Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Shinzo Abe will visit America

On October 13, 2010, NHK reported that former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would make a week long visit to America from October 14 to October 20.

Upon learning of his impending visit, I wrote the following in INDB, presumably, because my government “made” me do it as part of the New Diplomacy. Now my government is trying to “tell” me that someone in Japan also provided input for the article, in particular, they wrote the last sentence, among other things.
If this visit goes the way I think it will, I’m sure Shinzo Abe will try to reassure America of the importance of the alliance. I’m sure Abe will say the word “cornerstone” at least 35 times. I’m sure Abe will express both fear and alarm about China and North Korea. Abe may bring along with him a couple of “gifts” that he can offer to placate our government. Abe will probably make a boring speech at one of the think tanks and go home hoping that he has patched up the relationship. I’m really hoping he doesn’t do this.

Before Richard Nixon visited China, Ambassador Nobuhiko Ushiba had this to say.

“This question of understanding and communication lies at the very heart of our occasional frictions of the past, and of our prospects for building a solid base in the future,” said Ambassador Ushiba.

The alliance doesn’t need a bunch of bromides now. It needs honesty.

Here’s why Abe should not hype the threat of North Korea and China – it’s not believable. No other country has as close of ties to Korea and China as Japan. No other country has tried as hard as Japan to make China successful. The American public may not know this. But the people in Washington know this, and to say otherwise is just not credible. They will think you’re lying to them. Lying is not the way to improve a relationship.

Japan must change its relationship with America. But before Japan can decide how it should deal with America, it must first know more about the current state of America.

Many Americans are angry with the way things are going in our country. I am angry. Incredibly, from what I can tell, the way our media and our government want to deal with this anger is just to tell people they ought to cool it. I’m no genius but from my experience that’s never been a good way to get someone to calm down.

Their other great idea seems to be to try to convince people to place new restrictions on freedom of speech. To do this, the western media has launched a series of incidents of political theater. Recently, they somehow convinced a bunch of idiots to protest military funerals. Afterward, trash like Bob Schieffer told the public that we needed our government to place more limits on our liberty. Hey, dipshit, why do you think those soldiers signed up for the military in the first place?

Before that, they convinced Terry Jones to burn the Koran – another piece of political theater meant to convince the public of the dangers of freedom of expression. Now you have Newt Gingrich saying a bunch of crazy things and the media linking that to Terry Jones.

“If Gen. David Petraeus is correct that the burning of a Koran by an obscure preacher could make our troops’ mission more dangerous, imagine the impact of a national figure like Gingrich drawing parallels between Islam and Nazism,” said Joe Scarborough.

What the Terry Jones incident, the antics of Newt Gingrich, and the military funerals show isn’t the need to limit freedom of speech nor is it the need for people to shut up and be civil. What it shows is how useless political theater has become and how badly our media and our government want to hide the truth from the public.

It shows that the elite in our country just doesn’t want to be called trash. But it wants to act like trash. It wants to be trash. It just doesn’t want other people to call them names because that makes them feel sad. In no way do I see them accepting responsibility. In no way do I see them making any effort to change. You don’t need to use the language I use, but you do need to be honest.

America has problems. To deal with these problems, the same old idiots are recommending the same old things. We have a large trade deficit. To deal with this problem, you have Congress screaming at China to strengthen its currency - so much for civility. Strengthening the yuan didn’t work last time. Strengthening the yen didn’t work for Japan. Strengthening the mark didn’t work for Germany. Strengthening the yuan won’t work now - at least not to correct the trade balance. It would allow America to default on its debt and it could push China into deflation and create a tremendous amount of bad loans. The Chinese real estate market is already wildly overpriced. Strengthening the yuan would add deflationary pressure to commodities and wages in China. That is just about the dumbest idea imaginable to me. Housing would become less affordable – unless housing prices crashed – which is probably the point from our government’s perspective.

You have western economists telling China to raise interest rates. Yes, I’m sure that’s a great way to boost domestic demand. Raise interest rates. Brilliant.

Meanwhile, China and America continue to shout past each other on climate change.

The neocons still have their reputation more or less intact. Bill Kristol is still calling for large amounts of military spending. The same people are still saying how important it is for America to support Israel. This is one of the reasons why we need to go over history. If we did, it would show that supporting Israel is not such a great idea.

If you want to have a real democracy, the public needs to understand the world as it is. You can’t have a stupid public and have a real democracy. It’s just that simple. You can have a stupid public and have a bureaucratic government. That’s basically what everyone has today. That’s the China model. If we continue to use that model we should have the integrity to say that’s the model we’re using.

We need to change. We should strive to become a real democracy. A well informed public would help prevent the government from breaking the law. A well informed public would limit the excesses of the special interests – whether it be the supporters of Israel, the supporters of large military expenditures, or the teacher’s unions, or whomever.

Perhaps most importantly, it would help prevent the suffering and death of countless people in other less fortunate countries. We need to change – all of us, in America, in Europe, and around the world. We killed millions of people in World War I. We killed millions of people in World War II. We killed millions of people in Korea. We killed millions of people in Vietnam. We killed millions of people in Cambodia. We killed a million people in Rwanda. We killed thousands of people in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some may notice that the numbers are going down and think that’s an improvement. I don’t believe that. I don’t think we’ve learned anything. A similar incident may not happen for a while – we’re still fighting two wars right now – but there is no basis to believe that America or Europe or anyone else has changed. Perhaps there won’t be another World War, but another Vietnam, or another Cambodia, or another Rwanda – that is not out of the question.

East Asia needs to go over history. That would actually help lower tensions in the region because it would show that many East Asians have tried for a very long time to help each other succeed. Those efforts have made the current progress possible. Of course, that’s just about the last thing that the white trash wants and so you get comments like the following.

“It is imperative that the people and the leaders of the states of Northeast Asia ― in particular China, Japan, and South Korea ― focus on contributing to this new history of the 21st century, rather than dwelling on issues of the 20th century,” said Andrew L. Oros, a professor at Washington College.

Comments like that show that America does not want East Asia to resolve its differences. Comments like that show that America wants East Asians to fight amongst themselves. Comments like that show that America really doesn’t want to be a partner of East Asia. Comments like that need to stop.

With or without an honest dialogue, without or without real democracy, Japan will probably get along just fine. Its elites actually learn things as they progress through history. Unfortunately, our elites don’t. Listen to the neocons now and you won’t hear a lick of change.

The problem with Hatoyama is not that he plunged the alliance into a crisis. The problem is that once he fucked up the alliance he just got up and walked away. The history of the relationship between America and Japan has been a series of crisis. This probably has something to do with East Asian culture. The two kanji for the word “crisis” – 危機 – mean both danger and opportunity.

Japan has a tremendous opportunity now. It has the opportunity to shape and build a more just, more accountable, more democratic, more transparent world. I don’t know what the hell Hatoyama was thinking when he quit. I guess he was thinking that a crisis merely serves as leverage for Japan to act in its own self interest. Japanese honor is at stake.

Sometimes a friend should tell you what you need to hear and not what you want to hear. America does not need Shinzo Abe to come to America and tell America how great it is. We have a lot of problems right now. Lying about those problems will not fix them.

America needs to know the truth – about its history, about Japan’s history, about Europe’s history. Only then can America understand the world today. Only then can America make wise decisions for its future. And only if - after both the American public and the Japanese public know the truth – can they ever decide to create a relationship built on trust and create something that is truly worthy of the word alliance.
Well, guess what? Shinzo Abe came to America and gave a dumbass speech at the Hudson Institute and nothing changed.


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