Thursday, September 28, 2006

We are going to the PIFF!

Ok, now what is the PIFF?

11TH Pusan International Film Festival

On October 14th at 1130 and 1430 me and my former co-worker will be watching 2 movies the first one will be 12:08 East of Bucharest this one will start at 1130 and will be playing at the CGV Jangsan 6, it is a film about  the fall of Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania and it's a Critic's Choice selection at the Festival.

The second one is Soul Kicking this one will start at 1430 and will be playing at the CGV Jangsan 6, it is a film from Greece/Cyprus and it's in the World Cinema selection. I could not get any tickets and the times just never would work for the one that I really wanted to see. The film is called Days of Glory , I know , another French War film. (The last 2 French films I really went crazy over werethe re-release of Battaglia di Algeri, La in 2004 and Joyeux Noel, the latter I gave the #1 selection on Socious best film of the year.)

I have allready seen some of the films that wil be shown here, The 9th Company, The Host and a few others. I have 2 PIFF books and tickets in hand. What really suprised me was the price of the tickets, they were 5,000 Won ($5.50) each.

It looks like a KTX ride to Pusan and then we will have to take the subway to Jangsan Station. I am so looking forward to this.

Happy Birthday, Claudia

Saturday was my daughters 10th birthday. It was a sad day for me, I still do not have any idea where She and my son, Sean , live at in California. They probably think that I have forgoten about them but I have not and my ex will not let me talk to them. Its just a sad story, that sadly, will continue.

I hope that you had a very nice birthday.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Am I Famous Here In Korea

Am I famous here in Korea? At times I sure do not understand it. Today I was in Costco, looking at Ipods, when I see this group of High School girls. I bow and say, hello ladies, The girls all start to giggle at me and take my photo with their cell cameras. Later I was eating pizza and I was thinking about what had just happened .

I recalled Bob "The Beast  Sapp, talking about how everytime he traveled in Japan, the girls would gigle and always have his picture taken. It sure sounded familiar today.


Now I am not  A k-1 fighter, the only think I have going is that I am 6'4. maybe I am the first tall white guy that they have talked do, to be honest I do not understand it but it sure does happen alot.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Sunday, September 10, 2006


2,996 is a tribute to the victims of 9/11.

On September 11, 2006, 2,996 volunteer bloggers
will join together for a tribute to the victims of 9/11.
Each person will pay tribute to a single victim.

We will honor them by remembering their lives,
and not by remembering their murderers.

I saw this link and I knew that I had to join this. I really can not tell anybody why. It just seemed like the right thing to do, and that I had to do it.

So When I joined I was sent an Email and I was given a name

The name was Francis X. Deming

What I found out was that he was 47 years old when he died, he worked at the WTC for Oracle and that he loved God and that he loved his family. I can think of no better words than those to honor this man.

Francis X. Deming

Solid Man, Quiet Hero

Francis Xavier Deming was not a peacock. He was not ostentatious, flashy or loud. He was a solid man who bowed to God. "He was the quiet hero," said his sister Rose Deming-Phalon. "He worked hard and he worked a lot. He loved his family and he is missed."

By his sister's account, Mr. Deming, 47, was one of the workaday Americans who is never celebrated. He went to his job as an accountant at the Oracle Corporation and came directly home to Franklin Lakes, N.J. He taught his five children to swim. He was active in his church, Most Blessed Sacrament. He built furniture. He was a man who did not lean on others, but whom others leaned on.

His last day on earth is a good example. There is a record of it in a message he left for his wife on their answering machine. He and a group were fleeing the 99th floor of 1 World Trade Center. "Get down low so you can breathe better," he told the group. And then: "What happened to the people who were behind us?"

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 2, 2001.

Francis X. Deming age 47, of Franklin Lakes, missing from World Trade Center since Sept. 11, 2001. Beloved husband of Brooke (nee Flynn). Devoted and adored father of Brian, Craig and Christopher, and step-father of Jeffrey and Brooke. Loving son of Ann Deming of Pequannock and the late Thomas J. Deming. Frank will be sorely missed by brothers Thomas of Towaco, Patrick of Mine Hill, Michael of Auburn. N.Y, and Robert of Monroe, NY.: and sister Rose Phalon of Pequannock. He also leaves behind many nephews and nieces, aunts and uncles, in-laws, cousins and friends. Frank was a member of Most Blessed Sacrament R.C. Church in Franklin Lakes.

He was employed by Oracle Corp as a practice director, working in the offices of Marsh McClennan on the 99th floor of Tower One of the World Trade Center. Prior to that he was employed as consultant by Exxon, TRW, Price Waterhouse, Coopers & Lybrand and Anderson consulting. He was a 1968 graduate of Holy Spirit Elementary School in Pequnnock and a 1972 graduate of Pequannock Township High School.

He graduated William Patterson College in 1976, and completed his Master's at Business Adminstration degree at Fairleigh Dickinson University in 1979. A strong believer in honest hard work. Frank held a number Jobs, including those of a cook in W.T. Grants' in Pompton Plains and member of the National Ski Patrol, to pay for his education. These will be among the many qualities he will pass along to his family. Frank was an avid sportsman, whose activities always included his family. He was a accomplished skier and boater.

Many of his happiest days were spent aboard his boat, the Good Times, water skiing on Lake Hopatcong or just enjoying a quiet sunset on the water. Although Frank's professional background was in accounting and computer software systems, he was also very good with this hands. Whether plumbing, electric or carpentry, there was rarely a project, repair or improvement in his home he could not handle. And he could always be counted to lend a hand to a family member or friend. When he found time to relax Frank and Brooke could often be found dining at Aldo's in Wyckoff,

Frank's friends and family are invited to Join in celebration of life Saturday, September 29 at 9:45 a.m. at Most Blessed Sacrament Church, 787 Franklin Lakes Road, Franklin Lakes, N.J. 07417. In lieu of flowers contributions in Franks' name may be made to The American Red Cross and The American cancer' Society.

Paid Notice published in THE BOSTON GLOBE on September 27, 2001.

Francis X. Deming, 47, an avid boater

Francis X. Deming of Franklin Lakes named his motorboat Good Times, and not without reason.

"Most of his time was spent on Lake Hopatcong boating with his wife, Brooke, his children and friends," said Robert Vreeland, a longtime friend who shared Mr. Deming's enthusiasm for water sports.

"Frank was an avid sportsman, whose activities always included his family," Vreeland recalled. "He was an accomplished skier and boater. Many of his happiest days were spent aboard his boat, water skiing or just enjoying a quiet sunset on the water."

Mr. Deming, 47, also enjoyed his job as a practice director for the California-headquartered Oracle Corp., a data-based software developer. At the time of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, Mr. Deming was at work as an Oracle consultant in the offices of Marsh McClennon on the 99th floor of the North Tower.

Although his professional background was in accounting and computer software systems, he was described as very good with his hands. Whether it was plumbing, electrical work or carpentry, there was rarely a repair or improvement project in his home that he could not handle. Family and friends could always count on him for his skills.

Mr. Deming was a 1968 graduate of Holy Spirit Elementary School in Pequannock and a 1972 graduate of Pequannock High School. He graduated from William Paterson College in 1976 and completed his master's of business administration degree at Fairleigh Dickinson University in 1979.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Deming is survived by his mother, Ann Deming of Pequannock; his children, Brian, Craig and Christopher, and stepchildren, Jeffrey and Brooke; four brothers, Thomas of Towaco, Patrick of Mine Hill, Michael of Auburn, N.Y., and Robert of Monroe, N.Y., and a sister, Rose Phalon of Pequannock.

A celebration of life ceremony will be held at 9:45 a.m. Saturday at the Most Blessed Sacrament Church, 787 Franklin Lakes Road, Franklin Lakes.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Mr. Deming's name may be made to the American Red Cross and the American Cancer Society.

Profile by William Gordon published in THE STAR-LEDGER.

I have learned something over the years that I was a police officer, "You can tell alot about a man when he has a huge crisis and you see how he reacts to it."

I noticed that on the phone call to his wife, he was heard telling his people to get low to the ground and wondering where the people were that were just behind in his group as they were trying to escape the WTC.

This tells me what kind of a man he was, he was worried about his fellow man. He loved God, His Family, and his fellow man. We should all try and follow this example.

Friday, September 08, 2006

My former co-worker wrote this and I thought that it needed to be stated here in my blog.

I really did not see what was going on until I saw Stephanie say no, then I moved the guy away from Steph in about 2 seconds. I still can not believe that these Korean men try and buy Stephanie like she is a piece of meat. I have always wondered what would happen if I tried to buy a girl at that club, like the Korean men were trying to buy Stephanie. Is was very pathetic to see the guy cry because I removed him from Stephanie but damn it was just sad. I kept my eye on him for the rest of the night. I was in taxi one so I did not see the cab 2 incident, but I would have removed him again if I had been in cab 2.

Here is the rest of the story from her own words.....

For those of you who aren’t foreigners in Korea or familiar with our situation, because I have blonde hair and blue eyes, in Korea it is assumed that I am Russian. The first few times I heard this, I wasn’t surprised or offended by this because I passed for a Russian in Russia both times I went there. Later, I came to understand that by being asked if I am Russian, a Korean man is actually asking me if I am a prostitute (if they just ask where I’m from as an opened ended question, there’s nothing implied). The strange thing about it is that it has nothing to do with what I’m wearing or how I’m behaving, and everything to do with the way that I look naturally. I shrugged the incident off since it happens often enough not to be anything of scandal. After mentioning the event while getting the group together and walking to the North Korean bar, it became a running gag for the night.

Later, I was at a nightclub downtown called "Boobi boobi" which is always a good time. At one point, a young Korean man wanted to dance with me, so I humored him for a minute and then broke away to go dance with my little circle of friends who were nearby on the dance floor. A little while later, he came back and started asking my friend Trey about me. Trey gave me a confused/incredulous look and told the guy “no.” The guy kept asking questions and pointing to me, and Trey kept shaking his head saying “no” and crossing his arms across his chest in the Korean “no” fashion.

The guy wouldn’t let up and decided to talk to me directly. I couldn’t understand a word he was saying until the words “how much” came out of his mouth. I looked at Trey, and he said “I kept telling him that we’re American and that we’re not Russian but he keeps asking.” I was disgusted at this man’s persistence in pursuing me as a product to be bought and sold and told him in Korean to go away. The guy wouldn’t listen to me and continued trying to talk to me, but I wasn’t having it. Luckily, big Mike, my bouncer, saw me yelling at this guy and forcibly removed him from my presence. Good job, Mike! Heather said the guy almost cried when Mike tossed him away.

I was really irritated at being propositioned twice in one night, and especially at the creepy persistence of the second interested party. I needed to step away for a moment and calm down because I could feel my anger rising. I left the dance floor and stood by the lockers, drinking my drink. After about two minutes, another Korean guy came up to me, tried to put his arm around me, and asked me if I was Russian. I angrily replied that I was American, and decided that enough was enough. Three propositions in one night is three strikes and I’m out.

I rounded up my friends that hadn’t gone home already, and we decided to continue the party at my place. I took off in the first taxi with a few people, and the rest packed into the second taxi to follow us. After my taxi had pulled away, the second taxi was preparing for departure when the creepy Korean guy who wanted to buy me tried to hop in the front seat of the second taxi. Its occupants made it very clear that he was not welcome, but he refused to get out of the cab. One of the guys in taxi got out and again, had to physically removed him from the group.

This kind of situation bothers me not only because it’s insulting to be thought of as something that can be bought and sold, but I find it to be especially insulting to all the Russian women that I know (since I’m American, not Russian), most of whom are completely respectable individuals. I know that there are certain individuals and realities that give some Russian women that kind of reputation in Korea, but first of all, I guarantee you there are more Korean prostitutes than any other kind in Korea.

That does not mean that all Korean women are prostitutes, although it kills me how a regular Korean girl can walk around in high heels and a skirt so short you can see her ass cheeks and everything’s cool, but if I am completely covered I must be selling myself since I'm blonde and white. Following that train of thought, I find it appalling that some Korean people assume that all yellow haired females must be for sale. It’s total racism. I’m not comparing this in an exact way to the racism that occurred in America in the earlier part of the twentieth century, but to a certain extent, it is. I’ve had cab drivers pull up, take a look at me and say “Russia no!” before driving off without me. I’ve been approached by businessmen and propositioned in broad daylight while trying to get my groceries in a cab. I guess he thought I’d be quick enough to finish him off and get home before the ice cream melted.

Korea spends a good amount of energy trying to protect what they see as their traditional culture and values, but with that come closed-mindedness, xenophobia, and intolerance. Korea sees a lot of its cultural problems as the influence of outside (read western) culture and foreigners corrupting their food, their clothes, their language, and their general way of life. It’s all well and good to maintain one’s cultural identity, but that does not entitle any culture to hate, avoid, or look down upon another group or ethnicity simply because it is not one’s own. It makes even less sense for a country trying to become more important on the world stage to make generalizations about the people that currently reside in or visit the country.

At the same time, Koreans treat westerners (read English speakers) as something desirable and essential to what they see as their gateway to the rest of the world. I think it’s amazingly ironic that I can get a job anywhere here, and get a job instead of someone more qualified because I’m young, white, and blonde, but if I step out into the street to run some errands, some people will assume that I’m a prostitute.

I find it insulting, especially as someone who prides herself on being a person of substance, to be treated as something that can be bought or sold. It’s not the first time that it’s happened here, it won’t be the last time, I’m sure, but that doesn’t make it right. It’s embarrassing, it’s degrading, and I refuse to put up with it.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

My Socious review for United 93 and World Trade Center imdb link United 93 imdb link for World Trade Center

Release dates in Korea. United 93 9-7-06. World Trade Center Unknown

How I saw both films. Cam VCD

Plot For United 93. On September 11, 2001, America witnessed three terrorist attacks when three planes were hijacked and destroyed the pentagon and the two world trade centers. However, one plane in the mist of the hijacking never reached its target. Instead the passengers fought back to save thousands of lives even if it meant they too, would die. This is their story. The story of United Flight 93.

Plot for World Trade Center. In the aftermath of the World Trade Center disaster, hope is still alive. Refusing to bow down to terrorism, rescuers and family of the victims press forward. Their mission of rescue and recovery is driven by the faith that under each piece of rubble, a co-worker, a friend a family member may be found. This is the true story of John McLoughlin and William J. Jimeno, two of the last survivors extracted from Ground Zero and the rescuers who never gave up. It's a story of the true heroes of that fateful time in the history of the United States when buildings would fall and heroes would rise, literally from the ashes to inspire the entire human race.

Opening Weekend.

United 93 $11,478,360 (USA) (30 April 2006) (1,795 Screens)
World Trade Center $18,730,762 (USA) (13 August 2006)

When I agreed to do the movie reviews, I promised to tell the truth and to call it straight. To be very honest I did not want to see these 2 movies, I knew how I would react to them. I made a promise to always see the good films along with the bad films, so I went into these 2 with a very heavy heart. I have decided to do these 2 reviews together because the both talk about a very sad day that will not be forgotten for a very long time.

When I saw the 2006 film release schedule back in January, I soon realized these 2 films and next years Adam Sandler tackle on the aftermath of this day . I just sighed and dreaded the day that I would have to do these reviews. I was lucky I did not loose anybody that I knew that day, some of my friends were not so luck, they lost loved ones that day.

I have selected 2 cartoons to, in a very simple way, to show what was lost that day.

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You can see what was lost that day, 343 firefighter and many innocent people.

The first review will be for the film “United 93” it will be released on 7 September 2006, here in south Korea.

I have always had a question about my life in the US Army and as a police officer, what would you do when you have to face real evil and its wants you dead. I was lucky, I was always able to skate around this without ever having to answer this decision. The people on flight United 93 has the same decision to make and the film deal with their reaction to insanity.

You can see what was lost that day, 343 firefighter and many innocent people.

The first review will be for the film “United 93” it will be released on 7 September 2006, here in south Korea.

I have always had a question about my life in the US Army and as a police officer, what would you do when you have to face real evil and its wants you dead. I was lucky, I was always able to skate around this without ever having to answer this decision. The people on flight United 93 has the same decision to make and the film deal with their reaction to insanity.

This will not be an easy film to watch, if you know anybody who lost anybody on this sad day then please do not see the movie, it will be to painful to remember. If you want to see a very good movie then I highly recommend this film. There are no big name stars in this film and some of the actually US Military and FAA people involved in the decision making of that day play themselves in the film. Near the end of the film, when you know what is going to happen, and the passengers and crew call to say goodbye to their loved ones, It will make you very angry and very sad at the same time.

Grade (A+)

Next movie review will be Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center

When I saw Stones name attached to this I was thinking, “Great another JFK film” with his waked out conspiracies and theories.

I was so glad that I was wrong! This is a good film by Stone but it is not a great one like United 93.

I also had another pre-judgment error about this film, I thought that the film would be about Nicolas Cage’s character, Sgt. John McLoughlin. He plays the leader of his small band of brothers but the film really belongs to 2 actors who take you by the hand and shows you what hell was like on that day. Michael Pena plays the role of Officer William Jimeno, who was trapped under the rubble of the WTC. The other stars name is Michael Shannon, who plated Dave Karnes, a former Marine, who put back on his uniform and went to Ground Zero to save lives and to find it.

I was really impressed with the role that Shannon played in the film, he plays a man who knows that he has to do something and in the end he is the one who finds the trapped officers in the WTC rubble. During the films credits you find out that Karnes’ later re-enlisted in the Marine Corps and served two tours of duty in Iraq.

Michael Pena takes the next step, from becoming a part player, as he was in the film “Crash” to actually being able to carry a movie, When you are shown his back story while he is trying to stay alive under the WTC, you see that he pulls it off and you believe it. When his daughter ask when is daddy coming home, it will really strike at you very hard.

I thought the film would cover more of the WTC, but it just covers the collapse, A police officer that feels guilty and makes a very sad decision and their rescue. It just seemed that something was missing, it was the small parts that make a good film into great one.

The film will make you feel very sad about that day and when the dispatcher makes the comment, “A lot more people went to help at the WTC than are coming back, where are they at?” It just left me very sad because a lot of them never did make it back.

Overall, this film had a nice idea but just never seemed to be able to reach it. It’s a good film and needs to be seen but its not a great film and from Oliver Stone I was expecting more than what I received.

Grade B+

Please see both films when you can.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

well a real intresting look at our problem child of the North and he does not pull any punches, its a long read but a good one. thanks to the for this one

Chuck Downs is an author, independent consultant, and former Pentagon official who frequently appears on television news programs to discuss North Korea policy. He has held a number of important positions in government during his career, including Deputy Director for Regional Affairs and Congressional Relations in the Pentagon’s East Asia office and Assistant Director of the Office of Foreign Military Rights Affairs, where he was deeply involved in the planning and negotiation of key overseas basing agreements with foreign governments. He later served as Senior Defense and Foreign Policy Advisor to the House Policy Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives. He retired from government service in 2000.

Since his retirement, Mr. Downs has served as a Senior Fellow at the National Institute for Public Policy, where he chaired the North Korea Working Group, as a fellow at the Institute for Corean-American Studies, and the former Associate Director of the Asian Studies Program at the American Enterprise Institute. He currently serves on the board of the U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea and the North Korean Freedom Coalition. He co-wrote Crisis in the Taiwan Strait with Former U.S. Ambassador to Korea and China, James Lilley. He is best known as the author of Over the Line: North Korea’s Negotiating Strategy, which has also been published in Korean and Japanese. This quotation should give you a general idea of how Mr. Downs views his subject:

“North Korea does not enter into negotiations because it seeks agreements. Its objective is to gain concessions and benefits merely as a result of consenting to talk.” He believes not only that the deliberate policies of the Pyongyang government have claimed more than 500,000 lives each year since 1995 [the article was published in 2000], but that in many ways the regime is better off today than it has been at almost any time in the past. “It has obtained political recognition, security assurances and significant economic assistance -even from its former enemies. Through its negotiating strategy, the North Korean leadership has avoided political and economic collapse time and again during the past five decades.” [….] “Contrary to the hopes of the administration, North Korea has used these years to develop a more threatening military posture, not less.”

Our thanks to Mr. Downs for agreeing to this interview. He has also agreed to answer readers’ questions in the comments below. As always, I reserve the right to moderate comments.


Q: There have been some rumors among Korea bloggers that in October, after the next talks on the future of the alliance, that an accelerated downsizing or even a full U.S. withdrawal from Korea could be announced. Have you heard those rumors? Do you think there’s anything to them?

A: I wouldn’t call them rumors. For a long time, there have been discussions between both countries on troop deployments. South Korea has resisted a fast timetable of reductions, but Secretary Rumsfeld wants these things to happen on a faster timetable. That’s what he has always said. I think Rumsfeld and his people still want to proceed on that accelerated path. So this is not a new push by Rumsfeld. Perhaps the reductions have recently become even more desirable from the point of view of the Pentagon.

It’s clear that the SK government wants to give lip service to the alliance, but its point of view is at odds with the basic rationale for the alliance. You can’t have an alliance when one side tries to portray the other as an oppressive presence. When this develops, as it did in the Philippines, there is no alternative but to accelerate the reduction in the American presence. The government in South Korea is now limiting us in ways that reduce our capabilities and change our obligations in a legal sense. In such situations, the U.S. tends to respond extremely quickly. When the host government isn’t stridently calling for us to stay and address a common threat, it’s hard for us to justify continuing the troop presence. No one ever thought we’d leave the Philippines, either, but our presence is always based on how the host country views our forces. If the host country starts doing things like changing the basic command structure, it’s a fundamental shift in the way the alliance works. You will hear the U.S. side say that it will move quickly to do what the host government wants. You can’t do something good for the host government that the host doesn’t recognize as a good thing. We are not the Soviets and this isn’t the Warsaw Pact. We are not a colonial power. If the host country doesn’t want us there, we won’t stay.

Now, I don’t think this means a pull-out from Korea completely, but if we hear the South Korean government say that we are there to work for our own interests, but not theirs, then we can be out in a number of months.

When you are in a foreign country, that country is in charge. We never stay in a foreign country against that country’s will — ever. The Korean pro-U.S. right thinks we should be pushing against the Roh government, for arrangements that favor the U.S. That’s all fine, but it doesn’t work that way. We do what the government in place wants done. It’s the task of the Pro-Americans in South Korea to get their government to promote a strong alliance and arrangements that favor one. We won’t do something against their government’s objectives.

Q: How do you think the North Korean missile tests affected the Administration’s view of the North Korean regime?

A: I think they made the administration realize that – some of this was surprising – how far South Korea’s view had diverged from our view of how to deal with the North Korean threat.

The other thing that happened was it proved how cooperative the Chinese can be in undertaking stringent measures against North Korea when they’re persuaded that it’s in their interests to do so. In spite of some troubling rhetoric from China, they voted for a strong condemnation of North Korea’s program in the the U.N. resolution, and they took strong action to limit North Korean access to the Bank of China. The South Korean view was that pressure and the resolution were not helpful.

The third interesting development from the missile tests was the strong expression of anti-Japanese sentiment by the South Korean government. The U.S. government worked out a clever way to encourage Japan to carry the diplomatic burden at the UN. Although North Korea threatens South Korea more directly, Japan voiced the strongest protest against North Korea. This protected South Korea from having to lead the charge against North Korea. Japan was willing to do that in the interest of protecting itself. Normally, in the past, South Korea would have been in the position of leading the charge. At the time, we welcomed having Japan take the leading role, because we knew that South Korea wanted, on some level, to have relatively cordial relations with North Korea. We tend to assume that in reality, South Korea recognizes the threat from North Korea, and wanted Japan to play a leading role in formulating a strong international response. But the Roh Moo Hyun government turned on Japan, instead of criticizing North Korea. That was a completely unfortunate turn of events.

Q: Do you think the Sunshine Policy is dead?

A: Roh Moo Hyun and his followers are going to continue trying to carry out the Sunshine Policy every chance they have. But I think the South Korean public is beginning to be very tired of funding a country that still wants to annihilate or absorb South Korea. Its followers are still in power and still running the executive branch in South Korea, so the Sunshine Policy is not dead
yet. But it has less popular support, and eventually, I think it will die because of a lack of popular support.

Q: We’ve heard various reports that China has cut off fuel to the North, or reduced aid or trade. How much do you believe those reports?

A: I don’t have any independent way of confirming that. Sometimes, people talk about things that happened ages ago as if they were happening today. In March of 2003, we know that China shut off North Korea’s supply of fuel, supposedly for technical reasons. I don’t know if that has happened again. But a very effective measure taken by China was to deny North Korea access to the Bank of China.

Q: Do you think China’s view of the North Korean regime has changed since the missile tests?

A: The missile tests per se didn’t change their views, but they strengthened the arguments of people who take a more pragmatist view. Various Chinese officials have already staked out their positions on North Korea. You have an older group, sentimentalists, who tend to see “fraternal” North Korea from the perspective of the Korean War and China’s support for North Korea then. Then you have younger technocrats, pragmatists, who realize that what North Korea is doing is dangerous to China’s own interests.

The missile tests strengthened people on the pragmatist side. Chinese attempts to moderate North Korea’s positions, which failed miserably, hardened Chinese Chinese views about North Korea’s actions.

Q: We’ve discussed all of these effects from the missile tests in July. So what would motivate Kim Jong Il to do something that’s damaged his interests so much?

A: He probably thinks it has not damaged his interests. Part of the answer may involve domestic North Korean matters we don’t know anything about. It may have been necessary for Kim Jong Il to provide his military with a type of exercise — something to challenge their loyalty, to keep them busy. He knows that his military cultivates contacts with Chinese military officers. Kim Jong Il was asking his military to do something in open defiance of Chinese interests. They failed on the Taepodong test, and that was an embarrassment. The SCUD and No-Dong launches, on the other hand, were a demonstration of how effectively those missile forces work. They were an impressive show of handling of mid-range missiles from mobile launchers in different parts of country. The entire emphasis was on loyalty of the military to Kim Jong Il. I suspect that this may be followed by executions of some whose loyalty was in doubt. It may also be followed by more tests.

Q: We’re all speculating about whether Kim Jong Il will test a nuclear weapon. Would you care to venture your own guess?

A: It seems as though a nuclear test would be the capstone of a strategy of ratcheting up pressure against the United States. The setback was that the Taepodong was a major failure. Kim Jong Il might hold off to prove that he has good long-range Taepodong capabilities first. Another thing you have to consider, in the context of that embarrassing failure, is what would it be like to suffer the embarrassment of a bad nuclear test? Kim Jong-il has to be considerably concerned about the failure that may result from his bravado.

In terms of traditional strategy, I expect North Korea to go through what appear to be preparations for a nuclear test. I’d expect them to go through the motions of preparing to conduct a nuclear test without actually doing it, perhaps for as long as two years. If he goes through with it within the next few weeks, that might be an indicator that he has something worse in mind down the road. The traditional way for North Korea to serve its interests is to threaten to test without actually testing, so it creates an atmosphere of concern and fear and leverage about the potential test. There can be a lot of back-and-forth discussion about whether they have a right to conduct a test, how they want to join the nuclear powers like India and Pakistan, and about their need for deterrent forces. We’ll also hear their rationalization that this is justified by a fairly small U.S. and ROK military exercise called Ulchi Focus Lens [see Richardson’s link here — Joshua]. They can get lots of play out of the threat of a nuclear test. They can make this go on for many months, maybe a year.

Q: Recently, the South Korean Foreign Minister met with his Chinese counterpart, and the two jointly called on North Korea not to test a nuclear weapon. Would you agree that the South Korean and Chinese positions on North Korea are considerably closer than those of South Korea and the United States?

A: It’s possible, and the South Koreans may see it that way, but I’m not sure the Chinese see it that way. It’s easy to call on North Korea not to test a nuclear weapon. I wouldn’t apply a great deal of significance to that, certainly not as much as South Korean officials do.

Q: To what extent is it really accurate to call South Korea an ally today?

A: Although the current trend seems to be moving very quickly toward a diminishment of the alliance, it has been such a strong alliance over the years that there’s still a significant amount left to it, even despite the approach Roh Moo-Hyun has taken. Roh is certainly aware of other benefits of the alliance, other than deterrence of North Korea, such as regional and global security, and South Korean participation in the Middle East, which is very important. Aspects of that could continue even without the threat from North Korea, even if one party in the alliance thought there was no North Korean threat. Something will be left of this alliance even if the North Korean factor is taken out of the equation.

Q: How much chance do you think there is of us agreeing to CVID with North Korea before this Administration ends?

A: Very close to zero.

Q: Does the Bush Administration, through diplomacy or otherwise, still have time to accomplish anything?

A: Something is accomplished by merely trying to pursue an objective in this kind of international policy. I’m not sure that I’d consider an agreement with North Korea a good accomplishment. A better accomplishment would be cutting all of North Korea’s means of support from outside governments and its banking operations. There is a lot that can be accomplished, even though I think an agreement with North Korea is unlikely.

Q: Do you think there are elements in the Administration so desperate for a deal that they would take one that fails to attain our objectives?

A: Whatever those elements may be, they’re not in the White House. I don’t think this White House would conclude a bad deal with North Korea.

Q: From where I sit, Kim Jong Il is just continuing to build bombs and refuse to negotiate in good faith. One possible explanation for this is that we lack the power to deter him: South Korea won’t go along with us, our Army is fighting two ground wars, and China – at least as I see it – won’t cut off his supplies. Realistically, what military options at our disposal can deter Kim Jong Il from dragging things out forever?

A: I think we are deterring him now from many things. He’d be in Seoul now, with a government much more like his, if we were not already deterring him. We are already succeeding at deterrence. It’s worth remembering that. I wouldn’t give up on the possibility that we will continue to deter with much of the same force we’ve been using for last 60 years. The Bush Administration has constrained his options more on illicit activities and banking—that’s an achievement.

It’s true that we’re deterred from taking certain military actions, but I’m not sure we’d want to take the kind of military action we’ve been kept from taking. After all, we didn’t attack North Korea when South Korean governments wanted a more hostile policy toward North Korea. It’s true that South Korea now tends to stay our hand, but I’m not sure we’d want to pursue hostile action anyway. Iraq also restrains our options, but from doing something we’d prefer not to do anyway.

Q: What, then, should we be doing to influence events in North Korea? I speak here not just of the regime itself and its decisions.

A: We should be trying to influence the regime and its decisions, trying to embarrass the regime with the truth every time we get a change. We should be trying to learn as much as we can about connections between the North Korean military and the Chinese military. We should encourage China to build contacts on a personal or local level to try to influence better behavior by the government in Pyongyang. Success lies in influencing China through the U.S.-China relationship, toward loosening its bonds with the North Korean regime.

Q: To what extend should we be trying to reach out to the North Korean people?

A: I think they listen to our radio broadcasts. Through word of mouth, they probably know more than we suspect. We forget that, throughout history, huge mass movements have happened in countries without loudspeakers or telephones. It’s possible to have mass movements form based on what people hear from their neighbors. We could see a situation develop in North Korea where the people begin to move toward the border, and begin to challenge the military. At that point, the military would have to decide whether it wanted to maintain its loyalty to the people of North Korea, or to Kim Jong Il. This is the scenario that Kim Jong Il finds the most frightening.


A few notes on how this interview was conducted. I interviewed Mr. Downs telephonically, typed notes of the conversation, and later reworked those notes into grammatical sentences that were as faithful as possible to Mr. Downs’s own words. I then forwarded that text to Mr. Downs for his approval and adoption, at which time he had the opportunity to edit his responses for accuracy. Newspapers don’t ordinarily do this, but having had the experience of being misquoted by newspapers, and given the reluctance of most people to allow themselves to be recorded, this is the format both the interviewees and I tend to prefer. In this case, Mr. Downs’s edits did not significantly change the meanings of his responses and were primarily edits for clarity and flow.