April 4th, 2013
05:53 PM ET

What we're reading

By Fareed Zakaria

The tragedy of Korea is that no one really wishes to change the status quo, writes Ian Buruma in Project Syndicate. “China wants to keep North Korea as a buffer state, and fears millions of refugees in the event of a North Korean collapse; the South Koreans could never afford to absorb North Korea in the way that West Germany absorbed the broken German Democratic Republic; and neither Japan nor the US would relish paying to clean up after a North Korean implosion, either.”

“And so an explosive situation will remain explosive, North Korea’s population will continue to suffer famines and tyranny, and words of war will continue to fly back and forth across the 38th parallel.”

China’s Communist Party has achieved something few had thought possible: the construction of a distinct national internet, The Economist says.

“The Chinese internet resembles a fenced-off playground with paternalistic guards. Like the internet that much of the rest of the world enjoys, it is messy and unruly, offering diversions such as games, shopping and much more. Allowing a distinctly Chinese internet to flourish has been an important part of building a better cage. But it is constantly watched over and manipulated.”

For China, key African countries are not just depositories of natural resources. They are useful diplomatic allies, argues Minxin Pei in The National.

“South Africa, for example, is key to China's efforts to bolster its image in Africa, and its president, Jacob Zuma, has not disappointed Beijing.

“Mr Zuma has publicly defended Chinese investments and business practices in Africa. Even less influential African countries may be valuable partners. By deepening its ties with such countries, China may be able to count on their support in its future quarrels with the West over human rights and sovereignty issues.”

Although official campaigning will not begin until early next month, “there are already 20 candidates who have announced their intentions to run, and all indications are that the election season will be a volatile one,” writes Jason Rezaian in the Washington Post.

“The prospect of a wider field of candidates has enlivened a race that most observers had thought would include only conservatives closely aligned with Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. ‘What seems to be happening in the run up to the elections is the shifting of alliances and enmities on an immense scale between a wide range of the political elite – far wider than was predicted by Western analysts even three months ago,’ said Dr. Kevan Harris, a Princeton University sociologist who conducts research on Iran’s economy and travels regularly to the country.”


soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. rightospeak

    It is mostly propaganda by our media that creates a bad situation. Truth is hard to find. North and South Korea should have been united long ago. We hear mostly lies . Did the media report that support was shifted from Chang Kai Shek to Mao Tse Tung by the US ( Joe McCarthy was right about the Communist influence in our government) so that China could become Communist ? Did the media report that Batista in Cuba improved the life of Cubans a lot, but the US decided to support Castro so that a bogey country was created for bloated military budgets ? So it is with North Korea propaganda. While the Korean people suffer, just like the Cuban people suffer the rich get richer and the media keeps lying.Nice propaganda pictures, just like on Syria- you need to get more blood to really rattle people !

    April 4, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
  2. Emeka Nwosu

    A violent regime change may be in the offing for North Korea

    Chukwuemeka Nwosu ---- Sent via Nokia Email

    April 4, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
  3. j. von hettlingen

    In the looming presidential election in Iran, Ahmadinejad is rallying behind his candidate, Mashaei. Ahmadinejad isn't leaving quietly. He seems to have formed an opposition to challenge the supreme leader's entourage. Being Machiavellian and ambitious and still having a power-base, we will hear from him in the future.

    April 5, 2013 at 4:51 am |
    • j. von hettlingen

      please read: Being ........and still having a power-base, he'll still be around for a while.

      April 5, 2013 at 4:53 am |
  4. j. von hettlingen

    With reference to "The tragedy of Korea", Ian Buruma forgot to mention Russia. What does he think about what Russia's interests are? Would Russa also prefer "the status quo"? Moscow seems to be less tolerant with North Korea's unruliness and nuclear programme than Beijing.

    April 5, 2013 at 5:05 am |
  5. JAL

    GOP needs to work for free for a time. Let them see what complete dishonor feels like. Stop the fighting and just take away their paychecks until they make some better changes within their party.

    April 5, 2013 at 6:25 am |
  6. Cathy

    'What we are reading' is not always to believe. US media has failed miserably, to inform US population about the "real state" in America and USA interests. Also, in America there is a lot poverty, hopelessness, unemployment, tyranny, ... and this is not correct: "North Korea’s population will continue to suffer famines and tyranny" – because this is military sponsored misinformation to achieve one for America undesirable goal. But please, we should first watch out for our American interests, because we are not as rich as the Koreans.

    April 5, 2013 at 10:24 am |
  7. robjh1

    Fareed pleas stop referring to Kim Jong as a "young boy"! Kim Jong is a grown MAN!!!!!!!!! NO matter how childish he looks or behaves.

    April 5, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
  8. Tyrone

    WE ARE LIVING IN A RONALD REAGAN AMERICAN THAT DID NOT WORK UNDER HIS LEADERSHIP

    There is this notion told over and over by Republican politician that former President Ronald Reagan was this “great” President! Even some Democrat repeat that total LIE! First let me say I respect the fact that people get old. I’m doing it as I write! Some come down with Alzheimer as did former President Ronald Reagan. By the time Reagan started his second term Alzheimer had set in and his family and staff knew! It was very evident when Diane Sawyer interview Reagan and he had to stop several time. He could not remember his answer nor the question. So his staff stop the interview and wrote the answer on little card! I truly believe Reagan’s staff ran the country while Reagan suffer from his mental illness!

    This “great” President............. NOT! Under President Reagan 7 million American went from middle-class to dirt poor! Reagan raise taxes 11 times and the debt ceiling 18 times! He left office with a 2 trillion dollar debt! Remember it was Reagan’s administration that purchase a hammer for $400. The same hammer any American could purchase at “Home Depot” for $9. Reagan and Col. Oliver North, a man convicted on multiple counts during the Iran-Contra scandal — who by his own admission had a “fairly good relationship” with the brutal, drug-running Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega ! Reagan & North sold drugs to fund the Contra in black neighborhoods! THAT’S A GREAT PRESIDENT????

    Reagan is the reason for the downfall of American unions! It started with the “Air Traffic Controllers”! Alan Greenspan described the 1981 destruction of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization as “perhaps most important” of all of Reagan’s domestic undertakings. The defeat of PATCO during the first summer of the Reagan administration “gave weight to the legal right of private employers, previously not fully exercised, to use their own discretion to both hire and discharge workers.” JUST BECAUSE!!!! ... Reagan opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 ... Reagan did not consider himself a racist, and dismissed any attacks aimed at him ...! Reagan refuse to meet with any “Civil Right Groups” in the eight year in office! THAT’S A GREAT PRESIDENT????

    After the re-Election of President Obama Sean Hannity of “Fox News” stated bring back the days of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. Margaret Thatcher came to power in 1979 inheriting an economy with high inflation. She introduced strict Monetarist policies such as high interest rates, high taxes to try and control the money supply. This reduced inflation but at the expense of causing a deep recession in 1981. The recession particularly affected the manufacturing sector and unemployment rose to 3 million. To this day Margaret Thatcher is hated! Hannity and other Republican are down right FOOLS..To think American believe the lie about Ronald Reagan being so GREAT!!!

    4/8/2013 Margaret Thatcher, the UK's first female prime minister, passed away earlier this morning. She was as evil as they come! She did nothing for working people, women, and attempted a poll tax. She engaged in a pointless war in the Falklands. An embarrassment to the UK...AND to women. The same evil done to her country was done under Reagan to this country!!! Under Reagan 7 million American when from middle-class to dirt poor and the rich got richer! Under Margaret Thatcher the same in her country......Both Reagan and Thatcher are dead before their death together they help. Keep South Africa in control of hate and dividing the country base on hate and race!.....Their judgment is in GOD’s hand!!!

    April 8, 2013 at 10:32 am |
  9. Isaiah Parter

    We have been using accessories from Inland. Haven’t had any concerns so far. What do you prefer for tie wire?

    https://maps.google.co.ls/url?q=https://disqus.com/by/inlandconcreteproducts

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