Sunday, March 28, 2010

Words of wisdom from beyond the grave of Japan's secret pacts

“A drama currently being played out on the stage of national politics in Japan may well mark a turning point in the country’s postwar history.”
Roger Pulvers

On March 28, the Japan Times published an op-ed written by Roger Pulvers. In this article, he talks about Kei Wakaizumi, a man who played an important role in the creation of the secret agreements between Japan and America.

In the late 60s, Wakaizumi and Henry Kissinger wrote a secret agreement that allowed America to bring its nuclear weapons into Okinawa in the event of an emergency. When Richard Nixon and Eisaku Sato signed the agreement, only two other people knew about its existence – Henry Kissinger and Kei Wakaizumi. As the years went by, Wakaizumi began to feel an enormous sense of guilt over his role in forging the agreement. In the late 80s, he had a nervous breakdown.

“I have brought about new insecurity, anguish and anger to the people of Okinawa,” said Wakaizumi.

The goal of his negotiations with America was to garner the return of Okinawa to Japan. He succeeded in doing that. However, in many ways, for the people of Okinawa, the occupation did not end. In fact, you could argue that the occupation grew worse. After the Vietnam War, America agreed to remove its forces from the urban areas in Japan. Some of those forces relocated to Okinawa, which at that time had relatively large areas of uninhabited land available for use. So in some respects, you could argue that Wakaizumi failed in his job to end the occupation of Okinawa. Perhaps that failure led to his depression.

In 1994, he wrote a book about his role in the return of Okinawa called “The Best Course Available.” The time immediately after the publication of that book was also a period of great upheaval in Japan. A Socialist prime minister had recently assumed power. At the beginning of 1995, a 6.8 earthquake killed over six thousand people in the Kobe area. A terrorist group killed thirteen people in the Tokyo subways using a chemical weapon in March. Towards the end of the year, a group of U.S. servicemen raped a girl in Okinawa. This crime enraged the people of Okinawa and led to a reconsideration of the alliance between Japan and America.

But in the end, nothing happened. At the beginning of 1996, the LDP returned to power. Bill Clinton met with the new prime minister, bromides were exchanged, and nothing much changed.

Wakaizumi would commit suicide later that year.

In many respects, the situation at the beginning of the new decade seems very similar to the situation Japan faced before he killed himself. A new party has taken control of the country. An enormous earthquake has killed thousands of people. We are once again threatening to tell the world the truth about our history. But I think there will at least one difference between then and now. I do not plan on leading a failed revolution.
Japan must begin to present its national interest and its principles to Asia and the entire world, beginning with the United States. That national interest and those principles must, in turn, be based resolutely on an autonomous spirit of independence, be expressed with an unwavering mettle and be couched in language that is universally understood.
– Kei Wakaizumi

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Will the Domino Tiles Fall and If So When?

On March 27, 2010, I asked Jun Okumura what solution he would prefer on the issue of relocating Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. While claiming to lack the necessary expertise to comment on the issue, he went on to say that the helicopters at Futenma are not a significant risk to the people living near the base, that the Marines stationed at the base are happy to be there, that those Marines don’t commit many crimes, and that the cheapest option is to just leave everything as it is. In short, he would vote for the status quo.

This is, I believe, the option that the Japanese government really wants. I have a feeling my government “got” me to ask Mr. Okumura his personal opinion in an attempt to ascertain Japan’s true intentions on this issue. Of course, their true intentions differ widely from their stated intentions, which were to relocate the base outside of Okinawa. However, while wanting to keep things the way they are, the Japanese government also wants the people of Okinawa to believe that they actually want to move the base off the island. Basically, they are being hypocritical.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Probe into Japan-U.S. secret pacts may lead to criticism of ministry

On March 21, the Yomiuri Shimbun published a story about Katsuya Okada, the Japanese foreign minister, and his investigation into the secret agreements between Japan and America.

“The foreign minister has opened Pandora’s box,” said one Japanese official.

In INDB, next to this quote, I wrote the following.
Japan and America fought each other during World War II. The war ended with the explosion of two atomic bombs. We got through that. We can get through whatever is in those documents. Whatever happened occurred decades ago. The people are ready to move forward. They deserve the truth. Hatoyama says he wants to make Japan truly democratic. The people need to be informed to have a real democracy. This will be Hatoyama’s biggest test.
Of course, Hatoyama failed that test miserably.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Missing documents add to mystery over secret Japan-U.S. pacts

According to a former Mainichi Shimbun reporter, Takichi Nishiyama, when America returned Okinawa to Japan, Japan agreed to pay America a sum of $65 million to improve U.S. military facilities. Nishiyama referred to this agreement as the biggest secret agreement and the origin of the omoiyari yosan (the money Japan pays America each year for stationing U.S. forces in Japan).

For the rest of 2010, Japan would threaten to release this document but would refrain from doing so.


Instability in 1960s made secret pacts with U.S. necessary: expert

The president of the U.S.-Japan Foundation, George Packard, argued that Japan needed to keep its nuclear agreements with America secret during the 60s. At that time, there was a strong anti-nuclear sentiment running through Japan. Had the Japanese public known of the existence of those agreements, they may become very angry and there may have been an uprising.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Global Security: UK-US Relations

In Britain, the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House of Commons published a report about the relationship between America and Britain. The report contained a long list of recommendations, one of which was to stop referring to the relationship between Britain and America as a “special relationship.”

The idea that Britain and America had a “special relationship” took off after World War II. Britain decided that she needed to keep America as her ally or else everything would fall apart. Actually, for Britain, pretty much everything did fall apart. But her plan, nevertheless, was to stay close to America, try to convince her to do Britain’s bidding, and hope for the best. As such, the idea that Britain would no longer have a “special relationship” with America must have seemed like sacrilege to many in Britain.

As for why Britain should no longer refer to her relationship with America as “special,” the committee said that Britain had been “over-optimistic” about its ability to influence policymaking in America. What’s more, in the future, British influence in America would decline even further.

“We conclude that over the longer-term the UK is unlikely to be able to influence the US to the extent it has in the past,” said the committee.

They blamed the decline in British influence on the “shifts in geopolitical power.” By that, they meant the shift in power from the West to Asia. The committee acknowledged that America had the right to pursue relationships with other countries which could provide America with things that Britain could not. The committee decided that Britain had noooo choice but to accept that Asia would become more powerful as time went on. And instead of trying to stop the inevitable, Britain should ensure that she had the proper policy in place to cope with the situation. However, in the immediate short term, according to the committee, Britain had a good opportunity to influence America.

“The UK must capitalise upon the opportunities for influence which have arisen as a result of the greater alignment between the UK and US on a range of key policies,” said the report.

The committee does not say why or on what issues Britain and America had common interests. But presumably, these issues relate to the rise of Asia. Presumably, both Britain and America wanted to weaken their currencies at the expense of East Asia. Presumably, they wanted to force East Asia to accept a global warming treaty that placed unfair restrictions on East Asia. And presumably, they both wanted East Asia to lower her tariffs and open her markets while not providing East Asia with any corresponding concessions. The real question is…what were they thinking? On the one hand, they admit that power was shifting decisively to the East. But on the other hand, those idiots decided to pretend that nothing had changed. What a bunch of idiots. Anyways…

Despite this newfound alignment of interests, the committee argued that Britain needed to be “less deferential” towards America. Britain needed to be able to say no to America when its interests conflicted with America’s. In some cases, the report was contradictory on this point. On the one hand, the report listed our policy towards Israel and Palestine as an example of where Britain had a different policy than America. But on the other hand, Ivan Lewis, the Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, told the committee that America listened to Britain on questions related to the Middle East peace process. Presumably, this means that Britain actually does approve of our policy which is hell bent on making the lives of the Palestinians miserable. But in their public statements, they just like to say that they disapprove of our actions. That way, Muslims won’t hate Britain (though they will hate us).

Remember, the committee just said America and Britain now had similar interests on a range of key issues. But on the other hand the committee argued that Britain should distance herself from America on certain issues. That sounds contradictory, to say the least. But really, what Europe and America decided to do was to engage in a game of good cop, bad cop. America would be the good cop. Europe would be the bad cop. And the target of this game would be East Asia. As such, much of the apparent conflict between Europe and America over the coming months would be nothing more than theater. And this is the real reason why the committee wanted to drop the use of the term “special relationship.” Britain and America needed to maintain the appearance of fighting each other.

The real “special relationship”

In fact, the committee reported that, despite the death of the “special relationship,” Britain and America still maintained a very close relationship in one crucial area: intelligence. According to the committee, intelligence cooperation was the one area where the relationship could truthfully be described as “special.”

“Britain has an intelligence sharing relationship with the US which is second to none,” said David H. Dunn.

According to him, America values British intelligence agencies more than the intelligence agencies in any other country. This cooperation started during World War II and has grown ever since. The committee believed that both Britain and America gained a considerable amount of benefit from that cooperation, particularly in the field of counter-terrorism.

According to Dunn, Britain has much to offer America when it came to intelligence work.

“Some foreign assets are more willing to talk to British intelligence rather than to the Americans for a variety of historical or other reasons,” said Dunn. “Thus it was the British intelligence service that brought an end to Libya’s programme of weapons of mass destruction and it was British intelligence for example who recently brought to light the recent Iranian facilities near Qum.”

In fact, I believe that Britain has a great deal of control over countries like Libya and Iran and that is why Britain was able to bring an end to the Libyan WMD program. That is why Britain knew about the Iranian nuclear facility in Qum. I won’t go through all the evidence here, but consider this. The current leader of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi, was “educated” at Sandhurst. As for Iran, remember that Britain has controlled the Iranian oil sector basically from the beginning. In fact, before BP became BP, it was the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. My government certainly seems to believe that Britain has influence in Iran. How else can you explain that, in the report, Ivan Lewis said that America listens to Britain when it comes to issues that deal with Iran?

In my opinion, foreign influence is the only explanation for why countries like Iran and Libya keep doing things that are so stupid. They must be doing these things because they are controlled from the outside. They must be doing these things because their foreign masters want to keep their countries poor and miserable. They cannot be doing these things because they are in the interests of their country or their people.

Of course, Libya and Iran are not the only countries with which Britain has interfered with. Britain also had a great deal of influence in Iraq. According to Michael Clarke, “UK intelligence and Special Forces played key roles in the neutralisation of al Qaeda-Iraq after 2006.” Perhaps they were able to play this role because Al Qaeda in Iraq were British assets to begin with.

The report implies that Britain has extensive influence in Pakistan as well.

“The UK can contribute to both military and political re-orientation of Pakistan’s armed forces in ways that the US cannot, and without some of the stigma that attaches inside Pakistan to association with the US,” said Michael Clarke.

We must ask ourselves why does Britain have this miraculous ability to “reorient” the Pakistani military and political systems? Perhaps Britain never gave up her influence in Pakistan. Remember, not too long ago, Pakistan used to be part of British India.

Interestingly, despite this cozy intelligence relationship, the committee claimed that Britain did not influence the decisions America made in Afghanistan.

“I was quite struck by those who told me that we have had people embedded in the analytical stage of the discussion of US policy towards Afghanistan, but that the Americans insisted on taking the embedded British officers out when they moved on to the strategy stage,” said Lord Wallace of Saltaire. “That is access without influence. It is clearly going to be a question for anyone’s security review: where are our interests in this and how much are we going to spend in order to buy privileged access?”

My government now “tells” me that this was merely theater. America did talk to Britain about our strategy in Afghanistan. But Britain wanted to deny this because they wanted to be able to deny that they approved of our dipshit strategy. Note this is similar to how Britain acted with respect to our policy towards Israel and Palestine.

The British Network of Diplomatic Posts

Here’s another reason why readers should be doubtful about the death of the “special relationship.” In the report, the committee mentions that Britain has an extensive network of British officials throughout America. These officials work for the Network of Diplomatic Posts. They develop relationships with important local figures, governors, state legislators, business executives, and university vice-chancellors. In fact, when this report was published, Britain had 417 of these officials in America. According to the report, this network is important for Britain. But the only way this network is of value to Britain is if these officials can influence U.S. decision makers into making decisions that are favorable to Britain.

Interestingly, the report lists a number of other countries where Britain has a Network of Diplomatic Posts. In India, Britain has 505 officials working for this organization, which is more than what Britain has stationed in America. If I remember correctly, Britain only had 1,200 bureaucrats running India back when India was a British colony. And the report fails to mention the number of British officials in Bangladesh and Pakistan (which used to be part of British India). Actually, if my memory is correct, this report used to list the number of British officials in those countries. And the number of British officials in all three countries – India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh – was about 1,200. Based on the number of British bureaucrats in India, it seems as though India continues to remain a de facto colony of Britain to this very day. Perhaps this is why Britain decided to alter or remove this information from the report.

Although the media made the headline for this report “The Death of the Special Relationship,” the actual heading for the report should have been, “The Special Relationship Tries a Little Good Cop, Bad Cop.” Then again, maybe not. Because despite the evil intentions of Britain and America, in the coming days, East Asia would decisively crush western hegemony. And so now, maybe, America will decide she has noooo choice but to dump Britain and enter a new era which can only be called “The Pacific Century.”

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The DPJ so far

On March 17, the European Chamber of Commerce interviewed Jun Okumura about his blog. This is another article that I think has been altered since its original publication. In the original article, I believe the interviewer, Julian Ryall, referred to Mr. Okumura as an “influential blogger.” In the current version, he refers to him as a “prolific blogger”. Nevertheless, in the current version, he still refers to Mr. Okumura as a prominent blogger, though the word “prominent” does not mean exactly the same thing as “influential.” Apparently, Europe wants to downplay the importance of what happened on his blog.

During the interview, Mr. Okumura said that, “Blogs are not taken nearly as seriously in Japan as they are in the English-speaking world.”

This is an interesting comment. It implies that he believes America and Britain did take the content of his blog seriously. Remember, his blog is in English, not Japanese. He also may be hinting that Japan does not like the so called “New Diplomacy.”

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Report on secret pacts

The Asahi Shimbun published an editorial on the investigation into the secret agreements on March 11.

“In a democracy, no government has the right to maintain a decades-long deception on diplomatic and national security policies that form the backbone of a nation,” said the Asahi Shimbun. “But this is precisely what happened in Japan. Fortunately, however, our country has finally achieved a closure of sorts for its sorry history.”

In INDB, right next to this quote, I wrote the following.
Did I mention that the Asahi Shimbun is full of a bunch of no good, worthless, hypocritical cowards? Oh, not yet, huh? Well, I will.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Political Theater starring Eric Massa

Political theater reached a new level of craziness at the beginning of March when Congressman Eric Massa announced he would resign, apparently for groping a male staffer.

It appears that our government wanted us to focus on Eric Massa instead of the congressional debate on the war in Afghanistan.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Japan Drops Denial of Cold War 'Treaties'

On March 9, for the first time, the Japanese government confirmed the existence of her secret agreements with America.

According to the New York Times, some people in Washington worried that “revealing the treaties was part of an effort by Mr. Hatoyama’s administration to push away from the United States.”

Katsuya Okada denied that allegation. He told reporters that the investigation was “about becoming a government that discloses more information and is more truthful.”

But on the other hand, Okada showed no interest in looking for any missing documents.

“If we have credible evidence showing some documents were discarded, we should investigate the matter, but I don't think it's necessary at this point,” said Okada.

In INDB, I wrote the following in the notes section for this article.
Democracy is meaningless. The decision making in Japan is as transparent as the decision making in America and China - which is to say not at all. The people cannot make decisions because the government withholds information.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Germany releases the leader of PJAK

A mere three days after Germany arrested the leader of PJAK, Germany released him. This, of course, made Iran really, really angry.

Gone, Solid Gone

The New York Times published an op-ed written by Roger Cohen called “Gone, Solid Gone” on March 8, 2010.

Cohen starts the article off with a little joke. Obama calls Herman Van Rompuy and gets his answering machine. The answering machine says, “We are closed for tonight. Please select from the following options. Press one for the French view, two for the German view, three for the British view, four for the Polish view, five for the Italian view, six for the Romanian view…”

When Cohen wrote this, Europe had just selected Van Rompuy as its first President of the European Council. America had hoped that, with this new position, Europe would start adopting some common positions on issues like the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, climate change, and so on, instead of having each country take its own position. As the joke suggests, Europe preferred having each nation take its own position on each issue.

According to Cohen, this made Obama angry.

“The Obama presidency has been a shock to Europe,” said Cohen. “At heart, Obama is not a Westerner, not an Atlanticist.”

“He’s very much a member of the post-Western world,” said Constanze Stelzenmuller, an official at the German Marshall Fund.

This made Europe very angry. Europe felt America had done a bait-and-switch on them.

“Europe, in its widespread contempt for President George W. Bush, saw in Obama a savior who would restore trans-Atlantic ties,” said Cohen.

Boo hoo. Sniffle. Sniffle.

“Europe needs to get over America to discover itself,” said Cohen. “That discovery might provide a basis for strong ties going forward.”

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Message Maven Finds Fingers Pointing at Him

“I’ve learned more things in the last year than I will ever learn in my life,” said David Axelrod, the Senior Adviser to the President, in a New York Times article published on March 6, 2010. “It’s just something you can’t do forever, or it will kill you.”

Friday, March 5, 2010

Germany arrests the leader of PJAK

Over the years, a terrorist group called PJAK has conducted several strikes against Iran. On March 5, Germany arrested the leader of that organization, Abdul Rahman Haji Ahmadi. Up until that point, Germany had allowed Ahmadi to live within her borders. That, of course, implies that Germany controls Ahmadi and his group. Prior to the arrest, Iran had been demanding that Germany extradite him. The arrest of Ahmadi gave Iran some hope that Germany would soon hand him over.