Category Archives: Essays

법무부 이민정책포럼 발표 (2018년 1월 3일)

1월 3일 법무부 외국인정책본부에서 “외국인정책: 위기속의 기회”라는 주제로 발표 했습니다.

제가 진지 하게 이민의 필요성 및 그한계를 법무부 공무원들 과 같이 논의 하면서 많이 배웠습니다.


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Was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil the first false flag operation?

1280px-Orvieto061My friend Jiun just posed one of the most amazing suggestions to me today that I have ever heard.  I was completely floored and had to sit down and catch my breath.

He suggested that the fruit offered to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the so-called apple (although that designation seems to be fake news–we still do not know exactly what fruit it was) on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, was planted there by God as a set up for humans. It was the first false flag operation made to snare humanity into joining the fallen world. Something like luring the Japanese into bombing Pearl Harbor, perhaps?

I admit it is a bit far fetched, even disrespectful to the Almighty, but what a conspiracy theory!


Jiun says:


“Had Adam not eaten from the “Tree of Knowledge”, he wouldn’t be discerning to be able to separate right & wrong.

Thus, he did not listen to God, and ate the “Forbidden fruit”.

Didn’t God basically set him, a trap, from which he could never escape?”



On the decay of US media

I remember when I watched the United States launched spacecraft to the Moon on television as a child. The process of preparation was shown for hours with occasional commentary by scientists and experts. There was no thrilling gossip by overpaid TV personalities or attempts to spice up the story with exclusive interviews “behind the scenes.” The entire point of the reporting was to present the facts in an accessible manner to the public. People had the patience to listen to the complex narrative because the systematic pursuit of facts, and science had value. Now all that tradition has been washed away by an obsession with the self, and by an appeal to immediate satisfaction.

Trump’s National Security Strategy (December, 2017)

For those who would like to read the actual text, here is the recently released to National Security Strategy from the White House. Although some of the language is predictable, it reveals that bizarre mixture of isolationism and aggressive militarism which we have grown to know and love.

The focus is on the “homeland” and there is little, or nothing, to suggest that security requires international cooperation. In fact, most allies reading it might wonder what the purpose of an alliance might be. There is no sense that the United States is going to sacrifice itself for anyone else. Perhaps the assumption is that the United States is so powerful that the world will come to seek its help. Seems to be a poor bet.

The term “take direct actions” is used to signify entirely illegal and off-the-record actions against perceived enemies. It does not take much imagination to see where this might lead.

Much more to say, but as I have not finished reading it yet, I want to share it first.

Take a look.



trump national security strategy

More words on the “three-way fight”

If we look at the election, it is clear that a space emerged for Trump (and his inventers Steve Bannon and Robert Mercer) to address the needs of workers, who were largely white, in a manner democrats could not. Trump could give a talk in Detroit saying that he would stop the import of foreign cars, his “American first” economic nationalism. No Democrat could give that sort of a speech because although they are committed to ethnic diversity, they are not interested in class issues and do not care about ordinary workers, black or white. At least Trump appealed to whites.

The anti-globalization left thought that having Trump (supported by the anti-globalization right) would mean that the false face covering up American imperialism would be torn off (which would be healthy) and that he was not looking to start new wars, or to expand in the Middle East. Of course Trump made statements, probably sincere, that he wanted to eat a hamburger with Kim Jung Eun and that US policy in the middle East, starting with the invasion of Iraq in 1992 was all mistaken.

Sadly, Trump is a political amateur and had no network at all in the military industrial complex. He was very quickly captured and put in a cage, reading off a script written up by the far right.

But those “conservative” flavor of globalists basically speak the same way to Goldman  Sachs or to Lockeed Martin as do left wing globalists (like Clinton, or for that matter Sanders). But in their appeal to ordinary citizens they stress Christian values, patriotism, a strong defense and law and order. Clinton would speak to her audience more in terms of “diversity” “opportunity” and “innovation.” But the fundamental interests are basically the same for both groups, granted the Democrats take more money from Hollywood and media, from biopharmaceutical, and from specialized investement banks whereas the Republicans take more from fossil fuel companies, defense contractors and retailers and providers.

there are certain poses of a strong and confident leader that are essential to be a Republican politician that are just visually offensive to diversity Democrats. Democrats have to look like they are participatory, not strong leaders barking orders like a lieutenant or a preacher.

We should not mistake that show for the actual nature of power and money relations.

But although these Republican politicians want to give a message of “America first” they cannot say no to investment banks that fund them and cannot come out against free trade even though their followers want them to.

Steve Bannon and Trump found a weak point here and are pushing symbolic acts of economic nationalism as a way of carving out a separate party within the Republican party which is a union of globalists with other priorities than the Washington consensus with anti-globalist right wingers who want immigrants out and blacks and Jews back in their place.

In current American politics, since 20000, the political parties, and the government itself, is perceived by Americans in general, and especially the right wing as innately hostile to the people.

Yet question of how to respond to the alienation citizens from politics and government that expressed in the media and in political discourse phrased in rather complicated and contradictory ways.

The odd political debate is often an interference pattern of the perspective of  the three distinct political ideologies described who are in a fierce three-way fight which is never discussed in the media.  The three groups, in alternation, pair up with each other, or confront each other, in an unending cycle that confuses anyone thinking in terms of left vs. right.


For the original essay see

The political three-way fight in the United States





Thinking back on Barbarossa

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.



Anthony Beevor

Pages 3-4


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!”




“On Grief and Climate Change”

Stephen Jenkinson gives a profound talk about climate change that suggests something beyond self-hatred and self-deception.


I found it extremely useful.


I was also very frustrated by the manner in which Josh Fox suggests in his movie


How to Let Go of the World and Love All The Things Climate Can’t Change


that there is a philosophical way of finding something, some love, in underlying moral principles beneath the overwhelming present moment. But he does not ultimately present any that are convincing to me.


Jenkinson, however, makes some very thoughtful remarks, reminding us that at this stage the question is spiritual, not simply technical.


He makes quite a few striking statements. Here are a few


“not one organism needs humans”



The EArth has its own logic and order to it, and creatures will return to the Earth long after we are gone. We are but a passing phase and our greatest flaw is our assumption that somehow we are unique as creatures.

“the enemy of grief is hope”


Jenkinson suggests. like Clive Hamilton, that the idea of hope keeps us from being aware of the present and grieving for our experience in an honest manner.


“hope is inherently intolerant of the present. We must be hope-free”





The breakdown of coherence in this moment of overwhelming change

I watched the movie Coherence (2013) tonight with tremendous interest. It relates the tale of four couples who find themselves in a cabin in the woods at the time that a comet passes nearby. The comet disrupts space-time, leading to the creation of multiple versions of each person. The different characters then mix with each other, creating tremendous chaos which only deepens with each moment of choice.

I think that the movie was effective because it was a good representation of the radical fragmentation that is taking place in our own society, and around the world, at the same time.

The results are a confusion about information, truth and falsehood. The results from the reproduction and manipulation of information. But not all of that is done by evil people, the shift is more fundamental.

But the confusion is also spiritual and it is also about identity. As things are reproduced so easily and images and words drop in value to be almost worthless, our own identity as humans is called into question. And that is not all. This confusion of replication is taking place precisely at the same time (by accident, or perhaps not) that technology is allowing us to reproduce ourselves and systems of supercomputers are essentially taking over the world.

Oddly, some still cling to this idea that we are looking at a new cold war, or a new world war, but what if it is a conflict between banks of supercomputers around the world, struggling with each other in obscure ways related to currency, current and identity.

We find ourselves in uncharted territory and if the question is what will happen to us, perhaps the most important question of all is: “what do you mean by ‘us?'”


Emanuel’s student ID from National Taiwan University

I studied at National Taiwan University 1985-1986 for my junior year abroad as an exchange student in the Department of Chinese. It was a turning point in my life. This is my student ID from that period. Not that only my Chinese name is featured and that I am a waijisheng 外籍生。





“The Crisis in Korean politics today”  Asia Institute Report

The Crisis in Korean politics today

Asia Institute Report

Emanuel Pastreich

October 13, 2017



Months of protests by a broad range of citizens groups and countless individuals, from elementary school students to seniors, resulted not only in the impeachment of a president, the launch of a serious investigation of the tragic sinking of the Sewol Ferry, serious charges brought against numerous individuals engaged in influence peddling and fraud and one of the most transparent presidential elections held in any country.

The ethical commitment of ordinary citizens in Korea has made a tremendous difference and the increasingly corrupt politics of ritual and back-room deals has been brought to the attention of the public in a manner that is both shocking and inspiring. At a time when citizens in the United States or Japan lament that they can do nothing to change their government, Korea has displayed that significant change and reform is possible. Korea not only is inspiring other nations not only through cultural productions like music and film, but also through political action and democratic vitality.

But we have not even started to address the real problems. If Korea seizes the opportunity, it can create a new political culture that will make change possible again and which can not only transform political parties, but also transform government itself, as well as corporations and government. We can create a new participatory society in which we do not merely consume products provided by anonymous corporations and lose ourselves in distracting media entertainment and the worship of idols and celebrities, but rather help each other to create a better society. Korea can be a model that will inspire other nations to evolve as societies and move forward. Already, China has reported about the impeachment proceedings with a degree of detail that is unprecedented. Such a move suggests that many in the Chinese government see the Korean model for government reform as a viable model for China. Other nations in Asia, and around the world, are watching Korea very closely.

This new global role for Korea should give all members of the new democracy movement, Democracy 1.7, a new sense of mission. This movement is not simply about chasing corrupt people out of power, but rather about creating a new culture of mutual support, symbiosis, political accountability and ultimately environmental sustainability, that will be a model not only for future generations of Koreans, but for the entire world.

To make such a shift in our awareness requires a strong sense of history on the part of all members of the candlelight demonstrations. We are not the first people to make this effort. We follow a tradition that can be traced back to common citizens and intellectuals who strove for good government in the Goryo, and before, back to the efforts of King Sejong to establish a truly participatory government that treated the ideals of the Great Learning and the Doctrine of the Mean not merely as inspiring words to encourage students, but a potential for a government devoted to the needs of ordinary people. In a sense King Sejong took the Confucian classics more seriously than the Chinese did and tried to actually realize the democratic potential hidden within them. Nor did that tradition end there. There were those who fought against the restrictions on secondary sons in the 17th century, who fought against the corruption of Youngjo in the 18th century, who fought against the concentration of power in a handful of families in the 19th century, and also who fought against the Japanese occupation and exploitative economic systems in the 20th century. In fact there many who made tremendous sacrifices in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s in order to make it possible for the students to launch the democracy movements of the 1980s. Read more of this post