Almost all of my undergraduate students take courses in economics and I greatly envy them for it. Sadly, I never had a chance to study economics as an undergraduate and do not consider myself to be qualified in the field.
So, in my ignorance, I started asking them questions related to economic phenomena during my classes on Korean and East Asian history.
But I discovered a remarkable fact about the study of economics in Korea when I made my questions to my students more specific about the impact of economics on politics and society: I found out that I had read more about economics than most of my students who had taken years of economics classes in college.
When I asked them about the fundamentals of economic theory, I discovered that in the course of their classes in “economics” they had not read any of the major works of Adam Smith, Max Weber, Karl Marx, John Keynes, or even contemporary critics like Thomas Piketty. Read more of this post
The economy, security, and society”
Kyung Hee International College
Thursday, November 30, 2017
College of International Studies
Room: Kyung Hee University (Suwon Campus)
College of International Studies
Kyung Hee University
Giheung-gu Yongin Gyeonggi-do
The paradigms for economic growth and for security that have worked for the last 50 years in the Republic of Korea have hit a dead end. The nation faces unprecedented challenges in terms of security, economics, society and culture itself that will demand, in the not-too-far-distant future a complete rethinking of the very definition of those terms. Emanuel Pastreich engages students in this lecture in a serious discussion as to what current trends suggest about future challenges for Korea and what must be done now to respond.
사드를 더 이상 추가 배치하지 않을 것이며 나토와 유사한 한미일 군사동맹에 참여하지 않겠다는 한국의 최근 발표에, 많은 사람들이 문재인 정부를 결국 정상궤도로 복귀시키고 동아시아의 평화적 통합으로 향하게 하는 돌파구라며 환호했다.
그러나 내게는 전혀 인상적이지 않았다. 우선 중국과의 합의가, 그 내용이 어찌 되었건, 전적으로 불투명하다. 미일과의 군사 및 정보 분야 비밀 합의와 유사하게, 이제 중국과의 비밀 합의가 병행되고 있음을 시사한다. 진정한 해결책이란 중대한 전략적 이슈에 관한 투명성을 강조하여 비밀주의로부터 벗어나는 것이다. 특정한 외교 관계에서는 단기적으로 비밀주의가 필요하기도 하다는 점을 인정하더라도 말이다.
한국에게 필요한 것은 공개적인 논의다. 중국과 한국, 미국, 일본의 광범한 전문가들을 포함하여 모든 사람에게 논의를 개방하고, 진정한 안보 위협이 무엇인지를 공개적으로 토론해야 한다. 논의해야 할 위협에는 미사일과 사이버 전쟁뿐만 아니라 사막화의 확산 및 해수면의 상승(해수 온난화)이 포함된다. 과학적인 접근법에 기초하는 공개적인 논의가 이루어진다면, 북한의 ‘위협’에는 긴장완화로 가장 잘 대처할 수 있으며, 북한의 핵무기는 기후변화와 같은 재앙에 비해 작은 위협에 지나지 않는다는 점이 바로 드러날 것이다. Read more of this post
24일 오후 4시부터는 제3회 인문학 특강 ‘외국인이 바라본 한글의 창의성’을 개최한다. 강연자는 경희대 임마누엘 페스트라이쉬 교수(한국 이름 이만열)이다. 페스트라이쉬 교수는 2005년 주미한국대사관 자문관으로 활동한 이래 우송대, 경희대 등에서 교수로 재직하며 한국과 한국문화에 대한 연구와 강의 활동을 활발히 해 왔다.
이번 인문학 특강은 임마누엘 페스트라이쉬 교수가 바라보는 한글의 문자적 가치를 살펴보는 자리로 외국인 학자의 눈을 통해 한글을 살펴볼 수 있다는 점에서 기대를 모은다. 아울러 세종시대의 철학과 사고방식이 우리 사회에 주는 의미에 대해서도 폭넓게 이야기할 예정이다.
임마누엘 페스트라이쉬 교수는 중어중문학 학사 학위(1987년), 비교문화학 석사 학위(1992년), 동아시아언어문화학 박사 학위(1997년)를 취득한 언어문화 연구 전문가다. 대표적인 저서로 ‘세계의 석학들, 한국의 미래를 말하다'(2012년), ‘한국인만 모르는 다른 대한민국'(2013년), ‘한국인만 몰랐던 더 큰 대한민국'(2017년) 등이 있다. 연암 박지원의 소설을 영문 번역본으로 출간할 정도로 한글 문학에도 관심이 크다. 현재 경희대 국제학부 부교수 겸 아시아 인스티튜트 소장으로 재직하고 있다.
국립한글박물관은 인문학 특강을 통해 한글과 한글문화를 다양한 관점에서 재해석하고 한글문화에 대한 공감대를 만들어나가는 자리를 마련하고 있다. 이번 특강은 국립한글박물관 누리집(www.hangeul.go.kr)에서 사전 신청을 통해 무료로 참여할 수 있다.
The odd mood lingering on at the end of Donald Trump’s visit to Asia inspired me to reread the opening of a book that I read last as a high school junior. The words speak for themselves.
Saturday, 21 June 1941, produced a perfect summer’s morning. Many Berliners took the train out to Potsdam to spend the day in the park of Sans Souci. Others went swimming from the beaches of the Wannsee or the Nikolassee. In cafes, the rich repertoire of jokes about Rudolf Hess’s flight to Britain had given way to stories about an imminent invasion of the Soviet Union. Others, dismayed at the idea of a much wider war, rested their hopes upon the idea that Stalin would cede the Ukraine to Germany at the last moment.
In the Soviet Embassy on the Unter den Linden officials were at their posts. An urgent signal from Moscow demanded “an important clarification” of the huge military preparations along the frontiers from the Baltic to the Black Sea. Valentin Berezhkov, the first secretary and chief interpreter, rang the German Foreign Office on the Wlimhelmstrasse to arrange a meeting. He was told that Reichsminister Joachim von Ribbentrop was out of town, and that Staatssekretär Freiherr von Weizsäcker could not be reached by phone. As the morning passed, more and more urgent messages arrived from Moscow demanding news. There was an atmosphere of repressed hysteria in the Kremlin as the evidence of German intentions mounted, adding to more than eighty warnings received over the previous eight months. The deputy head of the NKVD had just reported that there were no fewer than “thirty-nine aircraft incursions over the state border of the USSR” during the previous day. The Wehrmacht was quite shameless in its preparations, yet the lack of secrecy seems only to have confirmed the idea in Stalin’s convoluted mind that this must all be part of a plan by Adolf Hitler to extract greater concessions.
The Soviet Ambassador in Berlin, Vladimir Dekanozov, shared Stalin’s conviction that it was all a campaign of disinformation, originally started by the British. He even dismissed a report of his own military attaché that 180 divisions had deployed along the border. Dekanozov, a protégé of Lavrenty Beria, was yet another Georgian and a senior member of the NKVD. His experience of foreign affairs had gone little beyond interrogating and purging rather more practiced diplomats. Other members of the mission, although they did not dare express their views too forcefully, had little doubt that Hitler was planning to invade. They had even sent on the proofs of a phrase book prepared for invading troops, which had been brought secretly to the Soviet consulate by a German communist printer. Useful terms included the Russian for “Surrender!”, “hands up!”, “Where is the collective farm chairman?”, “are you a communist?”, and “I’ll shoot!”
Watching the speeches of President Donald Trump and President Moon Jae-in in Seoul over the last few days gave me a sense of just how rotten the politics of both countries has grown. Trump spoke about his lavish golf course and the fine foods he had enjoyed, dwelling on the sensual indulgence and pretending that the millions of underpaid and unemployed people in Korea and the United States did not exist. He spoke boastfully of the over-priced military equipment that South Korea had been compelled to purchase and indulged in praise for the Korean War so distant from the challenges faced by ordinary people. His talk was not even “America First.” It was unremitting “Trump first.”
And Moon did not challenge him or even chide him on a single point. No mention was made of Trump’s rabid racist language and its impact on Asians, or his discriminatory immigration policies. Nor was anything said about Trump’s rabid warmongering and his reckless threats of war against North Korea, and even veiled threats against Japan in his recent speech in Tokyo. No, the working assumption behind the meetings was that the summit was to be a mechanical and trite grand guignol for the masses, combined with behind-the-scenes big business deals for the super-rich.
The Korean media made it seem like all Americans, and most Koreans, supported the ridiculous and dangerous policies of Donald Trump, and legitimized his reactionary policies with abandon. One came away with the impression that it was perfectly fine for an American president to threaten preemptive nuclear war for North Korea’s testing of missiles (an action which is not in violation of international law) and nuclear weapons (which India did with American encouragement).
I made a short speech to offer another vision for what the United States role in East Asia could be. I did so because I worried that many Koreans would come away from the Trump with the impression that all Americans were just as militant and brazenly profit-motivated.
Although Trump may be beating war drums to scare Japan and Korea into forking over billions of dollars for weapons they do not need or want, he and his regime are clearly playing an extremely dangerous game. There are forces deep in the military who are perfectly willing to launch a catastrophic war if it increases their power, and who think that only such a crisis can distract the people from the criminal actions of the United States government, and draw attention from the looming catastrophe of climate change.
“An Alternative role for the United States in East Asia”
Emanuel Pastreich (Director The Asia Institute)
November 8, 2017
“An Alternative role for the United States in East Asia”
Speech in response to Donald Trump’s speech at the National Assembly of Korea
I am an American who has worked for over twenty years with the Korean government, research institutes, universities, private industry and with ordinary citizens.
We have just heard the speech of Donald Trump the president of the United States, to the Korean National Assembly. President Trump laid out a dangerous and unsustainable vision for the United States, and for Korea and Japan, a path that runs towards war and towards massive social and economic conflict, both domestically and internationally. The vision he offers is a frightening combination of isolation and militarism, and it will encourage in other nations ruthless power politics without any concern for future generations.
Before the US-Korea Security Treaty, there was the United Nations Charter, signed by the United States, Russia and China. The United Nations charter defined the role of the United States, China, Russia and other nations as the prevention of war, and an active effort to address the terrible economic inequity that leads to wars. Security must start there, with that vision for peace and for cooperation. We need today the idealism of United Nations Charter, that vision for global peace after the horrors of the Second World War.
Donald Trump does not represent the United States, but rather a tiny group of the superrich and members of the far right. But those elements have increased their control of my country’s government to a dangerous level, in part because of the passivity of so many citizens.
But I believe that we, the people, can take back control of the dialog on security, on economics and on society. If we have creativity, and bravery, we can put forth a different vision for an inspiring future is possible.
Let us start with the issue of security. Koreans have been bombarded with reports about a nuclear attack from North Korea. This threat has been a justification for THAAD, for nuclear-powered submarines and any number of other expensive weapons systems that generate wealth for a small number of people. But do these weapons bring security? Security comes from vision, for cooperation, and from courageous action. Security cannot be purchased. No weapons system will guarantee security.
Sadly, the United States has refused to engage North Korea diplomatically for years and American passivity and arrogance has led us to this dangerous situation. The situation is even worse now because the Trump administration no longer practices diplomacy. The State Department has been stripped of all authority and most nations do not know where to turn if they want to engage the United States. The building of walls, seen and unseen, between the United States and the world is our greatest worry.
God did not give the United States a mandate to remain in Asia forever. It is not only possible, but desirable, for the United States to cut down its military presence in the region and to reduce its nuclear weapons, and conventional forces, as a first step towards creating a positive cycle that will improve relations with North Korea, China and Russia.
North Korea’s testing of missiles is not a violation of international law. Rather, the United Nations Security Council has been manipulated by powerful forces in the United States to support positions regarding North Korea that make no sense at all.
The first step towards peace starts with the United States. The United States, my country, must follow its obligations under the Non-proliferation Treaty, and begin again to destroy its nuclear weapons and to set a date in the near future for the total destruction of all remaining nuclear arms. The dangers of nuclear war, and of our secretive weapons programs, have been kept from Americans. If informed of the truth I am certain that Americans will overwhelmingly support the signing of the UN treaty to ban nuclear weapons.
There has been much careless talk about Korea and Japan developing nuclear weapons. Although such actions might provide a short-term thrill for some, they will not bring any form of security. China has kept its nuclear weapons under 300 and would be willing to reduce them further if the United States is committed to disarmament. But China can easily increase the number of nuclear weapons to 10,000 if threatened by Japan, or by South Korea. Advocacy for disarmament is the only action that can increase Korea’s security.
China must be an equal partner in any security framework for East Asia. If China, quickly emerging as the dominant global power, is left out of a security framework, that framework is guaranteed to be irrelevant. Moreover, Japan also must be included in any security framework. We must bring out the best of Japan’s culture, its expertise on climate change and its tradition of peace activism through such collaboration. The banner of collective security must not be used as a rallying call for ultranationalists dreaming of a “warrior Japan” but rather as a means of bringing out Japan’s best, its “better angels.” We cannot leave Japan to itself. Read more of this post