Gregory Elich interviewed by Eugene Puryear and Sean Blackmon.
The recent talks between North and South Korea, what if any progress was made in thawing relations between the two countries, what to expect politically from the Winter Olympics being held in South Korea, and why South Korean President Moon continues to desire close relations with the Trump Administration.
On December 19, in a Wall Street Journal editorial that drew much attention, Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert asserted that North Korea was “directly responsible” for the WannaCry cyberattack that struck more than 300,000 computers worldwide. The virus encrypted files on infected computers and demanded payment in return for supposedly providing a decryption key to allow users to regain access to locked files. Bossert charged that North Korea was “using cyberattacks to fund its reckless behavior and cause disruption across the world.”
At a press conference on the same day, Bossert announced that the attribution was made “with evidence,” and that WannaCry “was directed by the government of North Korea,” and carried out by “actors on their behalf, intermediaries.” The evidence that led the U.S. to that conclusion? Bossert was not saying, perhaps recalling the ridicule that greeted the FBI and Department of Homeland Security’s misbegotten report on the hacking of the Democratic National Committee.
Q: President Donald Trump put North Korea back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism, a designation that allows the United States to impose more sanctions and risks inflaming tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and missile programs. How could Trump‘s policy affect China‘s and Russia‘s ties to Pyongyang? What effect will this have on North Korea?
Long-roiling factional conflict within Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF political party exploded last week in a military coup that quickly seized control of the government and state media. The coup was led by Commander of Zimbabwe Defense Forces Constantino Chiwenga, who is closely aligned with former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa.
An interview with composer Rocco Di Pietro, by Gregory Elich
Rocco Di Pietro’s music has been performed by orchestras and ensembles throughout the world. Noted for his wide-ranging interests and diverse array of music compositions, Di Pietro is also an author who has produced a well-regarded book of interviews with Pierre Boulez. Here, Di Pietro talks about his background, approach to music, and philosophy.
Diplomacy never had a chance. It was not long after President Trump took office that he signed a directive establishing a North Korea policy based on overtly hostile measures. The Treasury Department was told to implement a series of sanctions against North Korea and those who traded with it. U.S. diplomats were instructed to exhort foreign officials in nearly every meeting to break off contacts with North Korea. That program has been accelerating in recent weeks, with far reaching consequences.
Amid renewed talk by the Trump administration of a military option against North Korea, one salient fact goes unnoticed. The United States is already at war with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK – the formal name for North Korea). It is doing so through non-military means, with the aim of inducing economic collapse. In a sense, the policy is a continuation of the Obama administration’s ‘strategic patience’ on steroids, in that it couples a refusal to engage in diplomacy with the piling on of sanctions that constitute collective punishment of the entire North Korean population.