Policy & Politics

5 posts
Charting the GOP’s Congressional Exodus

Another Republican in the U.S. House — Speaker Paul Ryan, no less — announced his intention not to seek re-election in 2018, adding to the number of members leaving ahead of what’s expected to be an unfavorable mid-term environment for the party. Even before Ryan’s announcement, HuffPost reported that the number of GOP congressmen leaving the chamber, either for retirement or other offices, has hit numbers not seen in decades. His exit...

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China’s Imbalanced Trade with the United States, in Four Charts

A trade war could be looming between the United States and China, fueled by President Trump’s fixation on the two nations’ unbalanced import-export relationship. The trade imbalance between the two countries — which might not hurt the United States that much — stems from the fact that China sells more to us than it buys, essentially. That’s largely driven by macroeconomic factors, not some malicious intent: China is a low-cost manufacturing powerhouse,...

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Chart: Republican Attacks on the FBI Have Worked, Especially on Republicans

HuffPost is out with an interesting poll about the the public’s trust in the FBI, which has been under attack recently for its role in the investigations of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Trump and his supporters have been particularly tough on the bureau, and it shows in the polling data. A slim 51 percent majority of the public say they have at least a fair amount of trust in...

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How Do We Solve North Korea? Yonsei University Students Have Ideas.

I gave a guest lecture today to an East Asian international relations course at Yonsei University in Seoul. As part of the class, the more than 40 students participated in an exercise by answering this question about North Korea: How do we address the North Korea nuclear issue? 1. Accept as nuclear state 2. Strike known nuclear targets 3. International sanctions 4. Suspend U.S. military drills 5. Diplomacy 6. Two...

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Assessing Global Health in Four Key Diseases

While reporting on South Korea’s high suicide mortality rate recently, I discovered an unique data set maintained by the World Health Organization. It contains the probability that residents in each country will die from four noncommunicable diseases between the ages of 30 and 70. These are diseases such as cancer, chronic respiratory illness, heart disease and diabetes. They can offer clues about a country’s overall health. This type of illness...

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Testing ai2html on a North Korean Defector

A few weeks ago I wrote about the daring defection — and eventual rescue — of a North Korean soldier who barreled across the Demilitarized Zone in a truck and then ran as fellow troops fired on him. The story centers on a dramatic video of the ordeal released by United Nations command. The video, shot the afternoon of Nov. 13, shows the soldier speeding down a road toward the...

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North Korean ‘Provocations’ Freeze During Winter?

Last week I posted a visual timeline highlighting nuclear, missile and other “provocations” by the North Korean regime since 2006. The data show a clear escalation, especially in missile tests, since Kim Jong Un took power in late 2011. It’s been more than 70 days, though, since the last provocation. The most-recent incident was the firing of an intermediate-range ballistic missile — most likely the Hwasong-12 — over Japanese territory into the...

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Before/After Imagery: American Military Base in South Korea Dramatically Expands

When President Trump came to South Korea earlier this month, he spoke to troops at the U.S. Army garrison known as Camp Humphreys — 40 miles south of Seoul — rather than at Yongsan, the main military headquarters in the center of the capital city. Humphreys has gradually become the hub for American forces on the peninsula, and by next year most most of them will be stationed south of the...

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Visualizing South Korea’s Assailed Trade Relationship With The U.S.

President Trump isn’t happy with the United States’ bilateral trade agreement with South Korea. His main concern, it seems, is that the United States has suffered a “trade deficit”. That means South Korea — a key ally in East Asia on security issues, not just trade — has been exporting more goods to the United States than it has been importing. In 2016, this deficit was about $23.2 billion. That’s a...

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Visualizing North Korea’s Missile Launches

Despite international objections, North Korea has launched four ballistic missiles in the last week, including one that flew over Japan, raising regional tensions about the rogue state’s weapons development even higher. For those of us who live in South Korea, such provocations have become commonplace, especially since the North’s new leader, Kim Jong Un, took over after his father’s death in late 2011. They interrupt Sunday breakfasts or even national...

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