ROBERTO SIRVENT—US foreign policy largely shaped what Korea is and has become since 1945, and it is impossible to understand Korea without first understanding US foreign policy. US foreign policy is set, not by the broad public acting through its elected representatives to serve broad public interests, but by an elite based in the business and especially finance and banking communities to serve their sectional interests.
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ANN GARRISON—The UNHRC is composed of 47 members elected to three year terms within five geographic groups: Africa, Central America and Caribbean, Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe, and Western European and Other States including the US and Australia. The seats are rarely contested; nations from the various groups just swap votes and take turns. Only the Asia Pacific seat was contested this year.
UNHRC resolutions are neither legally binding nor enforceable, so it’s just a forum, but occasionally it makes news. This year the UNHRC story in the headlines has been that the US might quit the Council over its “anti-Israel bias”—as it now has— before its three-year term expires in 2019.
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CAITLIN JOHNSTONE—Neocons are always wrong about foreign policy. Always. There’s no reason to believe Trump spearheading a longstanding neocon agenda would work out any better than Bush or any other neocon.
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From George Orwell to Robert Conquest to Solzenytsin, very few people have bothered to check the sources on which they base their sweeping anti-communist ‘conclusions’. Professor Grover Furr, a talented linguist and Historian, with an interest in the USSR, Stalin and the communist movement, has done just that, and it is his evaluation of ALL the sources and ALL the footnotes that allows him to reach an authoritative opinion on the true value of these ‘bibles of anti-communism. It turns out that the overwhelmingly reactionary Polish and Ukrainian sources are ALL biased, or outright fabrications.
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CAILTIN JOHNSTONE—As this webcomic from The Oatmeal brilliantly explains, the brain is hardwired to protect strongly valued belief systems in the same way it’s hardwired to make sure the body protects itself from a physical attack. This serves a useful function in that it gives us a cognitive strategy for making sense of the world that isn’t blown to pieces every time you encounter a new idea, but it can also be malformed in a way which does not accurately represent reality. When that happens, it really is worthwhile to tough it out through the brain’s distress signals of cognitive dissonance and consciously restructure your sense-making apparatus in a way that accommodates a more accurate perspective.