You are browsing the archive for 2019 March 11.

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Ending U.S. Risk Exposure in Korea

March 11, 2019 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

Even if the Trump-Kim relationship gets back on track after the
collapse of the Hanoi summit and leads to productive negotiations,
Washington’s Korea policy is deeply flawed. U.S. leaders remain
obsessed with the chimera of North Korea’s complete

The United States remains on the front lines in a volatile
region confronting an unpredictable adversary. Washington needs to
pursue a more fundamental policy shift.

One key U.S. objective should be to eliminate the detritus of
its seven-decade cold war with Pyongyang. Negotiations for a peace
agreement formally ending the Korean War are important, and as a
belligerent in that conflict, Washington must be a party to any
accord. So too, bilateral negotiations are necessary to establish
normal diplomatic relations and lift economic sanctions against
North Korea. Those objectives serve America’s national

A quixotic crusade to get North Korea to return to nuclear
virginity meets no such interest. Nor does maintaining U.S.
military forces in and around the Korean Peninsula to shield the
Republic of Korea from its troublesome northern neighbor. That
commitment may have made sense during the Cold War, when the United
States regarded both the Soviet Union and China as potential
threats to the security of East Asia. U.S. officials saw North
Korea as a potential pawn of those larger powers in a general
communist offensive.

The United States remains
on the front lines in a volatile region confronting an
unpredictable adversary. Washington needs to pursue a more
fundamental policy shift.

But the situation has changed beyond recognition over the past
three decades. Neither Russia nor China show an interest in backing
Pyongyang’s disruptive behavior. Indeed, Moscow and Beijing have
both established extensive economic ties
with South Korea that would be
jeopardized by another war on the peninsula.

Moreover, South Korea is no longer impoverished. The Republic of
Korea is a modern, developed country — one of East Asia’s
economic tigers and a major player in the global economy. Today,
South Korea has twice the population and an economy at least 40
times larger than that of its adversary. Seoul is capable of
building whatever military forces it deems necessary to deter or
defeat North Korea. There is no longer a credible justification for
keeping South Korea as an American security protectorate.

If the need to maintain a patron-client relationship with South
Korea is falling, the risks to the United States of doing so are
rising steadily. It was one thing to promise to defend South Korea
when the North merely had a conventional military force armed with
increasingly antiquated weapons. The North’s development of nuclear
weapons has dramatically changed the risk-benefit calculation for
Washington — especially …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Why the United States Should Not Send the Military to Venezuela

March 11, 2019 in Economics

By A. Trevor Thrall

A. Trevor Thrall

Venezuela today faces an existential crisis of its own making.
Thanks to decades of cronyism, corruption, and mismanagement under
Hugo Chavez and now Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela’s economy is in
freefall and the country is unable to feed
itself. More than three million Venezuelans have fled the country
since 2015 while hundreds of thousands of those who remain,
including as many as 300,000 children, are at risk of dying from
malnutrition. The health care system is in shambles. Newborns in Syria have a better chance of
survival than those born in Venezuela today. The United States and
others have sent humanitarian aid but so far Maduro’s military
forces have blocked its delivery at the border.

The United States has thrown its support behind National
Assembly leader Juan Guaido, recognizing him as the legitimate
president of Venezuela and calling on Maduro to step down. It is
not clear that the Trump administration will wait long for Maduro’s
response. Trump has repeatedly suggested that the United States is
open to the possibility of military intervention to ensure Maduro’s

Few illegitimate rulers, however, leave power without a push. If
Maduro refuses to step down, should the United States intervene to
rescue Venezuela? The short answer is no.

Though the diplomatic
path will not be easy or quick, it is the path most likely to lead
to enduring reforms viewed as legitimate by the Venezuelan

An American military strike would surely succeed in crushing
Venezuela’s military and ousting Maduro. But even though Maduro,
like Chavez before him, is an autocratic leader with little
interest in the welfare of his own people, he is just the tip of
the iceberg.

As in many corrupt states, Maduro rules Venezuela with the help
of a circle of civilian and military elites that he
rewards with plum government jobs, sweetheart business deals and
other carrots. Thousands of competent government employees have
been replaced with incompetent cronies, which has led to decreasing
oil production over the past fifteen years, mismanagement of the
economy, and to increasing levels of drug trafficking supported by
elements of the Venezuelan government.

A partial analogy here is the attempt to rebuild the Iraq
government, which took not only getting rid of thousands of
Baathists loyal to Saddam Hussein — itself a large job
— but also many years of painful and costly American
occupation while Iraqis attempted, with limited success, to rebuild
their economy. And in fact, Iraq scores just as poorly on
Transparency International’s corruption index as it did under Saddam Hussein
and the same as Venezuela does today, …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Underpaid, But Employed: How the Great Depression Affected Working Women

March 11, 2019 in History

By Jessica Pearce Rotondi

More women entered the work force during the economically tough era, but the jobs they took were relegated as “women’s work” and poorly paid.

During the Great Depression, millions of Americans lost their jobs in the wake of the 1929 Stock Market Crash. But for one group of people, employment rates actually went up: women.

From 1930 to 1940, the number of employed women in the United States rose 24 percent from 10.5 million to 13 million. The main reason for women’s higher employment rates was the fact that the jobs available to women—so called “women’s work”— were in industries that were less impacted by the stock market.

“Some of the hardest-hit industries like coal mining and manufacturing were where men predominated,” says Susan Ware, historian and author of Holding Their Own: American Women in the 1930s. “Women were more insulated from job loss because they were employed in more stable industries like domestic service, teaching and clerical work.”

A large group of women working on sewing machines, circa 1937.

‘Women’s Work’ During the Great Depression

By the 1930s, women had been slowly entering the workforce in greater numbers for decades. But the Great Depression drove women to find work with a renewed sense of urgency as thousands of men who were once family breadwinners lost their jobs. A 22 percent decline in marriage rates between 1929 and 1939 also meant more single women had to support themselves.

While jobs available to women paid less, they were less volatile. By 1940, 90 percent of all women’s jobs could be catalogued into 10 categories like nursing, teaching and civil service for white women, while black and Hispanic women were largely constrained to domestic work, according to David Kennedy’s 1999 book, Freedom From Fear.

The rapid expansion of the government under the New Deal increased demand for secretarial roles that women rushed to fill and created other employment opportunities, albeit limited ones, for women.

READ MORE: Is Marriage History?

Eleanor Roosevelt and Frances Perkins

Women during the Great Depression had a strong advocate in First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. She lobbied her husband, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, for more women in office—like Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins, the first woman to ever hold a cabinet position and the driving force behind the Social Security Act.

Mrs. President: Eleanor Roosevelt (TV-PG; 2:27)

Ironically, while Perkins held a prominent job, herself, she …read more


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In 1952, 'Flying Saucers' Over Washington Sent the Press Into a Frenzy

March 11, 2019 in History

By Missy Sullivan

UFO reports in the capital’s air space set headlines blaring across the nation about ‘disks’ and ‘whatzits’ and mysterious lights.

If 1952 marked the year that UFO fever spread across

CREDIT: Courtesy

Monroe News-Star (Monroe, Louisiana), page 1, July 21, 1952

EXCERPT: ‘The Air Force today investigated reports that several “flying saucers” had been spotted by radar virtually in its own backyard on the outskirts of the nation’s capital.

Not only were unidentified objects seen on radar—indicating actual substance instead of mere light—but two airline pilots and a newsman saw eerie lights fitting the general description of flying saucers the same night…

Capt. S.C. (Casey) Pierman of Detroit, piloting Capital Airlines Flight 807…was careful in his report…not to identify the objects as flying saucers. He described them as “like falling stars without tails” but added: “In my years of flying I’ve seen a lot of falling or shooting stars…But these were much faster…They couldn’t have been aircraft. They were moving too fast for that.” ‘


CREDIT: Courtesy The Cedar Rapids Gazette

The Cedar Rapids Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), page 1, July 29, 1952

EXCERPT: ‘Radar showed that the air over the nation’s capital was full of flying objects early Tuesday, but an airliner directed to one of the radar sightings could not find a thing…

A CAA [Civil Aeronautics Administration] spokesman said the latest sightings showed as many as 12 unidentified objects on the radar screen at one time… The sightings Tuesday were the third within two weeks.’


CREDIT: Courtesy

The Daily Inter Lake (Kalispell, Montana), page 11, July 31, 1952

EXCERPT: ‘ “It looked like a sphere, so deeply orange colored that it appeared almost the shade of rust. It was silent as death. It was moving too fast and evenly to be a balloon…’

Most persistent rumor is that Boeing Airplane Co. in Seattle, Wash., is either making flying saucers or has been in charge of the engineering of the project. The rumor goes that very small parts of the saucers are being made by widely scattered subcontractors and that the finished items are being assembled at some remote site…

In the weirder category of rumors is the one that the saucers are either Russian-built or from another planet and that several of …read more