Academics Suggest Science Diplomacy Strategy with North Korea

by Dr. Stuart Thorson and Dr. Hyunjin Seo | December 30th, 2011 | |Subscribe

Stuart Thorson is Donald P. and Margaret Curry Gregg Professor at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. Hyunjin Seo is assistant professor in the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Kansas.

It has now been over a week since the announcement of Kim Jong Il’s death. We learned the news in Seoul and observed shocked but calm South Koreans diligently following events.

The sense of calmness in Seoul reflects that there appears to be an orderly transition of power within North Korea. Of course, no one knows for sure what exactly is going on and what is going to happen in North Korea. That said, we hope, once an appropriate period of mourning is concluded, that steps toward positive engagement in such areas as humanitarian food assistance and nuclear talks that were underway at the time of Kim’s death will continue to move forward.

However, hope is not enough. We must recognize that even in places such as North Korea the future doesn’t simply happen. Rather, the future there as elsewhere is, to a significant degree, the result of a complex interplay of ideas and action. U.S. history provides a clear demonstration that among the most powerful of those ideas are notions of widely available education and open scientific inquiry. One need look only to the actions associated with U.S. support for these ideas in the countries of Western Europe following the Second World War. Or perhaps even more relevantly, consider programs such as the U.S. State Department funded Minnesota Project which developed sustained medical, engineering, and agricultural support to a South Korea suffering from the consequences of the Korean Conflict. Or the Fulbright Program which has served to help in the transformation of higher education throughout much of the world.


A Different Goodbye

by Bryan Bearden | December 16th, 2011 | |Subscribe

Col Bryan Bearden, USAF, is an instructor of National Security, Joint Warfare and Leadership and Ethics at the Marine Corps War College.

A subdued but respectful ceremony marked the end of combat operations in Iraq.  A flag was rolled and encased, and speeches respectful of the fallen and hopeful for the future were made.  Signs of friendship between the two countries were left in the hearts of both peoples and policies are in place to continue non-military support to a continually developing democracy in Iraq.  A joyous America will see her military members return celebrating a job well done and remembering those who paid the ultimate price.

This is in stark contrast to the images scared into the American psyche of a helicopter rising from the roof of the embassy in Saigon in April of 1975, an event that most recognize as the end of a terrible chapter in America’s history.


Reducing the Deficit Requires Skill and Risk

by PSA Staff | December 14th, 2011 | |Subscribe

Lee Hamilton is a Co-Chair of Partnership for a Secure America’s Advisory Board, Director for the Center of Congress at Indiana University, and also served in Congress for 34 years. This article originally appeared in the Taunton Daily Gazette and can be found here.

The failure of the congressional Supercommittee to reach an agreement on reducing the deficit was not just bad fiscal news. It was a significant failure of political leadership.

Not only did the committee move us one step closer to a genuine fiscal crisis, but also it put the dysfunction of Congress on full display. At a time of great economic stress, its members lost sight of what failure would cost the country in lost economic growth and foregone job creation. They did not fully appreciate that inaction ensures grave economic risks. Even worse, they sent a signal to the American people — who overwhelmingly wanted to believe that common ground is still possible in a divided age — that partisan politics is stronger than the national interest. Failure robbed Americans of hope at a time when they desperately needed some.

Where do we go from here? We did learn some important lessons from the Supercommittee’s many weeks of work.

An obvious one is how difficult it will be getting our fiscal house in order. The Supercommittee proved that deficit reduction is hard on the substance and even harder on the politics. The fact that its members could not salvage a formal agreement from their discussions, unlike special committees in the past, makes clear that it will take a supreme effort of political will to move the nation past this point. Though even in failure, the committee could have done much more to educate the American public on the hard choices necessary to get our fiscal house in order.

An “Iron Hand” is No Substitute for Democracy

by PSA Staff | December 7th, 2011 | |Subscribe

Ms Albright is former US secretary of state and a member of PSA’s Advisory Board.  Mr. Kohut is president of the Pew Research Center.  The original editorial appeared in the Financial Times, you can find the article here.


All blog posts are independently produced by their authors and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of PSA. Across the Aisle serves as a bipartisan forum for productive discussion of national security and foreign affairs topics.