Category Archives: International Relations

“Korea Must take control of the Security Narrative Right now!”

Korea Must take control of the Security Narrative Right now!

Emanuel Pastreich


January 21, 2017

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Who has how many nuclear weapons?

In a period of increasingly irrational discussions concerning the nature of the threat of nuclear weapons, I find this very straightforward chart to be quite helpful.



“Meeting the Great Data Challenge: The Case for a Constitution of Information” in Global Asia (January 2017)






Meeting the Great Data Challenge:

The Case for a Constitution of Information



Rapid advances in technology — from exponential increases in computational power to the miniaturization of surveillance drones and other means of gathering data on all of us — combined with the increasing ability to manipulate digital information and the emergence of virtual reality as an affordable medium of experience, are posing existential questions for human civilization as we have known it for millennia. In response, Emanuel Pastreich calls for a global constitution of information.

Obama’s visit to Hiroshima

United States President Barack Obama plans to visit Hiroshima next week, the first United States President to do so in the formal capacity of his office.


The New York Times published an editorial on April 12, 2016 entitled


From Hiroshima to a Nuke-Free World


Which seemed to imply that this symbolic act suggests the United States is moving towards the elimination of nuclear weapons.


The facts suggest the complete opposite and therefore the visit seems extremely dubious in its intention.

President Obama has overseen the beginning of a one trillion dollar program to develop a new generation of nuclear weapons in blatant violation of the Non Proliferation Treaty, a policy decision which can only encourage other nations to develop nuclear weapons as the United States is not adhering to the very rules under which it claims it can stop others from developing weapons.

These new nuclear weapons include compact nuclear devices that are tempting to use (intentionally) at the tactical level. Therefore they not only violate the Non Proliferation Treaty, they introduce the potential for the first time in history that the move from a gun to a howitzer to a conventional missile to a compact nuclear weapon to a multi-megaton warhead will be but a natural progression. There will no longer be a clear   “line in the sand” between conventional and nuclear war. That makes nuclear war much easier. And in light of the the planned post-election squeeze on Russia, we are looking at the potential of nuclear war reaching the probability we saw in the 1950s and 1960s, and most likely the highest risk that mankind has ever seen.

For someone who is allowing this to happen to go to Hiroshima is so ridiculous as to be funny if it were not so very very sad.

“페이스북 독립선언이 필요한 이유” (허핑턴포스크)




“페이스북 독립선언이 필요한 이유”

2016년 3월 1일



임마누엘 페스트라이쉬


친애하는 페이스북 시민 여러분께.

오늘은 1919년 3월 1일 한국인들이 일제 강점기에 일본제국에 대항하여 항쟁한 날을 기리는 97번째 삼일절입니다. 오늘 우리는 또다른 제국에 대해 독립선언을 해야만 할 필요가 있는데 그것은 바로 가상 공간에 존재하는 페이스북이라는 제국입니다. 한국은 1999년에 싸이월드를 만듦으로써, 인터넷 소셜 네트워크를 그 어느 나라보다 먼저 개발한 선구자 역할을 해왔으나, 지금은 페이스북이 한국의 소셜 네트워크뿐만 아니라 전 세계를 독점하고 있습니다.

페이스북은 마크 저커버그의 컴퓨터 프로그래머 집단 이상의 의미를 지니고 있습니다. 페이스북은 오늘날 사람들이 국경을 넘어 서로 소통하고 협력을 하기 위한 네트워크를 형성하는 가장 효과적인 수단입니다. 페이스북은 전례 없는 국제적 네트워크로 우리 세대의 문제점들을 해결하는 데 큰 기여를 하고 있습니다. 하지만 이제 우리는 우리들을 지배하고 있는 제국으로부터 독립을 선언해야 할 때입니다.

인터넷은 종종 Layer 1부터 Layer 7까지의 구분된 시리즈로 개념화됩니다. Layer 1은 우리의 의사소통을 뒷받침하는 케이블의 물리적인 연결을 의미하고, Layer 7은 인터넷 전반에 걸친 어플리케이션의 작동을 의미합니다. 하지만 페이스북의 전 지구적 공동체는 문화적, 사회적, 정치적이라는 점에서 Layer 7보다 더 높은 Layer 8을 형성하고 있습니다. Read more of this post

Declaration of Independence for the Republic of Facebook

republic of facebook

Dear citizens of Facebook around the world!

Do join us in establishing the Republic of Facebook.

You have nothing to lose but the limits on your own personal potential.

Join us in an effort to address directly the awesome challenges of rapid technological evolution and climate change in a systematic manner that will give hope to our children through the establishment of a new form of accountable participatory global governance.


February 24, 2016

The Declaration of the Democratic Global Republic of Facebook


When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for the people linked together by common interests and new technological potentials to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of humankind requires that they should announce the causes which impel them to declare their self-determination.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all women and men of the Earth are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Liberty, Freedom of expression and protection from the predations of the powerful.

That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among humans, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.  If the ways of society are administered in an arbitrary and self-serving manner for the profit of the few, it is the Right of the People to establish a new form of government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers so as to assure their Safety and Happiness.

In an age of climate change and unprecedented globalization, it is our solemn responsibility to come together as citizens of the world and work together to create a more honest and transparent system for governing the complexities of this world that will allow us to rally ourselves to the challenges.



“Time for the US to Start a RIMPAC for Climate Change” (The Diplomat, January 20, 2016)

The Diplomat

“Time for the US to Start a RIMPAC for Climate Change”

January 20, 2016



Rising tensions between China and Japan over territorial issues, combined with disputes over historical issues such as the Korean comfort women, have created a political environment that encourages military responses and confrontation. The recent nuclear test by North Korea has heightened the distrust to such a level that we can look forward to a massive arms race that will involve not only the nations of Northeast Asia, but possibly those of Southeast Asia as well.

Now is the moment for moral courage on the part of the United States. The United States, and specifically the Pacific Command, must step forward and engage in honest and practical dialog on security issues. It needs to suggest innovative, collaborative approaches to security problems, interacting with all the nations of the region in a transparent manner that encourages cooperation, not competition. We must make sure that security and defense policies are not rooted in an unimaginative and outdated Cold War conception of deterrence and containment, but rather are responses to emerging nontraditional threats.

The recent Paris Climate Conference (COP 21 Paris) has laid down concrete demands for a rapid shift to a low-carbon model for development that should serve as the basis for closer collaboration in military affairs between the United States, Japan, Korea and China, and ASEAN nations.

The Pacific Command should engage all members of the Asian community in a deep dialog about how the region’s militaries can transform military relations in the region. This transformation would take place through the military’s transitioning to play a leading role in mitigating and adapting to climate change, and it would create a new, regional, cooperative culture in the Pacific. Read more of this post


I recently wrote this petition to put pressure at the conceptual level to redefine “security” and “defense” to meet the real challenge of climate change. Unlike some, I do not assume that you have to take the money away from the military to respond to this crisis. Rather we need to completely transform its role. That can only happen if we start with the terms and the theories behind our approach to security.





End federal funding for security and defense programs at universities and think tanks that do not take climate change as their primary subject for research and for instruction.

All universities, think tanks and research institutes that claim to be concerned with “security” or “defense” research must devote at least 70% of their resources to work on the mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change, or lose their eligibility for Federal funding.

Sign here


Why is this important?

The United States has hundreds of programs at universities, think tanks, and research institutes that claim to devote their attention to “security” and “defense” studies. Yet in almost all of these programs that receive many millions of dollars in Federal funding, the vast majority of research, advocacy and instruction has nothing to do with climate change, the most serious threat to security of our age.

For example, the Brookings Institution, the most prominent think tank in Washington D.C., does not even mention climate change in the description of its “security and defense” research.

“In the years since the 9/11 attacks, the global security and defense environment has been in great flux. New actors in conflict, advancements in technology and new modes of warfare are changing our understanding of national security and defense capabilities in the evolving context of the 21st century.”

In an act of profound intellectual irresponsibility, so-called scholars of “security studies” spend their hours imagining fantastic military scenarios, rather than responding to incontrovertible threat of climate change which scientists have unanimously identified as a reality.

We cannot waste any more of our tax dollars on security and defense studies that fail to address the primary threat to the well-being of the United States, and of the world.

The time has come to put an end to this insanity. We demand that all programs of defense and security studies in the United States identify in their statement of purpose climate change as the primary security threat to the United States and that they dedicate at least 70% of their budgets to research, teaching and advocacy to the critical topics of mitigation of (primarily) and adaptation to (secondarily) climate change.

Any program that fails to focus on climate change in this manner should lose its status for Federal funding.

Mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change should be the primary concerns for all in security and defense field studies. Obviously other security issues deserve study, but granted the fact that the cost of climate change will run in the trillions of dollars over the next decade, and even more beyond then, we do not have the funds to support programs that are not dedicated to addressing this immediate threat.


Signers include:

Emanuel Yi Pastreich
The Asia Institute

David Swanson
World Beyond War

John Kiriakou
Associate fellow
Institute for Policy Studies

John Feffer
Foreign Policy in Focus

Norman Solomon

Coleen Rowley
Retired FBI agent and former Minneapolis Division legal counsel


How it will be delivered

Formal petition to:
Senate Committee on Armed Services
House Armed Services Committee




“Chinese meritocracy and the limits of democracy” (Interview: Daniel Bell in The Diplomat)

The Diplomat

Interview: Daniel Bell

“Chinese meritocracy and the limits of democracy”

December 17, 2015


Emanuel Pastreich




China as a society, a government, an economy and a culture is quite difficult for us to comprehend today. The changes are so rapid in cities like Beijing and Shanghai and the culture remarkably fluid. What do you see as the defining characteristics of China’s culture today and what do you anticipate in terms of China’s future role in the international community?

The most striking cultural shifts in China over the last two decades or so has been the revival, both orchestrated and spontaneous, of tradition. The main trope for culture in the twentieth century, especially since 1949, has been anti-traditionalism. As far back as the May 4th movement in 1919, and before, whether it was the financial elite, the liberals, the Marxists, or anarchists they all agreed that China was poor and that one of the causes of that state of affairs was the backward traditional culture.

We have witnessed a dramatic reevaluation of tradition in China, and also in other East Asian countries with a Confucian heritage such as Korea. This part of the world has witnessed rapid growth over the last three decades that has sharply reduced poverty and the region has remained at peace. So when people look around and ask what do all these countries have in common, one answer is their Confucian heritage. So whereas the previous narrative was that Confucianism undermined modernization and economic growth, now many argue that it actually helps.

We are witnessing the return of a more historical and humanistic perspective on the world, an emphasis on education, a concern for family across several generations, and a new assessment of the value of China’s tradition of political meritocracy. Chinese have long held that the key to a political system is the selection and promotion of leaders with superior abilities, ethical qualities and social and cultural skills who can best lead the nation forward. The perspective has Confucian roots, but it has been modernized and has been the core of the strategy for economic development in China and other East Asian countries such as Korea and Japan. Although Confucian ideology was denounced during the Cultural Revolution, it is taking on a new centrality today. And the promotion of core Confucian values is not limited to the government. We see similar efforts in business and in the non-profit sector. Read more of this post

“A chance to transform” (JoongAng Daily November 9, 2015)

JoongAng Daily

November 9, 2015

“A chance to transform”

Emanuel Pastreich


The recent trilateral summit with Korea, China and Japan was a success. Not only did the leaders of the region’s three economic powerhouses sit down for a serious discussion, they also agreed to hold another summit next year, perhaps in Tokyo in May.

There are so many important issues in the world that require the collaboration of these three powers, from trade and investment, to North Korea’s nuclear program and climate change. We must make sure that this trilateral summit remains “sustainable” into the future and that it will be held regularly regardless of differences of opinion.

Furthermore, the trilateral summit should not be billed simply as an exclusive event for high-ranking diplomats, but rather an ongoing dialogue among the citizens from each nation.

The summit must be innovative and creative, employing culture and personal exchange to build closer relations between participants. But even more essential is that the summit be transformative.

We often assume that diplomacy is a ritualistic interaction between static and unchanging groups who work out a compromise that meets their unchanging interests. But there are moments in which one can achieve a meeting of minds, wherein the players are transformed by the process and come out of the event seeing the world, and each other, differently.

Despite the enormous bureaucracies involved, it would be naive to assume that one summit can effect a profound change.

Nevertheless, I would suggest that there are certain symbolic and substantial steps that can be made that will set a new tone for these talks and create a positive cycle.  Read more of this post