[KS] Re-revised posting "Revoking a Recommendation"

Jim Hoare jim at jhoare10.fsnet.co.uk
Sat Sep 17 13:33:24 EDT 2016

Professor Stephan Haggard, who is not a member of the KS list, has written
to me as follows, which I hope can be carried on the list.

We all make mistakes. My PhD supervisor, a distinguished historian of Japan,
apologized in one of his last books for having spelt the name of the first
US representative in Japan, Townsend Harris, consistently as "Townshend
Harris"  from his very first book in 1955. Footnotes are notorious as a
source of mistakes. They should not happen but they do. Each of us will have
to decide whether such mistakes invalidate a whole book.

Jim Hoare


Professor Haggard writes: 

I am a political economist by training, not an historian; I have great
respect for historians and draw continually on their work. I do not want to
step into the important details that are being raised on this list about
particular claims and sources. Errors are errors and should be acknowledged
as such. But error is different than bias, which affects inference. What is
at stake here? 


For what it is worth, attached is my review of Armstrong's book which
focuses on some of the core analytic issues I thought the book was trying to
address: namely, to talk about how a weak power navigated a very particular
international political configuration and the effects of its strategic
choices. North Korean choices arose partly as a result of ideology, partly
as a result of international political opportunities, partly as a result of
strategy designed to maximize leverage and-ultimately--survival. 


Note that the capacity of a weak state to trip up major powers remains a
powerful leitmotif of where we are at the moment: this has been a recurrent
theme of my reflections of what has gone wrong on the Korean peninsula in
the last two months, which I consider particularly serious  (here if anyone
is interested: https://piie.com/blogs/north-korea-witness-transformation) 


Apologies if I have become too forgiving in my old age, but can we all
remind one another of what is at stake here? 




Stephan Haggard




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