Monday, May 09, 2016

Nuclear Proliferation among Regional Powers Shall Never Work as Deterrence

Some people in the world believe that nuclear possession would boost independent deterrence of their countries. In reality, nuclear arms are no guarantee of deterrence, but simply intensify tensions among regional powers. In order to make nuclear deterrence reliable, sufficient second strike capability and effective systems like hotlines are necessary. However, except nuclear superpowers like the United States and Russia, most of the regional powers cannot afford to possess a huge amount of nuclear weapons, and thus, they are vulnerable to the first attack by the enemy. How these regional powers, including potential nuclear possessors, pursue reliable deterrence against the rival, with limited capability? I would like to mention some cases below.

Currently, the Indian subcontinent is the only place where antagonistic nuclear powers, India and Pakistan, are located side by side along the border. Tensions can arise anytime. Particularly, terrorists’ acquisition of nuclear materials from Pakistan is a critical concern, for fear of a dirty bomb attack in India. In the 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament by Laskar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, India failed to react quickly to deploy troops against Pakistan, which was supposed to sponsor these terrorists. In order to manage such fragile nuclear security environment, the Indian government contrived the Cold Start doctrine, which is a massive and quick response with conventional forces to prevent nuclear attack by Pakistan. In response, Pakistan developed tactical nuclear weapons to stop Indian aggression. The problem is, this mutual deterrence is quite feeble, compared with the US-Soviet or Russian MAD, despite the hotline between two countries. If terrorists plotted to attack India from Pakistani territory, this would trigger India’s Cold Start attack and Pakistan’s response with tactical nuclear weapons, in theory (“Are Pakistan's Nuclear Assets Under Threat?”; Diplomat; April 28, 2016). As shown in the tension after the Mumbai terrorist attacks in 2008, mutual distrust between India and Pakistan is still deep. Only an external power, notably the United States, is the last intermediary to prevent a nuclear war between both nations.

Likewise, possible nuclear arms build up of Japan and South Korea would not be helpful deterrence against North Korea, as their second strike capability would be limited. More importantly, both Japan and South Korea would have to rely on American satellite for surveillance against North Korea. In addition to deterrence capability of Japan and South Korea, their bilateral relation is a serious problem. The Japanese-South Korean relationship is not the Anglo-French relationship. No one expects nuclear tension across the Dover Strait, but diplomacy across the Tsushima Strait is extremely sensitive. As commonly known, both countries frequently bicker over colonial history, and seemingly trivial gaffes could easily intensify bilateral tensions. Moreover, South Korea still sees Japan a kind of threat. In other words, Japanese-South Korean relations are more like Indo-Pakistani relations. American security umbrella has made a significant contribution to prevent the conflict across the Tsushima Strait from growing too serious. Therefore, if both countries were to have independent nuclear arms, they might target each other, rather than deter North Korea. Donald Trump is extremely incognisant of such sensitive Far Eastern affairs.

As I mention some cases here, it would not help boost deterrence, if the global community permitted regional powers to possess nuclear weapons. They pursue nuclear arms, because the security environment in their neighborhood is unstable. If not, they do not have to spend on these arsenals. This is typically seen in South Africa’s denuclearization after the fall of apartheid. But regional nuclear rivalries simply make their own security worse. This is particularly true in the Middle East, where ethno-sectarian conflicts are intertwined with terrorism. As India invented an indigenous strategic theory of deterrence, others would do. However, I can hardly imagine that their strategies will be reliable deterrence as those of established nuclear powers like the Big Five, notably the US-Russian MAD. Therefore, it is our imperative to sustain and strengthen the NPT regime, and America should revitalize its role as the world policeman.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Obama Should Send a Warning to Trump in Hiroshima!

Ever since the inauguration of President Barack Obama, I have been firmly opposed to his aspiration to visit Hiroshima, because it would appear apologetic and post-American. I have been critically concerned that it would invigorate rising enemies to the Western alliance in the post Cold War era. But a more dreadful threat has emerged in the presidential race in the US homeland, and a strong message must be delivered against ignorant and irresponsible remarks on nuclear security, to express that the conscience of the global community shall not permit any kind of such words and behavior, regardless of the partisanship and the state. Now, from the perspective of “Never Trump!”, I believe that the priority must be changed, and thus, I would welcome Obama’s visit to Hiroshima.

The majority of the Japanese public, and even atomic bomb victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, do not expect any leader of the United States to apologize to wartime deeds. I have to remind people around the world that Hiroshima is no Auschwitz, and none of the exhibitions in the Peace Memorial park, including the Atomic Bomb Dome, blame the United States and the Allied forces. Therefore, Obama has no obligation to apologize, but to send a confident message of American leadership to make the world safe from nuclear threats. Nonproliferation of the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) has been one of the top agendas in American foreign policy. Among them, the nuclear issue is a primary focus of renowned foreign policy think tanks, whether conservative or liberal. This implies that it is America’s bipartisan and vital interest to stop nuclear proliferation. We have to bear in mind that even Russia and China have accepted American proposals in nuclear nonproliferation, as seen in Iran and North Korea. Typically, the NPT (Nonproliferation Treaty) regime symbolizes American leadership in the global public interest. Furthermore, it has become an imperative to stop nuclear terrorism, in the aftermath of 9-11 attacks.

Quite deplorably, Donald Trump is utterly unlearned in fundamental approaches of American nuclear diplomacy. Tactical nuclear weapons are too destructive to use in the War on Terror in the Middle East. More astoundingly, he urged Japan and South Korea to have their own nuclear weapons against North Korea, without relying on the American nuclear umbrella. That would definitely lead to the collapse of the NPT regime, and ultimately, harm America’s own national security. Then, the ripple effect of it would expand globally. In the Middle East, regional powers like Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey would be tempted to strengthen or to have their nuclear arms, as Iran still conducts ballistic missile tests, though the nuclear deal has taken into effect. Also, the Indo-Pakistani nuclear rivalry might be intensified. That would make terrorist acquisition of nuclear bombs more likely. Trump’s argument is based on the “balance sheet”, but hardly any economists say that America withdraw troops from overseas to cut the budget. Foreign policy and national security experts are bewildered to hear such a businessman viewpoint.

The fatal error that Trump has made is an assumption that nuclear possession leads to nuclear deterrence unconditionally. But the history of US-Soviet rivalries tell us it is utterly wrong. In the early days, Americans were so scared of Soviet nuclear attacks that they repeated emergency evacuation drills. It was probably the same across the Iron Curtain. The pinnacle of nuclear brinkmanship was the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. It took a long time to establish a credible deterrence system. Until mutual assured destruction (MAD) had become solid with second strike capability and the hotline, nuclear deterrence between the United States and the Soviet Union was unreliable. We have to bear in mind that none of these systems worked in 1998 when India and Pakistan resorted to nuclear test each other, and their nuclear rivalries simply heightened regional tension. More critically, nuclear deterrence shall never work against Jihadists. They have no fear of being destroyed by the enemy, and there is no way of mutual communication with them to prevent unexpected risks like the Moscow-Washington hotline. The core value of Jihadism is to fight against “Western crusaders” for its own sake. Consequently, unstoppable nuclear proliferation shall not strengthen deterrence, but hollow it instead.

From these perspectives, we must question whether Japan can build deterrence against North Korea with its own independent nuclear arms. Japanese military journalist Shunji Taoka argues that North Korea would take the risk of war, even if Japan went nuclear armed. Only a massive retaliation by the United States could prevent adventurist Kim regime from stepping toward a nuclear warfare, he says (“Japanese Nuclear Possession is Neither Practical nor Advantageous”; Diamond Online; April 14, 2016). Taoka’s analysis is plausible, as North Korea’s foremost focus of their nuclear saber rattling is to draw the United States into the negotiation so that their regime survival is secured. Also, the fact that former Japanese diplomat Yukiya Amano is the Director General of the IAEA implies deeply embedded ties between Japan and the NPT regime. That is America’s vital national interest, but Trump is completely incognizant of it. From North Korea to ISIS, his nuclear strategy utterly does not make sense. The vast majority of Trump supporters has never thought of anything about nuclear security, and he entertains those people just for demagogy. This is very dangerous. Therefore, Obama should send a strong message against any insincere politicians around the world, notably Trump. This is not for his legacy, but for global public interest.

I understand Americans worry that a presidential speech at Hiroshima would have unfavorable effects on US diplomacy. I shared such a view until the emergence of Trump the Monster. Certainly, unilateral remorse from the American side would perplex American citizens and Asian nations, without any corresponding actions from the Japanese side (“So Long, Harry: Will Obama’s Apology Tour End in Hiroshima?”; Weekly Standard; September 2, 2015). Obama’s speech in Hiroshima would provoke painful memories of the Pearl Harbor attack and the Bataan Death March, which would lead to reveal some disagreements on wartime history between Americans and Japanese (“Kerry's Premature Visit to Hiroshima”; Weekly Standard; April 11, 2016). But Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would seriously consider visiting there to pay tribute to war victims of the Allied forces in return, for better mutual understandings in the future. What we need is neither an apology, nor a legacy, but a message of commitment to nonproliferation for the future (“At Hiroshima, Obama should make a pledge, not an apology”; New York Post; April 13, 2016). Among liberal opinion leaders, Joseph Cirincione who is the President of the Ploughshares Fund argues that nuclear terrorism has become more likely after the Brussels attacks, and Obama must show dedicated leadership to stop it in Hiroshima (“Obama Still Has Time to Leave a Legacy of Nuclear Security”; Huffinton Post; March 31, 2016).

It is no longer time to repent the past. What we desperately need is to promote awareness of nuclear security, and to raise voices against any leader of insincere attitude to nuclear nonproliferation. Particularly, Donald Trump is the greatest nuclear threat to the world today. I can hardly believe that he will be seriously engaged in the duty of the president, in view of his lackadaisical remarks on nuclear issues. Hopefully, Barack Obama will deliver a strong message to conduct people to remove such a shameless politician throughout the world when he visits Hiroshima.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Should Japan Possess Nuclear Weapons?

In view of a shocking remark by Donald Trump (“In Japan and South Korea, bewilderment at Trump's suggestion they build nukes”; Washington Post; March 28, 2016), Japanese people are increasingly worried about national security, and gradually talking about having independent nuclear deterrence. However, we have to reconsider whether to act so hastily. That is because it takes several years and costs a huge amount of money to develop and deploy nuclear weapons. Once the project has started, it would be too big to waste that. Japanese national security must be firmly based on standard and long term strategic views of foreign policy circles in Washington, rather than on an erratic term of a bigoted and unpredictable would-be president.

Let me explain it clearly. Suppose Trump were inaugurated. But he would have only a 4 year secured term. Japan would have to make and deploy nuclear weapons very quickly. But if he were not successful, someone else would replace him in the next term, and the successor would return American foreign policy to the normalcy. In that case, he or she would not tolerate Japanese nuclear deterrence, since WMD nonproliferation is a key agenda of American national security. Therefore, Japan would waste a huge amount of time, labor, and money, if we reacted to Trump’s ignorant and commercialistically skinflinty ideas so imprudently. I have to emphasize that people in Japan and the global community have never regarded Trump supporting mobs who are fatally problematic in intellect and temperament as Americans.

Also, the mind and the behavior of Trump himself is precarious. As stated in the well known open letter by Eliot Cohen, along with over 100 signatories, “He swings from isolationism to military adventurism within the space of one sentence.” He may admit Japanese nuclear deterrence at this stage. But his foreign policy views are so unpredictable as he always boasts that he could suddenly change his mind within a possible 4 year term. In that case Trump could treat Japan like Iran and North Korea. Actually, people all over the world know he is notorious for short temper. Why should Japan run such a risk to be regarded as an enemy to the United States?

More questionably, I would like to express my heartfelt skepticism whether Trump could withdraw all the forces in Japan within his term. The scale of US military services in Japan is huge, and the US Forces in Japan are deeply embedded in Japanese societies, as typically seen in rescue operations of 3-11 tsunami and earthquake. Withdrawal procedure would involve an incredible amount of red tape bureaucracy that Trump had never encountered throughout his life as a real estate businessman. Land property rights associated with military bases are far more complicated than those he managed in his business. Moreover, it is Yokota US Air Force base that assumes the control of the Japanese airspace for regional security and civil aviation. The transition of this authority to the Japanese side would require considerably laborious negotiations. If bilateral talks were bottlenecked, it would be American airline industries that would suffer a great loss. Trump should be well aware of it, as he boats his business acumen.

In addition, the withdrawal schedule is not clear, whether Trump would wait until Japan builds nuclear deterrence against China and North Korea, or start negotiations to pull out troops promptly without giving any consideration to the danger of the power vacuum. In any case, jobs are laborious. I can hardly imagine Trump could appoint competent senior officials of his own to do this mission, as the quality of his foreign policy team was commented sarcastically by Michael O’Hanlon (“D.C.'s Foreign-Policy Establishment Spooked by `Bizzaro’ Trump Team”; National Review Online; March 24, 2016). It seems that Trump has two term presidency in his mind (“Trump’s nonsensical claim he can eliminate $19 trillion in debt in eight years”; Washington Post; April 2, 2016), but this is not an OJT job. Poor performance in the first term means the end. Considering his notorious impatience, why does he expect the people so patient? His whimsical remarks, particularly on foreign policy, reveal his sheer lack of reverence for the duty and responsibility of the president.

Trump’s way of thinking is a Copernican turn of nuclear security and the US-Japanese alliance. But it seems that he hardly understands this, since he is extremely ill-prepared to carry out what he said in public. Among American allies worldwide, Japan is the first target of his blame. If he regards the reshuffle of the relationship with Japan so important, I wonder why none of the advisors in his foreign policy team are well versed with Japanese affairs. More seriously, his knowledge in nuclear security is extraordinarily poor. Trump did not even know nuclear triad. In addition, he insisted on using tactical nuclear weapons against Islamic terrorists in the Middle East (“Donald Trump Won't Rule Out Using Nukes Against ISIS”; Fortune; March 23, 2016). That exposes he is utterly uninformed of the destructive capacity of nuclear arms. Tactical nuclear weapons today are more powerful than those used in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Also, the use of tactical nuclear bomb can escalate the war. Trump should know that collateral damages by US drone attacks were bitterly criticized in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even if tactical, nuclear weapons kill innumerable civilians. Apparently, he has learned nothing about these issues, and therefore, he remarks anything so shamelessly.

It is no longer time just to analyze and deplore. We should take action to bust him. For this objective, I would suggest that Japanese opinion leaders write an open letter of protest to him to question every point I mention in this post, and express our anger. I understand that Trump is extremely sensitive to anger as he exploits popular outrage. The Japanese government may not be in a position to behave so provocatively, but the track II level can do so. There is no doubt that American and global policy circles, and people of conscience in the United States, are definitely on our side. Our bilateral relations will last far longer than Trump, as I state at the beginning of this essay. It is Japan’s vital interest to act in accordance with common understandings among American foreign policy circles, not with Trump’s bigoted ideas.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Foreign Policy Teams in the US Presidential Election

The quality and the quantity of the foreign policy team indicates each candidate’s view and dedication to the US role in the world. Also, the selection of policy advisors shows policy focuses of current contestants. The advisor team is a barometer for us to see which candidate is well prepared for the presidential job. From this point of view, Republican candidate Donald Trump was stupidly overconfident to say “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain” when he was asked about his foreign policy (“Trump: I consult myself on foreign policy”; Politico; March 16, 2016). But when his rival, Senator Ted Cruz announced his foreign policy team, Trump followed suit a few days later (“Trump begins to peel back curtain on foreign policy team”; Hill; March 21, 2016). In view of the above mentioned aspects, I would like to talk about each candidate’s advisory team.

Both in terms of quality and quantity, Hillary Clinton’s advisory team overwhelms those of other candidates. She delivered a keynote speech at the foundation ceremony of the Center for New American Security in 2007. The CNAS has provided foreign policy staffs for the Obama administration, notably its co-founders Michèle Flournoy and Kurt Campbell. Also, Clinton has an extensive personal contact among foreign policy and national security communities from her experience as the First Lady, Senator, and the Secretary of State. Her foreign policy team is in huge advantage, not just in the sheer size, but the coverage of policy areas. The team is headed by Jake Sullivan and Laura Rosenberger, both were Department of State staffs when Clinton was the Secretary. In addition, high profile figures like former CIA Director and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, former National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and former Under Secretary of Defense Michèle Flournoy, are in contact with the team as outside advisors. Even though Senator Bernie Sanders have met some renowned Middle East experts to fill his weakness in foreign policy, such as Lawrence Korb, Ray Takeyh, and Tamara Coffman Writtes, they are associated with Clinton (“Inside Hillary Clinton’s Massive Foreign-Policy Brain Trust”; Foreign Policy; February 10, 2016).

Furthermore, Clinton has deep ties with Republican foreign policy leaders, as typically shown in Henry Kissinger’s endorsement upon her inauguration to the Secretary of State. Ever since the Gulf War, Democrats had shared common policy objective with Republicans to remove Saddam Hussein. The Clinton administration even embraced the idea of regime change in Iraq, which was proposed by the Project for the New American Century. The Bush administration acted in line with this. As if reflecting this point, Republican national security élites strongly disagree with Trump’s non-interventionism on the Iraq war, Libya, the Israel-Palestine conflict, and Russia. So far as foreign policy is concerned, both parties share common understandings, and favor an orthodox candidate of the rival party, rather than a bigoted and unorthodox candidate of their own party. Even a non-mainstream Republican like Senator Rand Paul prefers Clinton, as Trump’s remark about water boarding and the wall against Mexico are utterly at odds with his libertarian values (“Hillary Clinton Has Long History of Collaboration With GOP on Foreign Policy; Intercept; March 13, 2016). There is every reason that Clinton is far more preferable to Trump for numerous Republicans.

Actually, some conservatives notably Bryan McGrath of the Hudson Institute say that they trust Clinton on foreign and defense policy (“Vocal Trump critics in GOP open to supporting Clinton”; Hill; March 24, 2016). Particularly, neoconservatives such as Robert Kagan and Max Boot openly state that they prefer Clinton to Trump. Also, former Bush administration officials from Dick Cheney to Condoleeza Rice expressed favorable views to Clinton as the Secretary of State and potential rival to Barack Obama (“Neocon War Hawks Want Hillary Clinton Over Donald Trump. No Surprise—They’ve Always Backed Her”; In These Times; March 23, 2016). Commonly regarded as a liberal hawk, Clinton monopolizes the brain trust of both parties in Washington political corridors.

In contrast, rival candidates’ advisory teams are far more insufficient, both in terms of the quality and the quantity. Sanders hardly founded something deserves to be called a foreign policy team. On the Republican side, their teams cater to popular fears against Islamic terrorism, but hardly capable of showing the vision of American role in the world. First, let me talk about Ted Cruz’s team. He announced his advisory staffs ahead of Trump. The team is led by former Senator Jim Talent and Elliot Abrahams who was a deputy national security advisor of the Bush administration (“Cruz unveils national security team before Trump”; Washington Examiner; March 17, 2016). Both neocons worked for Senator Marco Rubio’s team until he dropped out of the race (“Marco Announces Support of Top National Security Experts”;; March 7, 2016). On the other hand, anti-Islam conspiracy theorists like Frank Gaffney argues that a quarter of Muslims in the United States plot anti-American jihad, and their Sharia law poses a critical threat within the country (“Cruz Assembles an Unlikely Team of Foreign-Policy Rivals”; Bloomberg View; March 17, 2016).

Cruz’s recent comment to tighten security checks around Muslim residents (Ted Cruz: Police need to 'patrol and secure' Muslim neighborhoods; CNN; March 23, 2016) may reflect such views, but Republican mainstream does not accept those ideas. The Cruz team covers a broad range of ideological stands within the party, but the chasm between universalist neocons and nationalist conspiracy theorists can break out when their disagreements on specific issues are serious. Also, the selection of advisors of this group is disproportionately concentrated on Middle East and Islamic terrorism experts. That is far from meeting requirements to manage global challenges that America faces today.

Finally, I would like to mention Trump’s foreign policy team. Like Cruz, Trump’s team places disproportionate emphasis on Islamic terrorism. As if rivaling Cruz, Trump unveiled his foreign policy led by Senator Jim Sessions, a few days later. He has chosen neither high profile figures, nor former senior government officials for his advisors. Remarkably, his team is extremely commercialist, as if indicative of his businessman backgrounds. Carter Page and George Papadopoulos have an important position in the team, both of whom are oil and energy consultants (“Trump begins to peel back curtain on foreign policy team”; Hill; March 21, 2016). Some of them are with quite dubious and outlaw backgrounds. To begin with, Joseph Schmitz quit his job at the Pentagon in 2005 due to continuous corruption. Another member Walid Phares murdered Palestinian refugees when he fought for a Christian militia in Lebanon, and such a man of criminal conduct joins the team as a counterterrorism advisor. More startlingly, Retired Lieutenant General Keith Kellogg has no employment record in the army, despite his claim of working for the occupation forces in Iraq from 2003 to 2004 (“Top Experts Confounded by Advisers to Donald Trump”; New York Times; March 22, 2016).

In view of an appalling lineup like this, Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution, comments, “Either [Trump] doesn’t care about experience. . . or no one wants to taint his reputation by working for a guy whose views are often so harsh and unthinking” (“D.C.’s Foreign-Policy Establishment Spooked by ‘Bizzaro’ Trump Team”; National Review Online; March 24, 2016). There is no wonder why Trump’s foreign policy viewpoints are totally at odds with bipartisan and trans-ideological common understanding of foreign policy and national security communities in Washington, DC. He is completely scornful of the value of a global network of American alliance. Typically, Trump’s suggestion that Japan and South Korea be armed with nuclear weapons by themselves, is a complete defiance to America’s critical security agenda to stop nuclear proliferation throughout the world. (“In Japan and South Korea, bewilderment at Trump’s suggestion they build nukes”; Washington Post; March 28, 2016). The problem is no longer racketeering, bilateral alliance, and burden sharing. His remark is a sheer ‪insult‬ to ‬‪‎bipartisan foreign policy‬ experts who are dedicated to ‪‎nuclear‬ ‪‎nonproliferation‬. Trump must know more nuclear armed powers in the world imply more likelihood of terrorist acquisition of nuclear weapons.

As to the appointment of policy advisors, a leader must be much more farsighted than the public. A candidate needs to meet people’s demand. But that is not enough. A good leader must drive people to pay more attention to unnoticed, but important issues, but not pander on populist outrage. In view of this, Clinton’s advisors are the best, and Trump’s are the worst. It is possible that the Cruz team will expand and upgrade, as more advisors can join from the Bush and the Rubio team.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Democracy and Human Rights Promotion in the US Presidential Election

President Barack Obama’s remark that America is no longer the world policeman, has perplexed the global public. But the more important question is whether America is dedicated to democracy promotion in the world. It is popularly believed that the United States still assumes it a foreign policy imperative to prevail democracy. However, during the Obama presidency, Thomas Carothers of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, points out that American budget to support democracy assistance has declined by 28%. The US Agency for International Development is the most severely hit victim, as its projects in the Middle East and Africa are drastically curtailed. This is because American citizens and policymakers are increasingly skeptical of democracy aid (“Why Is the United States Shortchanging Its Commitment to Democracy?”; Washington Post; December 22, 2014).

There is no doubt that vehement criticism to the Iraq War on the global stage drove the American public to isolationism, because defensive reactions to 9-11 attacks were blamed so bitterly. The failure of the Arab Spring has made America reluctant to make a commitment to democracy promotion furthermore. Arab opinion leaders blame the West and Zionist for corruption and instability in the region, but most of them are rooted in their societies. In addition to socioeconomic inequality and ethno-sectarian conflicts, Arab nations are hardly united despite pan-Arabism slogans. The rule of law and political participation are insufficient (“The Arab Winter”; Economist; January 9, 2016). Such global and Arab reactions have led to Obama’s withdrawal from the world policeman. It has given a bad impression to the global public that Obama has given away America’s special role to maintain the liberal world order.

American allies achingly desired that this election will elect the president who can overturn Obama’s superpower suicide. But things are rather developing to the contrary. Isolationism is rising on both the Democrat and the Republican sides. That is discouraging to America’s long term allies. Remember that democracy promotion and alliance network are deeply intertwined centerpieces of postwar American foreign policy. Robert Kagan of the Brookings Institution tells how both pieces work reciprocally in “The World America Made”. The United States has always fought a war with allies, while both the Soviet Union and China have virtually alone. Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, former Warsaw Pact nations joined NATO. Even former Soviet republics like Ukraine and Georgia want to follow this. On the Pacific side, South East Asians like the Phillippines and even former foe Vietnam hope American presence to remove the Chinese threat. Though actually, none of the nations in the region want American or Chinese dominance, but their own independence.

It is widely understood that they embrace American hegemony, because the United States has neither territorial greed nor intention to infringe national sovereignty of others. Also, democratic values solidify American leadership on the global stage. Former senators Joseph Lieberman and Jon Kyl tell it in detail, “For America to lead, security and prosperity—guided by the principles of freedom—must be pursued in tandem” (“Why American leadership still matters”; AEI American Internationalism Project Report; December 3, 2015). Furthermore, both authors argue the relation between promoting American values and pursuing the national interest, “[But] supporting human rights and democratic ideals isn’t just about altruism. Democracies will not go to war with the United States, nor will they support terrorism against it, nor will they produce refugees to flee to it. Democracies do, however, ally with the United States and make for better economic partners” (“The case for American internationalism”; Catalyst; January 20, 2016).

However, not all candidates understand the importance of foreign policy assets. Typically, a Republican candidate Donald Trump argues for a fortress America against Mexicans and Muslims, and disengagement from Syria and North Korea, while a Democrat candidate Bernie Sanders almost entirely focus on domestic socioeconomic inequality. Let me talk about foreign policy of each candidate in this election (“Campaign 2016 --- Candidates & the World”; Council on Foreign Relations). Among current contestants, Marco Rubio is the most dedicated advocate for prevailing American values throughout the world. The fundamental idea of Rubio’s foreign policy is American exceptionalism to assume the special role in the global community, and he laments that the Obama administration wants to make America like the rest of the world (“Rubio: ‘Obama Wants America to Be Like the Rest of the World’”; MRC TV; January 28, 2016). As a result, he argues “Our allies don’t trust us. Our enemies don’t fear us. And the world doesn’t know where America stands” (“Rubio’s ad: “Our enemies don’t fear us’”; Hill; December 30, 2015). He endorses civil empowerment against autocratic regimes from China to Cuba. On the other hand, he voted against the Freedom Act in order to keep tough surveillance on terrorists in the homeland.

To the contrary, a Democrat Bernie Sanders and a Republican Donald Trump are unenthusiastic, and even at odds with democracy and human rights promotion, as they are extremely inward looking isolationists. Sanders is almost entirely dedicated to domestic inequality and labor issues, though he values multilateral cooperation with allies and friendly partners. As to domestic civil liberty, Sanders objects to strict surveillance for the sake of security against terrorism, as conservative libertarians do. The most problematic candidate is Donald Trump, because he is not just an isolationist. His devotion to American values is questionable from his inflammatory remarks about Muslims and Mexicans. As typically seen in his utterance about nuclear triad and wartime international law, his knowledge in foreign policy is extremely poor. His disrespect to human rights is revealed in the view on waterboarding, which distressed former CIA Director Michael Hayden so much as to say there is a legitimate possibility that the U.S. military would refuse to follow his orders (“Former CIA director: Military may refuse to follow Trump’s orders if he becomes president”; Washington Post; February 28, 2016). His foreign policy views are based on blue collar distrust to the global economy and liberal world order. He does not believe in “The World America Made”. Therefore, he does not trust democratic allies, nor is he interested in democracy promotion (“Trump’s 19th Century Foreign Policy”; Politico; January 20, 2016). He is an exceptional Republican to see diplomatic normalization with Cuba a business opportunity.

Other candidates from Republican Ted Cruz and John Kasich to Democrat Hillary Clinton stand between internationalism and isolationism. They are more or less realist, and not necessarily stanch advocates for democracy promotion. Clinton denounced China’s one-child policy as the first lady in 1995, but as the Secretary of State, her pivot to Asia was more trade oriented. Domestically, she insists on “humane” treatment of immigrants, and supports the Freedom Act for the same reason as Tea Party libertarians do. On the other hand, Cruz is in a delicate position. While he argues for hardline policies to advance human rights in geopolitically adversary regimes, notably China and Iran, he does not believe in “regime change” for fear of long and extensive troop deployments like the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. On the domestic front, Cruz worked with a prominent libertarian Rand Paul to replace the Patriot Act with the Freedom Act to loosen terrorist surveillance. This is partly due to his supporter bases, consisted of Tea Party libertarians who believe in a limited government and evangelicals who believe in moralism. But that is not the only reason for his antipathy to neocons and deep skepticism to Arab democratization.

Cruz depends his foreign policy heavily on Jeane Kirkpatrick to assume himself a Reaganite. Based on Kirkpatrick’s article (“Dictatorship and Double Standards”; Commentary; November 1, 1979), Cruz is willing to live with unpleasant autocrats like President Bashar al Assad of Syria, in order to avoid risks of unknown confusion resulting from moralistic interventionism (“Ted Cruz’s un-American ‘America First’ Strategy”; Foreign policy; December 16, 2015). Kirkpatrick’s double standard was taken to rival against the Soviet Union. Unlike neoconservatives and progressive internationalists, Kirkpatrick was skeptical of universal progress of civilization, and she was more realist than idealist. However, Cruz dismisses that Reagan did not always follow her advice, as typically seen in his response when pro-American and anti-communist Ferdinando Marcos was overthrown in the Phillipines (“Ted Cruz's New Foreign Policy Isn't Conservative”; National Interest; August 1, 2014). Cruz’s double standard between America’s strategic rivals like China and Iran, and unfavorable Arab autocracies like Syria and Egypt, can undermine America’s global stand as the bearer of freedom and human rights.

Democracy promotion in foreign policy is also correlated to domestic policy. From this point, Donald Trump is the worst candidate. He is notorious for arrogance to the media; inflammatory remarks to provoke mob violence; and insults to minorities, women, and handicapped people. Even if he launches human rights agenda, the world shall not listen to him. Pursuit of universal value and its achievements are foreign policy assets of the United States. I hope that the open letter by national security leaders to denounce Trump’s arrogant and ignorant isolationism will be the real start of counterblow of American internationalism.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Second Publication of My Commentary in English

I have been contributing commentaries to the online journal of the Japan Forum on International Relations. Among these opinions, selected contributions are translated into English, and published in the international edition. This time, my commentary on the danger of the Anglo-Chinese nuclear deal was selected and published in English. The original article of this contribution is this blog post. It is I, myself, who translated the Japanese text into English.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

States and Defense Contractors over Rolls Royce Nationalization

Britain announced that it was considering nationalization of Rolls Royce to save the company from a foreign takeover. The government sources said that they would either nationalize Rolls Royce, or lead some or all of this company to merge with BAE systems. Rolls Royce suffers from plunging share price since 2014 due to sluggish performance in the maritime and aero engine sectors. It is rumored that Pratt & Whitney of the United States and Siemens of Germany are buying Rolls Royce’s aero engine division (“Britain would consider nationalizing Rolls Royce's submarine business – FT”; Reuters; December 14, 2015). The Cameron administration has posed a critical question to national security policymakers about the relationship between the state and the defense industry, as corporate nationalization is quite un-Conservative, and furthermore, it is a failed policy of Old Labour. Margaret Thatcher would have been startled to hear this, because it is she who privatized this company in 1987.

This news has drawn my attention, in view of a recent commentary by Japanese Member of the House of Councillors Masahisa Sato, that raises some questions about the Japanese defense business. Sato argues that Japan needs the will and specific efforts to help Japanese defense contractors make profits in a small domestic market as it is unrealistic to nationalize them. He is concerned that Japanese defense procurement is squeezed by rising costs of imported weapons such as F-35 and V-22 (“Save the Foundation of Japanese Defense Industries and Indigenous Technology”; Giron Hyakushutu; December 2, 2015). Defense contractors are of high strategic values, and unlike civilian industries, some sort of mercantilist policies are inevitable.

I am talking about Rolls Royce, because this company has a lot in common with Japanese defense contractors, and I believe that careful observation of it would be of much help to defense planners in Japan and the rest of the world. Like Japanese defense companies, Rolls Royce is not so big, but technologically advanced among renowned defense contractors. According to the defense industry ranking for 2015, Rolls Royce is the 15th, and its revenue from defense accounts for 22.60%. Meanwhile, Japanese contractors like Mitsubishi Heavy Industries ranks the 36th with 5.60% defense dependence, and IHI ranks the 91st with 4.30% dependence on defense. Such low dependence on arms is in sharp contrast with those of big contractors heavily relying on defense, like Lockheed Martin that ranks the 1st and 88.00%, BAE Systems raking the 3rd with 92.80%, Raytheon ranking the 4th with 97.40%, General Dynamics raking 5th with 60.20%, and Northrop Grumman raking 6th with 76.70% (“Top 100 for 2015”; Defense News).

However, both Rolls Royce and the above Japanese contractors win high reputation with venerable achievements. In case of Rolls Royce, their brand and advanced technology make a substantial contribution to their maritime and aerospace engine sectors, and even to the nuclear reactor area. Without mentioning British-made weapons, some brand new foreign arsenals use also Rolls Royce engines, for example, gas turbines for the Zumwalt class destroyers of the US Navy. Also, some of South Korea’s indigenous stealth fighter KF-X will use the same Rolls Royce engines as those for the Eurofighter Typhoon. Meanwhile, Mitsubishi’s stealth fighter ATD-X draws worldwide attention. Quite remarkably, IHI that provides engines for this Mitsubishi fighter, has succeeded in developing the HSE (High-power Stream Engine) which outperforms the same sized engines made by American and European manufacturers, in terms of thrust-to-weight ratio and fuel efficiency, and that ultimately helps Japan’s quest for indigenous fighter F-3 (“Japan’s Next Generation Fighter Engine is Superior to American One”; Sankei Biz; March 17, 2015).

On the other hand, small companies are vulnerable to the turbulence of the increasingly globalized world market. Also, their high quality brains are good targets for the hands of foreign and even hostile takeovers. Occasionally, the market mechanism is so ruthless that it does not give any consideration to national and public interests. However, should the state nationalize strategic industries? In the Westland affair from 1985 to 1986, Prime Minister-then Margaret Thatcher admitted Sikorsky of the United States to merge Westland Helicopter in accordance with the market principle, while Defence Secretary-then Michael Heseltine insisted on maintaining the company’s ownership within a European framework. As widely known, Thatcher won the dispute in her cabinet, and Heseltine stepped down.

During the Cold War era, the borderless economy was almost within the Western alliance. Today, businesses act beyond such political boundaries. For example, Haier Group of China has acquired the laundry sector of Western companies such as Sanyo and General Electric. However, the defense industry is not the home electric appliance industry. Once home country loses control a defense contractor to a foreign hand, even if it is a company of an ally or a friendly nation, the sold company could be resold to the enemy. From this point of view, it is understandable that the Cameron administration is dedicated to defending Rolls Royce from foreign acquisition. Particularly, their nuclear sector is sensitive for British national security for its deep involvement with Trident missile submarines.

Reuters columnist Robert Cole argues that the problem can be resolved through the market system, as their business recovery is expected though it is weak. If it does not work, BAE Systems can acquire some or the whole sector, which is more preferable to nationalization. BAE can diversify their business into civilian sectors to lessen their dependence on defense contracts of Britain, the United States, and Saudi Arabia (“BAE deal beats Rolls-Royce nationalization”; Reuters; December 14, 2015). This idea is better than nationalization, but still, it is not a good idea to split Rolls Royce, if BAE were to merge this company, since its technology in motor cars, aero and maritime engines, and nuclear reactors is intertwined. Furthermore, Jeremy Warner of the Daily Telegraph, argues that Rolls Royce can satisfy various requests from their customers as an independent and specialized manufacturer of engines. Once blended into a big company, Rolls Royce will lose advantages in specialty to meet tailor-made demands. That would appear unattractive to its best customers like Pentagon (“BAE in Rolls Royce merger? Let’ not go there”; Daily Telegraph; 16 January, 2015).

In an increasingly globalizing economy, it is a tough question to keep innovative instinct and high morale of a small but strategically important company, while saving it from savage competition, and even from hostile investors. The Westland affairs may help us learn some lessons, but the past is in the past. In case of Japan, if corporate performance of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries or IHI deteriorates, there is no gigantic defense contractor like BAE Systems to act as a white knight against adversarial investors. Should the Japanese government take administrative guidance to have them merged with Kawasaki Heavy Industries, NEC, etc, ranking 46th and 66th respectively, when they face the threat of foreign takeover? But Japanese companies are heavily civilian oriented, as Kawasaki depends 11.20%, and NEC does 3.50% of their revenues on defense. In view of this, most of the Japanese businesses are not likely to have much incentive to follow the Ministry of Defense.

The defense industry is too strategic to apply text book market economy principles. In order to help their business and save the national interest, I would suggest that the government give special preferences to defense contractors even in civilian public projects. Typically speaking, I wonder why the Cameron administration accepted the bid of CGN (China General Nuclear) to rebuild Hinkley Point and Bradwell nuclear plants, despite this company’s notorious tie with the PLA (People’s Liberation Army), if they are so serious to defend Rolls Royce even by resorting to nationalization. They should have given a special preference to Britain’s iconic company, instead. Currently ongoing Rolls Royce affair deserves attention from defense planners all over the world, because this company is far beyond a manufacturer of luxury toys for the rich.