Foreign Policy Blogs

FPA’s Must Reads (May 31-June 7)


Photograph of the Normandy Invasion
Photo Credit: Chief Photographer’s Mate (CPHOM) Robert F. Sargent, U.S. Coast Guard

Dear Leader Dreams of Sushi
By Adam Johnson

Kenji Fujimoto, an alias, was Kim Jong-Il’s sushi chef and sidekick for eleven years. Once he finally escaped, he became one of the biggest intelligence assets for the Japanese intelligence services on the Kim family. Johnson interviews him to dig up some wild stories about the leader we knew so little about.

Welcome to Mogadishu
By Katrina Manson
Financial Times

Twenty months after thousands of U.N.-backed troops booted al-Shabaab from power, Manson opts to travel to Mogadishu to see the consequences of that hard-won fight. Somalia, still one of the world’s most troubled states, hasn’t had a civilian election in 44 years, but it has managed to turn itself around “one brightly painted brick at a time.” Yet despite all the positive changes for Mogadishu, Somalia is still working on how to deal with itself.

Guatemala: Will Justice Be Done?
By Aryeh Neier
The New York Review of Books

On May 20, the decision that convicted General Efraín Ríos Montt of genocide and crimes against humanity was vacated due to an alleged breach of due process. In this essay on one of the only countries where the crime was perpetuated to convict its former leader of genocide, Neier details the history behind the trial, Montt’s time on the stand, and how Guatemala came to be one of the few countries where the term “genocide” is appropriate for its crimes.

The Bomb Didn’t Beat Japan… Stalin Did
By Ward Wilson
Foreign Policy

Since 1965, when historian Gar Alperovitz argued that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki may have been unnecessary because the Japanese were going to surrender anyway, two camps have dominated the debate about the use of nuclear weapons in World War II against Japan. Wilson is, however, skeptical; he outlines three problems that majorly undermines the theory that the bomb won the war, namely timing, the scale of other attacks, and the Japanese’s strategic concerns with the Soviet Union.

Inside the Global Industry That’s Slaughtering Africa’s Elephants
By Matthew Scully
The Atlantic

With only 400,000 or so elephants left in Africa, poaching is posing a serious threat to the continent’s elephant population. Additionally, not only is the ivory trade threatening the environment — elephants are what scientists call a “keystone species,” notes Scully — but it’s also tied up with organized crime and some of the most notorious armed groups on the continent. Scully delves into the ivory trade, China’s role in the trade in Africa, and what can be done to stop it.


After the Revolts: Arab-West Relations (Part 1/2) by Manuel Langendorf and Abul-Hasanat Siddique
Nagorno-Karabakh: Expect Status Quo in 2013-14 by Anshuman Rawat
Turkey Protests Rock Erdogan’s Government by Murat Onur
Zim Elections by Derek Catsam
A Candid Discussion with Jamshid Barzegar by Reza Akhlaghi