Kim Jong-un

In this June 12, 2018, file photo, US President Donald Trump, right, meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Sentosa Island, in Singapore. 

Political theater: Part II

Critical State

Critical State, a foreign policy newsletter by Inkstick Media, takes a deep dive this week into all the ways in which diplomacy is a kind of performance.

Kim Jong-un and his generals cheer after the apparent launch of the Hwasong-17 long-range missile in March

Exclusive: North Korea’s monster fake out

Three people are shown from behind looking at a television that has a large missile with smoke and fire from its launch.

Rival Koreas test missiles hours apart, raising tensions

Lieutenant-General Bacha Debele is show standing at a podium with his hand raised in soft focus with a guard in military fatigues is shown in focus and holding a large rifle.

A ‘sick joke’: Tigrayan forces reject ceasefire in Ethiopia’s embattled region

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Three long lines are shown with hundreds of people standing and waiting.

Hundreds of vaccinated healthcare workers in Indonesia get COVID

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Young man in blue shirt lifts a piece of concrete as other men sift through rubble after an airstrike

Prospects of a ceasefire offer hope to ending violence between Israel and Hamas

Top of The World

Top of the World: Officials close to the negotiations between Israel and Hamas say a ceasefire could be announced in the next 24 hours as hostilities continue. And South Korean President Moon Jae-in is on a four-day visit to Washington, hoping to revive stalled talks with North Korea. Also, Russia assumes the chairmanship of the eight-nation Arctic Council bloc, as the US tries to oppose Moscow’s plans to set maritime rules.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un speaks at the ruling party congress in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this Jan. 8, 2021, photo provided by the North Korean government. 

In crisis, North Korea is turning further inward

Global Politics

Poor and isolated in the best of times, North Korea is now even more cut off from the world. 

A crowd of people are shown walking across the London Bridge, many wearing face masks.

Europe on edge over new surges; North Korea’s new missile; Nagorno-Karabakh cease-fire in question

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Health authorities in Europe are bracing for new surges of the coronavirus, this time with concerns over “pandemic fatigue” as a growing number of regions return to lockdown restrictions. And, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un unveiled several new weapons including a large intercontinental ballistic missile carried on an 11-axle vehicle; Also Armenia and Azerbaijan were again accusing each other of attacks over the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh region despite a ceasefire deal.

A group of police officers are shown carrying large weapons and wearing face masks while walking down the middle of a street.

Anti-terrorism police investigating knife attack in Paris

In Paris, near the former office of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, at least two people were stabbed Friday, with one suffering serious injuries. And, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has apologized for the killing of a South Korean government worker who was shot and burned after crossing into the North just off the shore. Also, Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for a cyber truce between Moscow and Washington.

A large group of men are shown sitting in a street with cardboard cutouts of President Donald Trump and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lay on the ground in front of them with shoes placed.

Israel and UAE cut diplomatic deal; Despite flooding North Korea refuses aid; Spain tightens coronavirus restrictions

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Israel and the United Arab Emirates look set to establish full normalization of relations. And, despite weeks of heavy rains and flooding that destroyed thousands of homes and buildings and even threatened a nuclear reactor, North Korea has rejected aid from the international community. Also, Spain has decided to shut nightclubs and ban outdoor smoking in an attempt to tamp down a resurgence of cases of the coronavirus in Western Europe.