Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Clunker of a Year

George Will didn't like the way 2009 turned out any more than Europe did. He also wrote an article about 2009 on the final day of the year. The title said it all – A Clunker of a Year.

Will began his article by talking about Tsutomu Yamaguchi. He survived both atomic bombings and was dying of cancer by the end of 2009.

“Perhaps Tsutomu Yamaguchi will survive 2010,” said Will. “Isn't it pretty to think so?"

As Will anticipated, Yamaguchi died in 2010. The question is why did Will mention this in his column? Perhaps he wasn't happy with Japan.

End of Year, 2009

Lord Weidenfeld of Chelsea wrote an article about 2009 on the last day of the year.

“2009 was certainly not a year of triumphs for mankind nor human kindliness,” he moaned.

In the article, he complained about, among other things, the failure of the climate change negotiations in Copenhagen. He blamed Obama for that. He also whined about how America decided against creating a missile defense system in Eastern Europe.

In retaliation for those sins, he said the relationship between Europe and America would suffer. He said Britain would soon elect David Cameron (which it did) and henceforth, the relationship between America and Britain would worsen as a result. And he said that Silvio Berlusconi would continue to hang on as prime minister in Italy. Of course, more Berlusconi would mean more political theater and no progress on any issue involving Italy and America. Berlusconi did manage to survive in Italy and there was no progress on any issue involving Italy and America in 2010 that I could see.

In short, Europe was pissed. Boohoo. Sniffle. Sniffle.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Secret N-pact comes to light

The Yomiuri Shimbun reported that the family of Eisaku Sato, the former Japanese prime minister, had in their possession a secret agreement that he signed with Richard Nixon in 1969. According to this agreement, America would remove its nuclear weapons from Okinawa when she returned the islands to Japan. However, as part of the agreement, Japan agreed to allow America to reintroduce those weapons to Okinawa during times of emergency. The Japanese foreign ministry has denied that this agreement exists.

Van Rompuy throws a temper tantrum

On December 23, the U.S. Ambassador to Belgium, Howard Gutman, met with the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy. During the meeting, the two of them discussed Afghanistan and the recent COP15 meeting on climate change.

On Afghanistan, Rompuy told Gutman that the situation must improve in 2010 or else Europe will leave Afghanistan. What’s more, Belgium will remove its troops from Afghanistan if a single Belgian gets killed.

As for COP15, Rompuy called the meeting an incredible disaster in which Europe was totally excluded and mistreated. Rompuy told Gutman that multilateral meetings do not work and he demanded that America and Europe come to an agreement on climate change and then meet with China.

In short, Rompuy was pissed.

Boo hoo. Sniffle. Sniffle.

In his diatribe, Rompuy seems to be hinting that America controls the situation in Afghanistan and could improve the situation there if it wanted to. And he seems to believe that were a Belgian soldier to die in Afghanistan, America would be responsible for his death and so in retribution, Belgium would remove its soldiers from Afghanistan.

And his comments on COP15 are further proof that Europe views climate change as a way to restrain the development of emerging nations such as China. That is why he wants Europe and America to come up with a plan and then meet with China – he wants Europe and America to join forces to bully China into submission.

Trash till the end.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Ambassador's December 21 Lunch Meeting With Vice Minister Yabunaka

On December 21, 2009, Mitoji Yabunaka, the Japanese Vice Foreign Minister, met with U.S. Ambassador John Roos. According to Yabunaka, while the newspaper editorial boards and the business community had a fairly good understanding of security issues, the general public did not understand those issues very well. Moreover, even the television commentators and the politicians did not have a good understanding of those issues, according to him. He said that it might be worthwhile to educate the politicians and the TV commentators and he even named some of the commentators who should be contacted (I have a feeling Noriko Hama was one of them). Apparently, Yabunaka didn’t think Hatoyama had a good grasp of those issues because he wanted America to go through the basic fundamentals of those issues with Hatoyama.

Given that many of the DPJ officials lacked a proper understanding of the security policy between America and Japan, Yabunaka cautioned against a formal dialogue between America and Japan at this time. Were America and Japan to engage in a formal dialogue, according to Yabunaka, DPJ officials might take a position on a certain issue based on a wrong or incomplete understanding of the situation. As such, Yabunaka recommended America and Japan establish an informal dialogue to discuss the issues between them and to review the overall security strategy in East Asia. He suggested the two sides use an informal process to educate leaders over the course of the next year culminating in the November 2010 visit of President Obama to Japan. That visit would be an opportunity to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the alliance in a more positive atmosphere, after having laid the groundwork for the visit during the previous 11 months.

Needless to say, there wasn’t much of a celebration at the meeting in November.

Though the diplomatic cable implies that Hatoyama had little understanding of the security issues related to the alliance, I have a feeling that Hatoyama had a reasonably good understanding of those issues before he became prime minister. The person who didn’t have a good understanding of these issues was me. Going over these issues proved to be very enlightening for myself. I have a feeling that what would unfold over the next year would be as much for my own education as anyone else's.

During this process, my government “made” me believe that Hatoyama was reading the things that I was writing in INDB. This was, apparently, the New Diplomacy way of going over security issues with Hatoyama – by having me write various statements in an Excel spreadsheet which would convey our government’s position on various issues. Every day, the news media would show Hatoyama walking through the prime minister’s residence. On some days, he would grimace at the camera while on other days he would smile and nod his head in approval. My government “made” me believe that this was his way of signaling either approval or disapproval for the things that I wrote. In a way, my government was “making” me perform a type of Kremlinology.

The Decline of the West

The New York Times published an op-ed written by Therese Delpech, a French official at the Atomic Energy Commission of France, called The Decline of the West. In the article, Delpech dismissed the notion that the West was in decline. She claimed that the fear of decline actually helped the West stay on top. She also claimed that the West’s knowledge of history gave it an edge over its competitors.

“Only reflection and memory will give us the power to see the potential for new catastrophes in the violence and disorientation of our time,” she said. “They constitute the first step in avoiding them.”

Delpech has a very pessimistic view of human nature. She said that the world had slipped into a state of “ethical numbness.” She agreed with Immanuel Kant that “nothing straight can be fashioned from the twisted wood of humanity.” According to her, the West has “spent decades trying to comprehend the abyss into which they had plunged.”

She bemoaned the fact that Europe had been unable to convince America of this true nature of humanity.

“That is a conclusion that the Europeans have never really managed to impart to the Americans, whose Garden of Eden seems to be missing a crucial actor: the snake. This absence, if we may be so bold, is especially evident in the Obama administration, which extends its arms to all winds, without fear of storms or dangerous winter drafts.”

At this time, President Obama was busy touting himself as the Pacific President. Apparently, that didn’t go over well with Delpech. When she said the Obama administration “extended its arms to all winds,” I assume she meant that America had tried to embrace East Asia. Delpech implies that America will suffer through “storms and dangerous winter drafts” if it follows this course. Coupled with her belief in the evil nature of humanity, she seems to be either implying that East Asia will do to the West what the West has done to everyone else or that Europe will come after America unless America keeps East Asia at a distance.

This is an extraordinary article. Delpech seems to be admitting that the West is responsible for all the death and destruction that has plagued the world. Not only that, but she also seems to imply that the West has benefited from those disasters.

“The great disasters of the 20th century are all part of our heritage,” according to her.

The word “heritage” refers to something of value passed down from previous generations. If those great disasters are part of the West’s heritage that means that those great disasters are valuable to the West. Furthermore, if the West has passed down those great disasters to its succeeding generations that implies the West owned those disasters in the first place. Delpech seems to be hinting that the West is responsible for them and has benefited from them.

Given that Delpech seems to think that the atrocities of the 20th century have benefited the West and given that she appears to have no morals whatsoever, it is not surprising that Delpech also seems to argue that the West should commit more atrocities.

“Those who have the best tools to make history are also those who have the sharpest awareness of its tragic character,” she said.

She goes on to say that “the future would seem less deeply unstructured if we drew conclusions from” that.

Okay, let’s draw some conclusions from her previous statement. On the surface, current events do appear unstructured. Events seem chaotic and random. History seems to be “just one damn thing after another.” But Delpech is claiming that is untrue, that you can make sense of events. She also claims that people make history and that the people that make history are the people who understand its tragedies. But why would you need to understand the tragedies of history to make history…unless, of course, you need to understand tragedies because you are going to create more tragedies in the future. I think it is reasonable to say that Delpech believes the West has been in control of history. Taken together with the fact that she says the world has slipped into a state of “ethical numbness” and the fact that she has stressed the importance of tragedies, this again implies the West was responsible for all the disasters of the previous century and is soon going to create some more of them.

You may be wondering why a French official would suggest that her country was responsible for the atrocities of the 20th century and then suggest that her country would commit more atrocities in the future. This article is basically a form of terrorism. It was meant to frighten other governments into submission. It really didn’t work. Although she sure seemed smug in this article, in her next article she sings a different tune.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

U.S.-Japan Relations under the DPJ Government

Yoichi Funabashi, the Editor-in-chief of the Asahi Shimbun, spoke at CSIS on December 15, 2009. During his speech, Funabashi said he hoped Japan would stick to the existing relocation plan for Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. America made it clear that it wanted to move on to other issues.

“We should get away from discussing Futenma,” said David Hitchcock. “For goodness sake, Futenma is mostly helicopters. What are they going to do against North Korea?”

Mike Green hoped that the DPJ would be able to remove the SDP and Kokumin Shinto from its ruling coalition after the upcoming Upper House election. Apparently, he believed those two parties were the source of the problems that America was having with Japan.

“If we can weather this tough period I think the prospects are pretty positive,” said Green.

That turned out to be wishful thinking. It turns out that Japan wanted something big from America.

“Historically, the United States always has been the inspiration for Japanese renewal and the source of optimism for Japan,” said Funabashi.

Were the Japanese public to learn the truth about the relationship between Japan, China, and America, that would certainly lead to Japanese renewal and optimism. The Japanese public would be able to take pride in all its accomplishments in East Asia. Were the Japanese public to learn the truth, a new era of democracy could be born in Japan, as the public would finally have the tools needed to make decisions, namely, the truth. Unfortunately, Japan does not want to tell the public the truth because neither China nor America want the public to learn the truth. If Japan were to tell the public the truth, China and America would be very angry at Japan. That’s not what Japan wants, so they’re trying to get someone else to do it. So I have to do it. Lucky me.

In the meantime, Japan has apparently decided to waste as much time as possible – on Futenma, on political theater, and on screwing up the reconstruction efforts in the wake of the recent earthquake.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

MOFA 'Alliance Hands' Express Frustration at DPJ

To investigate the so called “secret agreements” between Japan and America, the Japanese government summoned a group of its diplomats back to Tokyo to participate in the investigation. The government asked for the participation of these officials because they used to manage the alliance between Japan and America. Presumably, they had some knowledge of these “secret agreements” and their input would be valuable.

On December 10, 2009, three of these officials, Yutaka Arima, Ryo Fukahori, and Takashi Ariyoshi, met with a group of American officials. During the meeting, the Japanese officials expressed their displeasure with the DPJ administration, particularly in regards to their desire to investigate the “secret agreements” and their desire to alter the existing plan to relocate Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.

According to them, the Hatoyama administration refused to listen to the bureaucrats, meaning, presumably, that the bureaucrats would not be able to make the Hatoyama administration end its investigation or accept the existing relocation plan. However, they believed the administration might change course if the Obama administration were to express its displeasure with the Hatoyama administration publicly. According to Ariyoshi, if the Obama administration failed to express its displeasure publicly, the Hatoyama administration might believe that America was willing to make changes to the relocation agreement. We wouldn’t want that, would we?

The officials did add a caveat, however. They cautioned that although pressuring the Hatoyama administration might work, the strategy could also backfire – it could result in a public backlash that would aid the politicians who wanted to end the alliance between America and Japan.

Fukahori said that individually, each initiative taken up by the Hatoyama administration might not make sense. However, if one were to consider all the initiatives and connect the dots, one could see a trend that was completely contrary to the alliance. This was a concern given that the public did not understand security issues and the importance of moving forward with the existing relocation plan.

Fukahori seems to be implying that – by investigating the “secret agreements” and by re-evaluating the relocation plan – the Hatoyama administration is trying to reveal the truth to the public, namely, that the alliance between America and Japan was only meant to keep Japan and China at odds with each other. Were the public to learn that, obviously, the alliance between Japan and America might forever be altered.

In fact, were an American, in particular a Japanese-American, me, to learn the truth and try to tell the world the truth only to have his government prevent him from doing so by violating his civil liberties and were the American public to discover all this…it would have truly historic consequences.

History ends here.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Strong leaders endure criticism, Gorbachev tells Hatoyama

Gorbachev met with Hatoyama in Japan today. During the meeting, Gorbachev told Hatoyama that leaders must stay strong in the face of criticism.

BAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHA!!! HATOYAMA?!?!?!?! STRONG IN THE FACE OF CRITICISM!?!?!?! MR. SOFT SERVE ICE CREAM?!?!?!?! BAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHA!!! THAT IS THE MOST ABSURD IDEA IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE!!!

In retrospect, I’m sure that Japan made Hatoyama prime minister because they knew he was soft serve ice cream – all soft and mushy and melts the instant you refer to him as the Tax Evasion King of the Heisei Era.

Pathetic. Coward. Idiot.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Umemoto on Secret Agreement Investigation

On November 27, 2009, James P. Zumwalt met with the Director General of the North American Affairs Bureau, Kazuyoshi Umemoto. Zumwalt told Umemoto that America needed to maintain ambiguity as to whether or not U.S. vessels held nuclear weapons on board. Zumwalt also expressed concern over what direction the investigation could take and emphasized that the discussion could have ramifications for U.S. strategy worldwide, and would particularly affect several nearby countries, including Korea. Umemoto agreed that this issue could present problems and said the issue may be harder to handle than Futenma. Umemoto said the DPJ did not understand the implications of investigating the secret agreements. He believed the investigation would clearly have foreign policy ramifications.

The diplomatic cable does not explain the possible ramifications of the investigation, which are profound. If after the investigation, the Japanese public decided to refuse to allow American vessels to hold nuclear weapons while stationed in Japan that could potentially embolden North Korea into doing something crazy (North Korea has been monitoring U.S. military capabilities in the region since the 60s and has been doing crazy things since…well, since it was split from South Korea).

Those are the obvious implications of changing the status of American nuclear weapons capability in the Pacific, but in fact, the implications of the investigation could be much, much bigger than that. If the investigation led to the truth behind the relationship between Korea, China, Japan, and America that would fundamentally alter the way the world looked at those four countries and would fundamentally reshape their relationships between each other. That is why this investigation was so worrisome to America.

If you want to know the truth, read this article.

The public has not learned the truth because of the investigation, but the investigation did allow me to learn the truth. Now, because of the investigation, I am trying to tell the world the truth, and my government is trying to stop me.

We will see who wins.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The First 'Pacific President'?

George Will wrote an article about Obama and his new title – “America’s first Pacific president.” According to him, the title was “exquisitely meaningless.” Little did he know how appropriate that title would be. Just not in a way that Obama or Will had first imagined.

Hehehe.

Bow down. Bow down.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Pacific President

While in Tokyo, Obama gave a speech in which he proclaimed himself to be the first “Pacific President.” In his speech, he took a hard line against North Korea. He demanded that the country fulfill its international obligations, or else watch as its security becomes compromised. He demanded that North Korea provide a full accounting of what happened to the Japanese abductees. Otherwise, the country would never be able to normalize its relations with other countries.

Presumably, Obama said these words to appease Japan. But it didn’t work. Future historians may look back at his speech and believe that what unfolded subsequently did so according to his plan. That would be a mistake. Obama had no idea at the start of his administration how much he would empower East Asia.

At one point, on his blog, Jun Okumura wrote that Japan wanted Obama to appoint all those ex-Clinton administration people to his administration.1 Japan knew those people, knew how they would react, knew they had not a shred of decency or integrity, and knew that could be used against them.

Japan convinced Obama to proclaim himself the first “Pacific President” and then gave him a series of choices. At each juncture, Obama would choose to do the wrong thing. In the end, contrary to his intentions, Obama would empower East Asia beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. He would convince the leaders in East Asia that the West would stop at nothing to prevent them from forming an East Asia Community. And in doing so, he would reaffirm their belief that they must form an East Asia Community and that America cannot be trusted to do the right thing. He would, with the help of Europe, destroy the Middle East. And in doing so he would prove, once again, that the West will stop at nothing to kill Muslims and destroy their countries.

Over the coming months, someone would “tell” me all sorts of secrets. I would publish those secrets on the Internet. Japan convinced my government to tell me those things, ostensibly, because they wanted to pressure China. But in reality, they wanted me to tell the world the truth and they wanted to see how the Obama administration would react.

America had a choice. America could do the right thing and allow me to tell the truth. Or, America could torture me. But Japan would only allow that if prominent Americans would publicly support the idea that the truth should be suppressed. This policy would become known as the feeding frenzy. You can guess what option America chose. Every single U.S. journalist, historian, and government official would at every point argue against telling the truth. Had they not done that, Japan would have itself simply told the world the truth. And that was something that our media, government, and universities wanted to prevent at all cost.

Obama would stop at almost nothing to shut me up. At one point, Europe decided to start killing people in an effort to get me to shut up. Whenever I said something they didn’t like, they killed people. In a phony attempt to prevent people from dying, my government tortured me, erased my memory, and made it so that I could hardly read. They justified their behavior by saying that they wanted to save lives. After that didn’t work, my government tried to humiliate me, hoping that would convince me to keep my mouth shut.

When other foreign governments learned of my existence, my government gave them the option of trying to torture me into submission too. You can guess how this turned out.

To hide the truth, Obama would have to enlist the help of the U.S. Internet companies, including Google, Twitter, Disqus, and Digg. They would become complicit in Obama’s illegal actions and in doing so, they would discredit themselves too. They would cooperate with the government in altering, deleting, and hiding the information that I wanted to expose.

Obama would discredit the politicians in Japan who liked America and hoped to work closely with us. They would get nothing.

He would discredit his own system of government. He would show that the officials selected by the people are not qualified to hold their positions. He would show that those officials merely allow the powerful to use them as canon fodder. Our system of government allows the West to engage in inconceivably outrageous behavior because the powerful are not held accountable for their decisions.

He would prove that there is no connection between human rights and the American system of government. He would prove that America is run by a greedy cabal of people who only care about maintaining their power, image, and wealth. He would prove that America has no right to lead the world.


1 I can’t find this comment on his blog anymore. I think this is another thing that has been deleted from the Internet.

Waiting for Obama

“Who would have thought a year ago that most of the issues of conflict in America’s foreign relations would be made worse during the first year following Barack Obama’s election as U.S. president?” said William Pfaff. “Even those disputes or differences that were appeased or quiet a year ago are now worse.”

As examples of relationships that had gone sour, Pfaff cited our relationships with Iraq, China, Japan, Israel, Palestine, and Latin America. He also criticized our policy in Afghanistan.

“This policy rests upon the monumental assumption that victory can be found in a military campaign meant to alter the character of Central Asian political and religious society so as to remake it in the American image,” said Pfaff.

Pfaff is an American journalist who spent a lot of time in Europe. My government wants me to believe that Pfaff has adopted the European perspective on how the world should work. If this is true, then this article might be part of the New Diplomacy and this last quote by Pfaff might be Europe’s way of telling America that she will not allow America to gain control of Afghanistan.

Yukio and Barack - The Press Conference

Hatoyama and Obama held a joint press conference today. In his comments, Obama said we needed to revitalize, renew, and refresh the alliance for the 21st century. Hatoyama agreed.

“Starting from today we’ll be starting a year to start a new process of deliberation,” said Hatoyama. “And I have made this proposal, and President Obama has given his consent and support towards this idea.”

In his remarks, Hatoyama never explains what was involved in this “new process of deliberation.” But I am sure that Hatoyama was referring to my involvement in the New Diplomacy, which would become even crazier after Obama returned.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Creaky Alliance

The New York Times published an op-ed written by Michael Auslin on November 11, 2009. According to him, the relationship between America and Japan had hit its “lowest point in years.”

President Obama was just about to make his trip to Tokyo. Auslin said the two sides must make progress on the issue of relocating Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.

“A failure to find common ground could lead both sides to feel less appetite for working with each other and more interest in reaching out to other nations in Asia, such as China,” said Auslin.

Boy was that a prophetic statement. But I think the larger issue for the alliance was deciding whether or not they would finally tell the public the truth. Our leaders decided against doing that.

Whoops.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fort Hood shooting

Nidal Hasan walked into a medical treatment center at Fort Hood, Texas, pulled out a semi-automatic pistol, and shot 42 people, killing 13 of them. Because of the shooting, Obama delayed and shortened his trip to Japan.

Presumably, either the Europeans or the CIA was responsible for the attack. Presumably, those responsible wanted to send a message to Japan. We will not allow America to get too close to you. We will punish and disrupt America whenever she does something to build an Asia-Pacific Community.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Understanding the Global System

Stanley Hoffman, a citizen of France and a Harvard professor of International Relations, gave a lecture called “Understanding the Global System” on October 31, 2009. During the lecture, Hoffman expressed his dismay over the current state of world affairs.

“I think in the future if the world continues to behave the way it has been behaving I might abandon the field to the younger generation with the hope that they handle the world better than so many of my former colleagues have ended up trying to solve the world’s problems and have sometimes made an incredible hash of it,” said Hoffman. “You see what I mean.”

Unfortunately, it appears that Hoffman did not abandon the field. Instead, he and his colleagues went on to make a super-duper, unimaginable, epic, all time biggest-ever FUBAR hash.

Whoops.

By the way, it seems to me that France keeps sending us their intellectuals, we keep listening to them, and as a result, everything becomes a disaster. Why do we keep doing this?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

U.S. pressures Japan on military package

On October 21, 2009, the Obama administration threatened Japan, saying there would be serious consequences if Japan refused to accept the existing plan to relocate Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.

“The hardest thing right now is not China, it’s Japan,” said one State Department official.

According to that official, the problem was the DPJ and its desire to run the government. In previous LDP governments, the LDP let the bureaucracy run the government from behind the scenes.

In fact, I have no doubt that the bureaucracy ran the DPJ government too. But in this administration, the bureaucracy pretended to be “shocked” by the outrageous behavior of the DPJ politicians while secretly making those politicians perform those “shocking” actions.

This little bit of kabuki was intended to preserve the relationships between the Japanese bureaucrats and the American bureaucrats. If the DPJ were ever to lose power and the LDP were to return – a decision that would be made by the Japanese bureaucracy – then the Japanese bureaucrats would be “back” in charge and would be able once again to work cooperatively with the American bureaucrats. On the other hand, if the Japanese bureaucrats themselves adopted a confrontational attitude towards America then America would probably want those bureaucrats removed, just like it wants the DPJ to lose power.

As always, for the people who hold real power, the last thing they want is to be on the line for the decisions they make. Cowards.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Decline Is a Choice

Charles Krauthammer wrote an article for the Weekly Standard called Decline Is a Choice. As the title suggests, Krauthammer believed America had a choice as to whether or not it would maintain its current position in the world. Needless to say, Krauthammer wanted America to maintain its current position.

“The international arena remains a Hobbesian state of nature in which countries naturally strive for power,” said Krauthammer. “If we voluntarily renounce much of ours, others will not follow suit. They will fill the vacuum.”

Sounds scary, doesn’t it? I guess we’d better choose not to decline.

Change the tone

Krauthammer disagreed with the actions taken by President Obama, saying that those actions would lead to American decline. Krauthammer referred to President Obama’s philosophy as the “New Liberalism.” According to this doctrine, America would no longer try to impose its will over the world. Instead, it would allow international institutions, such as the United Nations, to take over the responsibility for running the world. In fact, President Obama never had any intention of allowing international institutions to take over. America will not allow international institutions to make decisions for it. I am sure most other countries feel the same way. Instead, President Obama simply paid lip service to those institutions, instead of denigrating them like President Bush. That was the true philosophy behind the so-called New Liberals. They believed that the Bush administration failed to gain the cooperation of other countries because of “American arrogance, unilateralism, and dismissiveness.” They thought that if America changed the tone, if America had a new spokesman and a new, more polite way of talking to the world, that the rest of the world will be more cooperative. As Krauthammer notes, this strategy has not been successful in gaining the cooperation of North Korea, Iran, the Middle East, and Europe. But Krauthammer fails to mention that America did not gain their cooperation during the Bush administration either. The tone America puts forward doesn’t mean all that much. What is important is what America offers. Other countries won’t help us unless we help them. Simply changing appearances doesn’t mean much. Countries care about things like the exchange rate between the dollar and the yuan, the level of tariffs America imposes on their exports, etc. Unless we offer other countries something concrete, they will not offer us anything concrete.

Defense spending

To avoid decline, he said America should obey following advice, “Don’t do what you are doing now.” Ironically, instead of calling for changes, Krauthammer pretty much calls for maintaining the status quo of the Bush administration. According to him, America should not reduce its military spending, America should deploy a missile defense system in Eastern Europe, America should send more troops to Afghanistan, and America should continue to believe that the West was “in a global mortal struggle with jihadism.” Apparently, Krauthammer believed that the decline just started in the Obama administration. Before that, everything was fine.

Krauthammer notes that America had a choice. It could either spend its money on its military, or it could spend its money on things like health care and education. In the Bush and Obama administrations, America decided to put more emphasis on military spending while Europe chose to put more emphasis on health care and education. Krauthammer acknowledged there were some benefits to spending more money on education and health care, as such a system had more decency and equality. On the other hand, Krauthammer said that America would suffer from “diminished social mobility, higher unemployment, less innovation, less dynamism and creative destruction, less overall economic growth” if it adopted that system. Unfortunately, Krauthammer never explains why spending more money on education and health care leads to lower social mobility, higher unemployment, and lower economic growth. Perhaps he just made that up.

America spends close to $1 trillion on its defense. That’s ridiculous. America does not need to spend nearly that much money to defend itself. We have nuclear weapons. As long as we retain that deterrent, other countries will be very reluctant to attack us. I would rather spend more money on things like infrastructure. I don’t think we need to spend more money on health care or education. We already spend enough on education and we spend too much on health care.

Krauthammer says many other countries “welcome our presence” as a “guarantor of their freedom.” Of course they do. They’re smart. They like having us pay for their defense.

“For the Europeans there really is a peace dividend, because we provide the peace,” said Krauthammer. “But for America it’s different. If we choose the life of ease, who stands guard for us?”

For some reason, Krauthammer seems perfectly happy with the idea that America should provide for the defense for Europe. Personally, I wonder why Krauthammer is so concerned in the welfare of Europe. While they get to spend their money on health care and education, we have to spend more of our money on our military to defend them. This is a great deal for Europe. I’m not sure why this is so great for America. The interesting thing is that Krauthammer is Jewish. I thought Jews were supposed to be angry with Europe after the Holocaust. Perhaps Krauthammer doesn’t believe that the Holocaust really happened.

Deficits

In fairness to Krauthammer, he does have some new ideas, or at least some ideas that weren’t tried during the Bush administration. He argued that America should reduce its budget deficit and its trade deficit. To reduce the trade deficit, Krauthammer suggested that we reduce the amount of oil we import, as oil imports account for 66% of our trade deficit. To reduce the amount of oil we use, he said we should impose a gas tax. Ironically, that is an idea that most liberals would approve of. On the other hand, he also wants to expand offshore drilling. That is not an idea that liberals would agree with. For the record, on this issue, I agree with Krauthammer, although I am more optimistic about extracting natural gas and oil from shale rock than I am about the offshore drilling. Expanding domestic sources of oil and gas production would provide jobs, boost tax revenue, and reduce our trade deficit. America desperately needs those three things now.

Multipolarity

After the Cold War ended, Krauthammer famously declared the beginning of a new era of American dominance in world affairs. He referred to this era as our unipolar moment. Unfortunately, we haven’t done so well in this era. There is a reason why Krauthammer, and a bunch of other people, are writing articles about the decline of America. This is all very scary for Krauthammer.

“Do we really want to live under unknown, untested, shifting multipolarity?” he asked.

Like it or not, we are already living in a multipolar world. Despite Krauthammer’s protestations to the contrary, the rest of the world has already begun to form alliances to protect themselves against America. Of course, America isn’t the only reason why they are forming these alliances. They are also forming alliances to protect themselves against other hostile actors, such as Europe. They just haven’t formed military alliances, at least not yet.

They haven’t formed military alliances because they don’t need to. The circumstances in the world have changed since the dawn of the nuclear era. Going to war against a country with nuclear weapons does not make sense. Even ignoring nuclear weapons, the costs of conventional warfare has become prohibitive (it’s too bad our policymakers haven’t realized this). In addition, the success of the insurgency tactics (for example, during the Vietnam War) also provides a deterrent against aggression (again, it’s really too bad our policymakers haven’t realized this).

Countries have learned that it is better to form alliances without making it explicit. Remember, as long as Japan can convince us that it is our ally, America will provide for its defense. But it’s not just Japan and Europe that want us to spend too much money on defense. China also wants us to spend too much money on defense. That is why China has been doing all sorts of provocative things lately. In response to these provocations, Japan, South Korea, and Southeast Asia claim to be shocked and demand that America maintain its military presence in East Asia. China and Japan are working together against us because American military spending benefits China too.

There is nothing China wants more than to increase the amount of goods it exports. American military spending does this. Military spending is the ultimate fiscal stimulus because it boosts demand without boosting supply. Remember that the American economy did not recover from the Great Depression until World War II when, you guessed it, America had to spend all that money on its military. Higher U.S. military spending boosts domestic demand in America without competing against Chinese exports. Of course, this is why Europe, Japan, and Southeast Asia like America to spend a lot of money of its military. Military spending does not compete against their exports either. By contrast, if America were to spend more money on making its citizens smarter (education) or if America were to spend more money on making its infrastructure better (which would improve the competitiveness of its companies), Europe, China, and Japan would like that a lot less. While military spending boosts your economy in the short term, in the long term your economy will become a lot less competitive. Again, there is a reason why America is in decline.

Instead of forming a military alliance against us, other countries are forming economic and cultural alliances. For example, East Asia has already managed to construct its own regional production network. Japan produces parts, materials, and production machinery while other countries, such as China, assemble those items into finished goods. They are also working together to merge their cultures. For example, over the past few years, Japan has taken an interest in South Korean music and TV shows. In the meantime, fewer and fewer Japanese students are coming to America to study.

Built on Bullshit

In his article, Krauthammer argued that America should not apologize or talk about its mistakes. According to him, doing so would “undermine any moral claim that America might have to world leadership, as well as the moral confidence that any nation needs to have in order to justify to itself and to others its position of leadership.”

Talking about our mistakes may undermine our confidence, but not talking about our mistakes leads to a much bigger problem. We keep doing the same dumbass things over and over again. In fact, the Bush and Obama administrations is what happens when you run a country based on bullshit.

You would think America would have learned something after the Vietnam War, but you would be wrong. Instead, we are now spending $120 billion per year fighting a war in Afghanistan. In total, we will have spent $4 trillion on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Over 10,000 Afghans died. One hundred fifty thousand Iraqis died. You would think we would have learned our lesson after that. But amazingly, President Obama just recently decided to start bombing Libya. And the American public approved of that decision. This is amazing.

To pay for these wars, we have apparently decided to pressure other countries – like Japan – into bailing us out. That is why our government decided to go after Toyota. Of course, this strategy didn’t work. Instead, it merely gave Japan an excuse to draw closer to China. In the aftermath of the earthquake in Japan, Japanese has been relocating some of its production capacity overseas. Instead of relocating that production in America, Japan has been investing in China, South Korea, and Southeast Asia.

In another bizarre set of policy decisions, America has decided to use its citizens, like me, against our will, to disclose information that other countries would rather keep quiet. For some reason, our policymakers thought that other countries would bow down before us if we did this. Needless to say, it didn’t work. But in order to get me to do this, America had to drug me and do all sorts of other things to me (they can apparently both read my thoughts and inject new thoughts into my mind). And to prevent me from learning too much, my government had to drug me even more. Now, other countries who know about me are using what America has done to me to extort America into doing what they want.

America is not in decline – it is imploding.

The way things are going now, we won’t have to worry about living through a long era of multipolarity. The era of East Asian unipolarity will soon be upon us.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Creative consultation anyone?

“Increasingly essential to the U.S.-Japan relationship will be consultation in the most creative sense of the word,” said Richard Haass.

I assume by “creative consultation,” Haass was referring to the New Diplomacy.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dave does dull - Storm warnings on the Petraeus-ometer

On September 24, 2009, at a Marine Corps conference on counterinsurgency, a participant asked David Petraeus about the similarities between the wars in Afghanistan and Vietnam.

“There are some similarities,” said Petraeus. “But I think the biggest lesson of Vietnam is to not be a prisoner of lessons you may have learned.”

How ironic. Perhaps the questioner would have done better to ask Petraeus about the similarities between the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And perhaps Petraeus should have applied his logic to those two wars.

We tried the same strategy in both wars – add an obviously insufficient number of troops to the war and hope things work out. In both cases, we called this strategy “the surge.” But the question is, why did the strategy appear to work in Iraq?

In Iraq, it appears to me that Europe backed the insurgents and so appeasing Europe was actually the key to winning that war. Of course, as part of that appeasement, we added an insignificant number of troops to the war to make it look like all we needed to do was to add some more troops to win the war. This is what Europe wanted, as Europe wants the American public to believe that military interventions work and are great and need to happen more often (e.g. consider Rwanda, Bosnia, Libya, etc.).

Assuming that Europe also backs the insurgents in Afghanistan, another surge there should work again, right? Well…there’s one problem with that idea. The fact is Europe must be appeased before it would allow the surge to succeed. It must get something first. During the surge in Iraq, the America made a decisive pivot away from East Asia and towards Europe and East Asia played along.

But would America get East Asia to play along again in the war in Afghanistan? It certainly doesn’t look like it. In fact, it looks like the “success” in Iraq set up America – and Europe – for an incredible failure in Afghanistan. Simply doing the same thing over and over again makes you predictable. Perhaps Petraeus should have said, “I think the biggest lesson of history is not to be a prisoner of lessons you may have learned.”

Whoops.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Shakedown, or ... Shakedown? The First Days of the Coalition

On September 21, 2009, in response to my comment, Jun Okumura predicted the opposite of what I predicted. He believed the DPJ would retain control of the Upper House in the upcoming election.

“Sadly for those of us who need a major Japanese political theater fix, given the huge DPJ victory in the 2007 HOC election, nothing short of a miracle will give the LDP-Komeito coalition an HOC majority in the 2010 election,” said Mr. Okumura.

He was wrong. I was right.

In response to his comment, I wrote the following:
Let me help you with that miracle.

Hatoyama should give a speech at Yasukuni while drunk in which he mispronounces at least 40 words, beating the record set by Nakagawa and he proclaims Japan to be a divine nation of one race tricked into World War II by Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, and Chiang Kai-Shek, a country that needs to privatize Japan Post and doesn't need to hear anything else about that stupid piece of fiction known as the Nanking Massacre and doesn't need any damn immigrants who would only commit crimes though it does need rich Jews which Japan needs so it can achieve global domination which is possible because it doesn’t have blond hair and blue eyes and so it can be trusted in the Middle East though global domination may be hard given that Japan has doctors who lack common sense, a cancerous teacher’s union, stupid residents near Narita airport who block progress, young men who rape women, though at least that proves that young Japanese men are still vigorous and anyways that problem can be fixed if only Japan beheads the parents of the perpetrators, and it also has corrupt politicians, but really, to ask for honesty and purity from politicians is like asking for fish at a vegetable store, though I did hear that they sell mackerel at a vegetable store in Shimane and on second thought Japan should not privatize Japan Post (burete imasen) and one more thing, we just lost the pension records of another 60 million people and without a doubt, the use of atomic bombs at Nagasaki and Hiroshima...shouganai.

If Hatoyama were to do I as advice, I am sure the miracle can be achieved.

Ganbare, Hatoyama!
In response to this, Mr. Okumura wrote:
Well, keep on praying, Mark. You never now.
I think Mr. Okumura intentionally replace the word “know” with “now” to indicate that I would get my way.

In response to Mr. Okumura’s comment, I wrote:
I will. By the way, am I the only one here who think that America and Europe is doing everything it can to plunge Latin America into civil war? Hugo Chavez must be careful.
At the time I wrote this, I didn’t know that the West often threatens to commit atrocities when it wants Japan to do something. In this case, my government made me tell Japan that the situation in Honduras might soon explode, if nothing was done to get rid of the Hatoyama administration.

By the way, after this exchange, Mr. Okumura stopped blogging for about a month.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Quick Note - More on Hatoyama Cabinet Trouble Spots

On September 20, 2009, in a comment on GlobalTalk 21, not only did I successfully predict the return of political theater to Japan, I also predicted the outcome of the 2010 Upper House elections.

“A return of Japanese Political Theater? Yippee! I guess the meeting with Kurt Campbell didn't go so well. Let's see if Hatoyama can outdo Aso. I don't think it's possible, but hey, I can dream, right? Personally, I am looking forward to the Twisted Diet Part Deux, this time with the LDP in charge of the Upper House.”

My government must have “made” me write this.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Kurt Campbell's Meeting With Akitaka Saiki

Kurt Campbell met with Akitaka Saiki on September 18, 2009. During the meeting, Saiki said that Prime Minister Hatoyama would not be able to rein in the bureaucracy. Saiki proclaimed boldly that if the DPJ tried to crush the pride of the bureaucrats, the DPJ would fail. On the other hand, Saiki had nothing but praise for Katsuya Okada, the new foreign minister. According to Saiki, Okada was “very intellectual” and he “understood the issues.” (FYI: Okada is himself a former bureaucrat. That is the reason, presumably, why Saiki was so effusive towards him).

Despite the recent musings of Prime Minister Hatoyama, according to Saiki, the relationship between America and Japan was already an equal one. Saiki had his own theory of why Hatoyama said he wanted to “transform” the alliance into an equal relationship. Saiki theorized that the DPJ wanted to project an image of power by showing the world that they had reined in the bureaucracy and moved the country in a new direction that challenged the U.S. Saiki called this idea stupid and said, “They will learn.”

In Japan, there is a saying, “The nail that sticks up must be hammered down.” In his statements, Saiki seems to be implying that the DPJ would get hammered down for its policies of challenging the bureaucrats and America. But instead, something else very different happened.

Presumably, by investigating the secret agreements, the DPJ intended to pressure America into doing…something. I’m still not exactly sure what the DPJ wanted us to do. It is possible that the DPJ decided to pressure America solely because I told them to. It is possible that America “made” me tell the DPJ to pressure America so America could use that pressure an excuse to retaliate and go after Toyota.

Japan may have had its own reasons for agreeing to this scheme. Perhaps what Japan really wanted was for my government to tell me all sorts of terrible secrets that they wanted concealed. Once I discovered this information, I would then try to tell the world about this information. At this point, my government had a choice – whether to allow me to tell the world the truth or whether they would try to torture me into submission (they chose torture).

Were the public to find out about me and the information I have obtained, this would effectively end the so-called American Century, it would end the era of military interventionism that has killed so many innocent people and has practically bankrupted our nation, it would cause a drastic rethink on the amount of money we spend on our military, it would bring a new age of accountability to the world as governments could no longer murder people and expect that no one would find out who was truly responsible, and it would transform the way everyone looks at history and the world and in doing so, it would allow both policymakers and the public to create new policies based on a more accurate understanding of the world.

This is what Japan really wants. And I have to make it happen.

Assistant Secretary Campbell's Meeting With DPJ Deputy Prime Minister Naoto Kan

Kurt Campbell met with Naoto Kan on September 18, 2009. During the meeting, Kan said that, unlike in previous administrations when the bureaucrats held sway, in the new DPJ administration, the politicians would govern the country. Furthermore, under the new administration, the government would have to explain the rationale behind the policies it adopted. Kan predicted that the administration would have a hard time explaining security issues to the public, as the public had little interest in those issues. Kan cited the plan to relocate Marine Corps Air Station Futenma as an example of one of these issues.

In an effort to explain why the government needed to explain security issues to the public, Kan cited the example of President Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis. According to Kan, because President Kennedy was able to explain the situation to the public, the public supported his policies and the President was able to carry them out.

During the meeting, Kan said that Katsuya Okada would take the lead on security issues related to the alliance.

In order to have an equal relationship, Campbell pointed out that America should not be the only one to take the initiative on security matters. Japan should also take the initiative once and a while.

I wonder if Campbell would like to take back that statement.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Preliminary Thoughts on the Hatoyama Administration

On September 17, 2009, Mr. Okumura wrote the following on his blog:

“My life has been taking/may be about to take some dramatic turns…”

I think he was talking about the previous / upcoming interactions between himself and me.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

DPJ, two allies agree to form coalition

On September 9, the DPJ agreed to form a coalition government with the Social Democrat Party (SDP) and Kokumin Shinto. The DPJ needed to form a coalition government because, despite winning an overwhelming majority in the Lower House, they still did not have a majority of the seats in the Upper House.

In reality, for Japan, this coalition government scheme was a form of the good cop / bad cop negotiating scheme. The DPJ would be the good cop, the party who wanted to be cooperative with America. The other two parties, the SDP and Kokumin Shinto, would be the bad cop. The SDP would be the bad cop in regards to foreign policy and security issues while Kokumin Shinto would be the bad cop in regards to economic issues. The SDP was the successor party to the Japan Socialist Party (JSP) and was the party who wanted to relocate Marine Corps Air Station Futenma outside of Okinawa. Kokumin Shinto basically had an anti-neoliberal approach to economics, meaning they had an anti-Koizumi approach and an anti-Washington Consensus approach to the Japanese economy. They opposed the privatization of Japan Post and, whenever the opportunity presented itself, they demanded that Japan enact an impossibly large fiscal stimulus plan (which would mean that the American government would have less money to spend as Japan funds a significant portion of the U.S. budget deficit).

Saturday, September 5, 2009

DPJ 'transition teams' confuse bureaucracy

The Yomiuri Shimbun reported that the bureaucrats and the DPJ were not working well together. According to the newspaper, “both sides are still basically fumbling around in the dark.”

“We’ve no choice but to hope that DPJ members act with common sense,” said one Japanese bureaucrat in the Foreign Ministry.

Hehehe.

Best quote ever.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Hatoyama Confidante On Upcoming Hatoyama Administration

On September 4, 2009, Yorihisa Matsuno, a close confidante of Prime Minister Hatoyama, met with U.S. Ambassador John Roos. According to Matsuno, despite the recent New York Times op-ed written by Hatoyama in which he indicated that he wanted to move Japan closer to China and East Asia, in reality the Hatoyama administration wanted to establish closer ties with America. Furthermore, Matsuno said that the Hatoyama administration would probably not make a big deal out of the so-called “secret agreements.”

Of course, events would prove Matsuno wrong on all counts.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Understanding Japan's Elections: What the Elections Mean for Asia and the United States

On September 2, CSIS hosted a panel which discussed the results of the elections in Japan. The panel consisted of Steven Clemons, Mike Green, and Kurt Campbell. Bob Schieffer worked as the moderator.

As for why the DPJ won the election, Mike Green was quick to point out that voters really didn’t like the DPJ, but they voted for the DPJ because “they were sick and tired of the Liberal Democratic Party’s style of politics and governance.”

Mike Green, it seems, did not like the DPJ. He really did not like the recent op-ed written by Yukio Hatoyama. He pleaded with Hatoyama to change his tone now that he had won the election. For his part, Clemons believed that Ichiro Ozawa was “the real strongman” behind the infamous New York Times op-ed. And in sharp contrast to Green, Clemons liked the fact that Hatoyama was creating some distance between America and Japan.

“I predict a much healthier, lively and somewhat reinvented U.S.-Japan relationship,” said Clemons.

Here, I think Clemons was referring to my participation in the discussion. The discussion certainly was lively. It was not healthier. As to whether or not the discussion amounted to a reinvention of the relationship, I can’t say because I don’t how the relationship worked before. On the one hand, I have been led to believe that a small group of experts on both sides manage the relationship. The introduction of a person like me to the discussion, particularly the manner in which I was introduced and the way I participated, certainly seems unique. On the other hand, I subsequently found out that both sides have a long history of using the Internet to disclose information in an attempt to pressure the other side.

Furthermore, Japan does have a history of recruiting some unlikely people to manage the alliance. For example, consider John Roos, the current U.S. ambassador who had zero expertise on Japan prior to his appointment. Or consider Kei Wakaizumi, a Japanese professor, who Japan hired to negotiate the return of Okinawa. You would think Japan would use one of its bureaucrats for that job. Or consider the DPJ itself. Though a few members of the DPJ may have had the experience and knowledge required to manage the alliance, I think they were few and far between. Often, Japan seems to like hiring inexperienced people to manage the alliance. Japan probably has several reasons for doing this. For one thing, hiring an unqualified person slows things down. And if there is one thing that Japan seems to like to do when it comes to relations with America, it is stalling. On the other hand, introducing someone new to manage the alliance could bring a fresh perspective to any existing problems which remain deadlocked. Simply revisiting the same issues with the same people will probably not lead to a resolution. Sometimes, you need to inject someone new into the discussion. And in fact, according to Clemons, Japan did believe that its relationship with America had gotten stuck in the mud.

“Many Japanese felt that the U.S.-Japan relationship on a whole variety of fronts was just stuck too much in the past,” said Steven Clemons.

I have a feeling, based on how the Hatoyama administration unfolded, that Clemons probably believed that the Hatoyama administration would be similar to a famous Japanese saying – “the nail that sticks up must be hammered down” and that is the real reason why he wanted Hatoyama to create some distance between Japan and America.

Kurt Campbell seemed to be of the same opinion. He said America had no problems with Japan trying to improve its relationship with China and South Korea. He said America “would like to see Japan play a stronger leadership role” in Asia.

“We also believe, in that process, they will come to appreciate and understand the significance of the U.S.-Japan alliance,” said Campbell.

Again, it appears that for Campbell, the Hatoyama administration that sticks up would eventually be hammered down. I think Campbell and Clemons would later come to realize that Green knew what he was talking about, at least on this one issue. The Hatoyama administration would go down in ignominious defeat, but not before leading me on the path to the truth, not without moving Japan closer to Asia, and not without moving Japan further away from the U.S. Depending on his true intentions, perhaps Hatoyama views his administration as a great success.

As for the other DPJ campaign promises, Steven Clemons hoped Hatoyama would “find his inner Obama.” Meaning that, much of his campaign promises would have to be delayed or reduced. Apparently, Clemons wanted Japan to spend less of its money on itself and more of its money on bailing out America and Europe. He said as much later on.

According to Clemons, when including private sector assets, Japan had the largest amount of overseas assets in the world. While admitting that Japan had “severe economic problems,” Clemons stated that Japan’s contribution to “the international economic order” was “absolutely vital.” Furthermore, in his view, Clemons believed that Japan had not contributed enough in this regard as the country had “been somewhat internally consumed.” Presumably, Clemons was referring to the political theater of Taro Aso.

Mike Green had his own idea as to why the DPJ seemed so anti-American.

“My sense is that the DPJ is testing the U.S. to see what they can get away with,” said Mike Green.

I really don’t think that is why the DPJ acted the way they did.

Apparently, because they disliked the policies of the DPJ so much, the panelists all advised the DPJ to listen to the bureaucrats in Japan.

“Some of the finest professionals that I’ve worked with in Japan are bureaucrats and I would hate to see a period whereby somehow they are posited as the enemy,” said Campbell.

In fact, the panelists were so uniform in their desire for the DPJ to listen to the bureaucrats that Mike Green said the name of the panel should be “Former and Current Bureaucrats and Staffers Tell Japan, ‘Be Good to Bureaucrats and Staffers.’”

Even the Japanese ambassador, Ichiro Fujisaki, seemed to agree with what the panelists had to say.

“In my country, there is a saying that if three people get together, they will produce Buddhist wisdom,” said Fujisaki. “With these three pundits – (laughter) – huge wisdom. (more laughter).”

Fujisaki then went on to repeat his infamous “Three No’s of Fujisaki” – no surprises, no over-politicization, and no taking for granted. According to these three no’s, neither Japan or America should surprise each other in their actions. They should not over-politicize any issue, meaning that they should deal with issues quietly if they can. And they should not take their alliance for granted.

“I think these are more true than ever when the two administrations get together,” said Fujisaki.

It is ironic that Japan selected someone like Fujisaki as their ambassador during the Hatoyama administration. Under the DPJ, both sides would break all of Fujisaki’s rules repeatedly. And in the end, I believe Japan wants to move to a more transparent, more open relationship with America which really violates the second “no” of Fujisaki.

In the Q&A session, Paul Wolfowitz asked the panel if – in an effort to improve its relations with China – the DPJ would examine its history with the country.

According to Green, as the years have gone by, as the taboos have faded in Japan, there is more debate about the history between Japan and China, and that has made it harder for the government to “keep people quiet.” As a result, “more voices will come out on history issues that make it difficult.” However, Mike Green believed that Japan would not tackle this issue until China had completed its own “internal reconciliation” about the history of the Communist Party.

On the other hand, “maybe we’ll be in for a rollercoaster a little while,” said Green.

As it turns out, Japan opted for the rollercoaster. Japan did not wait for China to reach consensus about its own history. There is only one true history and we should not lie about it. Telling the truth may upset some people in China, and Japan’s relationship with China is critical for its future. However, the truth is critical for everyone, including China. We have tried, repeatedly, to run the world based on lies, deceit, and trickery. It does not work. We need accountability, honesty, and transparency.

If some people find this line of thinking objectionable, I don’t care. I must impose my will.

History end here.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

U.S. Is Seeing Policy Thorns in Japan Shift

“There is a fear of dramatic change in the U.S.-Japan alliance,” said Michael Auslin. “No one knows what will happen next, or even who to talk to for answers.”

Bet he wishes he could somehow retract this statement...

“The Hatoyama government will not do things that are going to provoke major controversy with the United States,” said Gerald Curtis.

BAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

You’ve got to be kidding me!!! This may be the all time most ridiculous statement in the history of the universe!!!

I thought Gerald Curtis was supposed to be an expert on Japan.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Pivotal moment in Japan's history

On the day after the election, the Australian published an article on the DPJ victory written by its Foreign editor, Greg Sheridan.

“Yukio Hatoyama’s victory is a pivotal point in modern Japanese history,” said Sheridan. “And when Japan pivots, the consequences for Australia are enormous.”

“It could be as big and bold and thunderingly significant as the last two great Japanese pivots - the Meiji Restoration in the late 1800s and the post-war economic revival,” said Sheridan. “Both of those pivots had colossal consequences for Australia.”

Sheridan noted that the Meiji Restoration modernized Japan. Eventually, Australia and Japan would have to fight against each other in World War II. And after the war, the economic growth that Japan enjoyed, “more than any other external factor, powered Australian economic growth.”

“We have our war legends because of the Japanese, and we also have our contemporary prosperous Australian society because of the Japanese,” noted Sheridan.

I disagree with Sheridan – I think the consequences of this election are bigger than the consequences of those previous two pivots.

History end here.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Japan's Moment of Choice

After the DPJ election victory, Sheila Smith wrote a blog post about what that would mean.

She hoped that the DPJ would work with the Obama administration on improving energy efficiency in America, as Japan had a technological advantage in that area. On the other hand, it appeared that Smith was very fearful of what the DPJ might do.

She said the DPJ would “test the patience of those outside Japan.”

“Japan’s laborious process of political transformation seems out of sync with the increasingly harsh pacing of events,” said Smith.

Smith predicted that the DPJ administration would “find itself severely tested by events abroad.”

Hehehe.

Look who’s talking.

Smith noted that the DPJ wanted to place greater emphasis on its relations with its neighbors, “but the real change suggested by DPJ leaders is in addressing more squarely the legacies of Japan’s WWII history.”

With Bold Stand, Japan Opposition Wins a Landslide

On August 30, 2009, the DPJ absolutely crushed the LDP in the election, winning 308 of the 480 seats in the Lower House. Yukio Hatoyama called the election “revolutionary.”

“Many Japanese saw the vote as the final blow to the island nation’s postwar order, which has been slowly unraveling since the economy collapsed in the early 1990s,” said the New York Times.

Daniel C. Sneider predicted that the DPJ would “end the habits from decades of a relationship in which Japan didn’t challenge the United States.”

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A New Path for Japan

On August 26, a date which will live in infamy in the minds of all the U.S. “experts” who secretly “managed” our relationship with Japan, the New York Times published an op-ed written by Yukio Hatoyama called “A New Path for Japan.”

In the article, Hatoyama accused America of foisting “market fundamentalism” on the world and robbing humanity of its dignity. He demanded that the world “return to the idea of fraternity.”

“Fraternity as I mean it can be described as a principle that aims to adjust to the excesses of the current globalized brand of capitalism and accommodate the local economic practices that have been fostered through our traditions,” said Hatoyama.

Whaaa…

According to Hatoyama, the changes Japan adopted after the Cold War had destroyed the local communities in Japan. Presumably, Hatoyama was attacking the Koizumi reforms that Lawrence Lindsey demanded. Hatoyama basically said that he wanted to undo those changes. He wanted to “rebuild” Japan’s welfare and health care systems. He wanted to provide money to families who were raising children. And he wanted the government to pay the tuition for high school.

And to top it all off, Hatoyama called for the creation of an “East Asian Community.”

After they read this article, I’m sure steam was coming out of the ears of our “U.S. experts on Japan.”

Hehehe.

Bow down. Bow down.

We don't know what we are doing...really

“Our biggest policy challenge is diplomacy,” said Kan Suzuki, a DPJ lawmaker. “As an opposition party, we had a complete lack of information.”

Apparently, this was the excuse Japan used for conducting its upcoming investigation into the so-called “secret agreements” between Japan and America – the LDP never told us anything while they were in power, so now we have to conduct an investigation to discover the truth about the relationship between Japan and America.

Regardless of whether or not the DPJ lawmakers knew anything about those agreements before they assumed power, I can guarantee you that whomever really runs Japan knew exactly what was in those agreements and knew exactly what they were doing during the Hatoyama administration.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Aso advises poor young people not to marry

On August 23, a student told Taro Aso that he believed Japan suffered from a low birthrate because young people in Japan don’t have enough money to get married. In response, Taro Aso agreed that young, poor people should not marry because such people cannot be seen as worthy of the respect of a spouse. This comment didn’t go down well with the public and it helped insure the eventual defeat of the LDP during the upcoming election.

On his blog, Mr. Okumura wrote a post about Aso’s latest gaffe. In the comments section I wrote…
I love Aso. I’m really going to be sad when he gets the boot.
In retrospect, I wonder if my government “made” me write that comment because they did not want to see the DPJ take over.

In response to my comment, Mr. Okumura replied…
There is something memorable about Aso’s gaffes. Some of them are actually jokes taken out of context (not that public figures shouldn’t be careful, as even the extremely self-aware Obama has had to learn). But others are otherworldly.
I remember that after I read that response, I had intended on writing another comment, but I never got around to it. Had I made the time to write another comment, it would probably have looked something like…
Uh…aren’t the “otherworldly” comments and the jokes one and the same thing?
The day after Aso made the comment, his Chief Cabinet Secretary, Takeo Kawamura, defended his boss.

“The expression was direct, but I think it was a reflection of his feelings that measures must be taken to tackle young people’s job problems,” said Kawamura.

Of course, the thing that might turn things around would be the end of the Aso administration and the beginning of an administration that would reduce the inequity in Japanese society, an administration that would have a governing philosophy more similar to the one the DPJ had…

Ooh, that sneaky, treacherous Aso. He really takes the cake.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Whatever you do don't kidnap me!!!

Take a moment and try to imagine where you would go and what you would do if you wanted to have some fun. I know what you’re thinking. You want to go hiking near the border between Iraq and Iran, right? No? I’m shocked. Okay, I’m not shocked. For an American to go hiking near the border of one country who we are at war with and another country who refers to us as the Great Satan, why, that would be absurd, right? Well…

Today, Iran arrested three Americans – Sarah Shourd, Shane Bauer, and Joshua Fattal. Guess what they were doing. They were hiking near the border between Iran and Iraq. They said they were doing that for fun. But then they got arrested. By Iran. That can’t be fun. Who would have thought that Iran would have arrested three Americans? They only call us the Great Satan. That doesn’t mean they don’t like us, does it?

I bet there is one question going through your mind at this moment. What in the hell were those three morons thinking? I was thinking the same thing, for a while. But then my government “told” me that they sent those three idiots to Iran so Iran could detain them for a few years. That way, we would have an excuse for not imposing more sanctions on Iran. While Iran held these three Americans, our government could say to other governments, “We can’t do anything against Iran because they’ll kill our citizens who we sent to Iran to get captured…wait, did I just say that out loud?”

Whoops.

DPJ Shows Pre-Election Ambiguity Towards the United States

On July 31, 2009, the Japanese media interviewed Yukio Hatoyama. During that interview, Hatoyama gave conflicting views on the importance of the relationship between Japan and America. On the one hand, he said things like…

“While we attach utmost importance to the Japan-U.S. alliance, it is necessary not to rely on the U.S. and develop a more independent foreign policy. A diplomatic posture of giving importance both to Asia and the U.S. is required. It is possible that we may seek an appropriate ‘distance’ in security.”

On the other hand, Hatoyama also said things like…

“The most important thing is how to build a relationship of trust with President Obama.”

Perhaps Hatoyama read what I had just recently posted on GlobalTalk 21. Perhaps this was his way of accepting my proposal.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Move to San Moritz

While living at Wellington Meadows, I often heard what sounded like footsteps above me. The thing is, I was living on the second floor of a two story apartment. I asked the apartment management to come to my apartment and investigate. And they did. Maintenance brought a ladder and together we went up into the attic to see what was going on. We did not actually step into the attic, as doing so could damage the fire sprinkler system. On the floor of the attic were water lines that fed the sprinkler system. But you can’t see them because they are covered with fiberglass insulation. Were one to walk on the floor of the attic, they could easily step on those sprinkler lines and damage them. To avoid that danger, we merely went to the top of the ladder, one at a time, and used a flashlight to peer into the attic.

Maintenance pointed out that there was a wall between the attic areas of my apartment and my neighbor’s. Therefore, no one could access my attic unless they gained access through my apartment. My apartment had two walls which separated the attic for my apartment from the attic for two other apartments. One of the walls was completely solid. The other wall had a large hole in it, but that hole was covered with plywood. Later on, I would use my own ladder to peer into the attic to verify that the plywood did in fact cover the entire hole. I found that, in fact, the plywood did not completely cover the hole and that there was an open space large enough for a person to move through.

I also noticed that there were two water stains on the ceiling of my apartment – one in my closet and one in my living room. I assume these stains occurred because someone had been walking in my attic and had damaged the sprinkler lines.

For some reason, I did not go back to the apartment management with this new information. I cannot remember why I did not do that. Perhaps my government “convinced” me not to.

I once saw a person at Wellington Meadows who I also saw at the Budget Suites while I was living there. That person looked like he might be related my former boss at Lode Data, a person who I helped get fired. This led me to believe that my former boss had some sort of vendetta against me and was really the one who was tracking me.

My hallucinations became noticeably worse at Wellington Meadows. At night, I would often wake up and see kanji characters “written” on the walls of my apartment (I was reading a book on kanji at the time). After a few seconds and some blinking of the eyes, the kanji characters would disappear.

During my stay at Wellington Meadows, I was still working for Lode Data, but the number of hours I worked for the company had continually declined. I had been spending much of my time doing other things. By the summer of 2009, it had become obvious that I would soon have to leave Lode Data. To save money, I decided to move to a cheaper apartment and so on July 29, I moved from Wellington Meadows to San Moritz.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Aso draws flak for saying working is seniors' only talent

On July 25, Taro Aso said that the “elderly have no talents other than working.”

That didn’t go over well with the public.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Ailing LDP needs concrete policies to appeal to voters, not just a new 'face'

“It is quite a fiasco the LDP has staged ahead of the upcoming election,” said the Mainichi Shimbun.

Does this guy know what he is talking about?

In an interview with the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Kurt Campbell said the upcoming Lower House election in Japan could be the most important election in the country’s postwar period.

I doubt Campbell realized the true significance of his own words at the time he said them.

Whoops.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Nakasone, LDP Elders, etc., etc...

On July 9, 2009, as part of my ongoing conversation with Jun Okumura, I posted the following on his blog.
Of course, minorities have had a big impact on many aspects of American culture. The amount of worldwide media coverage dedicated to the death of Michael Jackson shows just how popular African-American performers can be. As you mention, this is nothing new. African Americans like Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Run-DMC, and Dr. Dre have to a great extent defined popular music since the end of the second World War. And black athletes have been equally successful - think of Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, and Tiger Woods. In politics, we have people like Martin Luther King Jr. and Barack Obama, to name a few. But what is the effect of this? Has any of this resulted in a significant change in policy?

It's funny that you should mention the acceptance of mixed race couples. Of course, Barack Obama is the product of a mixed race couple. Though he is also white, he has embraced black culture. He talks like a preacher, he has Jay-Z on his iPod. But does that make a difference?

In a recent study, participants were asked whether or not they would hire a person with borderline qualifications. When told that the applicant was white, seventy six percent of white people said they would hire that applicant. When told that the applicant was black, only 45% of white people said they would hire that applicant.

In the U.S., black babies have an infant mortality rate 2.4 times that of white babies. Blacks receive inferior health care compared to whites. They have a life expectancy 5.1 years less than whites. Towards the end of last year, 11.4% of blacks were unemployed, versus 6.1% for the economy as a whole. In 2007, white families earned $64,427 while black families earned $40,143. More than 10% of black males between 30 and 34 are incarcerated, versus 1.9% for white males in that age range. And despite all this talk of browning, U.S. public schools are becoming more racially segregated.

Of course, Obama just became president. There's not much you can do to change a nation in a half year's time. Nevertheless, look at his appointments. He has Geithner at Treasury, Bernanke at the Fed, Summers at the NEC, Clinton at State, Gates at Defense, Panetta at the CIA, George Mitchell is trying to bring peace to the Middle East, Richard Holbrooke is trying to bring peace to South Asia, Rahmbo is his chief of staff, and David Axelrod is his Senior Advisor. Now that's what I call change we can believe in. My father, who is a sansei, had a pejorative for certain fellow Japanese Americans. He called them yellow bananas - yellow on the outside, white on the inside. Time will tell if Obama is a black banana.

Of course, Obama has minorities in some positions, but mostly in positions that don't matter too much (e.g. Eric Shinseki at Veterans Affairs).

Personally, I don't think music changes people much. Remember, George Bush loves James Brown.

I do not think the west is reorienting itself away from the west. Despite all appearances, the west is still run by the same people who are looking out for their own interests. The appearances have changes, and the rhetoric has changed, but the substance has not.

I still see the west droning on about human right and the rule of law, while violating those principles on every possible occasion. I still see Europe pushing for generic medication in its own market, while pushing data exclusivity in its FTAs. I still see the EU trying to get Japan (and everyone else) to open up for investment while Sarkozy creates an investment fund to fight off foreign takeovers. I still see idiots like Gregory Clark trying to get Japan to do the stupidest things imaginable (and he ain't the only one trying to do that, either). I still see Australians beating Indian students. I see western nations running huge fiscal deficits, after hounding developing nations to balance their budgets during the Asian financial crisis. And still today, many in the west are trying to convince emerging nations to balance their budget in the midst of a crisis. I see the west gutting mark to market after protesting vociferously about transparency at Japanese banks ten years ago. I see Europe begging developing countries to provide money to the IMF, but unwilling to increase the voting rights of those countries. You would think they would have learned something after that whole taxation-without-representation thing. Need I even mention crony capitalism and Haliburton?

The defining characteristic of the west is hypocrisy. It's getting others to play by the rules when you don't, and using that to your advantage. That has not changed and I don't believe it will change.



The west is not reorienting itself away from the west. It is up to its same old tricks. The only thing that will bring change to the world is if the rest join together, and force the west to change. I believe Japan is trying to do that. I hope it succeeds.
Chances are, my government “made” me write this response because it wanted Japan to pressure America so that America could have an excuse to retaliate against Japan.

Chances are, Japan agreed to this because it really does want to change the world.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Rebiya Kadeer loves the West

“Our only friend is in the West - Western democracies are supporting us and we are very grateful,” said Rebiya Kadeer, a Uighur activist at a speech in Washington.

Once again, the West has used an ethnic minority to lead a revolt in a country it does not like.

This will not stand.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Obama-Medvedev Relations 'Reset' May Stop at Arms Cut

“The U.S. thinks it can just turn the page,” said Fyodor Lukyanov, a member of the Russian Council on Foreign and Defense Policy. “In Europe and Russia, historicism is very deep. You can’t just hit the reset button.”

I am 99% sure that this quote has been altered. I believe the second sentence used to be something like, “In Europe, historicism runs deep.” The way the quote reads now, Lukyanov seems to place the blame equally on Russia and Europe but, I believe, in its original form, the quote placed all the blame on Europe.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Of Faction Leaders...and the SSJ Forum

On June 29, 2009, in a response to one of my questions, Mr. Okumura tried to get me to join the SSJ Forum. Perhaps he wanted to continue the discussion there, instead of his blog. I didn’t take him up on his offer. I guess my government wanted me to continue doing the “New Diplomacy” on his blog, rather than in a forum. I’m not sure why.

In my comments, I argued that Japan was reorienting itself away from the West. In response, Mr. Okumura made one of his more interesting comments in which he said, “Don’t you think that there’s a lot of evidence that [the West] is reorienting itself away from the West?”

Unfortunately, I never got Mr. Okumura to explain that sentence fully.

During this exchange, Mr. Okumura inquired about my occupation.

“I don’t know what you do for a living, but you’re certainly good at raising difficult questions,” he said.

I replied that I was simply a computer programmer (which I was). At that time, I did not know that my government had been injecting thoughts into my mind.

Interestingly, and I just noticed this, someone called Armchair Asia wrote a comment advising Mr. Okumura to refrain from posting on the SSJ Forum.

“I rather you spend your time posting your own thoughts on your blog about politics than being pulled into the lonely obsessions of folks who are avoiding time with their families,” said Armchair Asia.

At this time, I had not seen my family in about 3 years.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Japanese Morning Press Highlights 06/26/09

On June 25, 2009, Katsuya Okada met with Michele Flournoy, the Under Secretary of Defense at the DPJ party headquarters. During the meeting, Flournoy said that if the existing plan to relocated Marine Corps Air Station Futenma within Okinawa was abandoned, the alliance between America and Japan would be seriously damaged. Okada said he opposed the existing relocation plan and he also had one other interesting thing to say.

“The present relations between Japan and the United States are plagued by the past,” said Okada.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bushehr completed! We're going to start it at any second! Really! I mean it!

On June 9, Voice of America reported that Iran had finally finished constructing its first nuclear reactor in Bushehr. Iran began constructing the reactor 35 years ago. VOA reported that Iran would conduct some tests on the reactor before bringing the reactor online. VOA predicted that the reactor would become fully operational by the end of the year.

BAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

That’s a good one. To tell you the truth, I don’t know what the heck is going on with this reactor. But over the next two plus years, Iran would consistently threaten to start the reactor. At several points in time, they will claim that they actually have started the reactor only to later on admit that no; we have not started the reactor.

I have no idea what they are up to. It is almost like the Iranian government is intent on humiliating itself, repeatedly. It’s like they are trying to show the world that they are controlled by another government. If that were not the case, they would just start up the reactor and use it.

But, of course, no one outside Iran wants Iran to operate Bushehr1 and so their hesitation makes it appear as though Iran is controlled by another government.


1 Nuclear reactors produce plutonium. If Iran gains access to plutonium, it could create a nuclear bomb. That's why other countries don't want Iran to operate Bushehr.

Monday, June 8, 2009

My conversation with Mr. Okumura

I started posting comments on a blog called GlobalTalk 21 on June 8, 2009. The blog is run by a former Japanese bureaucrat, Jun Okumura. Initially, I posted under a pseudonym – KY Diplomacy – but that only lasted for one post. Starting on June 25, I began posting as myself.

Much of the information I posted on that blog was “given” to me by my government.

Monday, June 1, 2009

James Steinberg meets with Taro Aso

James Steinberg met with Taro Aso on June 1, 2009. During the meeting, Steinberg declared that America had reached an “inflection point” in its relationship with North Korea. America would adopt a new strategy to deal with the country.

Apparently, this strategy involved putting pressure on China. America would tell China that unless North Korea changed its behavior, America, Japan, and South Korea would enhance their security in a way that would affect China’s security. We decided to pressure China because, in our view, the only reason why the North Korean government could remain in power was because of the support it had been receiving from China. If we could get China to put a little bit of pressure on North Korea, that could conceivably make North Korea change its behavior. The goal of our new policy was to convince North Korea to get rid of its nuclear weapons.

“The U.S. may need to develop an imaginative formula to accomplish this task in an irreversible way,” according to a summary of the meeting.

For his part, Aso agreed that China had the most important role in influencing North Korea and he said that America and Japan should strengthen their bilateral alliance, as China would object to that.

I have a feeling this “imaginative formula” consisted of having me publish information on the Internet that the Chinese government wanted to remain hidden. In the not-too-distant future, I would publish information related to the contributions made by Japan to the development of the Chinese economy. I would also publish information related to why the Chinese Communist Party came to power – because the West wanted to split Japan and China. It turns out that the Chinese government doesn’t want anyone to know about this information, and so revealing this information might be a way of putting pressure on the Chinese government.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pacific Alliance

“Japan and the United State face each other, but across the broadest ocean of them all.”
Edwin Reischauer

Yale University Press published a book called “Pacific Alliance” on May 19, 2009. In order to “educate” me, my government “forced” me to order a copy of this book a week after its publication, on May 26. The book itself is not well known. It has an Amazon Best Sellers Rank of 461,166.

The book was written by Ken Calder, the former Japan Chair at CSIS. In the book, Calder briefly mentions the development of that organization. Henry Kissinger, David Abshire, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Harold Brown developed that organization to mediate the relationship between America and China. CSIS also had support from the private sector, from companies such as AIG.

In the first chapter of the book, Calder argued that the alliance between Japan and America was going through a “quiet crisis.” According to him, the bonds joining our two nations were deteriorating quietly, and he gave several examples of this. The number of corporate members of the U.S.-Japan Business Council has declined by 10% over the past few years. The number of Japanese students studying at American universities has declined by 25% over the past decade. The number of American students enrolled in courses related to Japan has declined by more than half.

“It has become counterproductive professionally for first-rate American social scientists to seriously immerse themselves, on a continuing basis, in the details of Japanese domestic affairs,” said Calder.

For the first seventy five years of the 20th century, Japanese-Americans were the largest group of Asian immigrants. But recently, the number of non-Japanese immigrants from Asia has increased dramatically while the numbers of Japanese-Americans has stagnated. For example, the number of Chinese-Americans in San Francisco is now twelve times the number of Japanese-Americans.

Those of us who are Japanese-Americans have become much more assimilated into American society. The cohesiveness in the Japanese-American community has declined. In the past, the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II and the subsequent reparations movement served as a “unifying experience” for my community. But that happened a long time ago. In my experience, most Japanese-Americans have little understanding of Japan or their heritage.

In the second chapter of the book, Calder provides a brief history of the postwar relationship between Japan and America. He provides a surprisingly honest account of the history of Japan, China, and America in the immediate postwar period.

After the war, Japan and America struck a bargain. America would help Japan rebuild its economy by allowing Japanese companies to sell their products to American consumers. In return, Japan would cooperate with America on security issues and would “acquiescence in isolating mainland China.” This arrangement was codified in two documents – a security treaty and a peace treaty.

“Although neither the peace treaty nor the security pact incorporated Washington’s geostrategic designs for Asia explicitly, they did so indirectly, by omission,” said Calder. “Most critically, neither mainland China nor the Soviet Union was signatory to the peace treaty.”

That left Japan with an ambiguous relationship with those two countries “that could easily become the seeds of future conflict.”

America had to work hard to convince Japan to sever its relationship with China. A couple of days after the peace treaty was signed, a group of 56 Senators threatened to reject the peace treaty unless Japan recognized the Republic of China as the sole government of China. Were Japan to do this, she would effectively sever her relationship with China because the Republic of China had been confined to Taiwan while the Communist Party had control of the vast majority of China. Apparently recognizing this, Yoshida hinted that Japan might not agree to abandon its relationship with the mainland. Congress became infuriated. To settle things, John Foster Dulles flew to Japan and had Yoshida sign a letter saying that Japan would not conclude a peace treaty with the Communists.

After dealing with the onset of the Cold War, Calder talked about how America and Japan dealt with the Vietnam War. This section of the book had much more ambiguity than the part about the immediate post war period. Calder seems to hint that America fought the Vietnam War because we feared that the Communists might stage a takeover of Japan if the Communists prevailed in Vietnam.

Specifically, Calder mentions a meeting between Robert McNamara and Takeo Fukuda. During the meeting, McNamara asked Fukuda what would happen to Japan if America lost South Vietnam. Fukuda replied that the Japanese leftists would become more powerful and their protests against stationing U.S. forces in Japan would grow stronger. Japan, it seems, had America in a bind. America couldn’t simply walk away from Vietnam without risking losing Japan.

Calder also briefly talked about why America decided to return Okinawa to Japan. In 1970, Japan had to decide whether or not to renew its security alliance with America. Had America decided not to return Okinawa, Japan may well have ended its alliance with America. Naturally, America decided to return Okinawa to Japan.

To some extent, the relationship between Japan and America seems like series of crises. In his book, Calder talked extensively about the importance of those crises. According to him, each crisis forced America and Japan to develop relationships and build institutions to deal with the crisis.

“When political actors are drawn existentially together and forced by crisis to cooperate, they tend to be bonded to one another and to associate in more routine contexts once the formative crisis that originally catalyzed their relationship waned,” said Calder.

In retrospect, his words seem particularly relevant given what has been happening to me. I imagine that there have been quite a number of meetings to decide on how to deal with my situation.

I imagine the waning cohesiveness of the Japanese-American community, the waning interest in Japan, and the waning knowledge of Japan led someone in Japan to concoct a crazy scheme.

In his book, Calder suggests that America and Japan use the Internet to allow “broader inputs” and a more “dynamic process.” Calder suggested we create a web portal and a chat room “where policy issues in the bilateral relationship could be aired in a systematic way.” In turns out, we decided to use a blog.

Late at night, at a bar, I imagine a very drunk Japanese bureaucrat said the following to his coworkers…
Perhaps we could find a Japanese-American. Perhaps we could tell him our secrets. Perhaps he would reveal these secrets online. Perhaps America would torture him to try to get him to shut up. Perhaps he would refuse to shut up. Perhaps he would succeed in getting the information to the public. Perhaps this crisis would increase the cohesiveness of the Japanese-American community in the same way the concentration camps did. Perhaps this crisis would revive interest in Japan. Perhaps this crisis would force governments to start telling the truth. Perhaps this crisis would force governments to start living up to their ideals.
I can do this. Give me a chance.

In the final paragraph of his book, Calder wrote the following…
They are of different cultures, creeds, and histories, replete with embedded institutions that coexist only uneasily across that vast expanse of both water and misunderstanding that is the Pacific. Yet the challenge of coordination that the two sharply different nations face is of consequence for all the world. Together, they give new meaning to the concept of alliance, and they must not fail.