Category Archives: Uncategorized

“Real reason Korea should fear China” ( The Korea Times July 25, 2017 )

The Korea Times

“Real reason Korea should fear China”

July 25, 2017

Emanuel Pastreich


The news that China will phase out all fossil fuel taxis in the near future in Beijing, and has approved plans for the massive implementation of electric cars, has been buried under articles about North Korean nuclear weapons and FTA (free trade agreement) renegotiation.

I remember the single pathetic electric car parked for years in front of the administrative offices of KAIST University. No steps were taken to actually start using electric automobiles on a large scale.

But while Koreans worried about whether Trump would be nice to President Moon Jae-in, China has committed $360 billion through 2020 to the development of renewable power and is on its way to being the dominant power in the development and production of solar and wind power.  Read more of this post

Why Korea cannot put forth a Korean perspective?

Why Korea cannot put forth a Korean perspective?

July 22, 2017

Emanuel Pastreich


One of the great mysteries about Korea is why it is that although Seoul is full of many extremely educated and capable people with degrees from Harvard, Yale and Stanford, people who are extremely knowledgeable about topics from mechanical engineering to public policy and diplomacy, Korea is virtually incapable of advancing a Korean vision or perspective on current affairs. Extremely well-educated Koreans struggle with all their might to absorb and interpret the writings about North Korea and East Asia put out by American experts like Michael Green at CSIS or John Ikenberry at Princeton even though they have far greater understanding of the issues than those experts do.

The problem is much more serious today than ever before for the simple reason that Washington D.C. is incapable of making policy anymore. Paralyzed between a cabal of billionaires and their loyal minions who see the office of the presidency as a means to make large amounts of money and a professional class of bureaucrats and politicians who work for investment banks rather than for the national interest, Washington D.C. cannot formulate any long-term plans for itself, let alone respond meaningfully to recent developments in Japan, China or North Korea. Currently, the tendency in the United States is to paper over the increasing authoritarianism of the Abe administration, to present a caricature of Kim Jung Eun taken from a B movie and to make dark insinuations about a rising China threat at every opportunity. All this effort is linked to a deep level of denial about institutional decay in the United States itself.

South Korea has a more legitimate president than just about any other country and it has the expertise and the know-how to formulate its own policy and to make proposals for the future of East Asia. But if it relies on the United States and Japan to give it guidance, it will find itself increasingly at sea.

Why is it that Koreans have become so dependent on Western, particularly American, perspectives on economics, governance, security and diplomacy when Korea is far better positioned to put forth new approaches and launch initiatives, than the United States is? If we look at the question of engagement with China, there are far more Koreans who speak Chinese, who understand Chinese politics and economics in depth and who have a high level of education. And now with an isolationist and radically anti-intellectual Trump administration installed in Washington D.C., it should be the Koreans who are giving advice to Washington D.C., not the other way around. Read more of this post

THAAD as a totem

Watching recent reporting about the planned US missile-defense system THAAD being deployed in South Korea,  the debate is completely absent any attempt to consider what exactly the function of THAAD is and what its role is in the true security of South Korea. In fact, there is almost no discussion about whether a missile attack from North Korea is likely at all, or what other security threats might be out there. It seems rather that THAAD has become a totem (bad or good) before which one prays in the hope that it will bestow magical powers.





The Proletariat of Facebook (hammer and paintbrush)

I must confess that when I saw this “hammer and paintbrush” logo on the Facebook page today, I wondered to myself whether Facebook has developed an organized proletariat. After all, the Bolsheviks became famous for their “hammer and sickle” mark. The hammer represented the workers and the sickle, the farmers who had been drawn into the struggle in that case.

hammer and paintbrush

In the case of Facebook, the symbol features the hammer and the paintbrush. Perhaps the hammer refers to programmers and the paintbrush to designers and the creators of content. As a creator of content myself, I would certainly be a paintbrush in the Facebook community. See my talk about Facebook.


How about yourself?


“한미정상회담 이후 문재인정부가 할 일” (다른 백년 2017년 7월 4일)

다른 백년

“한미정상회담 이후 문재인정부가 할 일”

2017년 7월 4일

임마누엘 페스트라이쉬


아마도 일부 한국 외교관들은 문재인 대통령이 트럼프 미국 대통령과 즐거운 회담을 한 것에 대해 자축하고 있을 것이다. 분명히 이번 회담에서 양국 정상은 한미 동맹의 중요성을 확인했고 북한의 위협에 대처하기 위해 양국이 긴밀히 협력하고 있다고 주장했다.

이번 정상 회담이 심각한 지정학적 갈등으로 이어졌던 트럼프 대통령과 안겔라 메르켈 독일 총리와의 회담에 비해 훨씬 더 순조롭게 진행된 것은 사실이다.

이번 정상회담의 성적표는 비교적 좋은 편이다. 문제는 트럼프 대통령 쪽이다. 그는 지금 사상 최악의 대통령으로 평가받고 있고, 시민사회에서 탄핵 움직임이 있다.

그러나 한국이 긴밀한 관계를 유지하기 원하는 지도자가 트럼프 대통령인가라는 어려운 질문을 하는 이는 아무도 없다. Read more of this post

1996년 봄 서울에서

그때 1996년 봄였어요. 생각 해보니까 어제 같아요.


가장 친한 정병설씨 하고 유희석씨 하고 이대앞 카페에서 문학을 논의 하는 순간였어요. 운연히 잘 남겼어요. 유희석씨는 지금 전남대학교 영문과 정병설씨는 서울대 국문과에 계세요. 지난 18년 같이 만날 기회는 없었어요.




「アメリカ人がみた韓日文化」 パストリッチ講義 大阪韓国文化院


水曜日 8月 2日 午前十時

エマニュエル パストリッチ


(申し込み方法:申込書を に送って下さい)


第10回 教職員 韓国文化研修会 チラシ(プログラム・募集要項・申込書)




“기후변화회의 변혁의 기회다” (경향신문 2017년 6월 10일)


“기후변화회의 변혁의 기회다”

2017년 6월 10일

임마누엘 페스트라이쉬



미국이 파리 기후변화협정에서 탈퇴하고 도널드 트럼프 대통령이 오바마 행정부가 탄소 배출을 제한하기 위해 마련한 프로그램들을 무력화하는 데에 적극적으로 나설 것이라고 선언함에 따라 전 세계인들이 슬퍼하고 있다. 그러나 조의를 표하기에 앞서 이 문제에 대해 좀 더 깊이 생각해 보기로 하자. 이는 재앙이라기보다는 기후변화에 대한 국제 사회의 대응에서 비약적 발전을 할 수 있는 엄청난 역사적 기회를 제공받은 것은 아닌지, 마침내 미국 없이 명목상으로나 실질적으로 지속가능한 경제를 위해 구속력 있는 합의를 이루도록 과감한 길을 만들 수 있지는 않은지 말이다.

미국 정부와 기업들은 2015년 파리 기후변화협정을 약화시키고 단순한 신사 협정 이상의 의미를 갖지 못하도록 하기 위해 모든 노력을 다해왔다. 애석하게도 석유에 집착해온 미국은 국제사회가 현재의 환경 위기에 대처하기 위해 추진했던 거의 모든 조치에서 떼를 쓰는 응석받이 노릇을 했다. 2015년에 전 세계는 환경운동가 레스터 브라운의 주목할 만한 플랜 B 4.0에 따라 모든 수준에서 재생 가능 에너지를 신속하게 구현해야 한다는 납득할 수 있는 목표를 설정하고 위반 시 부과될 벌칙을 제정하는 등 새로운 시스템 추진을 위해 혁신적으로 대응했어야 했다. 그러나 파리 기후변화협정은 혁명적 변화를 불러일으키기보다는 미봉책에 불과했다. 오히려 트럼프 정권하에서 미국의 탈퇴가 가능해지면서 전 세계는 궁극적으로 인류 문명에서 도약을 이룰 수 있는 엄청난 기회를 갖게 됐다. Read more of this post

Aju Business Daily “Korea faces daunting array of security problems” May 9, 2017

Aju Business Daily

“Korea faces daunting array of security problems”

May 9, 2017

Emanuel Pastreich


The Korean peninsula faces a daunting array of security problems that will require tremendous efforts, especially long term, to overcome. The primary problem is not the threats themselves, however, but rather the complete inability of Koreans to conceive of those threats, or to respond to them in any meaningful manner.

The problem is true for those of both progressive and conservative political orientations. There is a very little concept of how serious a security challenge the collapse of the ecosystem or the rising inequality in Korean, and East Asian, society is becoming. In fact, even extremely liberal groups do not offer any opinions on the problems of industrialized society or the privatization of banks — issues that would have been taken quite seriously by even conservatives back in the 1950s.

A consumption- driven culture has taken over Korea for the last twenty years, a culture in which the immediate satisfaction of the individual through the eating, drinking or watching of things that give a short-term thrill is held up as an ideal. The media in Korea is today run for profit and faithfully generates fantastic myths about what “security” means that have more to do with video games than reality. Read more of this post

“Moon’s agenda for summit meeting with Trump” (Aju Business Daily June 8, 2017)

Aju Business Daily

“Moon’s agenda for summit meeting with Trump”

June 8, 2017


Emanuel Pastreich



It is an incredibly difficult moment for a summit meeting between Korea and the United States and it is doubtful that any real breakthrough is possible, but if necessary there are ways to go forward.

The United States is in the midst of tremendous political turmoil and it is up to Korea, and not to the Trump administration to put forth a powerful vision for what is possible.

President Moon should be innovative. For example, he might bring along the presidents of major universities and research institutes as part of a major initiative to promote collaboration in science and technology with the United States. Korea seriously lags behind in international collaboration and this issue is serious, even if it has never been highlighted before. Moon can find a consensus and support far beyond his base if Korea declares that it will be a leader in academic collaboration. Read more of this post