Emanuel on Xi’s speech at CPC

Interview with Emanuel Pastreich

Director of the Asia Institute

October 18, 2017

CGNT (China Global Network Television)

Asia Today


On the 19th Communist Party Congress and President Xi Jinping’s Speech



Mang Mang:

“Of course, Xi Jinping elaborated on Chinese foreign policy towards Asian neighbors. Which issues stood out most to you and do you have any fresh insights?”

Emanuel Pastreich:

“I can tell you what was most striking. President Xi did not criticize any other nations. He did not speak about wars, or even competition. He gave hope and an opportunity for cooperation. He suggested a new vision for the world, for Asia, starting from the One Belt; One Belt Initiative. His proposal was that the ultimate focus was on each nation’s potential

He said that China offered potential models in its past and in its present, but that each country had its unique qualities that also should be respected.


And I was most impressed when he said, “the political advancement of mankind,” which suggested an idealism that in many countries has been lost over the last few decades and it is very, very far from “America first.”

Finally I was impressed by his emphasis on science and on scientific inquiry, on addressing poverty and addressing climate change, and on global collaboration which was the original purpose of the World Bank and the United Nations, but we have sometimes lost our way.


Host Mang Mang:

“So in order to enhance collaboration there needs to be a decent level of integration. What more can you tell us about Chinese efforts to facilitate greater regional integration in Asia?


Emanuel Pastreich:

“Well, of course, China is active all over the place, and increasingly playing a vital role. But we have to see this in context. As an American, myself, originally, the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from UNESCO, to reduce its participation in the United Nations, in diplomacy and in global governance, in poverty reduction, makes China now the major donor. We are going to see major shifts around the world. And it is inspiring to me, of course I am not a fortune teller and I do not know how things will play out, but this potential for a cooperative world not based on the threat of force or economic domination, in which the needs of poor people and developing countries are properly addressed, that this offers a real potential to us that can be inspiring and I think many people were hoping that he would make some statement like this to give us some sense that there is some potential in what is a very critical and critical and dangerous moment in human history.

11월 1일 임마누엘 “한국인만 몰랐던 더 큰 대한민국”


임마누엘 페스트라이쉬

2017년 11월 1일 수요일

오후 6시

임마누엘 페스트라이쉬 경희대 국제대학 교수

“한국인만 몰랐던 더 큰 대한민국”


사회자 :    박상현    (교양학부장, 일본학과 교수)


장소:    경희대 서울캠퍼스 청운관 507호

교양학부에서는 임마누엘 페스트라이쉬 (한국이름 이만열) 경희대 국제대학 교수님을 모시고 <한국인만 몰랐던 더 큰 대한민국>이라는 주제로 특강을 진행합니다. 임마누엘 교수님은 예일대학교에서 학부를 마치고, 하버드대학교에서 박사학위를 받으셨습니다. 이후 일리노이대학교, 조지워싱턴대학교 등에서 교편을 잡았습니다.

4년 전 『한국인만 모르는 다른 대한민국』이라는 책에서 대한민국의 가능성을 살펴본 임마누엘 교수님이 이번 특강에서는 현재 대한민국의 위기를 진단하고, 나아가 한국인만 몰랐던 대한민국의 잠재력을 일깨워주실 것입니다. 특강 이후에는 교수님의 최신 저서인 『한국인만 몰랐던 더 큰 대한민국』의 사인회가 예정되어 있습니다. 많은 관심과 참여 부탁드립니다.





교양학부 특강 참석 신청서 작성 후 제출

⇨ 신청서 바로가기 https://goo.gl/forms/8PUry8a2LWmDYFkd2

전화 및 이메일 신청 (02-3299-8842, kyoyang@khcu.ac.kr)

– 신청 시 성명, 학번, 연락처 필수 기재

  1. 특강 후 저자 사인회가 있습니다.


경희사이버대학교 교양학부 주최 임마누엘 페스트라이쉬 교수님 특강

< 한국인만 몰랐던 더 큰 대한민국>


경희사이버대학교 교양학부

“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

     외국인의 눈으로 바라본 한국의 정치문화 (아시아인스티튜트 보도서)

아시아인스티튜트 보도서  


외국인의 눈으로 바라본 한국의 정치문화


2017 10 13


임마누엘 페스트라이쉬



초등학생부터 노인까지, 수많은 시민과 다양한 시민단체가 참여한 시위가 수 개월간 이어진 끝에 대통령 탄핵이 이루어졌다. 세월호 참사 수사가 제대로 시작됐으며, 부당한 영향력을 행사하며 비리에 연루된 수많은 사람이 기소됐고, 가장 투명했던 선거 중 하나로 기록될 대선을 통해 새로운 대통령이 탄생했다.

분명히 해두자. 이 모든 변화는 깨끗한 나라를 향한 국민의 의지가 있었기에 가능했다. 암암리에 행해진 비밀 거래와 부패한 정치 관행이 밝혀진 과정은 충격적이었지만, 고무적이기도 했다. 미국과 일본 국민이 정부를 변화시킬 힘이 없다고 한탄하는 동안, 한국은 국민의 힘으로 거대한 변화와 개혁이 가능함을 몸소 보여줬다. 가요나 드라마를 비롯한 한류 콘텐트뿐 아니라 정치 운동과 민주주의의 활력을 통해서도 타국에 귀감이 된 것이다.

도널드 트럼프나 아베 신조, 블라디미르 푸틴 등은 문재인 대통령에게 주어진 정치권력의 정당성을 부러워할 것이 분명하다. 한국은 아직 진짜 ‘선진국’이 아니라고 폄하하는 사람도 있지만, 한국이 민주주의 국가로서 새로운 위상을 정립했음은 부인할 수 없다. 미국을 비롯한 소위 ‘선진국’ 다수는 무기력에 빠졌다. 무기력은 민주주의를 산 채로 갉아 먹고 공들여 세운 제도를 부패시키고 있다. 한국의 제도는 아직 미성숙할 수 있지만, 변화를 위한 의지가 감지된다. 실질적 변화를 막으려 애쓰는 기업집단의 영향력을 벗어나 정책 구상 및 이행을 추진하는 다양한 주체를 규합하려는 의지도 분명 존재한다.

이 기회를 잡는다면, 한국은 다시 한 번 변화를 이루고 정당을 혁신할 뿐 아니라 정부와 기업 등의 지배구조를 혁신하는 새로운 정치문화를 만들어갈 수 있다. 우리는 대기업이 만든 특색 없는 제품을 소비하고 엔터테인먼트 콘텐트나 미디어에 마음을 뺏기고 아이돌과 연예인에 열광하는데 삶의 에너지를 쏟기 보다 서로를 도우며 더 나은 세상을 만드는 ‘참여사회’를 만드는데 노력을 쏟을 수 있다. 한국은 사회가 나아갈 길을 알려주며 다른 국가의 귀감이 될 수 있다. 중국에서는 한국의 이번 탄핵 사태가 유례없을 정도로 자세히 보도했다. 중국 정부가 한국의 정치개혁을 참고할 만한 모델로 보고 있음을 암시한다. 아시아와 세계 각국 또한 한국을 주시하고 있다.

세계 무대에서 한국이 새로운 역할을 부여 받았으므로 한국의 신(新)민주주의 운동에 참여한 시민 또한 사명감을 가져야 한다. 적폐 청산에만 몰두할 게 아니라 함께 어울리며 살아가고 정치인이 책임을 완수하게 만드는 동시에 지속가능한 환경을 구축하는데 목적을 두어야 한다. 그래야 한국뿐 아니라 전세계에 미래를 제시할 수 있다.

의식의 전환을 이끌기 위해서는 촛불혁명 참가자 모두가 강력한 역사의식을 가져야 한다. 한국에서 놀라운 정치혁명이 있었던 건 이번이 처음은 아니다. 평범한 시민과 지식인이 힘을 합쳐 훌륭한 지배구조를 만들기 위해 힘썼던 전통은 고려시대까지 거슬러 올라간다. 세종대왕 집권기에도 대학∙중용은 학생을 격려하기 위한 이상적 철학에 그치지 않고 국민의 삶을 돌보는 정부를 위한 주요 원칙으로 다루어졌다. 유학 고전의 가르침을 중국인보다 더 깊이 이해하고 받아들여 그 안에 숨은 민주적 이상을 실천하기 위해 노력한 것이다. 이게 다가 아니다. 17세기에는 서얼제도의 부당함에 맞선 싸움이 있었고, 18세기에는 영조의 실책에 맞선 지성인의 저항이 있었다. 19세기에는 소수 외척의 권력 독점을 막으려는 싸움이 있었고, 20세기에는 일제 식민정부와 경제 착취에 맞선 운동이 있었다. 1950, 60, 70년대에도 수많은 사람이 엄청난 희생을 감수하며 싸움을 계속했다. 덕분에 1980년대 학생들은 민주화 운동을 이끌 수 있었다.

한국의 민주적 전통은 남다르다. 영감을 받을 수 있지만, 동시에 한국이 넘어야 할 큰 산도 눈 똑바로 뜨고 제대로 바라봐야 한다. 막연히 잘 될 거라 생각하지 말고, 청년층이 필요한 이슈를 이해하고 앞으로 할 일을 정하도록 돕기 위한 장기적 노력을 계획에 포함시켜야 한다. 수십 년은 걸릴 것이다. 의욕을 꺾으려고 하는 말이 아니다. 그보다 현실을 직시하고 문제를 극복할 방법에 대해 제안을 하고 싶다.

비슷한 노력이 세계적으로 전개되고 있다는 점에서 이번 싸움은 그 결이 다르다. 세종대왕 때부터 1980년대 직선제를 쟁취하기 위한 시위까지, 모든 노력은 결국 한국의 변혁을 위해서였다. 그러나 이번 싸움은 전세계에 영향을 미칠 수 있으며, 우리가 얼굴을 보지도 못한 많은 사람에게 영감을 줄 수 있다. 18세기 프랑스혁명이 전세계 시민에게 변화를 향한 새로운 열망을 안겨주었듯이, 지금 한국의 변화도 그만큼 중요한 영향을 끼칠 수 있다.

우리 각자가

우리의 모든 행동은 민주주의의 역사적 발전과 함께, 개인의 경험을 넘어서는 인간 문명의 세계적 진화라는 측면에서 의미를 가진다. 우리에게는 소중한 의무가 있으며, 이것이 우리 삶의 모든 순간에 새로운 깊이와 중요성을 더한다. 한국과 세계를 위한 변화는 죄인을 감옥에 넣고 특정 공약을 내세운 정치인을 선출한다고 완성되는 게 아니다. 그보다 우리가 일상에서 서로를 대하는 태도, 사회에 임하는 태도를 변화시켜야 한다. 서로를 착취하고 눈앞의 이익만 생각하게 만드는 건강치 못한 패턴을 우리의 행동으로 변화시킬 수 있어야 한다. Read more of this post

Forced to embrace elements of Christian eschatology against my will!

There are two critical parts of Christian eschatology that I have been forced to accept, against my own will, over the last two decades.

First Christian eschatology assumes a moment of creation, a single instant in which the entire universe was created from nothing. I never liked this idea, and I preferred the more logical Buddhist concept of an eternal universe that is stable and cyclical. But the big bang theory, which holds that there was a single moment of creation, has become the dominant explanation for what we observe to day, and so completely upheld by observations that there really are no challenging theories.

The second assumption of the Christians is that there is an apocalypse, a moment when the world is destroyed and everyone is killed. The Christians suggest that the apocalypse is a result of our sins.

This idea also did not sit well with me. After all, humans have done terrible things to each other for thousands of years and God has never been able to completely wipe out humanity. Certainly what disasters have happened were not the result of our sins.

But that was before it became clear that radical climate change is our future, and it may well wipe us all out. I do not assume that those of faith will survive, but I am certain that climate change is a result of our sins, in a sense all of our sins, although some bear immense responsibly and others much less. The more aware I am made by shifting weather patterns of the final stages of climate change, the more I am certain that the apocalypse is upon us.

I do not, however, have much confidence that anyone will be saved by faith, however.



Korea Times “Xi Jinping and ecological civilization movement”

Korea Times

“Xi and ecological civilization movement”

October 10, 2017

Emanuel Pastreich


Koreans worry that the conflict between the United States and China will force them to choose between a military ally and their most important economic partner. Although this view of the current situation is accurate, it is only part of the problem. In fact, Korea is also faced with a profound choice about how it defines economics and the future of civilization itself.

The recent meeting between United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Chinese President Xi Jinping was ostensibly about planning for the upcoming visit of President Donald Trump to Beijing and discussing how China can increase economic pressure on North Korea.

But these two individuals could not be more different in their motives and backgrounds. Rex Tillerson is an unprecedented secretary of state, someone with zero political, governmental, academic or diplomatic experience. As the former CEO of Exxon, Tillerson was directly involved in the cover-up of climate change and the pursuit of profits from petroleum regardless of its impact on the environment.

Since his appointment, he has been ruthless in gutting the State Department, removing any senior diplomats who might offer even the slightest resistance ― and many have quit of their own accord.

By contrast, Xi Jinping has spent his entire career in government and has an intimate understanding of policy and practice. Under his leadership, China has declared that healthcare is a human right and he has  spoken out about desertification. Read more of this post

Emanuel at Yale

Emanuel at Yale

Lowell High School is considered one of the best public high schools in the United States. Without any doubt it maintains that status because the large number of Asian Americans who study there. These students are the children of hard working Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese parents who came to the United States and put the highest value on education for their children. Those immigrants are now starting to send their children to schools like University of California, Berkeley, Stanford and increasingly (but not so much in 1983) to Yale, Harvard and Princeton.

I was a product of a previous generation. My father was the ambitious young man from a middle class Jewish family, his father was a pharmacist who was able to enter Yale through his remarkable academic ability. By the time I arrived at Yale, there were already plenty of people like me around with similar backgrounds. I was no longer the first generation to make the leap into the establishment. I was the second generation after that leap had been made.

At the same time, I was not old money. Yale’s core has been, and still is, WASP (White Anglo Saxon Protestants) who have been at the center of power for the last two hundred years. Yale is a university with a strong orientation towards England. The museums at Yale focus primarily on English Art and the study of English history is most popular. The Yale Center for British Art is one of the great collections on campus. If not England, than France, Germany and Italy are of interest to Yale undergraduates and graduate students. Asia was very far away place from the Yale that I entered in 1983. There was a Yale in China program, but it was a novelty. Yale undergraduates saw learning about China an amusing aside in their education. Few indeed were serious about learning the language.

My father had gone to Yale and I had a multi-generational relationship with that institution. Yet I was far from feeling at home in Yale culture for other reasons than the study of East Asia. Many of the students that I met were from established WASP families and they kept a certain distance from me. Part of the problem was perhaps that I was off the established track at Yale. I was not heading towards becoming a lawyer, or a banker or a doctor.

Yale is a smaller university than Harvard or Stanford, or even Princeton. Founded in 1701, it has concentrated on educating a small elite group of students. Graduates of Yale are often deeply committed to the institution. Yale is without any doubt the best undergraduate education in the United States. Yet it is not a broad education. I do not think I could have found a better environment anywhere else to learn how to think. Yale is famous for its drama school, its school of architecture and its school of Law. The sciences are well covered, but they are not an overwhelming power on campus, as was the case at University of Illinois. The attractive campus of Yale features gothic buildings covered with ivy and quiet courtyards that makes for a most enjoyable walk. Walking around campus and enjoying the changes in season was one of my great pleasures at Yale.

Each student at Yale is assigned a “residential college.” The residential dormitory is not simply a dormitory 기숙사 .The residential colleges have long histories dating back to the 1920s when they were established, modeled on the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge. There are different personalities to the residential colleges and the designs and motifs of the buildings vary. If you meet a fellow 동창 the first thing you will ask is “which college were you in.” In fact most friends of mine at Yale were from Davenport College.

When my father went to Yale in 1955, most residential colleges were closed to all but the members of privileged families. In fact, when my father started in 1955, it was the first time in Yale University history that a lottery was used to assign some of the students from middle class families to the more elite residential colleges like Davenport College. My father as a middle class Jewish boy from Brooklyn was assigned to Davenport College randomly as part of the great post-war equalization of American society. The residential colleges have suites with multiple rooms. Now we have five roommates together, but originally those extra rooms were for the servants of student. A student like my father had never been assigned to Davenport College before, the most exclusive and WASP of the Yale Colleges. Both George W. Bush, President of the United States 2001-2009 and George H. W. Bush, President 1989-1993, were residents in Davenport College. And, because of the decision to assign students by lottery, my father Peter Pastreich entered Davenport College in 1955, and so did I in 1983.

Before I arrived at the campus, I spent a few days with my father’s family in New York City getting adjusted to the East Coast culture. I had a fascination with the East Coast in high school and had a map of Manhattan on the wall of my room. But I also made a special trip out to see my mother’s cousin, Uncle Charlie, who lived in New Jersey. Uncle Charlie worked at an engineer at Bell Labs at the height of their technological expertise worldwide. When I arrived at their neat house in suburban New Jersey, he showed me with great pride the trans-Atlantic cables he had designed in the 1960s. None of them are in use today. Like my mother, Uncle Charlie had come to the United States to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities that the country offered.

Uncle Charlie had a son also who was quite driven to succeed. That son had attended Yale and done well. But he had been involved in a gathering his freshman year at which he and friends consumed some drugs. Charlie’s son died as a result. Uncle Charlie never mentioned his son when I talked to him, but I could tell that there were volumes to be told about his son who went to Yale, but never graduated. The cost of going to Yale in terms of pressures and tension can be very high indeed.

I had five roommates at Yale my freshman year. Jason Reese, a future businessman who was best known as a lacrosse athlete. Steve Podos, a pre-med from New York, Kenneth Bernstein, a political science major who went on to play a major role in Los Angeles City policy and Jefferson Mays, a history major who has become an important professional actor.

We lived in a suite of rooms in the basement of the Davenport residential college. Jeff and I shared a room and the other students had their own, slightly smaller, rooms adjacent. Jeff and I were fast friends. I am not sure what bit of luck it was, but my best friend at Yale happened to be my roommate from the very first day. In fact I sat out in front of our dormitory the first day with Jeff and his family drinking lemonade and we were good friends. We are still quite close, although we do not see each other as much these days. Jeff was an extraordinary actor who would go on to win several awards as a professional actor. He loved to draw and write, and we were constantly making up stories to amuse each other and everyone else who was interested.

Early on in our time at Yale, Jeff and I broke into the Davies Mansion, an abandoned house far out to the West of Yale University. We climbed up to the top of its tower. We were gleefully watching the whole city when we saw a police car coming right down the street towards us. The police car was most likely out on a routine patrol, but we feared we would be arrested and ran away.

We also enjoyed wandering around in Yale’s massive Sterling Library, exploring every path and back hall of one of the world’s great libraries. One day, Jeff and I went down deeper and deeper in the basement, past rows of books and reading rooms. We came to a door that was blocked and we could not open. We pushed and pushed and pushed and at last it burst open. We found ourselves in the middle of the underground café of the library with the fire alarm blaring and a hundred students staring at us. We had burst through a secure fire door without knowing it. I said to Jeff in French “Qu’est que on va faire” (what are we going to do now), as if somehow speaking in French would reduce the humiliation because those watching us could not understand.

We climbed up in Battell Chapel, next to our dormitory. Battell Chapel had a substantial tower made of stone that looked out over the city of New Haven. We climbed that tower in secret through a door we had uncovered in our exploration of the campus. We lit candles, imagining we were exploring a haunted house. We made up our own rituals and created our own traditions. You see, at Yale there have been powerful secret clubs for a long time. We were obviously not members. But we did enjoy creating our own little secret club of two.

In the early morning on our first Yale autumn, we adventured out into the broad Hillhouse Avenue, and climbed over the wall into the Grove Street Cemetery. We admired the handsome brownstone graves and a delicate carved angel before hurrying along to have a cup of coffee at Yankee Doodle, a local café that has been there for many years. I came to enjoy meeting the local people of New Haven at the Yankee Doodle Café more and more.

Our roommate Ken could be rather difficult, whining at us all the time for making too much noise, and spending all his time studying without any social interaction with us. We played a series of little pranks on him to relax a bit. One day Ken announced to all of us that he had received a birthday cake from his parents that he was placing in the refrigerator. He told us that we were not to touch his birthday cake. Jeff and I immediately took the birthday cake and hid it in the refrigerator of a friend. We then bought some brownies at the local café and brought them back. I broke up the cookies, smeared them on the plates and left the plates littered around the room. Some of the cake’s silver wrapping was placed next to the empty box on the floor. Ken returned from his studies and was deeply shocked by this scene. He rushed around yelling at us, “I can’t believe you did that!”  We then revealed that in fact his precious cake was untouched. We all broke out laughing and sat down to enjoy the real cake together.

One day, bored with my studies, I wandered into the laundry room employed by all the students in Davenport College. There was a tremendous pile of clothes that had been abandoned there. I took all of them back with him to my room. Working together with Jeff, we built a person in 30 minutes. We sewed the pants together with a shirt and stuffed them with clothes. We added shoes and gloves, and put a white plastic bag on top for a head. We drew a face on the plastic bag and placed a hat on top. We then told everyone that we had a new roommate named “Howard.” We placed Howard in various places in our room, and throughout the dormitory over the next few days, and acted as if he were a real person.

One night, Ken was being particularly difficult. We seized the opportunity. Jeff dressed me up as Howard. I put on Howard’s clothes and even put a plastic bag over my head. Then I lay down on the floor in front of Ken’s room. Jeff knocked on the door and said to Ken, “Howard wants to talk to you.” Ken was just irritated. He came out of the room and looked with distain at the dummy lying on the ground. At that very moment, I jumped up and seized Ken. Ken was petrified for a moment as the dummy came to life. He soon recovered and we laughed about it. Slowly, through these pranks, we grew closer.

One day Jeff and I came home to find Ken on the couch acting very strangely. He talked in a manner that made no sense and he seemed to be deeply intoxicated. We had never seen Ken drink and we were deeply worried. We tried to get him to come with us to the hospital, but he fought us off. The whole situation seemed so terribly wrong that we grew quite worried. Then other students from Davenport College rushed into our dorm to get a glimpse. They smiled and giggled.  Jeff and I were angry that they could laugh about something so serious. And then we discovered what the other students knew all along. Ken was not drunk at all. He was pretending to be drunk and we had been completely fooled.

Jeff played pranks on me as well. One time, he made a long tape of about thirty minutes and surreptitiously placed it in my closet. The first fifteen minutes of the tape were blank, followed by a recording of malevolent whispers and laughter which built in frequency and volume. I was hard at work studying when this weird ghost in my closet started to make those strange sounds. It was a terrifying experience for me indeed.

Jeff and I also arranged several social gatherings for our friends to discuss current issues, literature and art. The meetings were always advertised in a rather unusual, even shocking manner. We had a meeting which we advertised as “The Lizard is your Friend” and another one “Emanuel says, ‘Help save me from my paranoid room.’” We would bring our friends for drinks, for conversations, and occasionally for little plays that Jeff and I had put together.


The political three-way fight in the United States

The political three-way fight in the United States

A “Romance of the Three Kingdoms”


for domestic consumption


Emanuel Pastreich

October 12, 2017


The term “three way fight” finds its origin in a fascinating article by Matthew Lyons entitled “Defending My Enemy’s Enemy” that was published on the blog “Three Way Fight” on 3 August 2006. Although Lyon’s analysis has a certain leftist bias to it in that he assumes that the solution offered by socialism will perforce be the best, nevertheless I think his analysis is pretty much on target. Here is what he says,

“Instead of an essentially binary struggle between right and left, between the forces of oppression and the forces of liberation, three-way fight politics posits a more complex struggle centered on the global capitalist ruling class, the revolutionary left, and the revolutionary right. The latter encompasses various kinds of fascists and other far rightists who want to replace the dominance of global capital with a different kind of oppressive social order.[1]

I would rather use the term “globalists” to refer to “global capitalist ruling class,” “anti-globalization left” to refer to “the revolutionary left,” and “anti-globalization right” to refer to “the revolutionary right.”

We are currently witnessing a “civil war in slow motion” right now in the United States, but there is a chance that it will speed up considerably and that it may bring with it more substantial military conflicts, even if the Trump administration did not have such intentions.

The confusion for Koreans is in part a result of how American citizens are struggling to make sense of the conflicting narratives they have been fed by the media. Most have no other sources of information than corporate media even while they know it is flawed. This problem is made worse by the contempt shown towards working class people by educated upper middle class liberals which means that many working people are more likely to think that the anti-globalization right cares about them than the elites who may be African American, but who have no connection with working poor people. Working class people, especially whites, are dismissed as “ignorant” or “racist” by liberals, without any effort to communicate with them or to understand the world that they live in.

The assumption of the anti-globalization left being that Trump was less dangerous and that working with him to some degree could advance their agenda.

The Globalists

The globalists are ideologically neither progressive (in that they do not embrace restrictions on capital or regulations aimed at supporting local control) nor are they conservative (in that they have no interest in Christian values and may very well be extremely open-minded in terms of who they invite to their mansions in terms of race, ethnicity or sexuality). They are driven to control global finance; liberal or conservative perspectives on institutions has more to do with their family upbringing and does not have any impact on their drive for control of capital and markets on a global scale. As long as you embrace a global perspective and you do not want to interfere with certain key features of global finance (such as the free reign of commercial banks and the right of commercial banks to buy what they please and to have easy access to public money to help) you too can be a globalist.

Hillary Clinton is clearly the candidate of the globalists, although Jeb Bush or Ted Cruz were also globalists but they used the iconography of the right wing. The globalists do have certain fracture lines, and there are rivalries between factions—occasionally enough to encourage flirting with political enemies, but for the most part, the globalists want the subject of trade and finance to be off the table when talking about politics.

The anti-globalization left

The anti-globalization left has a vision of a more equitable society and starts with the assumption that the state, if run by the right people, is capable of bringing about such changes. There are several layers to the anti-globalization left and there are bitter rivalries that make cooperation difficult. Moreover, many leftists fighting globalization are new to the field, having only entered politics recently. Although their numbers and their networks are growing rapidly, they have been out of mainstream politics since the 1940s and they are slow in their efforts. But granted the number of people willing to support Bernie Sanders previously, we can assume that another mass movement is entirely possible.

Certain media outlets like WSWS and Truthdig have, for all their bias, completely surpassed the New York Times in terms of the quality of their reporting. The anti-globalization left is growing stronger, but in a manner which is invisible from Korea. The critique against capitalism is powerful and the rejection of the entire system, including revolutionary thinking, is much more common than was the case even five years ago. There is a substantial left that thinks that Sanders has betrayed them and they are not coming back. They are not effectively organized now, but they may be one day.

Bernie Sanders picked up many of these people during his campaign, so much that Democrats were deeply worried he might rock the boat. Sander’s speeches drew on metaphors about class that sounded like politics of the 1930s. His campaign represents a major development in the United States and we have not seen the end of that movement.

The anti-globalization right

Donald Trump has become the idol of the anti-globalization right wing and they are increasingly dominating the discussion on class issues, on political conspiracy and on the question of massive institutional corruption (as opposed to the liberals who talk about corruption as a matter of a group of a few bad apples and refuse to consider that the system itself may be broken beyond repair). Anti-globalization right websites like Prison Planet and others have a loyal following and just as in the 1930s, the move for a revolution that will throw out the blacks and Muslims (which will eventually become the Jews and the Asians) is growing.

The anti-globalist right prefers a simple narrative that is easy to follow and it appeals toworking class people who are alienated from elite institutions like Harvard. Trump is able to attack the entire system and still survive because of the depth of alienation. Many of these anti-globalists play major roles in local politics so they should be taken very seriously.

Trump started out with a massive following among lower middle class whites and they are loyal to him. Trump himself is more of a globalist, but he is an expert in responding to his audience and his campaign has evolved in response to the demands of his followers.

Trump appeals to these anti-globalist rightists, and white nationalists, but he is not originally one of them. Trump has very close ties to Israel (which the anti-globalist left and right do not like). There are many among this right wing support group who are extremely hostile to Israel and we may see some unexpected developments. Certainly the attacks on Jews has already begun.

The important point here is that in a three-way fight, the globalists will sometimes pair up with the anti-globalist left, and sometimes pair up with the anti-globalist right, depending on the issue or the strategy. But equally true is the fact that the anti-globalist right can team up with the anti-globalist left, a phenomena that is becoming more dominant and which has little precedent in our memories.

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