Friday, April 30, 2010

Worst Idea, Worst Human Being Ever

On April 30, the Asahi Shimbun published an interview between Yoichi Funabashi and Louise Arbour, the former chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.

During the interview, Arbour argued in favor of R2P, or the Responsibility to Protect. According to this doctrine, when a government or a group of individuals commit an atrocity such as genocide, other nations have a responsibility to intervene and stop those actions from taking place. And incredibly, Arbour argued in favor of a proximity clause, which would require nations located next to the atrocity to intervene and end the atrocity.

After reading this interview, I wrote the following in INDB (I slightly edited the comment to prevent Google from removing my website).
This proximity idea is the worst fucking idea I’ve heard in my entire life. I know what you Europeans are doing. This is just setting up neighboring countries to take the fall for the actions in other countries - actions that will probably be instigated by you Europeans. You’re not going to get away with this. Not this time.
Presumably, by having me write this little note, my government wanted to send a message to the Europeans. Actually, Louise Arbour is Canadian, but the R2P idea is something that the Europeans having been trying to foist on the rest of the world for some time now.

I believe that most atrocities are committed by individuals radicalized by western intelligence agencies. And I believe that Europe has been instigating many of these atrocities in an attempt to get America to intervene militarily in foreign countries. These atrocities are a form of pressure. If America refuses to intervene, other nations will denounce us for standing by and watching an atrocity take place. If America does intervene, we risk getting ourselves into a quagmire like Vietnam or Iraq. America is screwed either way, and so creating an atrocity is a good way of punishing America.

That said, with the proximity clause, it appears Europe wants to use R2P to punish nations other than America. Using this idea, if Europe is unable to instigate an atrocity in a country it does not like, for example, in China, Europe can instigate an atrocity in a neighboring country such as Pakistan or Afghanistan and blame China for not intervening. This proximity clause is literally a pro-genocide doctrine that will induce countries into instigating genocide in areas located near countries that they don’t like.

This is why Louise Arbour gets my vote for Worst Human Being Ever.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I try to explain gaiatsu to someone who should already understand the concept

In response to the comments made by Mr. Okumura and another anonymous person, I wrote the following on Global Talk 21:
Rudeness will get you nowhere? That's not true. Though I am not an expert on the history of the relationship between America and Japan, I can say with confidence that rudeness - both in words and in deeds - has been an important part of the relationship between the two countries. Both sides, particularly the American side, has often used rude behavior (which Japan refers to as gaiatsu) to get the other party engaged (e.g. the Black Ships of Commodore Perry and the Nixon Shocks). Unfortunately, politeness doesn't seem to work as often as one might have hoped. Unfortunately, Japan - or at least the leadership in Japan - seems to prefer it when America acts in a rude manner. And frankly, the fact that you bothered to reply to my "rude" post while you have ignored my other posts proves that rudeness works. By the way, I assume that the reply written to me by Anonymous was actually written by you. I am basing this assumption on the fact that the reply sounds like something you would write. If I'm wrong, I apologize. Anyways, about that sentence I wrote, admittedly, I phrased that sentence poorly. I probably should have said something like, "I believe that the world is at a very critical point in its development and I have been trying to get you to discuss with me what has been going on." To tell you the truth, I'm not entirely sure what your objection to that sentence is (other than that it was poorly written), but here's my guess. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. It sounds like you are agreeing that the world is at a critical point in its development, but that in fact, no significant developments are taking place. If that's so, then I suggest that Japan should try and make some developments happen. From Afghanistan, to Israel, to Palestine, to Greece, to Portugal, to Japan, to Iraq, it seems like the whole world is stalling and waiting for something to happen. As I mentioned earlier in this post, politeness doesn't seem to work. Pressure is often needed. Of course, you may say that Japan is applying pressure by threatening to evict the Marines from Okinawa. And I would agree with that assessment. But unfortunately, that has not provided enough pressure to get things moving. Japan needs to do something to ratchet up the pressure on all parties - including the Japanese public. I think we need to have a more full account of history. I think Japan should release the secret documents on Okinawa. And I think we need a fuller account of what is going on today. For example, I think we need to go over which states actually sponsor terrorism. I think the public would be very surprised to find out who is doing that. I think that making all this information public will put pressure on all the countries to act. The way I see it, Japan has three options. It can fold its hand, meaning that it accepts the 2006 agreement on Futenma. It can hold its hand, meaning it doesn't agree to anything and it just keeps stalling and waiting. Or it can do what I have recommended. It can go all in. The funny thing is that the American government seems to like my approach, if the recent comments by Kurt Campbell mean anything. I think the world desperately needs the courage to be honest. It doesn't seem like many countries have that courage, but I hope that Japan will be one of those countries that does.
Presumably, my government had me write this because they wanted Japan to do something to contribute to Afghanistan, or Iraq, or Greece, or Portugal, or any of the other countries I mentioned.

At the time I wrote this, I didn’t know that, in fact, the Japanese government really does not want to relocate Futenma. The Japanese government only likes to appear to care about what the people of Okinawa want. In the end, they hope America will apply a like gaiatsu and “force” them to leave Futenma where it is. They want America to take the blame for why Futenma must remain in place in Okinawa.

To my surprise, I found out that Europeans and Americans were not the only people who could be hypocritical and trashy.

My mistake.

Another anonymous post on Global Talk 21

Three minutes after someone published the PPO post on Global Talk 21, another anonymous post hit the blog:
Mark: You are making a fatal error in logic. You state "I believe that the world is at a very critical point in its development and I have been trying to get you to discuss with me these important developments."

Note how you assume that because you believe something to be "critical" that makes it an "important development." I humbly submit that this need not be the case.

PPO... What's that?

An anonymous person posted the following on GlobalTalk 21:
Jun,

Now more than ever we need some smart commentary on the PPO and what is going on: 1) the request to review the case was made, I believe, by the same group who put in the initial complaint, yet we literally have no idea who they are; 2) decisions from the PPO came prior to an important election in both cases; 3) the PPO behaves as if it is engaged in a media campaign aimed at affecting party/cabinet support levels, rather than a determination of evidence; 4) the MSM is happy to leak PPO-fed information verbatim without questioning whether they should be used in such a way, and doesn't spend any resources trying to understand actually what is going on inside the PPO.

I have no idea how to explain these things. Hence I turn to you. How can we explain this? Or, knowing that you're busy as all hell of late, do you know anyone who can?
At the time this was posted, no one, including me, seemed to know what this person was talking about. To begin with, we didn’t even know what PPO stood for. But Mr. Okumura knew what this guy was talking about, as he would reveal later on.

Jun Okumura calls me immature

Apparently, my response did not go over well with Mr. Okumura because a couple of hours after I called him a coward, he posted the following on his blog:
Rudeness will get you nowhere, but it does make you look immature.

Monday, April 26, 2010

I call Jun Okumura a coward

In response to Mr. Okumura’s latest post, I wrote the following:
You're going to respond to our comments? I'll believe it when I see it. You've been ducking my comments for most of the past year. I believe that the world is at a very critical point in its development and I have been trying to get you to discuss with me these important developments. Instead, you are ignoring those issues and focusing on the trivial. I think this whole episode with the LDP amounts to little more than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. I think you are afraid of having an honest, open discussion on things that truly matter.

You coward.
In retrospect, I was being too kind.

Campbell calls Japan proposals on Futenma relocation 'encouraging'

Kyodo News interviewed Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell on April 26, 2010. They talked about the efforts to relocate Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. In the interview, Campbell said he looked forward to “the next very intense period of dialogue between our two countries.”

I participated in that discussion. My part of the discussion took place on Jun Okumura’s blog.

You never call. You never write.

My conversation with Jun Okumura got a little testy on April 26, 2010. By that point, Mr. Okumura had been refusing to respond to my comments for some time.

At the end of one of his posts, he wrote:
Promise to respond to pending comments. But not now. Sorry.
I became truly enraged when I read that comment. In retrospect, I think my government “made” me become enraged.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Volcanic Ash Forces Obama to Cancel Poland Trip

ABC News reported that Obama would not attend the funeral of Lech Kaczynski. The ash spewed by the volcano in Iceland had prevented him from flying to Poland.

This would not be the last time a volcano would interfere with the overseas travels of Obama or Hillary. Volcanic eruptions (and earthquakes) would continue to plague their overseas travels throughout their administration. This has led me to believe that the volcanic eruptions and the earthquakes are man made. Someone was creating them to send a message to someone else.

In this case, perhaps, Europe was sending a message to Obama. We don’t like you, Mr. Pacific President, and we don’t want you to attend the funeral of one of our leaders. On the other hand, perhaps America caused the eruption. Perhaps we wanted to give Obama an excuse for not attending the funeral. Perhaps we were angry with Europe for some reason. As a third possibility, perhaps East Asia caused the volcanic eruption because they did not want Europe and America to draw closer to one another (which may have happened had Obama attended the funeral). I tend to discount this last scenario because I don’t believe East Asia has the capability to cause a volcano in Europe to erupt without the European authorities knowing about it.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Stanley McChrystal speaks at IHEDN

On April 16, Stanley McChrystal delivered a speech on Afghanistan at the Institute of Higher National Defense Studies in France. In that speech, McChrystal made one really interesting remark.

“In the years since the coalition has been there – the international community back in numbers – we’ve made a lot of mistakes,” said McChrystal. “We, the international community, all of us, have made many mistakes, usually because we didn’t understand.”

Unfortunately, McChrystal never says what the mistakes were nor does he say what the international community failed to understand. But I believe the international community – meaning the participating countries of NATO – used Afghanistan as a war ground to attack one another. When McChrystal said “we didn’t understand,” perhaps he meant the countries who participated in the operation failed to understand each other’s intentions. Perhaps everyone believed that everyone else was trying to take over Afghanistan when all they really wanted was to help Afghanistan. On the other hand, maybe McChrystal is full of shit and everyone understood each other’s intentions perfectly – everyone really did want to grab a piece of Afghanistan and use Afghanistan to put pressure on other countries by attacking their forces.

As a side note, I think this is another video that has been altered after it was originally placed online. In its original form, McChrystal delivered his speech in a much more stern and angry tone than he did in the current version posted online.

15th Anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing

On April 16, 2010, three days before the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing, Bill Clinton gave a speech at the Center for American Progress to reflect on what had happened 15 years ago. According to him, the attack led to several changes, changes that would affect himself as a person and America as a whole.

After the attack, Clinton worked together with Congress to pass legislation to protect the country against terrorism. Clinton ordered the FBI and CIA to cooperate with each other and share information. However, according to Clinton, they didn’t do that. Clinton claims he failed to discover that because, before 9/11, for some reason, there was a rule that the president was not supposed to know what the FBI was doing. To me, that sounds like a rule intended to give the FBI the latitude to break the law, which they probably did on 9/11.

In his speech, Clinton argued that, in some way, the interactions between himself and Congress changed after the Oklahoma City Bombing. Though he didn’t stop fighting with the Republicans – after all, the two of them managed to shut down the government twice within a year’s time – according to Clinton, “as tough as it was, it was different” after the bombing. Or maybe not. Towards the end of his speech, Clinton said fighting with the Republicans wasn’t tough at all. In fact, Clinton said he had a “great time” fighting with Newt Gingrich and the rest of the Republicans. It didn’t bother him a bit when Gingrich referred to him and Hillary as the enemies of normal Americans. Clinton said he “was glad to get in and mix it up.”

This, of course, implies that all the fighting between Clinton and Congress during the Clinton administration was, in fact, nothing more than political theater – both sides were working together for some purpose. In the case of the government shutdowns, I believe they were working together to try and get Tomiichi Murayama, the Socialist prime minister of Japan, to resign. Murayama was the first non-LDP prime minister in Japan since the creation of the LDP in 1955. Apparently, America didn’t want to see Japan change. And in fact, the LDP would return to power in 1996. Murayama would resign right after the second government shutdown. Apparently, Japan thought that a shutdown of the U.S. government might send the world economy into turmoil. Rather than risk that, Japan apparently decided to bring back the LDP.

As for the ways the attack changed Clinton personally, prior to the attack, Clinton had, on several occasions, referred to federal bureaucrats in a disparaging way. But after the attack, he stopped doing that.

“You could not read the stories of the lives of the people who perished at Oklahoma City and not respond in that way,” said Clinton.

Moreover, according to Clinton, given what happened 15 years ago, and given the similarities between then and now, we should all be careful of what we say. After all, we wouldn’t want another Oklahoma City Bombing, now would we?

The similarities include the fact that, in both times, there were anti-tax, anti-government movements in America. Furthermore, in both eras, U.S. incomes were stagnating. From the time Clinton left office until the financial crisis, the median income for families in America fell by $2,000 when taking inflation into account. During that time, the richest 10% got 90% of the economic gains. Clinton called these circumstances “profoundly disorienting.”

Too bad he didn’t call the inequity in America unfair. The fact that you have a bunch of crazy people whining about how high taxes are at a time when poor and middle class families are struggling while all the benefits go to the rich only proves that these crazy people must be controlled by someone else, namely, those rich people, who are somehow using these crazy people to advance their agenda. It makes no sense to have a bunch of poor, “disoriented” people complain about what is in effect income redistribution, which is what taxes often amount to.

Instead of arguing that we should do something to help these “disoriented” people by, for example, taxing the rich and using the money to create middle class jobs, Clinton merely seems to accept that America has a bunch of “deeply, deeply troubled” people who could explode at any second. Therefore, we should watch what we say, particularly when it comes to bureaucrats, the victims of the Oklahoma City Bombing.

Clinton claimed that the so-called “disoriented” people “wanted a simple, clear explanation of what was an inherently complex mixed picture full of challenges.” That sounds to me like a lousy excuse for not telling the people the truth. Clinton claims the people only want a “simple, clear explanation.” I’d say they want an honest explanation.

As for what this “complex mixed picture” really involved, Clinton, of course, didn’t fully explain what he meant by that, but he did say a few interesting things.

To deal these challenges, Clinton said that there had to be changes in “personal conduct.” He never said what those changes were. But let me take a stab at it. By changes in “personal conduct,” I believe he was referring to all the scandals he was involved in during his presidency, for example the Monica Lewinsky scandal. I believe Clinton is implying that the scandal was nothing more than political theater. It was nothing more than an attempt to avoid leadership at a time of crisis (at the time the Lewinsky scandal was going on in America, the Asian Financial Crisis was going on in Asia). Of course, this implies that the “challenges” Clinton faced was the rise of Asia. Clinton implies as much in other parts of his speech.

At one point in his speech, he talks about a letter he received after he won his election, a letter written by Robert McNamara, the Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War. In the letter, McNamara wrote that, now that Clinton had won the presidency that meant that the Vietnam War had finally ended.

“But the war did not end with my election,” said Clinton. “It entered a new phase.”

Hmmm…it appears someone was still not happy with East Asia.

Clinton also mentioned that the Internet proved troublesome during his administration.

During his presidency, America moved “into an information age that opened vast new vistas and posed all kinds of new problems.” In his speech, Clinton never really explained why the Internet proved so difficult to handle during his administration. He only mentioned one problem – the ability to use the Internet to teach each others how to make bombs.

Since Clinton, once again, was unwilling to explain his own statement, let me, once again, take a stab at explaining it for him. I believe that the “New Diplomacy” began during his administration. That was why CSIS wrote that report which called for changing U.S. diplomacy to use the Internet and to use the public, not because CSIS was initiating change, but because CSIS was reacting to changes that were already taking place, namely, individual citizens using the Internet to convey classified information to the public.

At the end of his speech, Clinton said that our freedoms endure because of a “bright line” that separates free speech from criminal activity, namely, the advocacy of violence. I don’t disagree with that but I wonder what he thinks of Krauthammer and his advocacy of going after people like me?

After I listened to this speech, I wrote the following in INDB, in the hopes that Clinton might somehow be able to read it.
The one thing you left out - though you hinted at it in the beginning - is that the Oklahoma City bombing was a terrorist attack carried out by a group of people with links to Al Qaeda, in particular Ramsey Yousef (see the February 26, 2008 House speech by Dana Rohrabacher). That implies that the ultimate responsibility for the attack lies with Europe or America. Or both. The fact that Ramsey Yousef attacked the World Trade Center implies an anti-Globalization viewpoint, which means that Europe is likely responsible. Or America, as attacks on itself could provide pressure on Japan to make changes (America is collapsing due globalization and globalization is your fault so make some changes). Of course, if I am right and the attack was planned by a government, and you know that the attack was planned by a government and is not simply the result of some wing-nut out there acting on his lonesome - that implies you are using this incident not to explain the Oklahoma City Bombing but to try and get people to watch what they say. Frankly, it almost seems like you are threatening to kill someone if people don't speak more politely. Nevertheless, I think I will try out this politeness thing, at least for the rest of this comment. Please stop poisoning me.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Iceland volcano erupts

At 2:00 AM local time on April 14, Iceland evacuated 800 people near a volcano. Soon afterward, the volcano erupted. This eruption disrupted air travel in Europe.

Obama to attend Polish president's funeral

Robert Gibbs said Obama would attend the funeral of Lech Kaczynski in Poland. Actually, Obama would not attend the funeral. Something would prevent him from flying to Poland.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Lech Kaczynski dies in a plane crash

A plane carrying Lech Kaczynski, the former president of Poland, crashed in Russia. Everyone on board died.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Court orders state to disclose Okinawa reversion papers

In Japan, a district court ordered the government to disclose documents that indicate the existence of a secret agreement on financing of the reversion of Okinawa.

“The bilateral secret pact to finance the Okinawa reversion is closely related to the current situation in Okinawa,” said the lawyers who represent the plaintiffs. “We expect this ruling to provide an opportunity to reexamine the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and U.S. bases in Japan, and seek how Japan can achieve peace.”

After initiating the investigation into the secret agreements, you would think Katsuya Okada would have supported the plaintiffs. Instead, he bemoaned the ruling.

“I don’t think (the government) will accept this (the ruling) as it is,” said Okada.

In INDB, next to this quote, I wrote the following.
Why? Because then the people will know the truth? You need to have an informed population to have a real democracy. I knew Japan wasn't serious about being a democracy.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Panel set up over possible scrapping of secret-pact documents

The Japanese foreign ministry began an investigation into whether or not someone had destroyed some of the secret agreements with America. One senior official claims that the ministry destroyed some of these documents prior to the enactment of an information disclosure law in 2001.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Collateral Murder

On April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks released a video of an airstrike conducted by two U.S. Apache helicopters in Iraq. During the airstrike, the helicopters killed about a dozen men, including one reporter from Reuters.

The release of the video was another instance of the New Diplomacy, where individuals would release information on the Internet that some government(s) would rather keep hidden.

Apparently, the target of this leak was the U.S. government, as the video showed America killing a reporter. Presumably, America did not want this video to get released to the public.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

'Old' diplomacy needed now more than ever

The Japan Times published an article written by Kenneth Weisbrode, an official at the European University Institute, on April 1, 2010.

“There is much talk in the air — especially in Britain and the United States — about reinventing diplomacy for the 21st century,” said Weisbrode.

I believe my government made me participate in this “New Diplomacy.”

According to Weisbrode, under this new initiative, America would improve “communication across borders and at all levels of society” and in doing so create a “global network of people, institutions and relationships” with America at its center. Weisbrode believed Hillary Clinton and her chief policy planner, Anne-Marie Slaughter, were behind this effort. Weisbrode argued that this initiative was running into trouble.

“Clinton’s global network is already meeting roadblocks, particularly with China,” said Weisbrode. “She is finding out that the old ways of doing business — treaties, ambassadors, demarches, alliances and the rest — may be useful after all.”

Weisbrode said that the world needed diplomats now more than ever.

Later on in the year, someone – I believe it was the Japan Times – published an article about the failure of the New Diplomacy. Interestingly, I can’t find that article now. Furthermore, I remember that a European wrote an article about how – with the New Diplomacy gone – the world would go back to its old alliances. I can’t find that article either. The only article I could find was an article that argued that the world should not go back to its old alliances. That isn’t the article I’m thinking of. It does seem to me that Europe, more than America, is very interested in either changing or removing some articles and videos that are very damaging to its image.