: Atlantic Council. Speakers: Sen. Mark Warner, (D-VA); Sen. Marco Rubio, (R-FL).

WITH PARTNERS LIKE THESE: STRATEGIES AND TOOLS FOR COUNTERTERRORISM COOPERATION. 7/16, 3:00-4:00pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: International Security Program, CSIS. Speakers: Author, Dr. Stephen Tankel, Associate Professor, School of International Service, American University, With Us and Against Us; Alice Hunt Friend, Senior Fellow, International Security Program, CSIS; Colby Goodman, Director, Security Assistance Monitor, Center for International Policy; Moderator: Melissa Dalton, Senior Fellow and Deputy Director, International Security Program, CSIS, Director, Cooperative Defense Project, CSIS.

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ENERGY TRENDS: NUCLEAR AND NON-NUCLEAR. 7/16, 4:00-5:00pm. Sponsor: Institute of World Politics (IWP). Speaker: Henry D. Sokolski, Adjunct Professor, IWP, Executive Director, Nonproliferation Policy Education Center.

INTERACTIVE ROUNDTABLE WITH LEADING MEMBERS OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT. 7/16, 4:00-5:30pm. Sponsor: Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT), European Parliament Liaison Office in DC. Speakers: Emma McClarkin, member of European Parliament; Tanja Fajon, member of European Parliament. Moderator: Lisa Schroeter, President, WIIT.

EMBASSY OF UZBEKISTAN. 7/16, 6:30-8:30pm. Sponsor: World Affairs Council. Speaker: His Excellency Javlon Vahaboc, Ambassador of Uzbekistan.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Yes, Japan has an alt-right

July 2018, Langley Equire

American fascism: Reading the signs of the times

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By IAN BURUMA, AsiaTimes, JULY 13, 2018

Comparing today’s demagogues with Adolf Hitler is almost always unwise. Such alarmism tends to trivialize the actual horrors of the Nazi regime and distracts attention from our own political problems. But if alarmism is counterproductive, the question remains: At what point are democracies truly in danger? What was unimaginable only a few years ago – a US president insulting democratic allies and praising dictators, or calling the free press “enemies of the people,” or locking up refugees and taking away their children – has become almost normal now. When will it be too late to sound the alarm?

Great books have been written about this very question. Giorgio Bassani’s masterpiece, The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, describes the lives of bourgeois Italian Jews under fascism. Slowly, step by step, a legal and social noose tightens around these cultivated Italians, who took their lives of comfort and influence for granted. And yet, in different ways, they are in denial. The narrator’s father even joins the Fascist Party, while the wealthier Finzi-Continis withdraw into their ever more isolated family circle. Pride and a lack of imagination blind them to the danger they are in until it is too late and they are deported to the death camps.

The human incapacity to see what is coming also animates Sebastian Haffner’s memoir Defying Hitler, written in 1939, a year after he left his native Germany. Haffner, later a journalist and author, was a law student who witnessed how the Nazi dictatorship became lethal, again incrementally, like the persecution of Jews in Italy. He saw how his fellow law students, none of whom were Nazis, came to accept each step – racial laws, abrogation of the constitution, and so on – precisely because they were couched in legal terms. There never seemed to be a point at which they recognized that an intolerable line had been crossed and only resistance or exile would do. Haffner, who was not Jewish, did recognize it; he left in the year that synagogues were torched and Jews driven from their homes.

Under most circumstances, there are probably more Finzi-Continis than Haffners. It is hard to sleep well in a state of alarm. Life is easier if the world seems normal, even if it is anything but.

There are many ways people stick their heads in the sand, and some parallels between our own time and Europe in the early 1930s can be seen. Quite a number of German businessmen and industrialists, who were conservatives but not Nazis, thought they could live with Hitler, as long as he benefited them financially. He was a vulgar upstart, whose manners might not have been the finest, but surely they would be able to control him.

Historical knowledge can help people to recognize certain patterns of behavior – attacks on an independent judiciary, for example – that have led to tyranny in the past. But historical memory, often blended with myth, can also stop people from reading the signs of what might come. In countries with a democratic history, it is easy to assume that “it could never happen here,” because “our institutions are too strong,” or “our people love freedom too much,” or they are “too civilized” or “too modern” to slide into barbarism.

Donald Trump may not be a reincarnated Hitler, but Republicans’ acquiescence in every step he has taken away from civilized democratic norms is ominous

Leftists can be just as blinkered as conservatives. Communists (instructed by Stalin), but also the non-communist left in 1920s Germany, refused to defend the fragile Weimar Republic when it was under assault from the right. Communists saw social democrats as a greater danger than Nazis, and left-wing intellectuals were distracted by the hypocrisy and corruption of mainstream parties they really should have supported.

Donald Trump may not be a reincarnated Hitler, but Republicans’ acquiescence in every step he has taken away from civilized democratic norms is ominous. And so is talk on the far left that the difference between Trump and Clinton or Obama is one of degree, not kind: he merely displays the iniquities of neoliberalism more blatantly than they did. In both cases, the particular dangers posed by today’s right-wing populism are underrated or ignored.

The much-maligned mainstream press – those “enemies of the people” – is still robust. But its influence is waning. What appears in The New York Times or the Washington Post matters less than presidential tweets that go straight to millions of people and are echoed in partisan radio or TV shows.

In a polarized society, politicians who stir up the mob by exploiting fear and resentment are probably more likely to be successful than less exciting figures who try to appeal to our more rational faculties. Political parties that oppose the anti-liberal trends are in a serious bind. If they respond to youthful anger and idealism and move too far to the left, they could lose essential votes in the center. If they choose centrist candidates, who look for reforms rather than radical change, they might lose the fired-up young.

And yet freedoms must be defended, which is possible only when the threats are seen clearly. The moment people stop believing that the demagogues can be prevented from doing their worst is the moment we can be sure that it is already too late.

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2018

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Monday in Washington, July 9,2018



15 YEARS OF PEPFAR: ADVANCING STRATEGIC HEALTH DIPLOMACY. 7/9, 10:30am-Noon. Sponsor: Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC). Speakers: Amb. Deborah Birx, M.D., US Global AIDS Coordinator and US Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy; Sen. Tom Daschle, Co-Founder, BPC, Former Senate Majority Leader; Sen. Bill Frist, M.D., Senior Fellow, BPC, Former Senate Majority Leader; Michael Gerson, Senior Advisor, The ONE Campaign; Amb. Mark C. Storella, Former US Ambassador to Zambia.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Why Steve Bannon Admires Japan

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In Japan, populist and extreme right-wing nationalism has found a home within the political establishment.

By Reto Hofmann, Ph.D., is Associate Professor at Waseda University, Tokyo and an expert on the history of transnational fascism, conservatism, and right-wing movements. Author of The Fascist Effect: Japan and Italy, 1915–1952.

The Diplomat, June 22, 2018

When Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s former adviser, spoke at the conference of the Japanese Conservative Union [a brain child of Japanese new religion Happy Science and Trump adviser Matt Schlapp], he praised Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, calling him a “Trump before Trump.” Bannon is not the only Western right-winger to admire Japan. Simone di Stefano, leader of Italy’s neofascist Casa Pound, is dreaming of an alliance between Italy, Russia, and Japan. And for Jan Moldenhauer, an ideologue of the xenophobic Alternative for Germany, when it comes to immigration, “Japan is the alternative.”

Coming from the world’s self-appointed populist leaders, these statements deserve reflection. Right-wing populism is often seen as a threat to democracy because it challenges the political establishment from the margins, using high doses of nationalism and skillful manipulation of the media. This has happened in Europe, most recently in Italy and Slovakia. But this pattern should not make us forget that the political establishment is hardly immune to right-wing agendas.

Happy Science talks to Trump's
In Japan, populist and extreme right-wing nationalism has found an institutional home within the traditional conservatism of Liberal Democratic Party that aims for an authoritarian transformation of the political system — hence the effusions of the likes of Bannon.

Since 2012, Abe has gradually enforced a hard right-wing agenda from within. He has impeccable nationalistic credentials. He is a special adviser of the Nippon Kaigi, a right-wing organization that strives to reconstruct Japan on a nationalist basis. It is active, for example, in advising the government on education policies, promoting ideas about “morals” as well as revisionist history textbooks.

Nippon Kaigi is influential in the LDP. At some point 18 out of 20 of Abe’s cabinets were members, many of whom with clear ultra-right sympathies. One, Tomomi Inada, then party policy chief, had posed for a photowith Yamada Kazunari, the leader of a neo-Nazi group. Another, Taro Aso, the deputy prime minister, remarked that Hitler was wrong in murdering millions of people, but that “his motives were right.” He is also on the record for saying that the Nazis did a good job at gutting the Weimar Constitution — a remarkable statement for a government that wants to alter its own constitution.

Since 2012, Abe’s governments have been pushing policies that are still only on the agenda of many populists. Take the attacks on the media, for example. When Abe was appointed prime minister in 2012, he posted on Facebook that “my war with the mass media has started. I will fight my way through it together with your support.” Further, his government passed the State Secrecy Laws, one effect of which is to restrict the media’s news gathering capacity. Momii Katsuto, the former head of NHK, the public broadcaster, and a close friend of Abe, caused a stir when he said that NHK “should not deviate from the government’s position in its reporting.

Abe has a clear “Japan First” outlook, a desire to remake a “beautiful Japan” that is socially harmonious and ethnically homogeneous. Despite the country’s acute labor shortage, Abe does not welcome immigrants. He declared that “before accepting immigrants or refugees, we need to have more activities by women, elderly people and we must raise our birth rate.” In 2017, Japan granted refugee status to 20 people out of an applicant pool of 20,000. Xenophobia is not only an American or European problem. It is rampant also in Japan, where right-wing groups target Korean residents with verbal abuse. In response, the LDP leadership has been reluctant to legislate about hate speech. Abe preferred to “leave this matter to the good conscience of the average Japanese.”

Japan lacks the strident version of populism that has engulfed Europe, but we would be missing the point by not seeing the country as a link in the global chain of right-wing politics. Though refraining from the crassest expressions of xenophobia and authoritarianism, Abe’s deceptively polite right-wing politics may be heading in the same direction.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Monday in Washington June 25, 2018

THE NEW DYNAMICS OF GLOBAL ENERGY: A CONVERSATION WITH IEA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FATIH BIROL. 6/25, 2:00-3:30pm. Sponsor: Brookings. Speaker: Fatih Birol, Executive Director, International Energy Agency. Moderator: David G. Victor, Co-Chair, Foreign Policy, Energy Security and Climate Initiative.

THE CLASH OF GENERATIONS? INTERGENERATIONAL CHANGE AND AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY VIEWS. 6/25, 11:00am-12:30pm. Sponsor: CATO. Speakers: Dina Smeltz, Senior Fellow, Chicago Council on Global Affairs; Will Ruger, Vice President of Research and Policy, Charles Koch Institute; Trevor Thrall, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute and Associate Professor, Scholar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University.

JAPAN’S ENERGY CONUNDRUM. 6/25, Noon-2:00pm. Sponsor: Sasakawa. Speakers: Admiral Dennis Blair, Chairman and Distinguished Senior Fellow, Sasakawa; Tom Cutler, Energy Consultant; Jane Nakano, Senior Fellow, Energy and Security Program, CSIS; Dr. Michael Smitka, Professor of Economics, Washington and Lee University; Nobuo Tanaka, Chairman, Sasakawa; Dr. Phyllis Genther Yoshida, Senior Fellow for Energy and Technology, Sasakawa; Moderator: Dr. Kent Calder, Director of Asia Programs, Director of Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies, SAIS, Johns Hopkins.

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A DISCUSSION ON THE NEXT STEPS IN THE ROHINGYA CRISIS. 6/25, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: Atlantic Council. Speakers: Ambassador Farooq Sobhan, President and CEO, Bangladesh Enterprise Institute. Moderator: Dr. Bharath Gopalaswamy, Director, South Asia Center Atlantic Council.

ACROSS THE TAIWAN STRAIT: FROM COOPERATION TO CONFRONTATION?– REFLECTING ON THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF ALAN D. ROMBERG. 6/25, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: Stimson Center. Speakers; Thomas Christensen, Professor, Princeton University; former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (2006-2008); Steve Goldstein, Associate, Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies and Director of the Taiwan Workshop, Harvard University; Yuki Tatsumi, Co-Director, East Asia Program (moderator).

MYSTERY OF MOTHER RUSSIA. 6/25, 4:00-5:30am. Sponsor: International Center for Terrorism Studies at Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies, Inter-University Center for Legal Studies at International Law Institute, Center for National Security Law at University of Virginia School of Law. Speakers: Author Marvin Kalb, The Year I Was Peter the Great, Edward R. Murrow Professor Emeritus, Harvard Kennedy School, Senior advisor, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, Nonresident fellow, Brookings; Don Wallace Jr., Chairman, International Law Institute; Moderator: Yonah Alexander, Director, Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies, Senior Fellow, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.

Sunday, June 17, 2018


It is not the American ideal.

Rabbi Marvin Hier is founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish human rights organization named for the famed Nazi hunter and Holocaust survivor. Rabbi Abraham Cooper is associate dean of the center and director of its Global Social Action programs.

The Hill, 6/17/18

In the biblical narrative, King Solomon, described as the wisest of men, was confronted by two women who shared a house. They each claimed to be the mother of an infant boy while insisting that another newborn, just deceased, belonged to the other mother.

King Solomon pondered the claims of each and ordered, “Bring me a sword.” The king then said, “Cut the living child in two, and give half to one and half to the other.”

The woman who claimed that her living son was stolen from her said, “Please, my lord, give her the living child and do not kill it.” But the other woman said, “Neither mine nor yours shall he be. Cut!”

King Solomon, who based his decision on a keen understanding of human nature and an intuitive sense of ethics, declared, “Give the first woman the living child and do not kill it; for she is his mother.”

No American president has ever possessed the genius of a King Solomon. Yet, every president has faced critical decisions that would have left even King Solomon deeply conflicted.

Let’s start with the just completed historic summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. The stated goal was the removal of the growing nuclear threat from Pyongyang, in return for unspecified security guarantees. Human rights groups, including the Simon Wiesenthal Center, are urging that the president also address a basket of human-rights issues, including dismantling North Korea’s infamous gulag and allowing religious freedom.

Activists question whether President Trump or any president should ever provide “security guarantees” to a regime that crushes the human dignity of millions its own citizens. Some critics express dismay that the president didn’t explicitly call out Kim’s crimes at the summit and, instead, lavished him with praise.

Yet, to be fair to President Trump, some of his predecessors in the Oval Office did just that and, it could be argued, even worse.

President Barack Obama and then-Secretary of State John Kerry decided it was in the best interest of the United States to pursue a policy of rapprochement with the theocratic Iranian regime of Ayatollah Khamenei; they pursued a deal that supposedly kicked the nuclear threat down the road for a number of years. To achieve that goal, they turned a deaf ear to Iranian protesters seeking relief from the mullahocracy.

In pursuit of their diplomatic goal, President Obama’s team legitimized a regime that is the world’s greatest Holocaust denier and state-sponsor of worldwide terrorism, while forking over billions of dollars to Tehran.

Mr. Obama would argue that he reached the conclusion that slowing Iran’s nuclear ambitions, in return for enabling Tehran to expand its dangerous bad behavior, served the best interests of the United States.

During the 20th century, America made even more debatable decisions. At the end of World War II, former allies who defeated Hitler’s Germany quickly turned into enemies with the onset of the Cold War. After the 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, Moscow, London and Washington quickly spurned further trials of Nazis; they were too busy recruiting them. Klaus Barbie, the infamous “Butcher of Lyon,” was hidden from French prosecution by the United States, putting him to work to identify communists.

The perceived threat to our national security from Soviet Russia, led the United States (under a Democratic president) to bring at least 88 prominent Nazi scientists to America; among them were those who used slave labor for their rocket programs or experimented with nerve gas on concentration camp victims. Our intelligence services never informed the Justice Department about them, and even hid their WWII crimes from the Justice Department. But in the midst of the Cold War, it had to be done, lest the Soviets beat us to the punch.

In occupied Japan, the United States shielded war criminal Gen. Ishii Shiro from Soviet prosecutors in return for his sharing results of experiments conducted on live POWs without anesthetic at the infamous Unit 731 in Manchuria.

So, should President Trump rely on these and other precedents and prepare to sacrifice some of our values on the altar of “national security”? Or is there a Solomonic path for the United States to remove the nuclear threat and guarantee human rights simultaneously?

America already achieved the latter — and with a much more dangerous foe: During the Cold War, President Ronald Reagan and then-Secretary of State George Shultz, rather than decoupling human rights from the nuclear arms race, used the issue of freedom for Soviet Jewry as the litmus test for Soviet intentions on nuclear disarmament. Eventually, human rights prevailed, and the communist system dissolved without a shot being fired.

The United States should counter Kim’s cycle of “charm offensives” not through appeasement but through verifiable changes. It is important to witness the blowing up of one nuclear test site but, of equal importance, will be the dismantling of Kim’s gulag. Only when that occurs can the world be assured that the two estranged Koreas are on the path to a peaceful reunification and a hopeful future for all.

Monday in Washington June 18 2018

ASSESSING THE TRUMP-KIM SUMMIT. 6/18, 9:00am-4:30pm. Sponsors: CSIS, Korea Foundation. Speakers: Dr. John Hamre, President and CEO, CSIS; Ambassador Lee Sihyung, President, Korea Foundation; Lim Sung-nam, First Vice Foreign Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea; Rachel Martin, Host, Morning Edition and Up First, National Public Radio; Dr. Sue Mi Terry, Senior Fellow, Korea Chair, CSIS; Dr. Paik Haksoon, President, The Sejong Institute; Dr. Kim Joon Hyung, Professor, Handong Global University; Evan Osnos, Staff Writer, New Yorker; Rebecca Hersman, Director, Project on Nuclear Issues, Senior Adviser, International Security Program, CSIS; John Schaus, Fellow, International Security Program, CSIS; Dr. Yoon Young-kwan, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea; Dr. Lee Sang Hyun, Senior Research Fellow, The Sejong Institute; Dr. Kim Heung-Kyu, Professor, Ajou University; Dr. Michael Green, Senior Vice President and Japan Chair, CSIS, Professor and Director, Asian Studies Program, Georgetown University; Christopher Johnson, Senior Adviser and Freeman Chair, China Studies, CSIS; Dr. Lee Hochul, Professor, Incheon National University; Dr. Lee Shin-wha, Professor, Korea University; Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO); Moderators: Ambassador Mark Lippert, Vice President, Boeing International, Former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, U.S. Department of State; Dr. Victor Cha, Senior Adviser and Korea Chair, CSIS; D.S. Song-KF Professor of Government, Georgetown University. 

RESTORING RESTRAINT: ENFORCING ACCOUNTABILITY FOR USERS OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS. 6/19, 9:30-11:30am. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: H.E. Mr Ahmet Üzümcü, Director-General, Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Moderator: Rebecca Hersman, Director, Project on Nuclear Issues, Senior Adviser, International Security Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies.  

A CONVERSATION WITH MEMBERS OF THE UNIVERSITY CLIMATE CHANGE COALITION. 6/18, 2:30-4:00pm. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: The Hon. Janet Napolitano, President, University of California; The Hon. Kristina M. Johnson, PhD, Chancellor, The State University of New York; Timothy Carter, PhD, President, Second Nature. Moderator: Sarah Ladislaw, Senior Vice President and Director, Energy & National Security Program, CSIS.

CHINESE EXPANSION AND THE SOUTH CHINA SEA: BEIJING’S STRATEGIC AMBITION AND THE ASIAN ORDER. 6/18, 3:00-4:00pm, Washington, DC. Sponsors: Asia Program, Wilson Center; Kissinger Institute on China and the United States. Speakers: Author Humphrey Hawksley, BBC Foreign Correspondent, Asian Waters: The Struggle Over the South China Sea and the Strategy of Chinese Expansion; Bob Drogin, Deputy Washington Bureau Chief and National Security Editor, Los Angeles Times; James Clad, Senior Advisor for Asia, CNA Corporation and former US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asia.

UNELECTED POWER: CENTRAL BANKING, THE REGULATORY STATE, AND DEMOCRATIC LEGITIMACY. 6/18, 3:30-5:00pm. Sponsor: AEI. Speakers: Sarah Binder, Brookings Institution, George Washington University; Sir Paul Tucker, Harvard Kennedy School, Systemic Risk Council; Stan Veuger, AEI; Philip Wallach, R Street Institute. 

AN EVENING WITH PRESIDENTIAL ADVISOR JENNIFER PALMIERI. 6/18, 6:30-8:30pm. Sponsor: Woman’s National Democratic Club. Speaker: Author, Jennifer Palmieri, Hillary Clinton's Communications Director, Dear Madame President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run the World

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

North Koreans Also Have Human Rights

By Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean and director of the Global Social Action Agenda of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Greg Scarlatoiu executive director of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) and APP member.

Jewish Journal, June 11, 2018

For almost three decades, U.S. administrations have tiptoed around the egregious human rights violations perpetrated by the Kim regimes in North Korea. But U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo already has changed the equation, by succeeding in securing the release of American detainees Kim Dong-chul, Kim (Tony) Sang-duk, and Kim Hak-song. A reminder to us and the world that the United States still has the clout to move the needle on human rights.

On the eve of the Singapore summit on denuclearization, we urge President Donald Trump to put the release of Japanese, other foreign and South Korean abductees, the reunion of separated Korean families, and the complete, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement of the North Korean political prison camps, as the bill the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea must foot to become a normal and responsible member of the international community.

Three generations of the Kim family regime have continued to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles at the expense of the human security of North Koreans, and to egregiously violate the human rights of its citizens. In order to tackle North Korean threats, the Trump administration has applied three of the four fundamental elements of national power (diplomatic, information, military, economic power — DIME): economic power through the strengthening of the international sanctions regime; military power through the deployment of assets to the region and the reaffirming of U.S. commitment to our Korean and Japanese allies; and diplomatic power, employing for the first time summit diplomacy, made possible by the maximum economic and military pressure and the resuscitation of inter-Korean dialogue, starting with the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Kim Jong-un wants security guarantees, but history has taught time and again that liberal democracies shouldn’t try to guarantee the survival of a regime that runs political prison camps and commits crimes against humanity. South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his key advisers represent a generation of progressive intellectuals who helped democratize their nation. Their lasting legacy however, will be ultimately defined by their stance on North Korean human rights. Will they appease tyranny and lead the Republic of Korea (South Korea) down the path of catastrophic compromise? Or will they become the heroes who brought freedom and human rights to both Koreas, thus decisively opening the path of unification under a truly democratic and prosperous Republic of Korea?

Time will tell. But early signs are not encouraging. The recent ban on leaflet balloon launches and loudspeaker broadcasting into North Korea is one reason for concern. North Korean escapees in South Korea give voice to silenced millions. At this critical crossroads in history, the South Korean administration must protect these heroes and ensure their voices are heard, not muffled.

All this puts the spotlight on the United States’ summit diplomacy. Will it be a historic achievement for President Trump or just another déjà vu North Korean scam?

Under any conceivable outcome, in order to achieve ultimate peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and in Northeast Asia — a fundamental U.S. security interest — the nature of the Kim regime and its horrific human rights abuses must remain in focus.

Human rights cannot be treated as a sidebar issue, possibly sacrificed for a wink and a nod and photo-op with Kim. Human rights must not be abandoned to appease the Kim regime.

Human rights cannot be postponed until an ever-elusive future scenario in which the Kim regime miraculously agrees to protect the rights of its citizens. Despots do not give away human rights out of the goodness of their hearts. Human rights always are achieved and protected through struggle.

Can the U.S. remove a nuclear threat and guarantee human rights and dignity simultaneously?

President Trump, please take note: America already did it and with a much more dangerous foe. During the Cold War, President Ronald Reagan and then-Secretary of State George Shultz used the issue of freedom for Soviet Jewry as the litmus test for Soviet intentions on nuclear disarmament. Eventually, human rights prevailed and the communist system dissolved without a shot being fired.

The U.S. should counter Kim’s cycle of “charm offensives” not through appeasement but through verifiable changes in North Korea. It is important to witness the blowing up of one nuclear test site. Of equal importance will be the dismantling of Kim’s gulag. When that occurs — and only then — can the world be assured that the two estranged Koreas are on the path to a peaceful reunification and a hopeful future for all.