Category Archives: Articles

“Prepare for North Korean terror in Gangnam” Korea Times

Korea Times

“Prepare for North Korean terror in Gangnam”

December 3, 2017


There has been a lot of hot rhetoric in Washington, D.C.and Seoul about how Trump and a pumped up U.S. -Korea alliance are going to “take care of” Pyongyang. But I fear that the thinking is fuzzy, if not delusional. North Korea, with extensive underground facilities built over the last fifty years, cannot be stopped by either a precision attack, or an all-out assault. Even if a suicidal Donald Trump dropped 50 atomic bombs on North Korea, he might permanently destroy the climate of Northeast Asia, he might be removed from office through a coup d’etat, but he will do nothing to even scratch the nuclear weapons North Korea is storing deep beneath the surface of the Earth.  Read more of this post

Korea Times

“Do Korean universities teach economics? ”

November 29, 2017

Emanuel Pastreich


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

“문재인과 트럼프와 정치의 죽음” 다른 백년

다른 백년

“문재인과 트럼프와 정치의 죽음”

2017년 11월 14일

임마누엘 페스트라이쉬



지난주에 미국의 대통령 도널드 트럼프와 한국의 문재인 대통령 간에 오간 말들을 지켜보면서 나는 두 나라에서 ‘정치’가 얼마나 타락했는지를 절감했다.

자신이 소유한 고급 골프코스와 사치스런 요리에 대해 말하는 트럼프의 말에선 한국과 미국의 수백만 저임금 노동자와 실업자들은 존재하지도 않는 듯했다. 그의 말은 단지 ‘미국 퍼스트’를 넘어서 ‘트럼프 퍼스트’를 떠들어대는 것으로 들렸다.

그런 트럼프에 대해 문재인 대통령은 전혀 이의를 달거나 꾸짖지 못했다. 그의 인종주의적인 발언이나 이민자들에 대한 차별적 정책, 북한에 대한 무분별한 위협에 대해 제동을 거는 아무런 말도 하지 못했다. 한국의 언론들은 모든 미국인들, 그리고 대다수의 한국인들이 트럼프의 우스꽝스럽고 위험한 정책을 지지하는 것처럼 보도했다.

나는 트럼프와 문재인 두 사람의 발언들을 보면서 ‘정치’는 정확히 어떤 것인지, 그리고 우리가 ‘정치’를 복원하기 위해선 무엇을 해야 하는지에 대해 되돌아보았다.

Read more of this post

“The Decay of the US-Korea Relationship” The Peace Report  

The Peace Report


“The Decay of the US-Korea Relationship”

November 8, 2017


Emanuel Pastreich


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.


Emanuel Pastreich

“An Alternative role for the United States in East Asia”


Video Text:

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

“A dangerous game: Losing the chain of accountability through Korea-US-Japan missile defense and intelligence integration” Circles and Squares

“A dangerous game:

Losing the chain of accountability through Korea-US-Japan missile defense and intelligence integration”

October 5, 2017

Emanuel Pastreich

Circles and Squares

Read more of this post

“스마트폰 개발보다 더 중요한 걸 놓치고 있는 한국” 다른 백년

다른 백년

“스마트폰 개발보다 더 중요한 걸 놓치고 있는 한국”

2017년 9월 18일

페스트라이쉬 임마누엘



지난 한달 동안 핵무기 이야기만 듣다 보니까 핵무기만이 유일한 위험처럼 느껴질 수 있다. 하지만 빠른 속도로 오지는 않지만 훨씬 더 위험한 문제가 동시에 우리 눈앞에 다가와 있다.

초여름, 유례없는 가뭄으로 농사가 큰 피해를 입고 저수지는 바짝 말랐다는 기사가 신문을 뒤덮었다. 기상청에 따르면 5월 총 강수량은 161.1밀리미터밖에 되지 않았다. 1973년 측정을 시작한 이후 두 번째로 낮은 기록이다.

그러나 가뭄과 기후변화를 연결 짓는 기사는 찾아보기 힘들었다. 한국에서 일어나는 현상이 동북아시아 사막화 현상과 관계있다는 언급 또한 없었다. 실지로 아시아 지역에서는 사막화가 가속화되고 있다. 전망은 좋지 않다. Read more of this post

“韓中国交正常化25周年…無謀な軍国主義に直面した勇気と現実に対する要求” 亜洲経済



2017年 8月 21日





また、私が教えている韓国と中国の生徒らは、この地域で可能な限り多くの可能性を持っており、我々にものすごい潜在力を提供している。私は彼らの努力に絶えず感銘を受けており、私たち皆がより安全で明るい未来を創造できることを願う。 Read more of this post

“The coming chaos on Korean Peninsula” Korea Times

Korea Times

“The coming chaos on Korean Peninsula”

August 8, 2017

Emanuel Pastreich


Korean newspapers were filled with reports of the unprecedented drought that did such damage to local agriculture over the last month leaving reservoirs bone dry. The Korea Meteorological Administration noted in May that total precipitation was just 161.1mm, the second-lowest since statistics started being kept in 1973.

But the Korean media has hardly a word to say about the relationship of this drought to climate change, nor the ties between what is happening here and the spreading deserts in Northeast Asia. The region faces desertification, and the prospects for the future are not good. Read more of this post

“Call for bravery and real vision in face of reckless militarism” Aju Business Daily

Aju Business Daily

“Call for bravery and real vision in face of reckless militarism”

August 21, 2017

Emanuel Pastreich



China and Korea have seen a tremendous flowering of economic, cultural and educational exchange and cooperation since the normalization of relations on August 24, 1992. My students today include a new generation of young people from China and Korea who sincerely want the countries to work together closely and many of them have a command of Chinese language, or of Korean language, that goes beyond anything that could be found in the previous generation.

Also, my Korean and Chinese students have a global vision for what is possible in the region that is inspiring and suggests that they offer us tremendous potential. I am constantly impressed by their efforts and I hope that they can create a more secure, and a brighter, future for all of us. Read more of this post

중앙일보 서평



더 큰 대한민국


2017년 8월 25일

한국인만 몰랐던 

더 큰 대한민국이 만열 지음레드우드

임마누엘 페스트라이쉬 경희대 후마니타스 칼리지 교수는 한국인보다 한국에 더 자부심을 느끼는 외국인이다. 여러 저작을 통해 한국 문화의 가치와 잠재력을 역설한 그가 이번에는 한국인 이름 ‘이만열’로 한국 사회를 통찰하는 책을 썼다. 『한국인만 몰랐던 더 큰 대한민국』이라는 제목에서 3년 전에 펴낸 『한국인만 모르는 다른 대한민국』의 연장선이자 확장판이라는 책의 의의가 가늠된다.

 책에서 놀랐던 대목은 이 교수와 한국 사회의 거리다. 이 교수는 외국인의 시선이라고는 믿기지 않을 만큼 우리 사회 깊숙이에 들어와 우리의 내밀한 곳을 후벼 판다. 이를테면 ‘박근혜-최순실 게이트에서 이들이 부당하게 갈취한 금액은 이명박 정부가 4대강 사업에 쏟아부은 22조 원이나 자원 외교에 낭비한 수십조 원에 비하면 적은 편이다(23쪽)’와 같은 진단은, 숨기고 싶은 상처를 들키고 만 것처럼 창피하고 아프다.

이 교수의 남다른 시선은 예리하고 깊이 있는 분석이 아니라 이 교수의 자리에서 비롯되는 것으로 보인다. 이 교수는 기꺼이 관찰자의 자리를 이탈해 내부자의 자리로 들어온다. ‘우리는 한국이라는 나라의 구성원으로서… 정보에 기반한 현명한 결정을 내려야 한다(63쪽)’며 한국적 저널리즘의 수립을 주장할 때 임마누엘 페스트라이쉬는 한국에 정착한 지 10년째인 외국인이 아니라 한국 여성과 가정을 꾸린 이만열이라는 한국 사회의 내부자다.
그렇다고 이 교수가 한국을 위하기만 하는 것은 아니다. 가방에 텀블러를 넣고 다니는 이 교수에게 일회용품 낭비를 부추기는 한국의 카페 문화는 끔찍하다. 성형수술을 한국의 주요 관광상품으로 육성하자는 움직임은 심오한 정신세계를 구축한 한국 문화의 뿌리를 흔드는 일이라고 꾸짖기도 한다. 읽고 보니 싫은 소리투성이다. 그래도 기분 나쁘지는 않다.