Here it Comes

Pyongyang via Wikimedia

Air Force One bears down on Singapore at this hour. Time for us to bone up on learning this stuff. Betcha more than he has.

Weekend Reading

Thank you for staying with me through a couple of relatively quiet weeks, as I’ve been tending to stuff around the farm.

Busy world, eh? Witness the two Koreas’ summit earlier today.

(Credit: Getty Images via news.com.au)

Apparently those concrete-looking blocks between the two men mark the border between countries. I found video of the two leaders stepping back and forth over them arresting.

Not one for ad hominem attacks (unless, perhaps obliquely implied) I’ll decline to note my wonder whether Mr. Kim would make it through all that theatrical, symbolic walking around without becoming winded before he finally made it to the guest book table. Here is a Korea reading list from earlier this week.

•••••

Just now I’m working through three worthwhile books on the same theme. They are The Road to Unfreedom by Timothy Snyder, The End of Europe by James Kirchick and After Europe by Ivan Krastev.

Kirchick’s and Krastev’s books are about a year old and Snyder’s is new this year.

For my money, Snyder is brilliant. Just have a look at some of his work. Krastev has become a bit of a trendy opinion maker from his unlikely perch in Sofia, Bulgaria. About Kirchick I’m less sure. He has a bit of a controversial past.

Just the same, they’re all engaging and I hope I’ll have something to say to synthesize the three authors’ ideas before long.

Meanwhile, there was a wealth of engaging shorter-form material to read this week, including:

An Apology for the Internet – From the Architects Who Built It by Noah Kulwin in New York Magazine
What Cape Town learned from its drought by Piotr Wolski at thebulletin.org
The Faroe Islands by Porter Fox at nowheremag.com
What will the next war look like by Christopher in The Spectator
How Neoliberalism Changed the World by Patrick Iber in The New Republic

See you next week.

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From Yonhap:

The government will review the legitimacy of disciplinary action by the daughter of the Korean Air chairman who forced a flight crew member to deplane, delaying other passengers from departing, an official said Monday.

Cho Hyun-ah, vice president of the national carrier and the eldest daughter of Korean Air chairman Cho Yang-ho, ordered a senior flight attendant on a plane heading to Incheon International Airport from New York on Friday to deplane for failing to follow in-flight service procedures, according to the company. Korean Air officials said the attendant had not asked Cho whether she would like a pack of nuts and did not provide the snack on a plate, as required by the service manual.”

Kim the Young ‘Un

KimYoungUn

A star is (desperately trying to be) born. From Toronto's Globe and Mail:

There’s wistfulness in the young man’s eyes, a longing for home as he walks purposefully along the edge of a lake that looks to be somewhere in Central Europe. But he doesn’t dress like the locals. Even thousands of kilometres away from the place of his birth, the young man proudly wears a collarless grey Mao suit and military-style greatcoat, the favoured attire of his grandfather, Kim Il-sung.

This photo could be the first painting of Kim Jong Un. The story is that a Canadian tourist named Percy Toop photographed it on October 27, 2010, at the Rajin Art Gallery in the northeast region of North Korea.

There is a long, long analysis of the photo by Ruediger Frank, a professor of East Asian Economy and Society at the University of Vienna, ona web site that analyzes North Korea called 38 North. But not so fast – Daily NK, a North Korean dissident publication in Seoul, says it ain't so.