The Washington Brief Ep. 31: North Korea, Iran (Hamas), Russia and China: The Axis of Authoritarianism with Amb. Robert G. Joseph, PhD
Livestreamed November 7, 2023
Experts have referred to the growing collaboration of North Korea, Iran, Russia and China as the “axis of authoritarianism.” North Korea has a well-known missile connection with Iran and is growing closer to Russia and China. Iran's relations with Russia and China have also grown much closer. And now we have a conflict in the Middle East brought on by Hamas, a proxy of Iran. The elephant in the room is that Iran has proven its ability to enrich uranium to weapons grade, and unless we fundamentally change our policy toward Iran, the next Middle East conflict will be even more dangerous than today. And there is always a next time. Join Amb. Robert G. Joseph, PhD, Senior Scholar at the National Institute of Public Policy and a former Undersecretary of State and advisor to President George W. Bush on WMD, along with Amb. Joseph DeTrani, former U.S. envoy to the six-party talks and Dr. Alexandre Mansourov, professor of security studies at Georgetown, as we examine this aspect of the world order.
🎥 Media Coverage: coming soon
The Washington Brief Ep. 30: North Korean Human Rights: Status Quo vs. Revisionist Powers with Greg Scarlatoiu
Livestreamed October 3, 2023
The “status quo camp” includes UN Security Council permanent members USA, the UK and France, the European Union, Korea, Japan and myriad like-minded democracies invested in preserving the current rules-based international order. The “revisionist camp,” led by UN Security Council permanent members China and Russia, includes Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, Belarus and of course North Korea, together with others. While China draws great benefits from the existing order, when it comes to human rights they aid and abet states that commit crimes against humanity, such as North Korea. What is the way forward? Is the world going to be bipolar (USA vs China) or multipolar? Or is multilateralism the answer to the conditions we are experiencing today? And how do North Korean human rights fit into that conundrum? Join Asia expert Greg Scarlatoiu, Executive Director of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, along with Ambassador Joseph DeTrani, former U.S. envoy to the six-party talks and Dr. Alexandre Mansourov, professor of security studies at Georgetown, as they examine the global clash of values.
The Washington Brief Ep. 29: North Korea Policy Choices: Near-term Challenges, Long-term Goals with Syd Seiler
Livestreamed September 5, 2023
North Korea’s “coercion choreography” seeks to create and exploit extreme shifts in the geopolitical situation to its diplomatic advantage. Apocalyptic threats alternate with ephemeral diplomatic advances while their nuclear and missile programs continue unabated. The challenge we face with North Korea is avoiding such extremes, while keeping a laser focus on reversing North Korea’s growing nuclear threat. Solving the Korean Peninsula impasse requires policy, military and diplomatic creativity. Join Syd Seiler, a four-decades senior policymaker, negotiator and intelligence officer on the Korean Peninsula, along with Ambassador Joseph DeTrani, former U.S. envoy to the six-party talks and Dr. Alexandre Mansourov, professor of security studies at Georgetown, as they discuss the hair-trigger geopolitical flashpoint that is the Korean Peninsula.
The Washington Brief Ep. 28: The New Global Flashpoint: Taiwan and the South China Sea with David Sauer
Livestreamed August 1, 2023
When the world recognized the PRC as the sole government of one China in 1979, Beijing backed off the pressure on Taiwan. But that has fallen by the wayside and China has turned up the heat again. High-profile visits to Taiwan by U.S. leaders, some say, signals a hollowing out of the U.S. “one China” policy? Furthermore, China claims 90% of the South China Sea as historically theirs, including the world's busiest shipping lanes and the territorial waters of other nations. Increasingly, the region looks like a flashpoint in search of a spark. Join David Sauer, former CIA station chief in Asia, along with Ambassador Joseph DeTrani, former U.S. envoy to the six-party talks and Dr. Alexandre Mansourov, professor of security studies at Georgetown, as they discuss the most pivotal flashpoint in the world today.
The Washington Brief Ep. 27: Russia at a Crossroads with Daniel N. Hoffman
Livestreamed July 4 & 5, 2023
Since Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine, Russia has suffered a series of unintended consequences. There are cracks forming in Russia’s autocracy, but how significant are they? From a poor military performance against Ukraine that surprised everyone, to an attention-getting, albeit brief, rebellion from the mercenary Wagner Group – very little about Russia is going according to expectations. The effects are felt in the Indo-Pacific, including China, observing events closely as it eyes its own geopolitical priorities. Join Daniel N. Hoffman, commentator and former CIA Moscow station chief, along with Ambassador Joseph DeTrani, former U.S. envoy to the six-party talks and Dr. Alexandre Mansourov, professor of security studies at Georgetown, as they discuss the situation in Russia and implications worldwide.
The Washington Brief Ep. 26: Challenges to Widening the Human Rights Footprint in the Indo-Pacific with Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett
Livestreamed June 6, 2023
Tom Lantos, congressman and chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (and Holocaust survivor), created the Congressional Human Rights Caucus that, after his passing in 2008, became a permanent body within the U.S. Congress: the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.
Today, Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett serves as President of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, established in 2008 in honor of her father. In every part of the world, the Lantos Foundation is committed to giving voice to global citizens living under brutal regimes that ignore basic rights and use ruthless tactics to maintain their power. “The veneer of civilization is paper thin, “Congressman Lantos said. “We are its guardians and we can never rest.” Human rights abuses abound in the Indo-Pacific -- in North Korea, China and elsewhere. The terrain also includes Russia-Ukraine, existentially if not geographically, so the landscape is wide.
The Washington Brief Ep. 25: President Yoon's State Visit in the 70th Year of the U.S.-Korea Alliance with Guy Taylor
Livestreamed May 2, 2023
Republicans and Democrats alike appreciate the alliance and its importance in a region and era overshadowed by China. The Korean President will be welcomed on both sides of the aisle. Amid the pleasantries, however, there are grave issues: the growing belligerence of the China, DPRK, Russia axis; Korea's crucial and rocky relationship with Japan; North Korea's new generation of ICBMs thought to have MIRV capabilities and a reach into any part of the U.S. And more. Join Guy Taylor, veteran international reporter and The Washington Times's National Security Team Leader, along with Ambassador Joseph DeTrani, former U.S. envoy to the six-party talks and Dr. Alexandre Mansourov, professor of security studies at Georgetown, as they discuss the State Visit and what's at stake in the shared future of South Korea and the U.S.
The Washington Brief Ep. 24: The Times They Are a-Changin’: New strategic partnerships in the Indo-Pacific, and new moves within old partnerships with Prof. Dennis Wilder
Livestreamed April 4, 2023
This spring is a time of dueling summits: China’s Xi Jinping was breaking bread with Vladimir Putin in Moscow at the same time Prime Minister Kishida of Japan was visiting President Zelenskyy in Kyiv. We are seeing a sea change in Japan’s attitude toward military and defense. South Korea is talking tougher to China than usual. South Korea’s President Yoon will make an official state visit to the U.S. this month. To complete the perfect storm, President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan will visit the U.S. as well. Join former NSC senior director and analyst Prof. Dennis Wilder, along with former six-party talks envoy Amb. Joseph DeTrani and Georgetown University security studies professor Dr. Alexandre Mansourov in a thought-provoking discussion of high-stakes power dynamics in the Indo-Pacific.
The Washington Brief Ep. 23: Leadership and Issues Analysis of Putin, Xi and Kim: The Axis Challenging Democracy with Dr. Kenneth Dekleva
Livestreamed March 7, 2023
We accept that Russia, China and North Korea are allies with agendas in opposition to the principles of representative democracy. We also know the three presidents who lead these nations with top-down rule, are lynchpin figures whose personalities we should be more aware of and take into consideration when we think about what’s happening with Vladimir Putin in Ukraine, or Xi Jinping finding a path to good relations with the U.S. and Europe while maintaining his relationship with Russia, or Kim Jong-un's likelihood of returning to negotiations. Join veteran analyst Dr. Kenneth Dekleva, Bush Foundation senior fellow, former senior U.S. diplomat and clinical psychiatrist, along with former six-party talks envoy Amb. Joseph DeTrani and Georgetown University security studies professor Dr. Alexandre Mansourov in a thought-provoking discussion of world scenarios for the coming decade.
The Washington Brief Ep. 22: The Korean Peninsula: Strategic Outlook with Mr. Markus Garlauskas
Livestreamed February 7, 2023
Geopolitical strategists must always consider unintended consequences. Brinksmanship on the Korean peninsula increases potential for spillover into a wider conflict that includes China. Likewise, China and the U.S. in conflict over Taiwan could escalate to the Korean Peninsula. Meanwhile, strategists consider the implications of the Russia-Ukraine conflict for East Asia. Will North Korea’s Kim Jong-un’s words and actions doubling down on nuclear missile development cause other nations to become nuclear powers? Join for a lively discussion with our special guest Mr. Markus Garlauskas, director of the Scowcroft Center’s Indo-Pacific Security Initiative and former longtime U.S. National Intelligence Officer for North Korea, along with former six-party talks envoy Amb. Joseph DeTrani, and Georgetown University security studies professor Dr. Alexandre Mansourov.
*This edition of The Washington Brief was pre-recorded on Friday, February 3, before Secretary of State Blinkin postponed his trip to China.
The Washington Brief Ep. 21: North Korea Ups the Ante in Strategic Standoff with Adm. Harry Harris
Livestreamed January 3, 2023
North Korea fired two ballistic missiles in the direction of Japan last week, the latest in an unprecedented number of missile tests in 2022. Add to that the North's multiple drone incursions across the DMZ, the latest unexpected reshuffle of senior Korean People's Army officials, and Kim Jong-Un's major policy directions for 2023 to "exponentially increase the country's nuclear arsenal," to mass produce tactical nuclear weapons, develop a new ICBM, and put a spy satellite into orbit. Destabilization has a tipping point, and many forces are converging. Where are we headed in the coming year, and what are our options? Join special guest panelist Admiral Harry Harris (U.S. Navy retired), former Commander Pacific Command and former U.S. Ambassador to Korea, along with former six-party talks envoy Amb. Joseph DeTrani, and Georgetown University security studies professor Dr. Alexandre Mansourov.
The Washington Brief Ep. 20: Challenges in the Indo-Pacific for the 118th Congress with Hon. Steve Chabot
Livestreamed December 6, 2022
The White House and the new Republican majority face a number of stiff challenges, not just with each other, but geopolitically. An observer can anticipate significant attention on the world stage for Taiwan, the Pacific Islands, Korea and Japan and the Quad. With the U.S. being interwoven into all of these. Join special guest panelist Congressman Steve Chabot, current Ranking Member, of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia and Nonproliferation, along with former six-party talks envoy Joseph DeTrani, Georgetown University security studies professor Alexandre Mansourov and former Foreign Affairs Committee member Dan Burton.
The Washington Brief Ep. 19: Cassandra versus Pollyanna: The Korean Peninsula in the Second Nuclear Age with Ms. Allison Hooker
Livestreamed November 1, 2022
The South Korean intelligence community assesses that North Korea may conduct their seventh nuclear test sometime after the conclusion of the 20th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party and the US congressional elections on November 8. Taking into account Pyongyang's recent missile launches, air power demonstrations, artillery drills near the inter-Korean border, and adamant refusal to engage either Seoul or Washington in any diplomatic talks, the Yoon and Biden administrations have been on alert and ready to respond swiftly and forcefully to any military provocations. Join our guest speaker Ms. Allison Hooker, Senior Vice-President at American Global Strategies and former Deputy Assistant to the US President and Senior Director for Asia on the National Security Council staff, for a comprehensive assessment of the current situation on and around the Korean peninsula and discussion of possible ways forward for the United States and its ROK and Japanese allies in light of the growing WMD challenges, conventional military threat, and non-traditional concerns emanating from the DPRK.
The Washington Brief Ep. 18: Unique Strengths of the ROK-US Alliance in Uncertain Times with Gen. Walter "Skip" Sharp
Livestreamed October 4, 2022
The ROK-U.S. alliance is strong today, and we will examine elements that need to be strengthened if we are to meet evolving threats. North Korea launched its third ballistic missile in anticipation of Vice President Harris' recent trip to South Korea and the DMZ. This could escalate quickly with North Korea conducting a seventh nuclear test. General Walter "Skip" Sharp (U.S. Army ret), former commander of combined forces in Korea, will discuss the state of our alliance and our options for response.
The Washington Brief Ep. 17: China and Taiwan on the Edge with Lt. Gen. Wallace “Chip” Gregson
Livestreamed September 6, 2022
Following House Speaker Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, China took unprecedented steps to show its displeasure with incursions into Taiwan airspace and firing missiles over the island. Historical animosities run deep in Northeast Asia, and as China shows an increased willingness to project its power regionally and globally, observers are concerned.
Join veteran China hand Lt. Gen. Wallace “Chip” Gregson (USMC ret) and our expert panel in a discussion that unpacks, not just the China and Taiwan issue, but decades-long volatilities that affect Japan, both Koreas and all the Indo-Pacific nations.
The Washington Brief Ep. 16: The Korean Conundrum with Mr. Robert A. Manning
Livestreamed August 2, 2022
We will explore key questions on the predicament facing the Korean Peninsula: What are the policy and strategic consequences of Kim Jong-un’s frantic race to develop a full spectrum of new missile and nuclear capabilities? The Ukraine war has upended geopolitics. What lessons has Kim Jong Un drawn from Ukraine, which gave up its nuclear weapons and found Russia’s security assurances hollow? How has Ukraine affected Kim’s views and intentions? How has the Ukraine war impacted the roles of China and Russia regarding the U.S. goal of denuclearization of North Korea? Join guest panelist Robert Manning, Atlantic Council senior fellow as we examine new challenges to U.S. extended deterrence and U.S. diplomacy for addressing the Korean Conundrum.
Episode 15: Indo-Pacific Security Update: Both Koreas, China, Taiwan, the Quad (and consequences of the Russia-Ukraine war) with Dr. Patrick M. Cronin
Livestreamed July 5, 2022
Historic tensions on the Korean Peninsula, the Taiwan Strait, and elsewhere throughout the Indo-Pacific region remain potential flashpoints of conflict. Initiatives to manage old enmities and new competition bring their own challenges: the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or “Quad” (the US, Japan, Australia, India), the Australia-UK-US (AUKUS), and South Korean efforts to improve relations with Japan and tighten the alliance with the United States. The Russia-Ukraine war also poses unexpected consequences for the Indo-Pacific. What are the prospects for peace and stability, and how should U.S. policy proceed? Join the military and geopolitical strategist Dr. Patrick M. Cronin, Hudson Institute Chair for Asia-Pacific Security, and our expert panel for a comprehensive assessment.
Episode 14: Korean Peninsula Issues: The View from the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee with Senator Todd Young
Livestreamed June 7, 2022
Join U.S. Senator Todd Young and our expert panel for a U.S. policy perspective of the two Koreas and Northeast Asia security. South Korea has just inaugurated a new conservative president who seeks closer strategic relationship with the U.S. in pursuit of a non-nuclear Korean Peninsula and raises hopes for improved Korea-Japan relations. The DPRK’s Kim Jong-un launched 14 ballistic missiles this year and invoked nuclear saber-rattling in an address to the 90th anniversary military parade, and China continues to be an imposing presence in the region as well as South Korea’s number one trading partner.
Episode 13: Moon vs. Yoon: Evaluating the legacy of liberal rule and the outlook for conservative government on the Korean Peninsula with Mr. Doug Bandow
Livestreamed May 3, 2022
As South Korea prepares to inaugurate its newly elected president Yoon Suk-yeol, we invite you to join our expert panel for an in-depth discussion of the legacy of the outgoing liberal President Moon Jae-in and the nation’s hopes, expectations, and our expert predictions of foreign and North Korea policies of the new conservative administration. We will focus on the elements of continuity and change in their respective approaches toward the DPRK, the U.S., China and Japan. This month's forum features Amb. Joseph DeTrani, Dr. Alexandre Mansourov, and special guest speaker Mr. Doug Bandow, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute.
Episode 12: How the Russian Invasion of Ukraine is Reshaping the World Order with Lt. Gen. (ret.) Keith Kellogg
Livestreamed April 5, 2022
In a world of interlocking economies, alliances and unintended consequences, nothing is isolated and unaffected by the catastrophic events happening in Ukraine. As Russia grows desperate for a victory, there is talk of Moscow's use of chemical weapons, even tactical nukes. China, despite abstaining in the UN vote, is seen to support the Russian invasion, while also contemplating Taiwan. Economic sanctions by the democratic world and the global social media put Russia into pariah status. Meanwhile, basic energy and food security for many countries is in danger. Lt. Gen. (ret.) Keith Kellogg is an experienced warfighter, national security advisor and strategic thinker. Join him and our expert panel in a discussion of the evolving world order, even as it unfolds before us.
Episode 11: ROK-U.S. Command and Control in Korea: Strengths and Challenges in Dealing with North Korea with Gen. (ret) Walter “Skip” Sharp
Livestreamed March 1, 2022
The U.S. and ROK have a bond forged in blood, one that has remained militarily strong for more than 70 years. The command of both ROK and U.S. forces in Armistice and during war is complex, evolving, and faces future challenges.
General (ret) Walter “Skip” Sharp commanded the ROK–U.S. Combined Forces Command, the U.S. Forces in Korea, and the United Nations Command, 2008-11, a period that included the sinking of the Cheonan and the North Korea bombardment of South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island. Utilizing real world examples, General Sharp and our expert panel will discuss the strengths and challenges of this strong, yet evolving, command and alliance.
Episode 10: All Quiet on the Northern Front? with Gen. Bernard Champoux
Livestreamed February 1, 2022
While North Korea’s nuclear capability, their growing arsenal of ICBMs and worst-case scenarios, have been the focus of discussion, what are the trends in North Korea’s conventional threat to peace on the Peninsula? Conventional weaponry is actually the arena where all the shooting incidents and deaths of the past 72 years since armistice have happened. Is the conventional weapons threat growing or diminishing? And perhaps most important, what if the U.S. military presence were no longer on the Korean Peninsula?
Join the distinguished Washington Brief expert panel with guest Gen. Bernard Champoux, Lt. Gen U.S. Army (ret); former Commander, 8th Army; former Chief of Staff, UN Command/ROK-US Combined Forces Command/ US Forces Korea, for a stimulating discussion among the most informed thinkers on Northeast Asia and the Korean Peninsula.
Episode 9: Should the Quad become the Quint? with Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr.
Livestreamed January 4, 2022
Should South Korea formally declare common cause in Indo-Asia with India, Australia, the U.S. and Japan? The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) is an ongoing strategic dialogue between the United States, India, Japan and Australia. The dialogue includes the Quad’s annual joint military exercises on an unprecedented scale, which are viewed by the Chinese government as a response to their increased economic and military power. In addition to the PRC, there is the DPRK and the proposed end-of-war declaration and Taiwan of course. They have a lot to talk about, and the obvious missing player is South Korea. Should the ROK make the Quad into the Quint? Can Korea and Japan cooperate militarily? Please join Admiral Harry Harris (USN ret), our most recent Ambassador to Korea, along with our distinguished panel of experts.
Episode 8: Is it Too Late to Manage China’s Ambitions? with Dr. Michael Pillsbury
Livestreamed December 7, 2021
Their GNP is three-quarters that of the U.S. and growing three times faster. Some say resisting China only makes it more aggressive, and all eyes are on Taiwan. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said, “We have to get used to being number two.” Clearly China presents many challenges to the west. Dr. Michael Pillsbury, distinguished defense policy advisor, former high-ranking government official and author of best-selling books about China, sees partial hope in a new piece of legislation, the Pacific Deterrence Initiative.
Episode 7: Contemporary South Korean Attitudes Toward North Korea and Reunification with Amb. Kathleen Stephens
Livestreamed November 2, 2021
Does the younger generation of South Koreans think differently toward the North than their parents do, and especially their grandparents who fought them in a desperate war? What are the implications for eventual reunification? Our guest panelist Amb. Kathleen Stephens, President & CEO of the Korea Economic Institute of America and U.S. Ambassador to Korea (2008-11), will share her thoughts on these insightful questions.
Episode 6: The Back Channel: What It Takes to Get Kim Jong-Un to “Yes” with Mr. Andrew Kim
Livestreamed October 5, 2021
As the Biden Administration struggles to get the North Korean government back to the negotiation table, our distinguished guest speaker Mr. Andrew Kim, former founding Director of the CIA's Korea Mission Center, and our panel of world-renowned Korea experts examine what needs to be done to persuade the DPRK leadership to move away from its non-engagement policy and return to nuclear talks. Mr. Kim visited Pyongyang numerous times and was directly involved in arranging the top-level negotiations with the North, including both of President Trump’s summit meetings with Kim Jong-un. He will share some of the lessons learned in dealing with the DPRK Supreme Leader. We will also hear his observations and advice regarding what it needs to be done to jump start the dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang.
Episode 5: From Nukes to Human Rights: Jump-Starting the Dialogue with North Korea with Amb. Robert R. King
Livestreamed September 7, 2021
Our panel of the world’s leading experts on North Korea, featuring Amb. Robert R. King, former special envoy for North Korean human rights issues at the Department of State (2009-17), will examine the glaring impasse in the DPRK-US relations emerging in the wake of the US-ROK joint military exercises, the botched US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Pyongyang's apparent resumption of the operation of the nuclear reactor at Yongbyon and demonstrated reluctance to accept vaccine assistance amidst the worsening wave of Delta COVID hitting the Peninsula – all on the doorstep of South Korea’s presidential elections. We’ll look at what Washington and its allies need to do to get the ball rolling again and jump-start international negotiations on nuclear issues and humanitarian concerns, including human rights, with North Korea.
Episode 4: The Biden Strategy for Dealing with a Nuclear North Korea with Mr. Sydney Seiler
Livestreamed August 3, 2021
In this episode, our guest panelist Mr. Sydney Seiler just returned from five years as the senior analyst for North Korea with the U.S. Forces in Korea, and is now the National Intelligence Officer for North Korea in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. He is the intelligence community’s senior officer for North Korea, responsible for all analysis provided to the President, the Executive Branch and Congress. He will discuss the Biden Administration’s recent policy review for dealing with North Korea, with commentary on prospects for resolving issues with the North.
Episode 3: Northeast Asia's Alternative Futures in the Shadow of a Rising China with Hon. Newt Gingrich
Livestreamed July 6, 2021
On July 1, the world was given a display of China’s might on the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party. Deng Xiaoping, who eclipsed Mao, becoming the “Architect of Modern China,” famously counseled, “Hide your capacities, bide your time.” That China might hold cards it hasn’t shown is a sobering thought. One path: we could see the continued peaceful rise of a China focused on economic prosperity and meeting its domestic challenges. Another: China continues to look outward with coercive diplomacy and an ever-increasing arsenal. Will China have another century of CCP rule? Featuring expert panelist Hon. Newt Gingrich.
Episode 2: Taking Stock of the Biden-Moon Summit: Looking into the Future with Mr. Markus Garlauskas
Livestreamed June 1, 2021
As our diplomacy with Pyongyang proceeds in fits and starts, the international community faces many risks and opportunities in the pursuit of the peaceful resolution of numerous hot button issues with the DPRK and deeply entrenched inter-Korean conflict. For the U.S. and the world, these include nuclear weapons and human rights. For North Korea, these are regime survival, national security, and economic modernization. Korean reunification is the big issue that sits in the back of everyone's mind. We invite you to join a stimulating discussion among the most informed thinkers on Northeast Asia and the Korean Peninsula.
Episode 1: The Washington Brief Launch with Mr. Guy Taylor
Livestreamed May 4, 2021
Amid the continual advances and reversals in our ongoing diplomacy with the DPRK, there are opportunities to pursue the peaceful resolution of issues with North Korea. For the U.S. and the world, the issue is nuclear weapons. For North Korea, the issues are economic and political security. We invite you to join a stimulating discussion among the most informed thinkers on Northeast Asia and the Korean Peninsula.