The Great Debate

How to pay North Korea back for Sony hack? Hit Kim’s cronies where it counts – their wallets

By Kent Harrington
December 18, 2014

North Korean leader Kim visits the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun to mark the 61st anniversary of the victory of the Korean people in the Fatherland Liberation War

Moviemakers strive to outdo themselves with fantastic plots, super-heroes and special effects. But the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment this month proves that, even in Hollywood, reality is still stranger than fiction.

Relax, North Korea isn’t going to nuke the U.S. over a movie

By Paul French
December 17, 2014

A security guard stands at the entrance of United Artists theater during the premiere of the film "The Interview" in Los Angeles

Okay, it’s official. Some people may be getting a little overwrought about North Korea’s possible reaction to the release of “The Interview,” that much-hyped movie where Kim Jong Un is (fictionally) assassinated by the CIA, via bumbling patsies played by James Franco and Seth Rogen. Since news of the comedy’s plot leaked, there have been some typically, and not all that surprising, strong words from Pyongyang.  Then Sony Pictures got hacked, possibly by North Korea or possibly by someone else entirely. Incidentally, a major corporation being hacked by an unknown assailant that’s either a dictatorial rogue state, or some teenagers who want to watch movies for free, is a much better plot idea than that of “The Interview.” Cue much outpouring of punditry and comment (this commentator and pundit included) on what’s going on.

Sorry Sony, Kim Jong-un and North Korea don’t really do parody

By Paul French
December 8, 2014

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un stands on the conning tower of a submarine during his inspection of the KPA Naval Unit 167

It seems Kim Jong-un doesn’t like the new Seth Rogan movie, The Interview. Not surprising really, it’s a comedy about a fictitious plot to assassinate him. Now Sony Pictures has been the subject of a massive cyber-attack disrupting the company’s communications system and leaking upcoming movies – no more rogue DPRK nukes to keep us awake at night, but rather illicit downloads of a new version of Annie!

A misconception that could scuttle nuclear talks with Iran

By Jim Walsh and Aron Bernstein
November 24, 2014

EU envoy Ashton, Britain's Foreign Secretary Hammond and Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif sit at a table during talks in Vienna

As nuclear talks between Iran and the other members of the so-called P5+1 group are extended for another seven months, one issue is sure to remain a sticking point. The most important differences between all sides relates to the size of Iran’s uranium-enrichment program.

Disappearance of North Korea’s Kim Jong Un could ease path to peace, coup or no

By Paul French
October 8, 2014

RTR492RF.jpg

Kim Jong Un has apparently gone AWOL. His movements unknown, the reason for his sudden invisibility mysterious. Nobody in Pyongyang is saying anything. But then nobody in Pyongyang ever says very much.

Why Russia won’t deal on NATO missile defense

By Yousaf Butt
June 17, 2013

President Barack Obama meets with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in Mexico, June 18, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Reed

Drone coalition: Key to U.S. security

By David Axe
April 1, 2013

The Pentagon’s biggest, most high-tech spy drone aircraft — one of the hottest items on the international arms market — is the key to a burgeoning robotic alliance among the United States, Japan, South Korea and Australia.

China as peacemaker

By Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman
March 27, 2013

Nuclear escalation on the Korean Peninsula demands creative solutions. With a 2,200-year history of non-aggression, China is in the best position to take the lead — and relieve the United States of a burden it has shouldered for too long.

Responding to North Korea

By Bennett Ramberg
February 15, 2013

Now that Pyongyang has conducted its third nuclear test, the international community must accept what it cannot change: North Korea is a nuclear-arming state.

Syria as dress rehearsal: Securing WMD in midst of civil war

By Bennett Ramberg
October 19, 2012

As Syria’s civil war spirals into mounting violence, the Assad regime’s chemical weapons stockpile is generating increased anxiety throughout the Middle East and beyond.  Taking precautionary measures, the United States has reportedly placed 150 “planners and other specialists” in Jordan to work on contingencies — including the chemical weapons threat.