#118 | The Geopolitics Of The Impossible: North/South Korea, Iran, & The World Today w/ John Feffer

In this episode, I speak with John Feffer, director of Foreign Policy In Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies. This interview covers two major geopolitical trends currently developing in the world today: the reconciliation process currently unfolding between North and South Korea; and the inflamed tensions between the United States, Israel (and other regional players), with the government of Iran.

In the first half of this episode, John answers some of my questions regarding the current situation unfolding on the Korean Peninsula between North and South Korea. Very recently, North Korean leader Kim Jung-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in met at the border between the nations, known as the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), and began to engage in the early phases of negotiations between nations. John contextualized the series of events that have lead to this moment, including what role the United States, and the Trump Administration more specifically, has played in the escalation of tensions in the region. I ask, and John ultimately provides some answers to, the questions: What would it look like for North Korea to open up its borders, culturally and economically, to South Korea and the rest of the world? What do these to Korean nations gain in this process of reconciliation, and what are the underlying motivations for this change in relations between these nations?

In the second half of this episode, John lays out the current situation unfolding (as of the time of this recording: Friday May 4th 2018) between the United States and Iran, regarding the efforts by the Trump Administration (as well as Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other regional players) to re-inflame tensions between these nations regarding Iran's alleged violation of JCPOA, known more popularly as the Iran Nuclear Deal. John provides the facts regarding Iran's ability, or lack thereof, to develop nuclear weapons, and whether or not the Trump Administration, along with some of its allies in this effort, have adequately provided any substantial evidence to back up their claims of there being an actual threat from nation of Iran. John attempts to answer: What are the underlying motives behind the recent escalations of tensions between these nations? What is to be gained (and lost) in this attempt to push the United States, Israel, and other regional players, into a direct conflict with Iran? 

John Feffer is the director of Foreign Policy in Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies. In 2012-13, he was also an Open Society Fellow looking at the transformations that have taken place in Eastern Europe since 1989. He is the author of several books and numerous articles. His latest book is Aftershock: A Journey into Eastern Europe’s Broken Dreams. He is also the author of the recent dystopian novel, Splinterlands. 

Episode Notes:

- John Feffer's website: http://www.johnfeffer.com

- Follow John's analysis of unfolding geopolitical trends: https://bit.ly/2I59l8Q

- John is the author of 'Aftershock: A Journey into Eastern Europe's Broken Dreams' and the novel 'Spinterlands': http://www.johnfeffer.com/category/books

- John on Twitter: https://twitter.com/johnfeffer

- The introduction of this episode features an audio segment of John Bolton's speech at CPAC from earlier this year.  Source: https://youtu.be/z98z9562a8A

- The song featured in this episode is "Loyalty" by Onra from the album Chinoiseries, Pt. 3.