Thursday, August 24, 2017

What the ‘Great Terror’ Taught Autocrats

The instruments of lesser terror are still routinely employed today. Vladimir Putin uses them to stay in power despite a weak economy, rising poverty and rampant corruption. The Kremlin allots state assets, government credits and university deanships to those in favor. Streaks of independence or defiance are punished by charges of corruption, confiscatory taxes and denial of business licenses. Political opponents are disqualified from the ballot, and ordinary protesters are sent to prison or put under house arrest. Anti-riot forces are given free rein to fire on demonstrators. Dissidents who become a real danger can be shot or poisoned. The murderer will never be found, despite an elaborate investigation and court proceeding.

go to Wall Street Journal

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Grand Bargain on Korea

North Korea has become an intractable problem for the United States. But there may be a way forward in the form of a grand bargain that requires fewer U.S. concessions than expected. In fact, the resolution of the Korean conundrum may be less challenging than containing Iran. A rejection by North Korea’s Kim Jong-un of such a deal would provide evidence of his irrationality and confirm the regrettable need for non-diplomatic measures.

go to Defining Ideas