June 16, 2006
Diplomatic Rapprochement (Or Not)
I wonder whether anybody in the US government ever stops and thinks of the absurdity involved in trying to maintain a divided Korea? Not just the absurdity of telling Koreans North and South that we won't let them have what they want, but the absurdity of telling all the main actors in Northeast Asia how best to organize regional security, against their wishes. However things used to be, the fact is that today the US is more a source of tension than a calming presence. To get a handle on what's happening in Korea, a sense of what that means within Asian circles, and how we might learn something that applies to other big problems—like Iraq—I talked with Bruce Cumings of the University of Chicago, one of the top US experts on Korea. I've known Bruce as a friendly acquaintance for almost thirty years now (amazing!) and have always had the very highest regard for his scholarship and good judgment. Like most former Peace Corps volunteers Bruce is a very down-to-earth, decent, friendly guy. A great human being. This podcast runs long, for a record-breaking hour and thirty eight minutes. Enjoy!