Richard O. Lempert was a nonresident senior fellow with Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. During 2012-2013, he was a visiting fellow in Governence Studies at the Brookings Institution. From June 2008 until July 2011, he served as chief scientist in the Human Factors/Behavioral Sciences Division of the Science and Technology Directorate in the Department of Homeland Security; and from June 2002 through May 2006, he took leave from the University of Michigan to serve as the division director for the Social and Economic Sciences at the National Science Foundation. His research interests are broad, encompassing, among other things, matters related to national security, government bureaucracy, juries, race relations and social science methods.
[The exchange of threats and military posturing between the United States and North Korea] raises the stakes. With the United States and others talking far too loosely about the prospects of a pre-emptive strike, that’s what would trigger retaliatory actions by North Korea.
[With the current level of tensions over North Korea,] [w]e could stumble needlessly into what would be the biggest crisis in East Asia since the United States intervened in the Korean War in 1950
[Reports of state-mandated beauty standards in North Korea] have to be taken with much skepticism. There’s no evidence that their hairstyles must follow totalitarian regulation. Even if posters of styles and models says it’s the ‘rule,’ it could be that private citizens — barbers, beauticians, storekeepers — came up with ideas but put them under the safe umbrella of the state. People using the state to make money, rather than the other way around.