Jun 16, 2009

Jailing U.S. journalists could prove costly

LOS ANGELES — Call me a dupe of the commies if that makes you happy — I really don’t care at this point. Maybe all these years I have been wrong to argue that we can negotiate with North Korea; maybe my critics are ...

May 31, 2009

Why isolate a global pariah even further?

LOS ANGELES — On the question of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, better known as (a) North Korea, (b) notorious charter member of former U.S. President George W. Bush’s “axis of evil” and (c) pain-in-the-neck threat to world peace and stability, here are ...

May 17, 2009

California dream-makers in the driver's seat

LOS ANGELES — Sometimes it’s not that easy living in Los Angeles. Despite splendid weather, sprawling beaches and gorgeous mountain ranges — not to mention the well-tanned Hollywood stars — you face the unrelenting, withering scorn of smug colleagues long established in New York ...

May 6, 2009

China and Taiwan try a practical approach

LOS ANGELES — On the surface of things, it might not seem like such a big deal. Taiwan is to get recognition as an observer at an important world health meeting in Geneva to be held later this month. But in the context of ...

May 2, 2009

Jackie Chan wears a political jester's hat, too

LOS ANGELES — You might have already known that kung fu comic and actor Jackie Chan was crazy, but is he certifiably insane? Just the other day this legendary does-his- own-stunts man asserted that the Chinese people do not need Western-style freedom and democracy. ...

Apr 22, 2009

A violent warning for Thailand's urban elites

LOS ANGELES — Until recently (before all the rioting, violence and assassination plotting) Thailand would not have appeared to be a deeply troubled society. Generally speaking, Thais were, as endlessly advertised, scintillatingly smiley, and the country as a whole — vast rolling expanses of ...

Apr 9, 2009

The lighter side of North Korea's launch

BEVERLY HILLS, California — Some things you just don’t joke about. Certain developments in the course of human affairs are decidedly not funny. What’s a perfect example, right off the top of my head? Oh, how about North Korea’s missile launch over the weekend? ...

Apr 3, 2009

Small-scale abductions that can trigger war

BANGKOK — Even relatively small misunderstandings, festering underground over time and eating into the foundations of stability, can cause wars. Some poisons work immediately; other poisons take time. Let us consider a serious current poison that the U.S. media has underplayed — mostly deliberately ...

Mar 2, 2009

Putting Asia first puts Clinton in driver's seat

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — The U.S. secretary of state’s recent four-stop swing through Asia led to some accusations of symbolic superficiality. Perhaps — but there can be more real meaning in acts of diplomatic symbolism than what first meets the eye. This is why, ...

Feb 10, 2009

James Brady struck warlike pose for peace

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — If not in memory of the awful Korean War (1950-1953), then in memory of the brilliant author James Brady (1928-2009) — you might want to read, or perhaps re-read, his novel about that war. That’s what I did the other ...