Thursday, May 26, 2005

Nuclear Japan? Definitely not!

I received some comments about possible Japanese nuclear deployment. Certainly, it is discussed among American foreign policy makers, saying that North Korean threat may lead Japan to possess nuclear deterrence. However, this does not help Japan’s national interest.
First, non-proliferation is the vital issue in US foreign policy. If Japan decides to have weapons of mass destruction, this will be a serious challenge to the United States. Currently, America regards China as the most critical security concern in the Far East. Due to rapid military build-up, human rights violations, high-handed diplomacy, and so forth, China has become a grave troublemaker in East Asia. A nuclear Japan will pose furthermore threat to the United States and the whole Asia-Pacific region. With advanced technology and larger economy, a Japan like this will appear more dangerous to the United States. In that case, America may have to choose China over Japan.
This is the worst scenario for Japan. During the World War II, Japan confronted the United States and China, the big two in the Asia-Pacific area, at the same time. This country must not make the same mistake again.
Second, military experts explore to change armed forces lighter, more agile, and more flexible these days. The Cold War is over. Regional conflicts and terrorism has become increasingly important issues. For a country like Japan, gigantic weapons, such as nuclear bombs, strategic missiles, and aircraft carriers, are not suitable for these requirements. When Japan sends armed forces abroad, it will participate the operation with the United States and its allies. American forces will control the air and the sea. It is Japan’s role to dispatch small, agile, and efficient combat units.
A comparison of Britain and France illustrates it very clearly. While Britain concentrates its nuclear power on US-made Trident missiles, France still maintains various kinds of strategic nuclear weapons. Moreover, the deployment of nuclear powered aircraft carrier turned out too costly for France. As a result, French forces were ridiculed backpackers in the Balkans, because its performance was too poor. On the other hand, Britain has been highly evaluated for its small and efficient armed forces.

Therefore, it is no Japanese interest to have its own nuclear weapons. But it is not stupid for Americans to think of possible nuclear development by Japan. While the South Korean government abides by the Non-Proliferation Treaty, scientists violated this pact. In any case, the Japanese nation will not be enthusiastic to possess such a dangerous weapon.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Listen Japan. Collective security, now!

Under the postwar pacifist diplomacy, Japan has been unwilling to make any kind of collective security deals. The trauma of World War II was so serious that the whole Japanese nation had been scared of military involvement abroad. Because of such a “splendid isolation” policy, Japan has no reliable partner except the United States. Though leftist criticize Japan’s excessive dependence on the United States, this reluctance to collective security has made Japan even more dependent on America.
Japan’s unwillingness to collective security has been damaging its relations with Asia-Pacific neighbors. While Asians and Japanese leftists insist that Japan apologize Asian neighbors, they tend to miss that actions for the future are more important than apology. Regrettably, there are no collective security regimes in the Asia-Pacific region. We should bear it in mind that Europeans embraced Germany, not because of its apology to its neighbors, but because of its wholehearted commitment to collective security organizations, like NATO and the EU.
When Japan is allowed to pursue its own economic growth like in the 60s and 70s, the world can accept the “splendid isolation.” In those days, global security was bipolar and very simple. Today, things have become more complicated, because we need to confront invisible threats like terrorists and other non-state actors. Also, WMD proliferation makes everything more and more entangled. Therefore, Japan needs to consider dedicated involvement in collective security regimes.

Regarding Japanese participation in collective security in the near future, I would like to argue the following issues and advantages.
First, in terms of Japan’s own national interest, active engagement in collective security will be an advantage. Currently, the United States is the only reliable partner to Japan. This is a handicap for Japan’s quest for world leadership and permanent seat at the UN Security Council. A true leader needs to be trusted by the global community. A participation in a collective security regime enables Japan to have more reliable partners other than the United States.
Second, it is necessary for the global community to establish collective security regimes to deal with present threats, such as terrorists, pirates, China, Russia, and the most imminently, North Korea. In order to manage these challenges, it is desirable that Japan be allied with NATO and Asia-Pacific neighbors. This will be advantageous for the United States as well. On her visit to Tokyo this spring, US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice said that Japan and Australia were key allies in America’s endeavor to curb these threats. A collective security regime will make Japan a vital ally to the United States, just as Britain is.
One of the critical issues to be mentioned is dealing with anti-Japan sentiment. Currently, hate-Japan emotion is rampant in China, North Korea, and South Korea. Also, latent anti-Japan feeling is prevalent all over Asia. Here again, I insist that collective security is useful to resolve this problem. China and North Korea are national security threats to Japan, but South Korea and ASEAN nations can be embraced. With full commitment to collective security, Japan will be able to impress itself a friend in need to Asians, not a fascist enemy. More importantly, a collective security deal enables us to test Asian nations: whether they are with the United States and Japan, or China and North Korea. Particularly for South Korea, this test is important. At present, South Korea is balancing US-Japan and China-North Korea. Our free world must question such a lukewarm attitude, and we should not make South Korea choose between us and them.
Once Japan and its Western allies succeed in encircling embracable Asians, China and North Korea will lose their moral high ground to accuse Japanese Shintoist imperialism in the past.

With collective security, Japan can find reliable friends, like Australia, NATO, and Asian neighbors. This will reinforce the US-Japanese alliance. It is time to act for the future.

Friday, May 13, 2005

The BB duo: Senate Hearing Today

I found an interesting site, called “Thank you” Through this web page, you can send a message to thank Tony Blair’s involvement in America’ s war on terror.
See Thank you Tony .com. We definitely need Tony Blair now!

Also, the Senate hearing is held today. John Bolton is expected to win. But no one knows what will happen.

Monday, May 09, 2005

The BB duo: Blair won! Bolton next?

As it was expected, Tony Blair won the general election on May 5. Thanks to his modified Thatcherite economic policy, Britain’s economy has been much more successful than its continental neighbors. However, the Labour’s majority in the House has been reduced from 408 to 353 (the total seat 646). The Iraq War undermined Blair’s position.
In domestic politics, his center-right policy will continue. However, this bitter victory may pose some constraints to British foreign policy. What kind of effects is expected on the trans-Atlantic relations and worldwide?
Blair in the third term may be less brave in foreign policy. In a policy brief, entitled "The Hinge to Europe: Don't Make Britain Choose Between the U.S. and the E.U." (August 2003), Anatol Lieven, Senior Associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, emphasized that Blair’s personal commitment and moral courage was important in British participation in the Iraq War. Can the United States continue the war on terror without the help of the most reliable ally? Moreover, Britain acted on its own for global stability. British intervention in Sierra Leone saved foreign residents. It is a disaster for global citizens to have a wimp and dovish Britain.

From now on, America and its allies, like Japan and Australia, may have to launch a “save Blair initiative”, in order to keep Britain fully committed to global security. In parallel with this, it is necessary to keep close contacts with Gordon Brown, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the most likely successor to Blair. I hope this approach will help Britain continue to pursue full commitment to international security after Blair.
Quite interestingly, traditional ideological standard has become obsolete in British politics. In foreign and counter-terrorism policy, the Conservatives have become less hawkish than New Labour. This is noticeable in their effort to introduce the Sunset clause, in order to set a time limit to the Prevention of Terrorism Act . The Tories allied with leftish Liberal Democrats when they drafted this clause at the House. Rightist Labour and leftist Tory? It is very interesting to see how British politics will change in the future.

As to John Bolton, I would like to focus on the conflict between establishment liberals and grassroots conservatives. This is the second stage battle between both actors. In the presidential election, the latter won. In the second phase, Move America Forward, a conservative NGO, launches a stalwart campaign for Bolton approval at the Senate. They denounce liberal senators, like Barbara Boxer and John Kerry. Will grassroots conservatives defeat establishment liberals again? The result of this battle will have a critical effect on American politics and its foreign policy. You can’t miss the Senate hearing on May 12.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Start the Blog: On the BB duo

Can Blair and Bolton win the election and Senate approval? The result will be crtitically important for the future of the trans-Atlantic alliance and UN reform.

No other British leaders can rival Tony Blair's competence in developing the Atlantic partnership furthermore. While he maintains the special relationship with the United States, he has been making Britain the core actor in Europe.

John Bolton will be a tough negotiator against North Korea and Iran. Despite severe criticism by liberal Senators, he will do a good job to change the United Nations.