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21 Responses to “General comments”

  • Doug:

    Re; CSPAN 8-25-17

    Ecclesiastes 9

    I have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time.

  • Paul:

    Dr. Suri,
    I saw your lecture from 2/12/15 on C-Span the other day. Your lecture was incredibly thorough and objective. Since you’re a college professor, I kept wondering when your lecture would turn into a tirade against America and/or Conservatives. Sadly- as this is our society today- it shocked and surprised me that it didn’t. Who knew there is such a thing as a history professor without a political agenda! My friends won’t believe it when I tell them. You give me hope in academia again. Keep up the good work. Don’t let a group of naive and vicious nabobs get you down no matter how relentless and mean-spirited they are. Congratulations for having the courage to teach in a fair and objective style in the extremist world of academia that isn’t very fair or objective. Paul

  • Hector Andreou:

    Dr. Suri what are you feelings about the current situation with Sony and the North Korean government ? Has any foreign ruler “silenced” our media in a similar manner before ?
    PS As oil prices drop and OPEC weakens and Cuban American relations thaw … Do you think Nicholas Madura and his regime will be able to hold onto power until their next election ?

    Thank you for your time .
    Hector Alejandro Andreou

  • UsGotRights:

    Let’s not take our eyes off the ball and forget about North Korea and Iran’s threats to bomb the USA. China is now saying the USA started the North Korea current conflict and for the USA to lower its defenses and not to build up a Military in that area of the Pacific. Think about it the North Korea SATELLITE “KMS 2-3″ is making several passes over the USA. If the North Korea satellite has a nuclear payload it only needs to be detonated not launched and is orbiting 326 miles above the US right now real time tracking shows and is the ideal altitude to detonate a E.M.P. nuclear explosion over the United States of America. Isn’t this a form of Blackmail and shouldn’t it be shot down? Let’s not disregard the possibility that a nuclear E.M.P. device can be launched off our shores by sub or ship and does not need to travel far just 250 miles strait up above US. Could it be a possibility of those bombs in Boston were Made in China or North Korea or Iran, knowing that North Korea says that it will not warn South Korea of an attack and wouldn’t the same apply to the United States of America. If you would like to see what a bone chilling E.M.P. Nuclear explosion looks like see the you tube video “Declassified U.S. Nuclear Test Film #62″

    • UsGotRights:

      Furthermore “When North Korean engineers launched a satellite into space December 12, it seemed like business as usual, with the familiar cycle of condemnations from the West and statements of defiance from the Hermit Kingdom. But that launch also led many U.S. intelligence analysts to assess that Pyongyang possessed the ability to miniaturize the components necessary to yield a nuclear explosion for a crude warhead that would sit atop a ballistic missile.”…”“Having access to the missile front was a critical insight we had not had before,” one U.S. nonproliferation official tells The Daily Beast. “I have seen a lot of drawings, but we had not seen the piece of that missile at that time.” This official continues: “We looked at the wreckage from the launch and we put it together with other kinds of intelligence and came to this judgment that they had figured out the warhead piece.”” The Daily Beast by Eli Lake Apr 15, 2013 4:45 AM EDT

  • lawrence:

    Its disgusting that you would promote war with such disregard for the innocent people that would be effected by it.
    Our country is bankrupt enough and now we need to go fight a third war? You must be friends with Cheney and Rumsfeld. You should stay in Seoul until after the war since you’re so for it.

  • Luca:

    Hello Pr. Suri

    Read your NYT op-ed; while I think you’re general reasoning is correct under your assumptions, I have to question two key assumptions.

    What you propose in the article is essentially the old “counterforce” nuclear strategy (i.e. “shoot the gun out of the opponent’s hands”), just with conventional weapons. In the cold war, it was impossible to locate all of the opposing missiles, a necessary precondition of such a strategy. This was borne out in Iraq, where the Scud hunts had little success (note that N. Korea has Scuds, too, and a lot more places to hide them). Thus, one can’t assume a counterforce strike would find all the N. Korean missiles and knock them out (making such a strike a failure).

    In the cold war, the volume of weapons and impotence of missile defense made such a strategy suicidal. Even the proposed “Star Wars” systems could simply be overwhelmed by increasing the volumes of weapons launched. In the current situation, North Korea has far fewer weapons than the USSR did. But assume that they had a warhead that could be fitted to any one of their missiles. Surely then they would have at least 50 – 100 missiles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. Even if only one of their missiles carried the warhead, if the rest of the missiles were launched as decoys, any existing missile defense would be overwhelmed. The result would almost inevitably be the deaths of thousands.

    The second key assumption in your article is that you have complete information. Suppose the N. Koreans haven’t revealed the extent of their arsenal – not that such would be in their interest (a nuclear arsenal exists for deterrence – a hidden weapon cannot deter as no one knows of it), but no one can assume rationality on their part. A counterforce strike could then trigger a “use or lose it” nuclear response, at which point the relatively untested and likely unreliable missile defenses would have to succeed in order to avoid the deaths of thousands. I may be a little conservative but I don’t like those odds.

    Finally, no matter what, even a successful counterforce strike will kill hundreds, if not thousands, of N. Koreans (soldiers or civilians; death cares little about such distinctions). Also, once they’ve learned to build weapons, they are not terribly difficult to produce, so even a successful strike could be negated in a few year’s time.

    While you are right to suggest the situation will only get worse with time if we do nothing, a strike against North Korea’s nuclear capacity already poses grave risks. Any politician making such a decision must face those risks, and must do it with the agreement of the populace that supports them and faces the threat of attack; such decisions cannot be taken alone, let alone by a foreign nation facing a much smaller threat.

    Please consider this before writing of such strategies. Thank you, and have a great day.

  • I personally think that we can use the new weapon as a test which was recently proved to work. This weapon was built by Boeing and it eliminates the electrical circuits that it is aimed at. The personnel aren’t even harmed! It seems like no country would object to us using this.

  • Bob:

    I concur with the observations of his lack of knowledge of Asia and of what is best in this world.

    [webm: this content removed for violation of terms of use]

  • Monte:

    Professor Suri,

    I read your recent article in the NYT, thank you for providing an unpopular though much needed perspective. I took history 434 with you a decade ago at the UW—it was one of my favorite and most memorable classes. Glad to see you are doing well down south.

  • One of S. Korean:

    I read your article, “Bomb North Korea, Before It’s Too Late.”
    [webm:redacted per terms of use] But, after seeing your picture, I think, you have no knowledge of East Asia just trying to get your name in newspaper. Or, just desperate to get funding from those parties which will profit from war.

    In addition, to support your article, you’d better fly to and stay in Seoul until US “Bomb North Korea” if it may, at least.

    I really feel pity for the students at UT, Austin.

  • Kristen:

    After reading your absurd op ed I had to google you to see in person who could [webm: removed per terms of use] call himself a professor of history. I also thank God that the GOP lost the election and we have a sane person in the White House.

    You speak of bombing and war so callously, and I am quite sure you have never had to serve in the military, or have sons and daughters who do. Your logic is so flawed it is hard to know where to begin.

    Kim is an immature silly boy man. He likes to posture, stomp his feet to get attention just like his father. It is funny when you worry so about the civilian in South Korea. I heard them interviewed and they are not at all afraid of the North’s petulant B Ball fan. You sit in Texas and have the nerve to encourage a war to which you will never have to face. They on the other hand will.

    The world’s economy is intertwined with Asia, and especially China. China will never let this upstart fire any missile. It would wreak havoc to China’s economy, as it would with the rest of the world. They will soon put Kim in time out where he belongs. Obama is continuing our policy of ignoring this foolish man, that is the reason behind his posturing, he hates being ignored.

    Again…… hallelujah you and your kind (Cheney) are not in control anymore.

  • Nathan:

    Prof Suri,

    What you describe in your NY Times Op Ed is a preemptive strike that could launch the US, North and South Korea, Russia, China, and Japan into global conflict.

    In a world over-run by power-addicted psychopaths with huge militaries, why would you ever recommend preemptive bombing as a solution? If you’re a professor of history, then surely you’re aware of the US’s history of illegal interventions and invasions, support of coups and dictators, as well as CIA plots to provoke wars where none exist. You’re also aware of the dire consequences of war on civilian populations. In this context, don’t we need far more transparency, accountability, and diplomacy to guide our foreign policy, rather than further kowtowing to defense industry interests and preemptive, draconian militarism?

    I challenge you to examine more carefully the potential consequences of your words. Your advice is reckless and risky. It demonstrates a naïveté which could easily push an already teetering situation over the edge. If our national security is threatened now, what makes you think it will be less so after we break a couple of the little bully’s toys?

    Yours warmly,

    Nathan Heintz
    MA Sociology Universität Freiburg

  • Phil Currry:

    re. Bomb North Korea, Before It’s Too Late
    Easy to say when you are not one of the many US troops and S Koreans who will die as a result of a mostly futile bombing campaign. It was arm chair soldiers like you who got us into such trouble in Iraq. Did you learn nothing from that experience?

  • Allan S.:


    What is it with you guys? Iraq and Afghanistan winding down and you start getting fidgety? Longing for the good old days with Powell, Cheney and Rumsfield?

    While you’re at it why not take a shot at Cuba? They’re awfuuly pretty close to Texas.

    Go away and stop causing problems.

    Allan S.

  • Richard Schauer:

    Dear Prof. Sufi,
    I just read your article in the NY Times regarding North Korea and US militarism performing a preemptive strike as a response. What metric are you using to arrive at this conclusion? For example, biologist use a variation of Tinbergen’s four questions to formulate hypothetical questions based on evolutionary and social constructs to structure queries in a rational manner prior to determining cause and effects of animal behavior such as bombing on the bombers and bombed. In other words, you have not provided a scaffold for your conclusions based on evolutionary understanding nor have you addressed the methods, discipline and punish through bombing along the lines provided by Foucault in his books Discipline and Punish, History of Madness. Finally, lends us the tools to develop thinking on a higher order which I found unused in your opinion piece. Have a great day. -R. Schauer Breckenridge, CO

  • Bruce:

    Professor Suri,
    I recently read “Liberty’s Guardian” and enjoyed it very much. I was unable to enter a review with some questions and other comments on the book’s web site, however (I tried twice). Perhaps there is a time lag involved, but I would enjoy hearing your response to some of the points I raised regarding present day nation-building.
    Best of luck in Austin,

  • barbara:

    Hi, Jeremi, You have been on my mind and we speak of you often. I am now 78!
    I hope your move from Madison was an easy one. I would imagine that the decision would have been hard, given your love for and your involvement with the university.
    Would love to hear from you and learn about your new life.
    You are closer to me now, and I just might pop over to sit in on one of your lectures.
    Took a terrific on line class called LEGENDARY PERFORMERS with Mike Lechrone. You and he are two of my favorite educators.
    My love to all the family.
    What happens if Wisconsin plays Texas? Or are they not in the same league?
    No trips to NYC lately. Broke my right arm last year…so I travel less and take life easier.

    • Dear Barbara,
      Thanks for your kind words. We love Austin and the kids are adjusting very well. We do miss our friends from Madison. So far, we are rooting for both the Longhorns and the Badgers. Above all, we support the Packers. Go Pack!!

      I hope to see you soon. Please come and visit us in Austin. Stay well and please send our warm regards to your entire family.


  • Thank you, Joshua. Your kind words mean a lot to me. Good luck in your endeavors.

  • Joshua:

    Professor Suri,

    Keep up the good work giving fined-grained sociopolitical analyses in historical contexts on your blog. I find it informative and critical news reading apart BBC News, NBC Nightly News, etc. in my web browser bookmarks.



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About Jeremi Suri
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Jeremi Suri holds the Mack Brown Distinguished Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a professor in the University's Department of History and the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. Professor Suri is the author and editor of nine books on contemporary politics and foreign policy. Professor Suri's research and teaching have received numerous prizes. In 2007 Smithsonian Magazine named him one of America's "Top Young Innovators" in the Arts and Sciences. His writings appear widely in blogs and print media. Professor Suri is also a frequent public lecturer and guest on radio and television programs.