John Feffer – USA

Linked with Mother Earth’s Triple Whammy.

John Feffer serves as Editor of “Foreign Policy in Focus” the journal of international relations administered by the Institute for Policy Studies . Mr. Feffer has written numerous books, including North Korea/South Korea: U.S. Policy and the Korean Peninsula, and articles on the politics, economics and security of East Asia and the world. He is a central figure in the debate on US foreign policy today … (full text in Korean and english).

John Feffer is co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus.

… For the last 20 years, John Feffer has written on a range of topics from Russian economy and Korean literature to U.S. food policy and the global economy. His shorter essays have appeared in the International Herald Tribune, The Progressive, Salon, Newsday and The American Prospect. He has also edited several books, including the FPIF collection Power Trip and The Future of U.S.-Korean Relations from Routledge. Before joining IRC, Feffer was a Writing Fellow at Provisions Library in Washington, DC and a PanTech fellow in Korean Studies at Stanford University. Feffer studied in England and Russia, lived in Poland and Japan, and traveled widely throughout Europe and Asia. (full text).

He says: “I was first led to the study of North Korea because of my interest in communist systems. I studied in Moscow in 1985 and lived in Poland in 1989, which gave me a first-hand opportunity to witness first the Gorbachev reforms and then the Solidarity-led transformations. I was curious why the North Korean state did not collapse in 1989 or later during the food crisis of the mid-1990s. This curiosity led me to conduct further research and, eventually, to take several trips to North Korea” … (full interview text, ).

His Website.

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John Feffer – USA

America’s Foreign Policy Bubble, June 16, 2008.

He writes: Locavores – the latest trend in dietary activists – speak of reducing “food miles,” of sustaining small farms, of the better taste of produce grown or raised locally (Feffer, 2007). It’s not just Europeans. North Americans are beginning to follow the European lead in prizing local products. Local sourcing – with its application of the term terroir to products other than wine and the rapid growth of direct farmer to consumer marketing through consumer-supported agriculture (CSAs) – has taken up the same radical challenge to factory farming that the organics movement raised a generation ago, but with an additional critique of the global agro-assembly line. In a reversal of the old relationship between emperors and their dominions, people are nowadays assigning greater value to items produced locally … (full text).

Scott Horton Interviews John Feffer, February 13th, 2008.

He says also: … “We urgently need a change in U.S. policy toward North Korea and toward East Asia more generally. I hope that my book will, first of all, raise the profile of Korea on the agendas of progressive organizations in the United States (and in Japan, Germany, and Spain where the book is being translated). I rather doubt that North Korea, South Korea will find its way onto the bookshelves of any Bush administration officials. But I hope that some of the critiques and some of the alternatives find their way into the mainstream debate on these issues in this country. The fact that the book has garnered interest in South Korea has made me quite happy about the undertaking. If we are in the same terrible impasse in November 2004, with the United States continuing to play a negative role on the peninsula, then I would feel very discouraged” … (full interview text, January 1, 2004).

Beyond Detente: New Options on East-West Relations, 232 pages, 1990.


He writes also: … I was on Wisconsin public radio last week, being interviewed on the state of U.S. foreign policy. All the callers were in perfect harmony. We all agreed that the last eight years have been a disaster for the United States, that we must move away from militarism and toward diplomacy, that we must, well, you get the drift. I commented to the host that the country would be in better shape if Wisconsin were in charge. Then a fellow called and said, “What kind of bubble do you all live in? We face a threat in Iran just as dangerous as Nazi Germany. Talking with the Iranian leader isn’t going to do squat”. I was happy that he called. It’s no fun just talking with folks who agree with you. I spent a couple minutes discussing the false analogy between Iran and Nazi Germany. But in retrospect, I should also have talked about the bubble. We’ve seen a lot of bubbles in recent years. There’s been the Dot Com bubble. The real estate bubble. The stock market bubble. But no one has talked about the foreign policy bubble. Let me define the foreign policy bubble this way. We Americans think we live in the greatest country on earth. We think this because we never go anywhere else to test this proposition, except to places like Club Med or on cruises to the Caribbean (talk about bubbles!). Because we’re the greatest country on earth, we have the right to disregard the opinions of other countries, which aren’t as great as we are. And we can impose our values on everyone else – after all, why should anyone complain about having greatness thrust upon them? In this perfect bubble, our self-regard builds on itself, higher and higher, until the estimate of our worth far outstrips its real-world value. Then, all it takes is a little pinprick for the bubble to pop … (full text).

It has been nearly 50 years since Turkey last served on the Security Council. In 2008, it will compete against Austria and Iceland for one of the two seats reserved for the “Western Europe and Others” group … (full text, June 7, 2008).

And he writes: The arms race in Northeast Asia undercuts all talk of peace in the region. It also sustains a growing global military-industrial complex. Northeast Asia is where four of the world’s largest militaries – those of the United States, China, Russia, and Japan – confront each other. Together, the countries participating in the Six Party Talks account for approximately 65% of world military expenditures, with the United States responsible for roughly half the global total … (full text).

Big Red Checkbook, October 18, 2007.

… First of all, today’s China is a very different place from the country that suffered a major earthquake 30 years ago. In 1976, China was largely closed to the world, despite a rapprochement with the United States. As Wenran Jiang, senior fellow at the Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada, notes, China has opened itself up to the world, accepting international rescue and medical teams to an unprecedented degree. “But for a tectonic shift to occur in the world’s perception of China as a new kind of superpower,” he writes, “Beijing needs to do more than demonstrate that its crisis management is better than Burma’s or that post-earthquake Sichuan is no post-Katrina New Orleans” … (full text).

The future has arrived, but the Futurists didn’t make it, Sept. 21, 2007.

Only after North Korea restarted its nuclear weapons program, produced several bombs-worth of plutonium, and tested a nuclear device did the Bush administration wake up to the failures of its confrontational approach. When it looked around for an alternative, all it could find was precisely what it had rejected. In a repeat of the 1990s, the Bush administration began to seriously negotiate with North Korea. It started to deal with the country as it was, not as Washington wanted it to be. The resulting agreement, a grand bargain that traded North Korea’s denuclearization for energy, the removal of sanctions, and political engagement looked suspiciously like the very Agreed Framework that the Bush administration came into office rejecting. Lee is about to go down the same bumpy road. In his eagerness to distance himself from the nordpolitik of Roh Moo-hyun, the new South Korean President threatens to undo all the hard work of reconciliation and reconstruction of the last decade. Talk about deja-vu! … (full text).

… Then John Feffer wondered whether, when it came to that lethal combo of soaring energy prices, soaring food prices, and extreme weather, we were all now North Koreans. Today, Chip Ward takes up the energy crisis in America’s increasingly arid western backyard … (full text).

Transcript of Interview: Enemy Dating Game, Who to Trust? Aired July 18, 2006.

John Feffer, co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus, has written an interesting article using North Korea as the canary in the coal mine, contrary to how many of us might view the weird country called North Korea with the bizarre dictator … (full text).

And he says: … “Americans are generally happy to put up with the advantages of empire (cheap oil, cheap food) but are usually not happy about bearing the costs of empire. So the American public has been reluctant to go to war unless they feel that their “way of life” is at stake. Before September 11, Americans might have focused on the costs of empire and decided that U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia or the desires of U.S. oil companies to build a pipeline through Afghanistan were generating too much anti-American resentment around the world. Instead, the Bush Administration was able to convince the U.S. public that because terrorists threatened the American way of life, all costs of empire should be accepted. In other words, because of 9/11, more Americans are more comfortable with being imperialists … I believe that the number of Americans comfortable with an American empire is relatively small. The latest election results show that Americans want to support their president at a time of crisis. But the difference in votes cast for Democrats and Republicans was very small, only a couple percentage points. And most Americans simply didn’t vote. So it is difficult to use the recent elections as evidence that Americans support Bush’s power trip. As I’m sure you know, Americans usually vote on domestic issues, and foreign policy plays a minor role in their deliberation. That is why so many Americans are uncomfortable with going to war with Iraq but support candidates who voted to give Bush authority to go to war” … (full interview text).

… Fair warning, then. John Feffer, co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus, has written a piece over at Tomdispatch.com – “Mother Earth’s Triple Whammy” – that you should think of as the equivalent of the Surgeon General’s caveat on a cigarette pack: If you value the health of your state of denial, you will read his post, in which he suggests that we may now all be North Koreans – remember what happened to them under the pressure of rising energy and food prices and extreme weather events back in the 1990s? – slowly, carefully, and at your peril. (full text, June 19, 2008).

Find him and his publications: the links on his website/biography; on UN jobs; on provisions library; on FPIF; on amazon; on AlterNet.org; on Google Video-search; on Google Book-search; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Group-search; on Google Blog-search.

Power Trip: U.S. Unilateralism and Global Strategy After September 11, 254 pages, 2003.

links:

The links on his website;

Minuteman Media.org;

the blog DAVID-BAPTISTE CHIROT;

the hanging helmets of Cindy Kane;

signal fire, a blog for the arts of social change;

Radioactive Déjà Vu in the American West;

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