The Yasukuni Shrine is a controversial facility. Some people regard it the national monument to honor servicemen and women who died in the war. Others regard it the evil shrine of wartime jingoism. China and Korea use these controversies, to impose their psychological supremacy on Japan. Also, they use the Yasukuni issue to split the US-Japanese alliance.
I am against Yasukuni because this shrine retains prewar ideology, which is completely incompatible with Japan after the regime change. However, when I read debates on Yasukuni between my Japanese blogmates, named Mao and Kaku, I realized that I did not know well enough about this shrine. I thought it necessary to understand what was right and wrong with the Yasukuni Shrine, thereby making it clear why I oppose praying service men and women at this shrine.
I went to the Yasukuni Shrine on December 22 to understand its ideological background. As I arrived at the shrine, I entered the Yushukan, the museum attached to Yasukuni. This museum exhibits various items of Japanese history from the ancient period. At first, I saw some pieces of ancient materials such as poems, documents, aristocratic clothes, samurai swords, and so forth. These exhibitions were not associated with wartime fascism, and I felt them somewhat unexpectedly peaceful. I wondered whether it was really the “notorious war shrine.” But in my later thought, these displays emphasized the divinity of emperor and bushido (samurai spirit). I felt it very odd, because they are not everything in Japanese history.
In the section of first US-Japanese encounter, when Commodore Perry’s fleet arrived in Japan in 1853, I found some Shinto jingoism in the exhibits. On the board, expansion of Western colonial empires in Asia is mentioned “encroachment.” This is odd, because Japan itself became a colonial empire in latter days. I found another mistake in this section, saying that Japan decided to end seclusion foreign policy because it surrendered US gunboat diplomacy. This is not true. Japan joined the global community, because Japanese people realized that Japan could not be isolated from the world any more. In my eyes, these errors show fundamental values of this museum.
Then, I came up to the Meiji section. I enjoyed dynamic atmosphere of this era. I didn’t see anything problematic there. However, when I arrived at Russo-Japanese War (1904~1905) section, chauvinist tone had become intensified. I saw a short cinema there. I heard some chilling words in the cinema. According to the film, the war broke out, because Japan could no longer bear Russians’ arrogant behavior to encroach Manchuria and Korea. True? I believe that Japan decided to fight against Russia, because Russian expansion to Manchuria and Korea poses serious threat to Japan’s national security. It is utterly unacceptable to begin the war out of emotionalism. I found a couple of chauvinist expressions in this film. I felt ridiculous to hear that Japanese army showed generosity to Russians who surrendered to them, which was out of samurai spirit. Quite often, foreign forces are generous enough, although they don’t have samurai spirit.
Going on, I saw World War Ⅰ and World War Ⅱ section. I heard there were some displays to justify the rape of Nanjing there, but I did not see something like this. I may have missed them. What drew my attention in this section were exhibitions to advocate the Greater East Asian Community during the war. The fascist regime insisted that people in East Asia wipe away Western influence, and pursue common prosperity under Japanese leadership. In fact, Japanese fascists wanted to dominate natural resource in East Asia, rather than liberating Asians from White rule. Since Japan was one of colonial empires like Western great powers, it is utterly strange that Japan fight against the West on behalf of Asian nations. Wartime leaders should have read Samuel Huntington, because Japan and Asia are different civilizations. Alas, his book was published in 1990s.
It is true that the rise of Japan encouraged non-Western nations. They learned a lot from Japanese experience. But some countries like Turkey and Iran modeled after Japan as a secular modern state and Western great power, not Asian state. Fascist leaders failed to understand this point, and pursued a grandiose dream of establishing the Greater East Asian Community. The Japanese nation should never repeat this mistake again.
In the final section, I saw a display on criticism against the Tokyo tribunal by judge Radha Binod Pal. He was a member of judge group at this tribunal on behalf of India. He argued procedures at this court do not comply with the due process law, but they are political shows by the allied forces. His opinion is a bible to Japanese nationalists, whether radical or moderate, to question validity of the Tokyo tribunal. Although this section is the crown jewelry of the Yushukan museum, I found no board to explain it in English. I do not agree with Yushukan viewpoints, but it is quite strange that they do not send their message to the world on such a vital issue. Are they afraid of further bad reputation on the global stage?
Having seen the museum, I would like to examine what is wrong with Yasukuni ideology. The basic value of this shrine is Sonnoh Johi: to dethrone the Tokugawa shogunate, in order to revitalize Japan under the reign of divine Mikado, and expel barbarians from holy land of the Japanese archipelago. Sonnoh Johi activists were local samurais who are devotedly loyal to the emperor. Therefore, the Yushukan museum out much emphasis on Mikado and bushido.
However, Mikado is the head of kuge, or aristocrats. Bushido is not necessary. Yasukuni boasts Japanese victory over great powers as I mentioned about Russo-Japanese War section in this post. In my view, this reflects their Sonnoh Johi values. Also, the museum stresses Japan’s prestige as a great nation. This is the reason why the Yasukuni shrine extols Japanese supremacy in the Asia. No wonder, China is allergic to this shrine. Things will not change, no matter how they deal with war criminals and the rape of Nanjing.
Finally, I would like to introduce an interesting booklet sold at this museum, which is entitled “Prime Minister must pray at the Yasukuni Shrine!” (published by Meiseisha). Unfortunately, I did not find English translation of this brochure. However, it is a very helpful handbook to understand thoughts of the Yasukuni shrine. I found some questionable expressions in this booklet, like the following.
Japanese forces did their best to treat POWs…on the other hand, British forces were cruel to war prisoners…. and US forces were reluctant to accept POWs…(p.9)
McArthur…. hung General Yamashita for his “cruel behavior.” In fact, it was McArthur’s revenge for his humiliating loss in the Philippines against Yamashita. But General Yamashita was a real samurai. He accepted this unfair judgment as it was, and did not get jittery. (p. 44, cartoon)
The above comments show Yasukuni’s deep-rooted hatred against the allied forces, such as the US and Britain. The tone is very emotional. Do they reject postwar regime change in Japan? On the other hand, I agree to their steadfast attitude against continuous blame by China and Korea on Japan’s misconduct during the war. Whether you are pro or con to Yasukuni, this is a recommendable booklet to understand their viewpoints. But don’t be brainwashed.
In consequence, Yasukuni values are not compatible with Japan after the regime change. Therefore, it is not appropriate for Japanese prime ministers to pray at this shrine. However, those who died in the service must be honored. In order to find a good idea to resolve this paradox, it is necessary to make it clear what is right and wrong with the Yasukuni shrine. Whether pro or con to this shrine, don’t get emotional too much. In the end, I would like to request a regime change of this shrine. Then, anyone can visit there to honor service men and women.
Saturday, December 31, 2005
The Yasukuni Shrine is a controversial facility. Some people regard it the national monument to honor servicemen and women who died in the war. Others regard it the evil shrine of wartime jingoism. China and Korea use these controversies, to impose their psychological supremacy on Japan. Also, they use the Yasukuni issue to split the US-Japanese alliance.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
On December 11, I attended a blog carnival of the US-German relations hosted by the Atlantic Review and Mr. George M. Roper. The Atlantic Review is founded by three German Fulbright scholars. Their objective is to promote better understanding between Germany and the United States through their blog. They take up a broad range of topics on the transatlantic relationship, including foreign relations, defense, economics, US politics, and Iran issues. Mr. Romper is an American, brought up in Germany. He is a professional counselor and instructor at the University of Texas-Pan American. On his blog, he discusses various issues on American politics from conservative viewpoints.
The Carnival invited 21 bloggers from both sides of the Atlantic. I am the only participant outside the Atlantic area. I contributed my post, “Bush Foreign Policy: Improving with Europe, Straining with Asia.” In the post, I argued that Merkel as a leader from New Europe would change the transatlantic relations, and the days of De Gaulle and Adenauer had gone.
Participant bloggers focuses on new transatlantic relationship in the post Cold War era, and the effect of the Iraq War on the US-German relations. Contributors discuss such issues from various aspects and viewpoints. For further information, please read Carnival of German American Relations. You will find this event an invaluable opportunity to understand the transatlantic partnership, which is the key to world peace and prosperity.
Friday, December 09, 2005
Currently, NATO foreign minister meeting is held in Brussels on December 8 and 9. Unlike the last summit between the United States and China, and South Korea, the transatlantic relation is improving.
Since the Iraq War, the relationship between Europe and America deteriorated. However, things are changing. The Franco-German alliance has been the core of European integration since the era of Conrad Adenauer and Charles de Gaulle. A Europe under the Franco-German leadership makes sense when there are only 6 members. Today, the European Union is expanding eastward, to include “New Europe”. Therefore, it is necessary to make an alternative model for the future of Europe. In a situation like this, the transatlantic relation is improving, because both America and Europe find it essential to manage Europe in transition.
Most importantly, Angela Merkel won the election to become the chancellor, and Gerhard Schröder stepped down. New German administration will put more emphasis on the transatlantic alliance than the Franco-German axis. Even France is trying to move closer to the United States, in face of the Arab riot near Paris. Both Germany and France are beginning to recognize that they keep close ties with the United States in order to defeat common threats, particularly radical Islam terrorists. US Under Secretary of State, R. Nicholas Burns says that the conflict between Europe and America on Iraq is over. He argues that both France and Germany had come to see a stable and democratic Iraq in their interest this year. There is no doubt that Germany under the Merkel administration will be more pro-American than her predecessor. Even though France resisted very hard against US attack on Iraq at the UN Security Council, it had joined US effort to restrain Syria.
How will things go after NATO foreign ministers meeting? The key person will be new Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel. The media focus too much on her as the first female chancellor in German history. But more importantly, she is from former East Germany which is a part of “New Europe”, and the centerpiece of German foreign policy is expected to shift from the Franco-German alliance to the transatlantic partnership. Former US Secretary of State, Henry A. Kissinger contributed an interesting article “A New Generation in Germany” to the International Herald Tribune on November 22. In this essay, he says that the transatlantic alliance represents hope for East Europeans, and further European integration means more solid ties with the United States. In this respect, they are completely different from West Germans who participated in the 1968 demonstration to dissociate themselves from American influence. For Chancellor Merkel, European integration means, “To learn on vacation to feel as comfortable in France as they now do in Bulgaria.” The days of de Gaulle and Adenauer have gone. Europe is evolving into the next phase.
Contrary to Europe, US foreign policy in Asia faces difficulties. On his trip to APEC summit, President George W. Bush met leaders of Japan, China, and South Korea. The meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi was very friendly. However, the talks with China and South Korea were in a strained atmosphere. What is US policy in Asia like?
China is one of the greatest challenges to America’s Asia policy, as witnessed in rapid military build-up, and territorial disputes. On the other hand, both the United States and Japan need to cooperate with China in the war on terrorists and nuclear non-proliferation in North Korea. In addition, both countries have to pioneer the Chinese market. Given these aspects, the New York Times criticized President Bush’s approach in their editorial “Cold War China Policy” on November 19, because the president uses Japan and India as counterbalances to China. Currently, the US-Japanese alliance confronts China on human rights, Taiwan, and security in the East China Sea. China is a country for cooperation and confrontation. This makes it extremely complicated to deal with China.
Dan Blumenthal and Thomas Donnelly, both of them are Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, argued against the NYT article in the Washington Post on November 27. They insist that Japan is an important ally in US endeavor for global democracy, and a counterbalance against Chinese expansionism. Also, Dan Blumenthal maintains that the United States embrace Japan’s desire for a global power status in the article written with Research Assistant Chris Griffin. However, both Blumenthal and Donnelly are concerned with Japanese prime ministers’ visit to the Yasukuni shrine. Actually, Japanese people are getting more nationalist these days. Some of them defend Japan’s wartime policy, and raise cases against the Tokyo tribunal and postwar democracy. Such a warning trend will undermine the US-Japanese alliance. In any case, US policy in Asia is turning increasingly complex.
What makes Europe and Asia so different? In Europe, former communist states convert themselves to staunch allies to the United States. For “New Europe”, America is the guarantor of their security, freedom, and stability. Their loyalty to the transatlantic alliance will be of considerable help to reinvigorate the US-European partnership. The victory of Angela Merkel will change the US-German relations and Europe. To my regret, there is no “New Asia.” No wonder President Bush faces difficulties in dealing with Asia. Just wait. Mongolia may be a good candidate. Just as “New Europe”, Mongolians are liberated from communist oppression, and they deadly need American help.
Friday, November 25, 2005
The Iraq War has been dividing America. However, American opinion leaders regarded Iraq as a serious threat. This was unanimous, and beyond party politics and ideological backgrounds. Therefore, it is unfair to accuse the Bush administration of everything bad happens in Iraq. Those who argue against this war supported when it broke out.
I would like to refer to one blog and one article. First, I quote brief story of policy making before the war from “Did Bush Lie?” on Political Yen/Yang. I often visit this blog. Furthermore, I would like to introduce you a very insightful article In Washington Post by Robert Kagan, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. If you read this blog and article, you will think that the United States would have fought against Iraq even if Albert Gore had been elected the president.
Let me review the blog post on Political Yen/Yang. As mentioned in this post, it was the Clinton administration that began to make a plan to attack Iraq. In 1998, the House of Representative approved the Iraq Liberation Act. According to this blog, President Bill Clinton prepared for striking Iraq soon after he signed the bill. Actually, the regime change in Iraq was discussed in the Clinton administration. The Iraqi National Congress lead by Ahmad Chalabi, was sponsored by the Clinton regime.
Reviewing what happened before the war, we understand that the Bush administration’s Iraq policy is just continuation of that of the Clinton administration. Then, why is the United States so divided on the Iraq War? An article by Robert Kagan would show some key to this question. He is very well known for his book, “Of Paradise and Power”, and founded the Project for the New American Century with William Kristol.
This article tells us inside stories on the Iraq problem since the Clinton era. Actually the crisis began when Saddam Hussein blocked UN inspection on suspected sites in 1997, and the war was about to break out. Though Clinton bombed dangerous facilities in Iraq, Saddam Hussein maintained ambition to rule the Gulf area, and make weapons of mass destruction. In the face of such a great danger, the Clinton team decided to oust Saddam and install democracy in Iraq. Policymakers in Washington agreed unanimously that Iraqi threat was serious. Support for removing Saddam Hussein was widespread from liberals, conservatives, to neo-conservatives.
Some defense experts were cautious of attacking Iraq. Joseph Cirincione, who is also a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, insisted that the United States review the final UN report carefully before making a decision to fight against Iraq. So did Michael O’Hanlon, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. However, it is very important to keep it in mind that even they regarded Iraq a serious threat to global security, and this threat must be removed soon. Joseph Cirincione’s group suggested a less risky method, called a “coercive” inspection, which authorizes armed inspectors to verify every doubtful site in Iraq. As you see, regardless of ideological stance, regardless of pro or con to the war, Saddam Hussein’s attitude was a grave concern to any foreign policy experts.
Those who changed the nature of the Iraq debate were professional left-wing activists. They blamed the United States belligerent, and driven by oil interests. Also, these demagogues agitated that the United States was a ruthless killer and Saddam’s Iraq was just a victim. Their agendas were off the point. However, strangely enough, their stupid opinions inflicted a great influence on the media. As a result, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda said very furiously, “They talk as if Saddam were right and Bush were wrong.” He is right. These leftists shifted the focus away from security in the Middle East.
Left-wingers distorted the real issue of Iraq debate. They changed everything from rational talk to emotional scream. Their anti-American slogan has been undermining the US led coalition, and benefiting terrorists. Someday, I would like to talk about how these leftists agitate their agenda.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
US President George W. Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi met in Kyoto on November 16. They reconfirmed closer ties between the United States and Japan. However, I do not regard Koizumi a reliable strategic partner to the United States, because he still maintains “no pains, no gains” attitude just as all postwar Japanese prime ministers did. He always says that Japanese is willing to make contribution to US endeavor within its own limits. This is not so much different from old and pacifist Japan. In order to understand it well, I would like to write a review of Woodrow Wilson Center’s event on Britain’s role between America and Europe. I believe Japan can learn a lot from the Anglo-American special relationship.
When I visited Washington DC, I attended this event on November 7. Unlike the Carnegie International Non-Proliferation Conference, this was small. About 20 people attended this meeting. Some are Woodrow Wilson Center staff, and some are students probably. One attendant was a professor of European history at the George Washington University.
The guest speaker was Professor Alex Danchev of Nottingham University in the United Kingdom. Basically, he presented critical viewpoints to Tony Blair’s foreign policy. According to Professor Danchev, Blair has committed too much to the US power diplomacy. Also, he pointed out that since the German problem had been resolved at the end of the Cold War, the nature of the Anglo-American alliance would change.
Despite his criticism to Tony Blair, he told vital points on the Anglo-American special relationship. The special relationship is the key to British foreign policy, regardless of ideological background of American side. The following objectives satisfy Britain’s vital national interest.
(1) Be distinguished from other nations
The special relationship will make Britain a distinguished ally to the United States. As people often say, Britain plays a role of Greece to America’s Rome.
(2) Make use of US power
With close ties with America, Britain can strengthen its position in Europe and the globe.
(3) Influence on US policy
As an Athenian to America’s Rome, Britain should be a consultant for the United States to manage the world.
(4) Interpret between Europe and America
Britain should be a representative of Europe to the United States. Also, Britain should bridge policy gaps between Europe and America.
Therefore, British policymakers have been keeping close ties with the United States. As the Cold War is over, Professor Danchev showed skeptic viewpoints to this strategy. However, I was impressed to hear questions from American attendants to Professor Danchev. They said that Tony Blair was very popular in the United States among both liberals and conservatives. Liberals appreciate New Labour economic policies, and conservatives regard him as the most reliable ally to the United States. In addition, they pointed out that Blair was an icon of liberal democracy and market economy in New Europe.
Certainly, Britain is a distinguished ally to the United States, particularly for grassroots Americans. I see many American blogs with the Stars and Stripes and the Union Jack. Also, I found an interesting website, called “Thank you Tony.com.” This is an American site to send a letter to Tony Blair to thank his cooperation to the United States in the Iraq War. I have sent a letter to thank Tony Blair through this site for three times. Right or wrong, Britain is an unparalleled ally to the United States. This is a special advantage for the United Kingdom.
Come to think of it, does Koizumi have clear objectives to strengthen the US-Japanese relations as I mentioned above? As far as I know, none of Japanese prime ministers, foreign ministers, and foreign policy bureaucrats have those steadfast objectives in their mind. No wonder I do not find “Thank you Jun.com” at all.
Posted by Σ. Alexander at 5:18 PM
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
I came home, and I can write my blog posts again. As I said in the last post, I attended the Carnegie International Non-Proliferation Conference at the International Trade Center, or Ronald Reagan Building in Washington DC on November 7 and 8. This conference is held every 18 months, and the largest event by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. As I mentioned last time, leading policymakers were invited to give lectures on non-proliferation. Audiences invited to this conference were top experts from the government, the media, Washington think tanks, embassies, and NGOs from all over the world. At the panel discussion on various topics, guest speakers and attendants discussed very seriously as experts on nuclear proliferation. In other words, both of them talk with mutual respect to their knowledge. It was terrific.
The first speaker was Mohamed El Baradei, Director General of IAEA, and winner of Nobel peace prize this year. I was impressed with his pragmatist approach to nuclear non-proliferation. He said he did not stick to NPT as long as his effort to stop nuclear proliferation was satisfied. Since the Iraq War, I had an impression that he was at odds with the Bush administration. However, he praised the Bush approach to India practical. He is not always against Bush, and I am impressed with his pragmatism.
Another big guest was Samuel Bodman, Secretary of Energy in current Bush administration. His prime focus was on US-Russian non-proliferation cooperation. In particular, he mentioned about shipping highly enriched uranium and plutonium from former Soviet countries to Russia, and converting weapons grade nuclear fuel to civilian use. He stressed how successful US-Russian cooperation is in this area. Currently, the relationship between the United States and Russia is not necessarily friendly. Despite that, both nuclear powers pursue common agenda for non-proliferation. Those who criticize Bush foreign policy unilateralist should reconsider their viewpoints.
Most surprisingly, I appeared in NPR Talk of the Nation. It was a live talk show on November 8, and Neal Conan chaired panel discussion on nuclear arsenals between guest speakers and listeners. Also, experts at the conference asked questions to guest speakers. NPR staff requested us to clap in order to create enthusiastic atmosphere. In addition, they requested us to ask easy questions, and not to ask something of expert, so that listeners can understand well. NPR delivered a piece of paper to write down a question and name on it. Then, the audience submits the question to NPR staff for selection. Those who passed this selection could ask a question to the guest.
Fortunately, my question on nuclear history was taken up by the staff, and I went up to the microphone. I asked them “Why didn’t the US use nuclear bombs in the Korean War and the Vietnam War?” As to Korea, retired General Eugene Habiger replied that it was questionable whether nuclear bomb was effective against North Korea. As to Vietnam, former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara of the Kennedy administration said that the United States worried Chinese intervention if nuclear bomb was used against North Vietnam. Also, the US wanted to avoid the reputation of genocide, he said.
I would like to mention more about the Carnegie and Woodrow Wilson events in my later posts.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
I decided to attend international conferences held in Washington DC on November 7 and 8. One is a big event by the Nonproliferation Project of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Influential policymakers on WMD proliferation are invited as guest speakers. Nonproliferation project is the centerpiece of the Carnegie Endowment, and this is far larger than any other events held by the Endowment.
Main guest speakers are the following.
Mohamed El Baradei, Director General of International Atomic Energy Agency
Samuel W. Bodman, US Secretary of Energy
William J. Perry, Former US Secretary of Defense
Sam Nunn, Former US Senator (Democrat)
Richard Lugar, US Senator (Republican), Chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Guest speakers come from both current Bush administration and former Clinton administration. Bipartisan debates will be a good opportunity to understand on US nuclear policy further. Also, there are some foreign guests, including EU Commissioner Javier Solana’s personal WMD Representative and Egyptian Ambassador to the United States. Attendants are from Washington think tanks, the media, and the government, mostly. Students and NGO activists will participate in this conference as well.
The most critical topic will be Iran and North Korea.
Currently, WMD nonproliferation is one of the key areas in US foreign policy. I have posted some articles on nuclear weapons on this blog. Therefore, I will write about this conference when I come back to Tokyo. If possible, I would like to post an article from the hotel, using a computer in the common room. Just if possible.
I will attend another conference at the Woodrow Wilson Center Professor Alex Danchev from Nottingham University in the United Kingdom will give a lecture on Britain’s role between America and Europe. The Woodrow Wilson Center was founded in 1968 with approval by the Congress. It is quite close to the White House. The Anglo-American Special Relationship and the Transatlantic Alliance is a key topic on this blog. I hope I can write a good post about it as well.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
In the previous post, “India, the country you should not miss!”, I have mentioned about the Indo-Iranian gas pipeline and the US-India strategic partnership. President Bush admitted India’s nuclear power status when he talked with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Washington DC this July. At the United Nations summit this September, Bush and Singh talked about the Iran problem. The United States pressured on India to scrap the Indo-Iranian gas pipeline in order to stop nuclear proliferation to Iran. India is in the middle between the United States and Iran, and the United States is testing India whether it chooses the West over Iran in the end (“Iran Issue Strains India’s Tie to US”, September 14, International Herald Tribune / New York Times).
As I mentioned before, India has to establish close relationship with the United States because it is exploring a global power status. Also, in the war on terror, India faces common threats with America, which are radical Muslims. On the other hand, Iran is an important partner to India. With growing population and economy, India’s demand for energy is soaring. The Indo-Iranian pipeline is a national project to satisfy this soaring demand for the future. In addition, India regards Iran a gateway for Afghanistan and Central Asia. India has been stepping up military cooperation with Iran to use this country an entry point to this region. Furthermore, India has the second largest Shiite population in the world. It makes no sense for India to confront Iran.
According to US National Intelligence Estimate in January 2005, Iran needs 10 years to develop nuclear bombs. However, Gary Schmitt, Executive Director at the Project for the New American Century, a leading neo-conservative think tank, insists that the United States and its allies keep alert on Iran. He says that Iran has not throw away its nuclear ambition. Also, it is quite difficult to have accurate information about Iran’s nuclear program. The Jerusalem Post estimates quotes Israeli intelligence source, saying that Iran will have a nuclear bomb by 2012 and could have the capability as early as 2008. Finally, he argues that it is important to remember why the Bush administration adopted military preemption in its strategic doctrine. No one can foresee the timing of attacks on the America and its allies by states or terrorist groups. As to Iran, people understand too little about the nature of regime and its strategic intention. This makes it furthermore difficult to predict Iran’s behavior. Therefore, the global community must be highly alert on Iran, and careful enough not to provide financial sources for a dangerous project.
To deal with Iran, the United States and EU3 (Britain, France, and Germany) need to demand Russia, China, and India to get involved with non-proliferation efforts. As a neighbor to Iran, India would play an important role. Currently, thanks to high oil price, Iran is in a good position to finance the nuclear program and sponsor terrorism. The Indo-Iranian pipeline will be a further help for this regime.
At the US-India summit this July, the United States agreed to help India’s peaceful use of nuclear energy. At present, nuclear power accounts for only 2.7% of total energy production in India. Further US assistance would be a good alternative to the gas pipeline. Though India has not given up the pipeline plan, Singh decided to vote against Iran at the UN summit this September. This was a critical test for the United States to judge India, whether it is a trustworthy partner or not. The problem is India’s national pride. Leading Indian papers, such as the Hindu and the Times of India laments this vote, because India had been the champion of nonalignment since its independence from Britain. India has made it clear that it would take sides with America and EU3, rather than Russia and China.
This is a vital message for other countries engaged in an energy resource project with Iran. Currently, Japan has a joint oil venture at Azagaden in western Iran. I am afraid this will be the third error for Japan in the conflict between Iran and the West. The first error was in 1952 when Mohammad Mossadegh nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. Japan bought oil from this radical leftist regime, which irked Britain and America. Fortunately, Mossadegh was thrown away, and the shah came back. The second error was that Japan continued the Mitsui Oil Project when the United States and Iran confronted over US embassy hostages in Tehran. Will it be the third error in the coming conflict between Iran and the West? That’s a real struck out!
Friday, October 14, 2005
Last Friday, my article was published in Metropolis magazine. This is a free magazine, and widely distributed in English speaking communities in Japan. You can find some copies at the hotel, embassy, foreign bookshop, and record shop in Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya, Kyoto, and Kobe.
The article is based on my post, “A Review of VJ Day: Has Japan Really Been Born Again?”.
Please see the following link.
You can see other interesting articles by foreign writers in Japan when you see this site.
I have written the following articles before.
Metropolis will be a very helpful source of daily life information in Tokyo. When you visit there, I recommend you to take a copy at the hotel.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
The future of nuclear deterrence was an important issue in the last general election. At present, Britain deploys US-made Trident missiles as strategic weapons. Current missile system must be replaced in2024, because the Vanguard class strategic missile submarines will be decommissioned. Therefore, a nation-wide debate is on going, regarding future nuclear possession. Prime minister Tony Blair made it clear that Britain will maintain nuclear deterrence for big league status in the world. The Conservative party welcomed his decision. Now, British leaders will discuss options of future nuclear arsenals. Britain will be firmly committed to global nuclear deterrence, and the cost and performance of deploying the next generation nuclear weapons will be vital. Meanwhile, leftist politicians insist that Britain should abolish all nuclear weapons in order to adapt to the post-Cold War international politics.
Before talking of these debates, let me explain briefly about the history of British nuclear weapons. Britain developed its own atomic and hydrogen bombs in1952 and 1957. Since then, Britain possessed two categories of nuclear systems: strategic bombers and SLBMs (Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile). While the United Kingdom has developed V-bombers --Valiant, Victor and Vulcan-- by itself, it has been using US-made SLBMs as a principal nuclear deterrence.
Britain tried to make independent SLBM by itself, but it was not successful. Therefore, Harold Macmillan talked with John F. Kennedy, and decided to import US-made Polaris missile under the Nassau agreement in 1962. Since then, Britain’s strategic weapons have become closely related to those with the United States. When Britain needed to upgrade its SLBMs, Margaret Thatcher decided to replace Polaris with another US-made missile, Trident. At the end of the Cold War, the United Kingdom abolished strategic bombers, and concentrates all the strategic arsenals on US-made SLBMs. As a result, the future of British nuclear weapon is tied with the United States.
In order to upgrade current nuclear system, Britain has the following options.
1. Life Extensive Program of Trident missile system
In this case, it is necessary to build new Trident launching or multi-role hunter-killer submarines. Also, Trident missile itself could be updated from current version of D5 to D5A. This missile update depends on whether the United States will do or not. In any case, tremendous cost is expected.
2. Cruise missile
In this case, multi-role hunter-killer submarines will be used. In the Iraq War, Britain fired US-made Tomahawk missiles from hunter-killer submarines. Cruise missiles fly a shorter range than ballistic missiles.
3. Air-based missile
This is what the RAF (Royal Air Force) insists. However, land-based strategic forces are vulnerable to attack by the enemy. This is the most unlikely option.
In any case, Britain will retain nuclear deterrence, because the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats support it as well. At present, it is quite likely that Britain will renew current Trident missile system.
However, Labour left-wingers argue that Trident is a Cold War deterrence, and useless against present threats, like dirty bomb attacks by terrorists and nuclear proliferations, particularly by Iran and North Korea. Robin Cook, who resigned Foreign Secretary when the Iraq War broke out, insists that Britain should end futile and costly obsession with nuclear weapons. Instead, he argues that Britain should assume leadership in global arms reduction by unilateral nuclear disarmament. Clare Short, a radical left who also resigned the cabinet minister when the Iraq War began, says, “It's just a symbol saying that Britain is in the big league, but if you need nuclear weapons to be in the big league, it's no wonder India and others want them.”
Britain’s choice on the Trident issue will have a significant effect on WMDs (Weapons of Mass Destruction) and terrorism problems. Both of them are the most critical to the global security today. I do not believe Britain will disarm it nuclear weapons unilaterally. In order to deal with current threats in a cost-effective way, Britain may choose cruise missile, because some US Trident submarines carries Tomahawk missile instead. The key to this debate is Britain’s role in the global war on terror and nuclear non-proliferation.
Posted by Σ. Alexander at 3:28 PM
Sunday, October 02, 2005
On October 3, the EU-Russia Industrialists’ Round Table will be held, in parallel with the EU-Russia Summit in London. What is the EU-Russia Industrialists’ Round Table?
The Industrialists’ Round Table (IRT) was founded at the EU-Russia Summit in July 1997. IRT gives advise on business and investment in Russia to the EU Commission and the Russian government. Also, it helps EU-Russian business partnership.
I wrote a post, “Russian Democracy in Danger: Carnegie Endowment Policy Brief by Former Swedish Diplomat” before. In the policy brief, the author insisted that the West stand firmly against Putin’s authoritarianism, while promoting cooperation in the areas of common interests like non-proliferation and energy resource development. Fortunately, Russia needs nuclear reduction. Unlike Iran, it will not expand nuclear arsenals with oil revenue.
Therefore, close partnership between EU and Russian business will be a great help for US-led effort to democratize Russia. There are many areas for economic cooperation between the EU and Russia. Energy resources, like oil and natural gas, are the most important. Also, Russo-European cooperation in finance is the key to expand mutual trade and investment. Moreover, Russia’s high-tech and IT industries are on a high level. Aerospace and military technologies since the Soviet era are top class in the world. Russia has a great potential for the West, as a partner in energy supply, new market, high-tech, and IT fields.
This EU-Russia Industrialists’ Round Table is backed up by a private company, Eventica. This company has been organizing many conferences and opportunities to exchange mutual viewpoints between the EU and Russia. In addition, Eventica publishes periodicals to provide information for Western businessmen to support their business in Russia. A quarterly journal, called “Russian Investment Review” offers information about the Russian market and economy. An annual “Russian Index” introduces 50 key persons in Russian politics and business.
People focus on the meeting between Tony Blair, EU Chairman, and Vladimir Putin. However, cooperation between private sectors on both sides is important as well. In order to promote democracy in Russia, while pursuing mutual cooperation, private sectors should be more active.
Finally, Japan must keep up with the US and the EU to promote democracy and pursue cooperation. This will be helpful to stop the Russo Chinese alliance, and resolve the Russo-Japanese territorial dispute.
Saturday, October 01, 2005
This map indicates the state of ballistic missiles in 6 countries of proliferation concern. They possess ballistic missiles flying over 1,000 km. The ranges of missiles are shown in circle.
Among 6 countries of concern, India, Pakistan, and Israel already have nuclear bombs. Iran and North Korea are suspected.
North Korea’s Taepo Dong II is expected to reach Alaska. But no test has been done.
Saudi Arabia imported CSS-2 from China in 1987. Saudi has no nuclear weapons.
Source: Non-Proliferation Project, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Friday, September 30, 2005
I would like to introduce a policy brief published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, entitled “Putin’s Decline and America’s Response”. This article is written by Anders Åslund, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment, and former Swedish diplomat. I pay attention to this brief for three reasons.
1. As Putin is getting authoritarian, Russia is going to be increasingly corrupt and instable. Also, Russian foreign policy has become high-handed as in the case of intervention to Ukrainian presidential election.
2. The author advocates US-led effort for democracy in Russia. He is an ex-diplomat of Sweden. Therefore, people understand that the Bush administration’s endeavor for global democracy has become a common agenda in the Atlantic community.
3. The US and Russia must pursue policy cooperation in some areas of common interest like non-proliferation and energy development.
According to the policy brief, Putin pursued democracy and market economy in his first term (2000~2004). However, in the second term, his regime has become extremely centralized to manage domestic challenges such as oligarchs and the Chechnya conflict. As the author mentions, the Putin administration is based on the KGB mafia. For these elites, oligarchs, Islamic terrorists, and democracy in Ukraine, are serious problems. In order to deal with these challenges, Putin arrested Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the chief executive of Yukos Oil Company. Since then, oligarch influence on Russian politics decreased. Russia has become increasingly authoritarian and nationalistic.
Over-centralization of power makes the Putin regime instable. Putin deprived Local governments, the parliament, and the council of ministers of most of their power. As a result, checks and balances have been minimized. Currently, the KGB mafia dominates Putin’s government and state-owned enterprises. In a situation like this, the regime has become corrupt. As Putin smashed the opposition, his KGB friends have become the most critical challengers to his leadership. When things get worse, some powerful men surrounding the president may conspire a coup d’état. Putin was just a lieutenant colonel at KGB. Higher rank officials may not respect him. Also, popular uprising may happen, as it did in Polish Solidarity case. Anyway, things are not so optimistic, according to this article.
In order to manage current political turmoil in Russia, Anders Åslund advises that the United States send civil activity groups to monitor election. He says it was fraud election that hundred democratization in Russia. In his view, whether Russia accepts US-led election monitoring or not, is vital to test Russia’s commitment to further democracy and improving relations with the West.
He presents several recommendations to election monitoring. Among them, I would like to pick up one comment. In the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, the most successful movements against authoritarian regime were undertaken by college students. There are some examples, such as Ukraine, Serbia, Georgia, and Belarus.
He insists that the United States should support civil movements for democracy, if Putin sponsors autocrats in the former Soviet Union as he did in Ukraine. Russia can no longer turn down US pressure for freedom, because its influence in this region is diminishing. In Ukraine, Freedom House has made an outstanding accomplishment to sponsor students’ activities for democracy.
On the other hand, he insists that the United States and Russia promote further cooperation in the areas of common interest. Non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is a vital concern for both countries. In energy resource development, the West invested heavily in Russia. Russia needs Western help to increase its oil production.
Can the West demand democracy to Russia, while promoting further cooperation in non-proliferation and energy? The author says Russia needs to satisfy Western request, because it chairs the G8 summit next year.
It is very important to understand that the Bush administration’s agenda for global democracy is based on common notion of the American nation, or more broadly, the Atlantic community. This essay is written by a former Swedish diplomat. Readers can understand that his advocacy for US-led democracy is accepted in Continental Europe. This is no longer Anglo-American viewpoint. Also, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is a centrist think tank.
In a democratized Russia, Putin’s KGB friends will be kicked out from state-owned oil companies. This will be good news for Western business. A Russia like this will not try to establish close relations with China to stand against the West. It will not pursue neo-czarist diplomacy in the former Soviet Union. What happens in Russia, the Northern Giant, will have a great effect on Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. We should keep an eye on this country.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
This September, a Japanese publisher called Gakken released “The Guide of Top 200 Blogs”, and my blog is listed in this book. The contents of my English and Japanese blogs are almost the same. Gakken is a well-known publisher in education.
Instead of reporting daily news, I try to present my own viewpoints and analysis from long-term perspectives. Also, I try to advocate pro-American and liberal imperialist viewpoints in my blog. I hope these efforts could have been of some help for readers to reconsider global affairs.
I would like to improve the quality of this blog, and show lucid messages for the future.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
I found an interesting article, “The State of Iraq” in the International Herald Tribune on September 10 (also the New York Times on September 9). This article is written by Michael O’Hanlon and Nina Kamp, respectively a Senior Fellow and a Senior Research Assistant at the Brookings Institution. I would like to show you some impressive statistics in this post, because the table of the original essay is not displayed in the link.
Gross Domestic Product ($ billion):
18.4 (pre-war)―＞12.1 (August, 2003) ―＞21.1 (August, 2004) ―＞25.0 (August, 2005)
Non-oil Gross Domestic Product ($ billion):
2.0 (August, 2003) ―＞8.3 (August, 2004) ―＞10.9 (August, 2005)
830 (pre-war)―＞800 (August, 2003) ―＞1,460 (August, 2004) ―＞4,180 (August, 2005)
Moreover, there were no trained judges when the occupational rule began, but now, there are 400. It is very important to notice the rapid rise of non-oil GDP. Currently, oil production has not risen to pre-war level. When oil industry has been reconstructed, Iraqi economy will improve dramatically. If the constitution is approved, and the new regime starts, people in the future will evaluate this regime change an epoch-making success.
Of course, terrorists are still rampant, and electricity production does not meet the demand. The media tend to emphasize these negative aspects, and criticize the US-led coalition. However, statistics tells that the state of Iraq is improving, despite some difficulties.
Michael O’Hanlon, the author, opposed the Iraq War. In addition, the Brookings Institution is rather Democrat. Viewpoints and analysis in this article are completely different from those of the Bush administration. Even from such liberal perspectives, some aspects in Iraq are improving. Remember!
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
It was dreadful. Throughout the history, terrorism itself has been nothing rare. But never has there been a mass murder like 9-11. Since than, the priority of foreign and security policy has changed, as commonly understood.
There are numerous issues to be resolved in order to curb this sort of organized terrorism. Above all, I would like to mention that emotional gaps between Americans and people from the rest pf the world still remains. This is one of the underlying reasons for the rift between the United States and its allies in the war on terror.
But remember. Americans are not the only victims of 9-11. People from 100 countries were killed in the attack. Of course, allies must be willing to make steadfast commitment to fight against rogues. People should bear it in mind that 9-11 is a global concern.
Saturday, September 03, 2005
I received an E-news from Middle East Info, a Zionist NGO in Israel. It was on new constitution in Iraq, and I would like to take up two opinions from the Jerusalem Post. One praises this draft, because it assures regional autonomy to all ethnic and religious groups in Iraq. The other worries that the federal government is too weak to maintain national unity under new constitution.
As often reported in the media, there are three main ethnic and religious groups in Iraq: Kurds in the north, Sunni Arabs in the central, and Shiite Arabs in the south. The balance of power among these three groups is the key to political stability in Iraq. In addition, Turkomen and Assyrians will play an important role in new Iraq as well. Turkomen are the descendants of Turkish people came from Central Asia. Their kith and kin relations with Turkey will have a critical impact on political stability in this country. Assyrians founded a great empire in the past, and they are Christians of their own, not that of European Christianity. Some Christians, like Tariq Aziz, became deputy prime minister and foreign minister under Saddam Hussein. The media focus too much on the Big 3, but minorities are also important as well.
The draft defines Iraq a multi-ethnic country. The country brandished ambition for Arab leader under Saddam Hussein, is beginning to transform into a completely different one. Historically, various nations, including Romans, Persians, and Arabs, clashed each other in Mesopotamia. Since the collapse of the Saracenian Empire, whose capital is Baghdad, to 1920s, no nation states were founded there. Therefore, it is plausible to change Iraq from Arab state to multi-ethnic one. What will happen in new Iraq? I would like to introduce two opinions from the Jerusalem Post.
One is a pro-draft opinion, entitled “The Region: Opting out for Arabism in Iraq” on August 30. In this article, Barry Rubin, Director of the Global Research in International Affairs Center, insists that the draft is well-devised, because it allows regional autonomy to all ethnic and religious groups. He says that Sunni Arabs do not have to worry about Kurdish-Shiite domination on them, because Sunni autonomy is assured. Although Kurdish and Arabic are official language, minorities like Turkomen and Assyrians are allowed to offer school education in their own language. This is remarkable. Sunnis have no reason to be afraid of marginalization.
However, Rubin points out two problems in the draft. First, no Arab countries adopted the federal system to guarantee ethnic minority rights. All the Arab states are centralized, and it is too unprecedented to introduce a constitution that allows equal rights to all ethnic and religious groups in one country. In addition, Sunnis have considerable difficulties in adjusting to new reality, as they have been the ruling class throughout the monarchy and Baathist regimes. Sunnis accounts for 20 % of total Iraqi population, and there is no reason for them to occupy dominant position continually. However, they may be reluctant to give up their privileges.
On the other hand, Sholmo Avineli, professor of Hebrew University, warns that too strong autonomy would disintegrate the state in his article “Long litany of contradiction” on August 28. He is seriously concerned that Iraq will collapse like former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, because Article 116 says, “the regional authority has the right to amend the implementation of the federal law.” Moreover, ethnic and religious representative offices will be established within Iraqi embassies. This will make diplomatic service very complicated. Regarding oil revenues, he points out that regional authorities control over this, because Article 110 declares that income from natural resources will be distributed "fairly in a manner compatible with the demographical distribution."
Judging from both positive and negative aspects, Sunnis must understand that they will not be dominated by other ethnic and religious groups under new constitution. It is their interest to accept the constitution that allows equal rights to all ethnic and religious groups. As to oil revenue, Sunni elites have been exploiting it at the expense of Kurds and Shiites. In reconstruction, Sunnis must develop their own industries other than oil.
It is completely unprecedented to establish a federal state granting ethnic and religious autonomy. The relationship between the central and regional governments may have to be revised, but it is all Iraqis’ interest to accept new constitution and concentrate their energy on reconstruction. Whether the draft is approved or not, the coalition must stay in Iraq for the time being.
Sunday, August 28, 2005
The Anglo-American special relationship has been the most important alliance to advance liberal democracy, and prevail peace and stability throughout the world. We can name glorious duos, notably FDR-Churchill, Kennedy-Macmillan, Reagan-Thatcher, and Bush-Blair. Those who crave for global democracy understand it very well. It will continue to be the core of the transatlantic alliance.
I found an interesting site on the Anglo-American strategic partnership. BASIC or the British American Security Information Council was established in 1987 as an independent research organization. BASIC “assists in the development of global security policies, policy-making and the assessment of policy priorities, and promotes public awareness and understanding of these policies and of policy-making in Europe and the US.” Key research areas are nuclear policies, military strategies, armaments and disarmaments. In order to promote well-informed debate on both sides of the Atlantic, BASIC has offices in London and Washington, and maintains solid contact with NATO nations.
Currently, BASIC has the following projects.
(1) Nuclear and WMD
This project aims at elimination of nuclear and WMD throughout the world. For this purpose, this project tries to draw public attention to this issue, and push for transparency in arms control.
Recent hot topics are Iran, NPT, and missile defense. Also, possible replacement of Trident missile in Britain is a critical subject. On this issue, policy experts discuss whether nuclear deterrent is effective in the war on terror.
(2) Transatlantic Security
This project keeps close contacts with the United Nations, EU, OSCE, and NATO, in order to pursue better conflict management system in Europe. NATO expansion is an important issue as well.
(3) Weapons Trade
Many conflicts in the developing world are fought with small arms and light weapons. The United States and Europe are leading exporters in this area. BASIC explores to establish codes of conducts to control global arms trade.
Successful transatlantic partnership is the key to global security. The Anglo-American special relationship is the core of the transatlantic alliance. BASIC maintains close ties with governmental and private organizations. This site is worth stopping by. See the blog as well.
Posted by Σ. Alexander at 11:33 PM
Monday, August 22, 2005
This August 15 was the 60th VJ day (end of war memorial day for Japanese). The media took up numerous debates on Japan from the postwar era to the future. Having seen these debates, I insist that Japanese leaders and citizens have a universal and absolute value in their foreign and domestic policies. People must keep it in mind that Japan in the post-Cold War era is the model of regime change. This is the only way in which Japan would play a leading role in the world as one of the key allies to the United States. All the Japanese foreign and domestic policy goals must be compatible with this premise. Otherwise, everything should be scrapped away.
Throughout the postwar period, Japanese people had been exploring how to prevent the rise of fascism again and win trust from the global community. People tend to talk about specific issues, like monarchy, national flag, anthem, Yasukuni shrine, pacifist constitution, wartime history, and relations with Asia. However, no one tried to show a grand design for postwar Japan. As a result, people wasted their energy on stupid debates.
Left-wingers blame monarchy, national flag, anthem, and Yasukuni shrine, for symbols of wartime fascism. They advocate pacifist constitution. Regarding wartime history and relations with Asia, leftists demand continual apology to Asian neighbors. On the other hand, ultra-rightists and neo-nationalists argue traditional values must be maintained whether they are related to wartime fascism or not.
In my opinion, these debates miss the fundamental point: whether Japan has really been born again after the war. More precisely, everything must be judged whether it is compatible with regime changes, currently on going throughout the world, and still in process in Japan. From this point of view, Japanese leaders and citizens can cut off the Gordian knot of all the foreign and domestic policy issues.
A born-again nation and the model of regime change, Japanese people must reconsider what the US-Japanese alliance is. No Japanese leaders doubt how important it is for Japan’s national security. However, most of them, particularly neo-nationalists and neo-realists, see the alliance just a strategic deal to defeat common threats in the Asia-Pacific region.
In my understanding, this is beyond military alliance. It is a manifestation of Japan’s wholehearted commitment to global democracy. Japan must play this vital role just as Britain does under Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair. From this point of view, I would suggest the followings to Japan.
(1) Full scale involvement in confronting terrorists and rogues
Japan has sent troops to Iraq. But this is just the first step toward further involvement. The alliance is evolving global. Japanese commitment must be beyond Asia-Pacific. Europe and the Middle East are also important for the US-Japanese strategic partnership.
(2) Membership of “Greater Europe”
At the end of Cold War, a conference for “Greater Europe, from Van Couver to Vladivostock”, was held. This should be extended to Tokyo. Japan shares global executive seat of liberal democracy with Europe and America, because, it is a vital ally to the United States. This makes Japan distinct from its Asian neighbors, like China and Korea.
(3) Eliminate all the domestic hurdles for the model of regime change
The postwar period was Phase I of regime change. Some sort of appeasement to ex-fascists had been necessary, because it was urgent to stabilize Japan during the Cold War. It is Phase II in the post-Cold War era. No one needs to hesitate to throw away some fascistic leaders. They simply damage Japan’s reputation in the world. Asians, particularly Chinese and Koreans, pursue psychological superiority over Japan, and try to split the US-Japanese alliance by blaming Japan’s wartime misconduct. This is their power politics.
Also, legal confinement of pacifist constitution must be swept away.
A forward-looking Japan like this, will be helpful a lot to world citizens. Keep it in mind that Japan is the model of regime change. All the policies must be based on this premise.
Sunday, August 14, 2005
This is a vital question to discuss US foreign policy, world order, and ultimately, regime change. In my view, people all over the world cherish ambivalent feeling to American intervention. A mere glance at world affairs, it seems that the United States is always at odds with the global civil society. This is not true. A careful review on US foreign policy will show this fact to you. During the Iraq War, numerous self-called “grassroots” groups condemned US attack on Saddam Hussein. However, strangely enough, these groups and activists requested US intervention in Liberia. Moreover, they petitioned the United States to pressure Burma to stop human rights violation. Usually, they blame American intervention for arrogance, belligerence, and megalomania. What happened with them?
The key to this problem lies in the nature of the USA itself. America is a republic, and an empire as well. As a republic, America is a land of civil liberty, and abstains from dirty power politics in the Old World. On the other hand, as an empire, America imposes stability and a liberal world order throughout the globe. No one doubts that the American Empire today is the successor to the British Empire under Queen Victoria. The United States assumes a mission to prevail liberal values and stable world order with coercive power. Global citizens have mixed feelings to this mission.
So, what’s your viewpoint? Is American intervention right, or wrong? I look forward to your answer.
Saturday, August 13, 2005
This 8-6 and 8-9 were 60th anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki days. People discuss whether nuclear attacks to both cities were right or wrong. Regarding this pro-con debate, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists takes up a special edition in July/August 2005 issue. Essays by Pervez Hoodbhoy, Thomas Donnelly, and Robert L. Gallucci, are available on the web. Was it necessary to drop atomic bombs to end the war earlier? This debate is never-ending. However, it is important to learn lessons for the future.
When should the policymaker make the final decision to use nuclear weapons? Are there any ways to avoid nuclear attacks during the war? I am asking these questions because Hiroshima-Nagasaki bombing might have been unnecessary. More importantly, nuclear deterrence is getting less reliable in the post Cold War era. During the Cold War, nuclear diplomacy had been Russo-American bipolar, and the Big 5 oligopolized nuclear weapons. However, these weapons have been proliferating today. Even non-state actors like terrorist organizations may acquire nuclear bombs. In order to face these threats, the United States is developing smaller and more practical nuclear weapons. In a situation like this, American and other Big 5 policymakers may be more tempted to preliminary nuclear attacks against rogue states and terrorist bases. Speaking of the final decision for nuclear attack, let’s think again Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
People in the latter days can analyze critically on Harry Truman’s decision to use atomic bombs to end the war earlier. But wait. Did the president have enough information about Japan? It was not a TV war these days. No one got real time information as we do today. Also, Japanese leaders in those days did not hold press conferences with the Western media. In fact, Japanese government was exploring to make a deal with the allied forces to end the war. The entire Japanese nation was completely damaged and exhausted. But there was no ways for US leaders to know about it. In addition, I have to mention wartime psychology. Japanese soldiers seemed so fearless that the war appeared something endless to the allied forces. In such a circumstance, Truman had no choice but use atomic bombs. It was not a TV war today.
On the other hand, people overestimate the effect of atomic bomb to end the war quickly. It is one of the reasons why Japan decided to surrender. But don’t miss the following points. First, under the fascist regime, the government controls the information. They can hide the facts. Also, so many Japanese people believed that the divine and sacred emperor was invincible. In a case like this, the “shock and awe” strategy doesn’t work.
Remember. Japanese leaders were exploring to end the war. It was 8-15 when Hirohito declared ceasefire, just a week from 8-6 and 8-9. It is too quick.
There is no denying that nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki played some role to end the war. But don’t overestimate its effect. Through further analysis of Hiroshima-Nagasaki, we can learn more lessons for the future.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
I saw an advertisement, entitled “In Memory of My Brother, MOHAMMAD REZA PAHLAVI, The Late Shahanshah of Iran” in the International Herald Tribune on July 27. It was the 25th anniversary of the passing away of the Shahanshah. Achraf Pahlavi, the sister of the late king of Iran, placed this advertisement.
She lauds rapid modernization in the White Revolution during the Pahlavi regime, and presents critical viewpoints to current theocracy.
Think again. The most detrimental factor in the Middle East is not the Palestine conflict but the Iranian Revolution. While the former is an ethnic clash between Jewish and Palestinians, the latter has lead to the rise of Islamic fundamentalism allover the Middle East.
The result? First, it is Iranian people themselves who suffer from repressive regime, dominated by archaic-brained mullahs. Some people may say the Pahlavi monarchy was repressive as well. But remember! Pahlavi shahs were Kemalists. The fundamental value of this ideology is modernization and enlightenment by throwing away outmoded Islamism, destroying mediaeval systems of exploitation, providing good education to the people, and so forth. Kemal Ataturk of Turkey and Pahlavi shahs of Iran may have taken some oppressive policies. But these approaches are necessary evils for the process of rapid modernization. This is completely different from theocratic oppression. In the Islamic regime, people expect little modernization and enlightenment.
In addition, the Islamic autocracy causes negative impacts throughout the Middle East. Islamic fundamentalism has become invigorated since then, anti-Western and anti-Jewish feeling has become intensified. In other words, no Iranian revolution means no Al Qaeda.
Judging from the balance of power in this region, it is evident. Saddam Hussein became increasingly megalomaniac, after the fall of shah. Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan to fill the power vacuum. Consequence? I can list up too many clashes, including the Iran-Iraq War, the Gulf War, 9-11, the Afghan War, and the Iraq War.
Why people blame too much on the Israeli-Palestine conflict, while paying little attention to negative consequences of the Iranian Revolution. In Palestine, there are easy target to accuse. Just name them. US-Israeli relations, Jewish lobbies, and anything related to Jewish are blamed.
We need to understand what the real cause of Middle East instability is. People overestimate Palestine, and underestimate Iran.
Monday, July 25, 2005
Nuclear non-proliferation and the war on terror are vital issues in US foreign policy today. India is one of the key countries on these issues. Also, it is important to accept India’s aspiration to become a global power without threatening American hegemony. Last week, from July 19 to 20, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Washington DC to talk with US president George W. Bush on nuclear proliferation and South Asian security. This is a turning point in American foreign policy and the global security. I wish people had paid more attention to this news. I would like to discuss this issue from the following points: non-proliferation, terrorism, and the global power game.
Before talking of those points, let me review the US-Indian relations briefly. During the Cold War, the United States sponsored Pakistan to buffer Soviet expansion to the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. Therefore, the relationship between India and America had been rather distant. However, the 9-11 has made the US-Indian relations closer rapidly. Both of them badly need to stabilize Afghanistan, and defeat Islamic terrorism, now
At the last US-Indian summit, the Bush administration has decided to offer technological help for civilian nuclear programs in India. Since India is a nuclear power out of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, this deal is very controversial. Strobe Talbott, president of the Brookings Institution and deputy secretary of state under the Clinton administration, criticizes this in his article “Good Day for India, Bad for Nonproliferation” in YaleGlobal Online. He says that Bush admitted India’s nuclear power status with very little in rerurn. He is afraid that such a deal would undermine the NPT system. On the other hand, Mohhamed El Baradei, the head of International Atomic Agency, welcomes this deal.
Until ratified at the Senate, this agreement will not go into effect. Is it appeasement or a practical solution? You have to notice that America has been rejecting India’s wish.
The US has remained committed to its strong alliance with India’s nuclear-powered neighbour and rival, Pakistan. It has refused to endorse India’s chief foreign-policy goal, a permanent seat on an expanded United Nations Security Council. It opposes India’s cherished project to pipe gas from Iran across Pakistan. And it has withheld co-operation in military and nuclear technology because India tested nuclear weapons in 1998 and has never signed up to the international non-proliferation regime. (“Together at Last”, The Economist, July 19)
Therefore, some deal with India is necessary to develop the US-Indian strategic partnership. However, as Joseph Cirincione, Senior Associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, points out, "Inspections of civilian facilities mean very little as long as India's military facilities are pumping out plutonium for nuclear weapons." Will India be a responsible nuclear power, as George W. Bush says? It remains to be seen.
As for the war on terrorism, India is a frontline. It sponsored anti-Taliban Northern Alliance in Afghanistan for years. Also, it confronts Shiite militants in Kashmir. In order to curb these threats of Islamic terrorism, India needs a strategic partnership with the United States. Also, the United States must be prepared for unexpected changes in the subcontinent. Currently, President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan launches steadfast anti-terrorism operations throughout the country. However, there are still some pro-Taliban officials in the government, as Musharraf sponsored the Taliban before 9-11. Therefore, excessive reliance on Pakistan is risky. This is why close US-Indian relationship is desirable.
Regarding the global power game, people often talk about India’s relationship vis-à-vis China and Pakistan. Certainly, India will be a counterbalance against China. Also, if the United States makes excessive commitment to Pakistan over India, Pakistani leaders may believe that America cares little about democracy in their country. Therefore, the United States must seesaw India and Pakistan.
It is also important to notice Manmohan Singh’s comment in the interview with the Washington Post on July 20. He said that India is willing to play some role in dealing with Iran. As he mentions, India has deep-rooted relations with Iran in terms of race, culture, religion, and history. But can the global community embrace India’s ambition? In any case, more attention to India is necessary to analyze the future of the world.
India is not China. It is unlikely that India challenge Pax Americana. India is an English-speaking democracy, and it is essential for the United States to develop the strategic partnership with this country furthermore. On the other hand, it is too dangerous to overtrust India, because this proud nation has never been a wholehearted ally to the West since its independence. Managing such a delicate balance is the key to develop the strategic partnership with India.
Don’t miss India. Americans and Europeans focus on Islamic terrorism, and Japanese are keen on Chinese threats. Remember! India is an influential actor on both issues.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Africa was one of the main subjects at the Gleneagles summit this summer. I would like to introduce an interesting blog published by Jackaranda, a retired lady in Perthshire, Scotland. This is around Edinburgh, and quite close to Gleneagles. She spent much of her life in Africa in her youth.
In her blog, “News-Views-Thoughts-Photos-Animals”, she talks of news, reports, and some comments on Africa and wildliefe. Currently, terrorism, underdevelopment, and environment pose serious challenge to the global community. These problems are deeply associated with repressive regimes.
One of the most oppressive government know in Africa is Zimbabwe. President Robert Mugabe maintains his dictatorship since the independence in 1980. He impoverishes his country, canes white citizens, and tortures wild animals. On her blog site, Jackaranda shows a letter from Cathy Buckler, well-known writer on Zimbabwe.
For those whose interest is on terrorism and Middle East democracy, she writes some posts of North African issues. Countries like Egypt and Algeria are key focuses.
Finally, I would like to mention wildlife. Environmental groups and activists tend to pay much attention to multinational corporations. However, the most devastating factor to the ecology is corrupted despot. In Zimbabwe, for example, Mugabe encourages starved people to kill wild animals for food. It is his economic policy that starves his people.
Jackaranda presents news and her viewpoints on African affairs in her blog. Once you read her posts, you will understand her deep love to Africa, and wholehearted affection to the wildlife.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
It is the Bastille Day today. You don't understand? It is the day of the French Revolution in1789. Both the United States and France share common values: liberté, égalité, and fraternité.
For Marianne and Uncle Sam
Posted by Σ. Alexander at 9:16 PM
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
In this century, emotional aspects have become increasingly important. Unlike realist and idealist points, there is no rational solution to manage love and hatred. However, something can be done through the following perspectives.
(1) Consensus building:
I would like to quote the following parts from Henry Kissinger’s article “Realist vs. idealist” in the International Herald Tribune.
The implementation of the freedom agenda needs to relate the values of the democratic tradition to the historic possibilities of other societies.
We must avoid the danger that a policy focused on our domestic perceptions may generate reactions in other societies rallying around patriotism and leading to a coalition of the resentful against attempts at perceived American hegemony.
A strategy to implement the vision of the freedom agenda needs consensus building, both domestically and internationally. That will be the test as to whether we are seizing the opportunity for systemic change or participating in an episode.
(2) Divide the counterpart:
The West must find truly reliable leaders in the Islamic world to prevail democratic values. To my regret, the media took up condemnation by Tony Blair and George W. Bush in the London terrorist attack. It is also important to pay more attention to anger against this terrorism among Islamic leaders of common sense. Otherwise, global citizens will regard it as a conflict between the Anglo-American alliance and the Islamic world.
In order to manage the hatred, Japan needs to find good friends in Chinese and Korean citizens. For example, in South Korea, pro-American internationalists share common values and understandings of the world with Japan. Therefore, it is necessary for Japan to establish good relations with them. This will be the first step towards weakening anti-Japan voices in Asia. Start it now Japan! Otherwise, Asian adversary to Japan never ends.
(3) More effort for good image:
In the era of emotionalism, more effort to improve the image of the nation is necessary. More mutual understandings to the grassroots level are getting increasingly important.
Above all, love and hatred is playing more and more greater role in international politics. This is an unprecedented challenge to us, because there are no rational solutions to this problem. Long-term perspectives are required to tackle this issue.
The 7-7 terrorism in London has impressed us that emotionalism plays a substantial role in international politics. We have been arguing world affairs through realist and idealist perspectives. Whether we talk about state actors, or non-state actors, like corporations, pressure groups, NGOs, and civil societies, we tend to focus on values and the balance of power. But people do not so much attention to emotional aspects. Terrorists and rioters’ behavior is based on love and hatred, which makes it quite unpredictable. When people act on realism and idealism, we can understand their way of thinking through rational expectation. But this is no use to understand behavior based on emotionalism. While the role of love and hatred plays increasingly important role in international politics, this sentiment is not necessarily well grounded. Hereafter, I would like to discuss anti-Americanism, the West-Islam clash, anti-Japan sentiment in Asia, and European integration.
Regarding emotionalist aspects in international politics, pro-Americanism and anti-Americanism is the most frequently discussed issue. Anti-Americanism can be found throughout the world, but can they explain clearly why they hate America? It is quite doubtful. Most of them are jealous of overwhelming power of the Unites States. In Europe and Japan, many people participated in anti-American demonstrations during the Iraq War. Most of the participants were not keenly interested in world affairs. They diverted their daily frustrations, simply by denouncing American hegemony. They enjoyed the event as a kind of picnic. It is leftist organizations with sufficient money and networks, which mobilized so many people to their events.
While anti-Americans use conspiracy theory, it is not well grounded. Just read my article on June 22. You will understand it very well. Most of these conspiracy theorists are leftists who lost their ideological foundation after the Cold War. They develop finesse theories, but what they have in mind is emotional hatred to the global power. Simply, they blame America for everything bad around the world.
As to America’s image to global citizens, people talk about the latest research by the PEW center. In the aftermath of this research, Anne Applebaum, columnist of the Washington Post, writes an interesting article in the latest edition of Foreign Policy, titled “ In Search of pro-Americanism.” This article shows differences in the pattern of anti-Americanism in developed and developing countries.
In developed countries, pro-Americans are self-made men. They are not well-educated, but moving their social position upwards through hard work. On the other hand, Anti-Americans in developed countries are establishments with good educational backgrounds. Typical anti-Americans are ENA (École Nationale d’Administration) graduate elitist bureaucrats in France.
In developing countries, pro-Americans are highly educated yuppies working for Western companies, and anti-Americans are marginalized people in the rural area.
In both cases, those who admire vitality and macho dynamism tend to be pro-American. On the other hand, those who feel their vested interests are threatened, or those who are marginalized in the global economy, are likely to be anti-American.
Islam vs. the West
Currently, Islamic terrorists are the most critical threat to the West. Anti-Western elites agitate the poor to stand up for terrorism. Most of the Islamic fighters are educated at madrasa (Islamic mission school). They recite the Koran at the school. Since the text of Koran is written in classical Arabic, students do not necessarily understand it well. They are brainwashed easily. Some Moslems, such as Pakistanis and Afghans, are more likely to be brainwashed, because they are not native speakers of Arabic. As a result, they are driven to violence, without understanding Islamic thoughts and international politics. Terrorists, who attacked New York, Washington DC, and London, have no realist and idealist perspectives. They hate the West. Nothing else in their mind.
Anti-Japan Sentiment in Asia
Asians’ hatred to Japan has been a serious problem since the end of World War II. It is difficult to evaluate how much Japanese apology is enough for Asians. Asians themselves may not know. The world is moving towards the new order of the post-Cold War era. However, in East Asia, Japanese aggression during the World War II is still critical diplomatic issue. Whether Asians’ case is right or wrong, it is quite odd that Japanese and Asians still argue criminal behavior in the past. China and South Korea complain the content of history text books used in Japan. They insist that those textbooks must explain Japanese misconducts to Asian people during the World War II much more in detail.
However, it turned out that China and Korea exaggerate Japanese war crime in their school textbooks. It is not clear why they attack Japan so much. Above all, they satisfy their jingoistic pride, simply by blaming Japanese behavior in the past. They may use some sort of fineness theory, but I think this is their underlying sentiment. Just as the case of Islamic terrorists, their motivation is based on poorly grounded hatred. Quite often, such hatred leads them to violence against Japan.
Love and hatred does not necessarily cause adversary sentiment and violence. People in Europe rejected EU constitution, because they were scared that their social and cultural tradition would be destroyed by Brussels bureaucrats. This sentiment is illustrated very well in the cartoon of this blog on June 27. One civil society organization in London, called the Democracy Movement, raises the case against EU constitution. However, they do not oppose further integration itself.
Monday, July 04, 2005
It is the Independence Day of the United States of America today. At present, the United States is fighting the war on terror and struggling for global democracy. I would like to argue the following points.
1. Nation still divided
To my regret, America has not healed the division yet. It is true that the current administration faces many challenges to manage Iraq. Middle East democratization has just started, and not necessarily made sufficient progress. However, it is not rational to pull out the US-lead forces from Iraq quickly. Liberals does not show the blueprint after the withdrawal. Leaving Iraq when the job is half-done makes it extremely dangerous throughout the Middle East. Party politics is a part of democracy, but the whole nation must be firmly united in case of emergency like this. Liberals need to indicate persuasive alternatives. Otherwise, things get worse.
Also, it is quite unusual that the Senate still delays to approve the nomination of the ambassador to the United Nations. In this term, critical issues, like arms control, Iran, and North Korea, will be discussed at the Security Council. Without the ambassador, the United States will fail to take leadership and act quickly in case of emergency. Liberals may not like John Bolton, but wrong ambassador is better than no ambassador.
Right or wrong, conservatives show us the design of leading America and the world. Liberals need to propose alternatives.
2. Perception gap between the USA and the allies
The United States is extremely sensitive to the threat of terrorism and WMD proliferation, this is not necessarily the case with its allies. Such a perception gap makes the rift between the United States and the allies greater. Continental Europeans is getting more reluctant to commit themselves to the war on terror. With a single bomb explosion, the Spanish chose leftist Zapatero, and withdrew its troops from Iraq. The Japanese confront Asian xenophobia.
The United States may be forced to pursue a go it alone policy, if this trend continues. Fortunately, Tony Blair, America’s staunchest ally, has been re-elected. It is time for the United States and its allies to narrow the perception gap. Do it, before it gets too late.
3. The Country of Good Hope
Despite these problems, the United States is the country of good hope. In the article, “In Search of pro-Americanism” (Foreign Policy, July/August 2005), Anne Applebaum, columnist of the Washington Post, mentions that those moving their status upwards tend to be pro-American, while establishments and lower class tend to be anti-American. In other words, the United States has the global constituents of highly motivated, vigorous, and prospective people. They are the most crucial actors to move the world towards good direction.
Americans must be firmly united, regardless of ideological differences, in order to defeat terrorists and rogue states. Perception gap between their allies must be filled. It is the Independence Day, and a good chance for both Americans and global citizens to think of the future. The United States will continue to be the country of good hope, if it manages this historical turning point successfully.
Monday, June 27, 2005
This picture is taken from the International Herald Tribune, June 23. (Also, from the Baltimore Sun, June 4)
See the monster. People are scared of the constitution, drafted by ENA bound bureaucrats.
This is the era of "The Case for Democracy." Elitists should understand it.
Posted by Σ. Alexander at 12:07 AM
Saturday, June 25, 2005
Reza Pahlavi, former crown prince of Iran, comments critically on the presidential election in Iran. Just listen to the interview on the following web sites.
ＴＶ３, Spain June 16
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Conspiracy theorists associate everything bad in the Middle East with America’s ambition. But their viewpoints are dubious. I would like to correct these misunderstandings.
1. The United States had a honeymoon period with Saddam Hussein in the past.
During the Iran-Iraq War, the Reagan administration tried to use Iraq a buffer against the theocratic regime in Iran. However, it was very cautious. Baathist ideology is a combination of radical pan-Arab nationalism and socialism. This is hardly acceptable to the United States.
During the Cold War, Saddam Hussein was one of the most pro-Soviet leaders in the Arab world. The Iraqi forces in those days were armed with Soviet and French made weapons. It was Valéry Giscard d’Estaing who aided Iraq build a nuclear power plant, even though Saddam Hussein was suspected of his ambition to make a nuclear bomb.
2. Everything bad in the Middle East results from the Palestine problem.
Most of the problems are rooted in the Arabs themselves. Arab states fight against Arab states. Iraq invaded Kuwait, and Syria invaded Lebanon. Also, Arabs have clashes between modernization and tradition. Ethnic minorities, like Kurds, Barbers, and Turkmen are severely oppressed. These troubles are not related to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Read the article “A World without Israel” by Joseph Joffe in Foreign Policy in January 2005. It is utterly wrong to blame America and Israel. You will understand it very well.
3. The United States should not have sponsored Afghan guerrillas. They caused the 9-11.
It is ridiculous. The United States should have allowed the Soviets to expand their influence throughout the Persian Gulf area and the Indian subcontinent? It is true that Islamic radicals have become the most serious threat to the United States and Free World. However, I have to remind you that the rise of such radicals dates from the Iranian Revolution. The Carter administration was excessively dovish against Shiite riots. Saddam Hussein would have never invaded an Iran, under the Pahlavi dynasty or pro-Western strong man. The loss of Iran has been critical to the Middle East security. People hardly criticize such a wimp foreign policy, although Islamic fundamentalists have been one of the most serious threats since then.
4. Middle East democracy is a plot driven by Bush, neocons, Jewish lobby, and oil industries, in order to maximize their business interest.
Are you kidding?
Whether liberal or conservative, it is American national interest to spread a stable democracy throughout the Middle East. Their disagreements lie only in the method to achieve this goal. The Iraqi National Congress, lead by Ahmad Chalabi, has been sponsored by the United States since the Clinton era. Moreover, non-partisan and liberal think tanks have been engaged in numerous researches on Middle East democratization.
It is America’s national project, and completely off the point to denounce Bush, neocons, Jewish lobby, and oil business.
Left-wingers and conspiracy theorists distort the public opinion. We need to have a balanced viewpoint.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
People talk too much about EU constitution, but it does not matter so much. NATO plays the most important role to decide the future of Europe, and the EU is the secondary actor. In other words, Europe must be open and Atlanticist. Today, European integration has expanded eastward. Also, Turkey is expected to join the EU in the future. However, I have to remind you that European integration is not entirely dependent on the Continental initiative. The United States has been endorsing this movement since the end of World War II. When the Cold War ended, NATO embraced “New Europe” and Turkey much earlier than the EU did. In view of these facts, we understand that European integration is a trans-Atlantic endeavor from the beginning. Expanded Europe is not homogeneous. It is not a good choice to impose a single constitution to the whole area of the Union, and interfere in the national sovereignty. NATO does not intervene in national politics. Furthermore, it is a friend in need to its member states, in case of crisis. Therefore, people do not have to worry so much about the ratification of EU constitution.
It is also important to notice substantial changes in the balance of power in Europe. The French referendum on May 29 voted against the constitution. As Charles Grant, Director of the Centre for European Reform, argues in his article in Foreign Affairs, there are two categories of states in Europe: core members like France and Germany, and peripheral members such as Britain, Poland, the Nordic, and the Baltic. In an expanded Europe, the influence of the Franco-German alliance will erode. The “non” vote will undermine French leadership in Europe furthermore. In addition, peripheral members enjoy buoyant economy these days, while core economies are stagnant. In a circumstance like this, initiatives by France, Germany, and Brussels bureaucrats are outdated.
Finally, it is necessary to understand why people voted against the constitution. First, people are scared of losing their national identity. Second, there is a clash between liberal expansionists and social integrationists. Finally, and the most importantly, European citizens distrust the constitution drafted by ENA bound elitists like Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, and Jaques Chirac. Also, people are skeptic to Brussels interference in national security and economy. This is an era of grassroots democracy, and people are getting increasingly antagonistic to bureaucratic rule all over the world.
From these points, EU constitution was destined to be rejected. However, it does not matter. NATO is Europe.
Posted by Σ. Alexander at 12:17 AM