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Eureka: Q & A on Israel, Korea, leadership and social media
by Joseph Gatt
2018-02-03 12:22:52
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Today's question and answer session will be on Israel, Korea, leadership and social media.

Question: How has leadership evolved over the years?

Well, the current trend is charismatic leaders who are working on pragmatic solutions to real problems. Over the last 10 or perhaps 20 years you had a leadership style shift where leaders were often lame ducks who communicated very little and who had little visibility. Today's leaders tend to be very present, very covered in the news and seem to be trying to solve real problems. 

fbkora01_400Question: For example?

Trump, Trudeau, Macron, May, Rajoy or even Abe, along with leaders in the Arab world, in Israel, pretty much everywhere leaders have become very visible, their interventions are highly anticipated and they talk about real problems as in the economy and security. Leaders are a lot more visible than they were 20 or even 10 years ago.

Question: It's been over 10 years since social media has become ubiquitous. A lot of people use social media without really understanding it. What's social media for?

Well, you remember a time when you had to make complicated arrangements to call your boyfriend or girfriend and so you could talk to them privately without wasting too much money. There were also parts of your personality or person that people did not understand and that you constantly had to clarify.

There's two spheres in social media. The public sphere and the private sphere. In the public sphere, it has become quite difficult to attack someone without getting rebuttals. In the private sphere, social media provides more privacy than any other previous means of communication. Politicians use it when they are attacked by the media, and school children use it to solve settle some of the issues they could not otherwise have settled.

Question: some say social media is addictive, even dangerous. Is it?

The definition of social media can be broad. Let's narrow it down to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube. Social media can be addictive because some of the information found on social media can be vital. We all need to know what a family member is thinking or what friends are thinking or what classmates of colleagues are thinking. The more information they provide, the more we tend to need to know. Some people have created their own “channels” on social media that people need to tune in to, just like you would tune into your favorite television or radio program in the old days. Except that the information provided here is provided by a relative or a friend.

Question: how do you make optimal use of social media?

That's kind of like asking how do I get the kind of ratings NBC, or CBS or ABC gets in the United States. The older the better as they say. If you're new with social media, you won't go very far in terms of ratings. But if you have several years of quality content under your belt then you might make some kind of profit from social media. As for the rest, you get from social media the same kind of problems you get from gossip, that is, isolation at best, bullies at worst.

Question: Now to Israel. Very quickly, what's up with all the Netanyahu family gossip?

Very quickly. I think someone's trying to prevent snap elections. Otherwise the Likud would win an easy win in any snap elections.

Question: Any progress on solving the conflict in Israel?

Well, the good news is the Palestinians realize they could have been Syria given the wrong conditions. Palestine escaped the Arab spring revolts largely because it was in Israel's favor to prevent such revolts and the emergence of Daesh as in Libya, Egypt, Syria or Yemen. With that in mind, Israel has much to gain from a sober Palestinian state, one that governs itself in sober fashion, especially when it comes to security.

Question: What about Israel applying pressure on Iran?

Let me put it this way. In the 1970s the Americans had to choose between radical Islamists and Communists, and chose the alliance of radical Islamists to fight the Communists. I think it's important that Israel and the rest of the world does not choose to arm Sunnis agains Shias, becacuse either way if the Shias are disarmed, the Sunnis could be a threat as well. So I think it's important to apply maximum pressure on Iran to leave Iraq and Syria, to stop arming Jihadist factions, to withdraw from its nuclear weapon program and eventually let Syria, Lebanon and Iraq rule themselves.

Question: To Korea. Victor Cha has just been withdrawn as US ambassador to Korea, after being approved by South Korea and passing the security check. What happened?

Any ambassador has to be on the same page as the NSC and the Department of State. You can't freelance as an ambassador and be completely independent in your decision making. He wasn't on the same page as the different organizations who technically employ him. There are other options, one being Chargé d'Affaires Mark Knapper getting promoted to ambassador, among many other options.

Final question: There have been rumors of the Korea-US FTA getting nixed as well as preemptpive attacks on North Korea. Are those realistic possibilities?

Yes and yes. Preemptive stirkes on North Korea could have a Gulf War effect and drive Trump's popularity rates to record highs. As for the Korea-US FTA getting nixed, I think South Korea produces a lot of what the US already has, as in cars, household appliances, phones, elctronics, microchips and ships. Both countries would benefit from nixing the FTA, as they wouldn't have to worry about each other's products competing against each other. The bulk of Korean products are available in the US. So all the whole FTA thing did what create unnecessary tensions between Korean and US firms and companies.

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