We’ll start with the gold of Havana’s women,
who hearing you needed money for your revolutionary war
offered their wedding rings and necklaces,
to be melted,
to finance your white-wigged revolution
Spurred on by the deaths of hundreds of Iraqi civilians each month this year, and by persistent complains about the government’s poor performance and rising authoritarianism, Iraqi demonstrators are now taking matters into their own hands. With ever louder chants of effective governance from certain sectors of the country, what Iraq may be going through is its own version of the Arab Spring movement—smaller and less universal, but equally empowering to those who are in the middle of it.
North Korea’s nuclear weapons and Iran’s purported nuclear ambitions are the subject of constant speculation by Western pundits. However, the connection between the two is often overlooked. Although Northeast Asia and the Middle East are home to different geopolitical realities, the resolution of tensions on the Korean peninsula will almost certainly influence calculations made in Washington and Tehran regarding the Iranian nuclear program.
Political Cartoonists love to portray North Korea as an irrational and infantile force. It’s either a baby with a nuclear rattle or a little truant in need of a timeout. The relative youth of the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, encourages such representations, but the practice predates his ascension to power. It’s time for us to grow up in our assessments of North Korea. Belittling North Korea, literally and figuratively, ultimately prevents us from developing our own mature alternatives.
Recent inter-Korean tensions have rekindled debate over methods for moving the North Korean government away from weapons development. If an upcoming United Nations human rights report can establish a framework and funding mechanism to assist refugees who have crossed the border into China, it might be more effective than either sanctions or traditional engagement.