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GlobalWonk’s Video Introduction

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Jim Miller, GlobalWonk

Jim Miller has posted the GlobalWonk Introduction video at YouTube. Please click on the following link to view the video;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtCwQopjgxQ

Please comment on the content of the video here, or at YouTube. More video to come soon, hopefully hosted from this site.

Diplomacy. One Mind at a Time.

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ABC News Deleting Comments from Blogs

Who's Bottom Line?

Who's Bottom Line?

GlobalWonk peruses the blogosphere looking for interesting points-of-view. More often than not, if I find something interesting I will post a comment on the blog, or web site.

On Sunday afternoon I was sitting in a small cafe in Houghton, Michigan (in the crook of the thumb of the U.P.). By the way, do all people from Michigan do that crazy two handed “mitten and thumb in the air” faux map thing when they tell you where they are from? I digress.

It is a college town, Michigan Tech, so I ordered something called the Motivator. Six shots of espresso in a 30 ounce mug-o-mocha. I sat down to check-out the news of the day. I admire George Stephanopoulos, so I follow him on Twitter. He posted something there on President Obama’s Nobel award. I read it, found it interesting, and posted a comment.

I then went about my business. My ears were ringing and lips began to feel numb from the espresso, but I bravely forged on. After checking out a couple other sites I returned to see if others had commented on my take on George’s Bottom Line blog post. Sure enough, someone named ‘Thinking‘ had done just that. So I replied to their post, challenging them to go beyond partisan torch throwing, and have an intellectual dialog. Nothing I posted was even remotely derogatory.

I came back the following morning to review comments and found that both of my previous posts had been DELETED from the web site. Thinking’s comment about my post was still there, but both of mine were gone.

I immediately posted another message asking why they were editing comments on their page, and sent an e-mail to the show (This Week) asking why my comments would have been removed. My third post was deleted as well. I have received no response from my e-mail to ABC News.

So, my question goes out to George Stephanopoulos. George, Do you approve of your web site deleting comments from your viewers? Are they editing for content? Why would a news organization do this?

Fall in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

GlobalWonk and the family are enjoying a break up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Early October and the snow is already starting to fall.

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Inside the U.S.S. Pueblo

 

The U.S.S. Pueblo moored on the Taedong in Pyongyang, DPRK

The U.S.S. Pueblo moored on the Taedong in Pyongyang, DPRK

GlobalWonk toured the U.S.S. Pueblo while in Pyongyang. They even have an informative DVD with all the propaganda you can withstand… I grinned and beared it to bring these photos to you.

You can view all of the photos taken inside the captured spy ship at the following link: http://tinyurl.com/mad4bm

Complex and Beautiful

Complex an Beautiful

Complex and Beautiful

 GlobalWonk came upon this tree in the Emperor’s Garden in the Forbidden City. It’s gnarled branches analogous to the complex relationship between the United States and China. There will be twists and turns. It will not always be pretty. But, if the roots are solid, and it is nurtured properly, it will live on for generations to come.

As China’s wealth and influence grow, our interests will collide. Now is the time to nurture, and strengthen the roots of our relationship. To accomplish this we must promote understanding and exchange between our people.

What will you do to make this happen in your community? Reach out to your local members of Congress. Tell them your thoughts on these issues. Get with the school board. Does a local university have a China program you can tap into for content, or volunteers, for developing a cultural awareness program in your primary schools?

In a decade it could be your child manning battle stations on a warship. Loading armaments onto fighter planes, or aligning the sites of their rifle center mass on the silhouette of a counterpart from China. If we choose to do nothing, ten years hence we will wonder what could have been.

The Dear Leader and I…..

 

GlobalWonk arrives in the Hermit Kingdom - 9.9.2008

GlobalWonk arrives in the Hermit Kingdom - 9.9.2008

 

Reports out of Japan indicate North Korea intends to make an “important announcement” on October 20th, 2008. Many believe it may be related to Kim Jong IL’s health, or some type of change in the government.

GlobalWonkwas in the DPRK for their 60th anniversary in September. The only word that accurately describes the experience is surreal. The government is a thugocracy. The only people with a decent standard of living are the Dear Leader and his lackeys. Everyone else lives in the 17th century.

The entire society is based upon a cult of personality created by Kim IL Song (with help from his Stalinist Soviet sponsors) after World War II. They completely manufactured heroic deeds the Great Leader performed in his nearly single-handed routing of the Imperialist Japanese. If you don’t believe it, just check out the Arch of Triumph in Pyongyang. It is larger than the one in Paris, France, and is dedicated to Kim IL Song’s victory in defeating the Japanese. When you ask your guide/agents when and where the Japanese surrendered to Kim IL Song, they have no answer. I asked if they ever heard about the bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I asked them if they ever heard that the Japanese surrendered to the Allied Powers on the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay. They simply look at you in disbelief. The North Koreans have their own version of history.

The government is paranoid. Your passport is confiscated the moment you step foot in the country. All cell phones are collected at the airport and kept until you depart. You are not allowed to bring GPS equipment into the country.

I had two guides/agents that followed me everywhere. They told you what you could/could not take pictures of. You could only take photos at the designated tourist sites, all homages to the Great Leader, President Kim IL Song. They arranged your meals. They booked your hotel room and checked you into your room. They are the first people you see each morning and the last each night. They followed you everywhere. The hotel for outsiders is on an island in the middle of the Taedong River to help segregate you from the populace. You could not leave the hotel on your own. You were advised not to talk to any citizens.

The most stark contrast was drawn while visiting Dandong, China. Dandong is situated just north of the DPRK on the Yalu River. I was there during the Harvest Moon Festival. China and North Korea used to be connected by a bridge, built by the Japanese durring their occupation of Manchuria and Korea. The United States bombed the bridge during the Korean War (1951 I believe) and dropped the south side into the Yalu.

Today the north side of the bridge has been repainted by the Chinese. It is covered in neon and other bright lights and has become a tourist attraction. I believe they call it the “bridge to nowhere”. You pay a few Yuan and can walk to the southern end of the bridge to look at the concrete platforms/pilings that used to support the bridge on it’s path into Korea. The steel is long gone.

The contrast between the bustling, frenetic Chinese society and that of the DPRK is most distinct at night. The northern, Chinese city of Dandong is brilliantly lit and vibrant. The other side of the river lays dark. In supposedly the fourth largest city in North Korea, scarcely a single light is lit. It is surreal.

We know from the example of their bretheren in the south that the Korean people are industrious and intelligent. I personally witnessed how hard they work day-to-day to survive in the north. The fact they do in spite of governmental neglect is testament to their aheer will and tenacity.

For the sake of these poor souls I sincerely hope we get some good news on Monday. Let’s hope it leads to the opening of their society. Let’s hope it leads to direct foreign investment that will help them modernize and bring the collective standard of living to acceptable twenty-first century levels.

More DPRK reflections coming soon….