April 21, 2014
April 18, 2014
Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology
The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious
: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain
April 14, 2014
Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time
: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic
: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships
: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin
: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate
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April 11, 2014
Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden
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: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You
April 9, 2014
Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?
Samuel G. Freedman
: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau
: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau
: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease
April 8, 2014
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April 4, 2014
A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children
Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet
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Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves
April 2, 2014
Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?
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It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene
Jewish World Review
June 2, 2009
/ 10 Sivan 5769
Is China Pulling Strings in North Korea?
Let's face it, we don't really know why North Korea decided to test a nuclear weapon last week, why it has suddenly declared the Korean War armistice of 1953 null and void, or why it has launched several test missiles and is preparing to launch others. It could be because the North Koreans are dissatisfied with the state of negotiations with Washington and want more concessionsor just more attention. It could be that the regimewhich is no longer capable of delivering regular food supplies, or even reliable electricity, to the nationwanted to strengthen its grip on power.
It could also be something else altogether. Personally, I favor another scenario, equally speculative: Perhaps the North Koreans have stepped up their war rhetoric and war preparations because China wants them to do so. I can't prove that this was the caseno one else can prove any of his theories about North Korea, in factbut I can look at the evidence, which is as follows:
China is the one country that actually has influence over North Korea. Not only is China the only country to maintain frequent diplomatic and security contacts with North Korea; China could topple the North Korean regime tomorrow if it wanted to. China could cut off North Korea's oil. China could shut the border to trade. Or China could take the opposite tactic and open the border: Refugees would flee, and the regime would crumble, much as East Germany did 20 years ago this summer. To put it differently, China has more influence over the North Korean regime than all the other U.N. Security Council members put together, but it does not use this influence to stop the nuclear program. Instead, it has maintained trade relations, kept the oil flowing, built up its border fences, and paid lip service to the international efforts to block the North Korean nuclear program (the Chinese claimed to have learned about the recent nuclear test an hour in advance, which no one believes), meanwhile hunkering down to watch what happens.
China has ambitions to replace the United States as the dominant power in East Asia. For proof, look no further than the money the Chinese have recently spent on expanding their navy, which now includes at least 70 submarines, at least 10 of which are nuclear. By contrast, the United States has between 70 and 80 submarines deployed at any given moment, but they patrol the whole world, not just Asian waters. The Chinese are also designing aircraft carriers and reportedly have long-range, anti-ship ballistic missilesthe better to destroy our aircraft carriers withas well.
China knows the rest of Asia is watching this test of the Obama administration. If, as seems likely, the Obama administration does not come up with a way to stop North Korea's nuclear program, what conclusions will the South Koreans drawnot to mention the Japanese? Or the Taiwanese? Might some of them conclude that the American security umbrella no longer seems quite as wide and strong as it used to? Might they conclude that they are better off under Chinese protection? This would, of course, be a somewhat far-fetched and risky game if the Chinese were, indeed, playing it. After all, the Japanese are not known to be enthusiastic about the prospect of Chinese domination, and the Taiwanese are not known to be interested in reunification with the mainland. Rather than falling in line, the Japanese might instead conclude that they need their own nuclear deterrent. The South Koreans might follow, the Taiwanese might add to their own mighty naval fleet, and a deadly Asian arms race would be under way.
Yet despite the risks, there are good reasons for the Chinese to prod Kim Jong-il to keep those missiles coming. By permitting North Korea to rattle its sabers, the Chinese can monitor Obama's reaction to a military threat without having to deploy a threat themselves. They can see how serious the new American administration is about controlling the spread of nuclear weapons without having to risk sanctions or international condemnation of their own nuclear industry. They can distract and disturb the new administration without harming Chinese-American economic relations, which are crucial to their own regime's stability.
And if the game goes badly, they can call it off. North Korea is a puppet state, and the Chinese are the puppeteers. They could end this farce tomorrow. If they haven't done so yet, there must be a reason.
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Gulag: A History
Nearly 30 million prisoners passed through the Soviet Union's labor camps in their more than 60 years of operation. This remarkable volume, the first fully documented history of the gulag, describes how, largely under Stalin's watch, a regulated, centralized system of prison labor-unprecedented in scope-gradually arose out of the chaos of the Russian Revolution. Fueled by waves of capricious arrests, this prison labor came to underpin the Soviet economy. JWR's Applebaum, a former Warsaw correspondent for the Economist and a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, draws on newly accessible Soviet archives as well as scores of camp memoirs and interviews with survivors to trace the gulag's origins and expansion Sales help fund JWR.
Comment on JWR contributor Anne Applebaum's column by clicking here.
05/26/09: What a Member of Parliament Deserves
04/22/09: The Twitter Revolution That Wasn't
04/14/09: Do we really need interactive exhibits to bring Jefferson to life?
04/07/09: No Nukes? No Thanks: Obama's odd obsession with universal nuclear disarmament
03/31/09: What's Loud, Unnecessary, and Costs $75 Million?
03/03/09: European Disunion
02/24/09: Who cares what Hillary Clinton says to China's leaders about human rights?
02/17/09: Witless protection
02/10/09: Our Ticket Out of Afghanistan
01/27/09:Why some foreigners can't believe Obama won the presidency fair and square
01/20/09: A Flight Test for All of Us
01/14/09: Europe's New Cold War
01/07/09: Pointless Peace Proposals
12/30/08: The magnificent rhetorical legacy of the Founding Fathers
12/23/08: Do riots in Athens portend demonstrations in Paris and Cincinnati?
12/16/08: Breach of Trust: Bernard Madoff's massive fraud will cripple American capitalism
12/09/08: In praise of charismatic politicians
12/03/08: Moscow's Empire of Dust
11/20/08: Getting Past Mythmaking In Georgia
11/12/08: In Praise of Political Rock Stars
10/03/08: Election Day myths you must resist
09/30/08: Not just a metaphor: Lehman Brothers was economic's 9/11
09/04/08: Class of '64
08/28/08: Did Hillary really help the Barack cause?
08/27/08: Show of Power, Indeed
08/19/08: What Is Russia Afraid Of?
08/13/08: When China Starved
08/11/08: Two of the world's rising powers are strutting their stuff
08/05/08: How Alexander Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago changed the world
07/29/08:The Hour of Europe Tolls Again … But are European politicians up to the task?
07/15/08: Why Does Obama Want To Campaign in Berlin?
07/01/08: Citizen Athletes: How did a guy who can't speak Polish end up scoring Poland's only goal of Euro 2008?
06/24/08: Why do we expect presidential candidates to be kind?
06/17/08: Pity the Poor Eurocrats
06/12/08: Is the World Ready for a Black American President?
05/28/08: The Busiest Generation: America seems to value its children's status and achievements over their happiness
05/20/08: Leave Hitler Out of It: The craze for injecting the Nazis into political debate must end
05/13/08: A Drastic Remedy: The case for intervention in Burma
05/07/08: A Warning Shot From Moscow?
04/23/08: Radio to stay tuned to
04/17/08: China learns the price of a few weeks of global attention
04/01/08: Head scarves are potent political symbols
03/26/08: The Olympics are the perfect place for a protest
03/19/08: Could Tibet bring down modern China?
03/12/08: Have political autobiographies made us more susceptible to fake memoirs?
03/05/08: Why does Russia bother to hold elections?
02/20/08: Kosovo is a textbook example of the law of unintended consequences
02/06/08: A Craven Canterbury Tale
02/06/08: French prez' whirlwind romance reminds voters of his political recklessness
© 2009, Anne Applebaum. By permission of the author