Korea Seen Clearly
New York City
Bruce Cumings’s “Korean War Games” [April 22] debunks the endless, often mindless global media coverage on what is happening on the divided Korean peninsula. Alas, too much attention is given to North Korean “experts,” in and out of government, who rely on low-level intelligence and much second-guessing. Cumings’s piece is a strong corrective to this stream of mis- and disinformation.
Former managing editor
The Korean Review
The Poop on the Pipeline
Re Bill McKibben’s “Kerry’s Keystone Decision” [April 22]: A new Public Citizen report debunks some of the main arguments made by supporters of Keystone XL and demonstrates that the pipeline would in fact increase gas prices and reduce US energy security. This study flies in the face of industry-promoted wisdom.To view the report, go to citizen.org/documents/Keystone_Report_4.15.2013.pdf.
SAM JEWLER, Public Citizen
Popular Unrest in China
Reading Peter Kwong’s astounding statistics on corruption and inequality in China, as well as his reporting that “popular unrest has risen to unprecedented levels” [“Why China’s Corruption Won’t Stop,” April 22], calls to mind a speech Mao Zedong gave to the Communist Party leadership in 1962: “We can now affirm that classes do exist in socialist countries and that class struggle undoubtedly exists.… We must acknowledge that classes will continue to exist for a long time. We must also acknowledge the existence of a struggle of class against class, and admit the possibility of the restoration of reactionary classes…. If our children’s generation go in for revisionism…so that although they still nominally have socialism it is in fact capitalism, then our grandsons will certainly rise up in revolt and overthrow their fathers, because the masses will not be satisfied.”
A Blast of Fresh Arctic Air
A wonderful, encouraging article: Russell Mokhiber’s “Alaska’s Lesson for the Left” [April 22]. I need to hear of the (not so) little victories over wealth and power by the underdogs!
The Dance of the Dilettante
In his review of Jared Diamond’s The World Until Yesterday, Stephen Wertheim makes some important points, but he misses a few big ones by a mile [“Hunter-Blatherer,” April 22]. Although he persists in referring to Diamond as an anthropologist of sorts, Diamond is not, and has never been, an anthropologist. He is an ornithologist (orni=bird; anthro=human).
Nor have anthropologists looked kindly on this latest contribution, despite Wertheim’s anecdotal case of some judgment-challenged anonymous blogger. (See, for example, the book review and subsequent letters in the Sunday New York Times some weeks ago.) Although Wertheim gives Diamond credit for “scouring” the anthropological literature, Diamond’s labors clearly amounted to cherry-picking juicy tidbits, exaggerating and using them out of context to illustrate various points he hoped to make. This is very much in keeping with a long tradition of dilettantes expounding personal philosophy for a mass