Monday, December 31, 2007

A Blog to Understand US Presidential Election 2008

Quite often, foreign authors analyze more in depth on American politics than Americans. Particularly, British and Canadians have an advantage, that is, a background very close to mainstream Americans but slightly outsider. Niall Ferguson, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University, is frequently mentioned on this blog. John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldrige are very well known for their book, “The Right Nation”, which is an analysis on conservatism in American politics. In addition to British opinion leaders mentioned here, Canadians hold high profile positions. Robert MacNeil had co-hosted the MacNeil Lehrer News Hour of PBS for 20 years. Peter Jennings was the sole anchor of ABC World News Tonight until he passed away in 2005. Non-Americans are in better positions to watch America objectively and cool headedly.

In this post, I would like to introduce “Democracy in America”, which is a blog published by the Economist. This blog has made a special category, called “US Election 2008” in November last year. It is quite hard to predict the outcome of 2008 election, because none of the candidates, whether Republican or Democrat, seem to have determinant strength to win this election. Also, issues cover broad ranges of foreign and domestic policies. The Economist’s blog tells such complicated and wide range issues very lucidly. I would recommend this blog to understand basic trends of the forthcoming election rapidly.

While the media tend to focus on things associated with well known candidates, “Democracy in America” talks of grassroots movements, under-noticed candidates, and new style election campaigns. I would like to mention some recent posts.

In the most recent one, “Joe-mentum for Biden?” on December 30, “Democracy in America” explores why Democrat Senator Joseph Biden will drop out from the race. Senator Biden has been a leading figure in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for a long time. Neither Hilary Rodham Clinton nor Barack Obama can match his experience. Also, he is smart and aggressive in debate. However, this post points out that Joseph Biden has not raised enough money to attract media attention, because he is not as exciting as top three candidates, Clinton, Obama, and Edwards. I think it is a pity that money and easy attention count so much on the election.

In another post, “What Might Define the Next President” on December 13, a comment by Professor Brian Balogh at the University of Virginia is quoted. According to Balogh, presidential candidates today pretend themselves outsiders than those in the past. However there are some contradictions with current candidates’ behavior as shown in the following.

I think she's actually trying to have it both ways. I think part of her message is: I'm an outsider; I'm a woman; we've never had a woman president before. And part of her message is: I'm the ultimate insider, I was there for all the crucial decisions -- at least the decisions that worked out -- in my husband's administration.

This post is linked to remarks by current candidates and presidents in history such as Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, and Franklin Roosevelt. I hope readers will enjoy vistiing these links in this post.

Finally, I would like to mention “The YouTube Debate” on November 29. This post presents a short analysis why Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has emerged so impressively. The post is linked to the Republican debate on a CNN program. It is helpful to understand how YouTube videos place influence on voters’ impression.

“Democracy in America” is very concise, and this will be of much help to see American politics from objective viewpoints. British analysts are in a very good position for this purpose. Particularly, I would recommend this blog for those who are too busy to read lengthy articles in academic journals.

Monday, December 24, 2007

America and Europe over NIE Report on Iran

A new NIE report, entitled “Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities” has spurred controversy whether to stand tough against Iran or not. According to this paper, Iran has given up developing nuclear bombs, although it continues uranium enrichment research. First, is this evaluation valid? Second, does this mean Iran is no longer a threat to global and regional security?

And finally, I would like to examine the influence on the transatlantic alliance posed by this report. Critics to the Iraq War blame US intelligence fraud that Iraq had no nuclear bombs when it was attacked by the coalition. Some dangerous leftists make use of this, and try to split the relationship between Europe and America.

Even if the report is true, I believe that Iran is a grave threat to us, just as Saddam’s Iraq was. It is an act of evil, if someone were to decouple America and Europe. Remember, terrorists harness war reluctant atmosphere in Europe ever since the Iraq War broke out.

Let me review NIE report briefly. NIE judges with high confidence that Iran halted its nuclear program in autumn 2003. The report states that they do not know whether Iran has no intention of restarting nuclear weapon program, though they have moderate confidence that Iranians have not been exploring such projects by mid-2007. Regarding uranium enrichment, Iran made significant progress in installing centrifuges this year. Still, Iran has not resolved technical hurdles to make nuclear bombs. Things look quite optimistic, if this report is true. However, it is not clear whether Iran has given up its nuclear ambition.

Former Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, currently Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, casts doubt on this report (“The Flaws in Iran Report”; Washington Post; December 6). He criticizes fundamental assumptions. Though the report says that Iran gave up developing nuclear weapon in 2003, the distinction between “civilian” and “military” use is artificial. Also, he says that Iran is not susceptible to international pressure.

Whether this report is right or wrong, there is no denying that Iran still poses a grave threat to us. As John Bolton does, the Economist points out that this report contradicts the 2005 evaluation by NIE ("What’s Not to Celebrate?"; December 6, 2007). Also, the article says that the IAEA questions why Iran has acquired highly enriched uranium from unexplained traces. From North Korea, I wonder. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that even if America is unwilling to strike Iran, Israel will keep highly alert against this terrorist regime “because of an intelligence report from the other side of the world, even if it is from our greatest friend.”

Nevertheless, NIE report poses critical constraints to US attack against Iran. Even neoconservatives admit this. Robert Kagan, Senior Associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, says that regardless of validity of the report, the United States must consider talking with Iran (“Time to Talk to Iran”; Washington Post; December 4). It has become impossible to bring European allies together since the report was published. However, Kagan says that America is not in a weak position, as the surge in Iraq has succeeded, and its influence in the Middle East will be sustainable. Rather, he argues that the Bush administration seize this opportunity to talk with Iran before it acquires capability to nuclear bombs, because the next US president will not be ready to start dialogues at an early stage. Furthermore, Kagan insists on the following.

The talks should go beyond the nuclear issue and include Iran's support for terrorism, its harboring of al-Qaeda leaders, its support for Hezbollah and Hamas, and its supplying of weapons to violent extremists in Iraq.

In view of NIE Report release this November, the New York Times reports possible split between America and Europe over Iran (“Europeans See Muskier Case for Sanctions”, December 4). According to this article, an anonymous European diplomat said that tougher sanctions against Iran had become out of question.

How do European leaders act since NIE assessment on Iranian nuclear program? I would like to mention press conferences held at foreign ministries of Britain, France, and Germany.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband contributed an article “Why We Must not Take Pressure off Iran” to the Financial Times on December 6. In this article, Miliband questions why Iran chooses to confront the international community. Foreign Secretary condemns Iran’s support for terrorists in Iraq, and Afghanistan. Also, he stresses that EU3 and the United States are not willing to confront this country.

In an interview with BBC Radio, Secretary Miliband explains why the British government regards Iran’s uranium enrichment program dangerous.

Because of the history of this area, where Iran has misled the international community, people are rightly sceptical of claims that don't add up on the Iranian side. It's not a matter of saying that Iran shouldn't have energy security. What it can't be is a source of political insecurity.

A Spokesman at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France also warns of Iran’s intention for nuclear bomb, because “it has violated it appears that Iran is not respecting its international obligations, and our position therefore remains unchanged” (Daily Press Briefing, December 4).

On the other hand, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier welcomes this report, and says this is a good opportunity for initiating talks with Iran.

European attitude to Iran varies from cautious Britain to positive Germany. However, it has become increasingly difficult to fight against Iran. It is not the matter of validity of NIE Report. It is a matter of political interactions. The United States and Europe can take some actions for a dialogue with Iran, and observe its response. Also, it is necessary to see what sort of dangerous connections with terrorists and North Korea will emerge, when talking with Iran. I would like to explore Iranian threat furthermore on another occasion.

Friday, December 14, 2007

India 60 Years after Lord Mountbatten and Mahatma Gandhi

August 15, when I appeared the NHK TV forum on Japan’s pacifist constitution this year, is a memorial day for both Japan and India. For Japan, it is the End of War Memorial Day, when Emperor Hirohito declared to stop fighting against the Allied Forces. For India, it is the Independence Day.

On August 15 in 1947, Lord Louis Mountbatten, the last British Viceroy of India, transferred power from the British Empire to newly independent India. It is the 60th anniversary of Indian independence this year.

Ever since the independence from Britain, India had been pursuing nonalignment foreign policy. Its economic policy had been based on Fabianism, a moderate planning and state control. The first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was captured his heart with this ideology as a student at Cambridge University. He employed economic policy advisors educated at the London School of Economics.

Today, India is at crossroads. Since 1990s India has changed its economic policy from Fabianism to neoliberalism. Also, 9-11 led India to shift from the leader of nonalignment to a key strategic partner of the United States.

In view of policy changes, a book review was contributed to the Washington Post by George Perkovich, Vice President for Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. In his review, “Big Democracy: Appreciating the miracle of India's triumph over chaos” on August 19, Perkovich introduces a book, entitled “India after Gandhi” by Ramachandra Guha, a columnist and historian, who has taught at Stanford and Yale.

Perkovich comments highly of this book that Guha narrates how democracy in India has developed despite difficulties such as ethnic and religious conflicts, outdated caste system, grave poverty, regional separatism, and natural resource scarcity.

George Perkovich points out two lessons to be learnt from Ramachandra Guha’s book: democratic nation building and the Indo-US strategic partnership.

Regarding democratic nation building, the constitution drafting committee was chaired by B.R. Ambedkar, an untouchable. Such a successful overcome of class struggle is noteworthy, in view of post Saddam conflicts in Iraq, Perkovich says.

Also, Guha points out similarities between exploration for close US-India relations in 1962 when China invaded over the Himalayan borders, and today in order to fight against Islamic terrorists and counterbalance against China. Guha even mentions common backgrounds between Ambassador Kenneth Galbraith of the Kennedy administration and current Ambassador Robert Blaclwill, as both of them are ex-Harvard professors.

I would like to mention another Indian opinion leader, Shashi Tharoor, Former Under-Secretary of the United Nations. In his article, “60 Years of Independence and Democracy” to the Times of India on August 12, Tharoor insists that Jawaharlal Nehru made a great contribution for solid democracy in India, and his legacy continues whoever the prime minister is.

On the Independence Day, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh delivered a special address. Singh stressed key initiatives for massive increase in governmental spending on education, science, health care, agriculture, and rural development. Prime Minister Singh described malnutrition a “national shame”, and appealed that the government will work hard to eradicate it (“PM Addresses the Nation on 60th Independence Day”; Times of India; 15 August, 2007). This empowerment will strengthen democracy in India furthermore.

Though it is a commemorative year, I regret that Global American Discourse did not have enough opportunity to post an article on India. There is no doubt that India will be more important partner for America and its allies. Also, it is important to notice Shashi Tharoor’s comment that the legacy of Nehru has made India democratic. This is a sharp contrast between India and Pakistan. As everyone knows, Pakistan has been under military dictatorship and stagnant economy. President Pervez Musharaf of Pakistan is criticized bitterly in the global community, due to unfair election. This is not the case with India.

Earl Mountbatten and Mahatma Gandhi will be pleased to see successful and prosperous democracy in India today. How will US-India ties help promote world peace and well-being?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Conservative Backlash against un-Bush North Korea Policy

The Bush administration’s approach to North Korea raises serious concern among conservatives in the United States and the public in Japan. In return for denuclearization, US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Christopher Hill suggested that the United States remove North Korea from the List of Terrorism Sponsoring Countries. However, North Korea is notorious for cheating, and Kim Jong Il could gain to food and energy without completely denuclearizing his country, as it happened in the Clinton era. This is quite un-Bush, and it is quite questionable whether soft line policy is helpful for non-proliferation objectives.

In addition, soft policy against North Korea undermines moral leadership in US foreign policy. It is a repressive regime. North Korean leaders exploit its citizens. It is infamous for kidnapping Japanese, South Korean and other foreign citizens. As mentioned in the previous post, democracy promotion is a key agenda in the post 9-11 world.

Unlike Israel and India, North Korea can never become a strategic partner with the United States to promote a liberal world order. While both Israel and India are trustworthy democracies, North Korea has been a bête noire in the global community.

Unlike Libya, which was bombed in 1986 by the Reagan-Thatcher axis, North Korea has no experience of being defeated by the United States. North Korea has been boasting the victory over the “savage American imperialist” in the Pueblo crisis in 1968. Nor does North Korea face domestic threat of radicalists, which poses serious danger to the Khadafy regime of Libya.

Therefore, any kind of nuclear bargains with nations like India and Libya, are unlikely to work for Kim Jong Il.

Congressional Research Service has released a report, entitled “North Korea: Terrorism List Removal?” on April 6 this year. Regarding terrorism, this report says the following.

Although it is a party to six international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism, Pyongyang has not taken substantial steps to cooperate in efforts to combat international terrorism.

As to the Japanese abductee issue, it says “The chronologies of acts of terrorism in the annual Patterns reports shows that the United States defines kidnapping as a terrorist act.”

It seems quite inappropriate to remove North Korea from the list.

In addition, conservative opinion leaders have been critical to a Chaimberlainian appeasement to North Korea. As Professor Niall Ferguson of Harvard University argues, the United States is capable of fighting both against Iraqi insurgents and North Korean autocrat.

David Frum, Resident Fellow of the American Enterprise Institute, warns that realist approaches to North Korea would lead the Bush administration to make the same mistake as the Clinton administration did. Quoting an article in the Boston Globe by Graham Allison, Assistant Secretary of State under the Clinton administration, Frum points out that North Korea wants to reassure they have both bombs and aids. Also, he says that China is concerned with the collapse of North Korea, because a unified Korea would be under American influence. In his view, current negotiation is likely to fail in denuclearizing North Korea. (“Realism is Ugly in North Korea”; Notional Post; June 30, 2007)

Former US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton is more critical to current talk with North Korea. In his article to the Wall Street Journal (“Bush’s North Korea Meltdown”; October 31, 2007) and an interview with Fox News on December 3, Bolton attacks that State Department bureaucracy is obsessed with making a deal first without sufficient consideration to the outcome. Even if the United States succeeds in disabling the Yongbyon reactor, it is not clear how to verify uranium enrichment facilities, he says.

Furthermore, John Bolton raises concern over negative impacts on the US-Japanese alliance, posed by current six-party negotiation. In view of possible US-North Korean compromise without consideration to abductees held by Kim Jong Il, I often hear some Japanese conservatives question the validity of staunch alliance with the United States. Regarding this issue, John Bolton argues as the following.

Thomas Schieffer, the Bush administration's ambassador to Japan, reportedly complained recently to the president that he was "cut out of the process." State should explain why it trusts North Korea more than our ambassador to Tokyo, and why we ignore Tokyo's concerns over North Korea's kidnappings of Japanese citizens.

As Reuter reports on December 4, North Korea takes a delaying tactics in the nuclear negotiation. Hawks are right to question current six-party talks.

Things may change after the forthcoming Presidential Election in South Korea on January 19 next year. South Koreans question current president Roh Moo Hyung’s Sunshine Policy against North Korea. I hope a conservative candidate wins this election.

Consequently, Shocker is Shocker! Harsher resolutions, such as military intimidation as taken in the Cuba crisis, need to be considered.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Neoconservative Foreign Policy, and US Relations with Europe and Japan

It is widely believed that neoconservative foreign policy will lead to inevitable clashes with key US allies, notably Europe and Japan. But regardless of party politics, American foreign policy will be more or less neoconservative, due to its ideological base of national foundation and the role of hegemonic state to maintain a liberal world order. Does this mean the United States always take go-it alone policy?

Actually, Europe has begun to explore more involvement in global security, since the Iraq rift. NATO and the EU will be upgraded to expand their worldwide influence. Therefore, I would like to talk about neoconservatism in America after the Bush administration, and burden sharing with Europe and Japan to tackle global challenges.

To begin with I will talk of the future of neoconservatism. Joshua Muravchik, Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, points out that neither liberals nor realists have not coherent foreign policy approaches for the post 9-11 world, despite some troubles in Iraq. This is why neoconservatism captures the heart of President George W. Bush in the War on Terror. At the end of his essay, Muravchik concludes as the following.

One can always wish that policies were executed better, but for a strategy in the war that has been imposed upon us, neoconservatism remains the only game in town. (“The Past, Present, and Future of Neoconservatism”; Commentary; October 2007)

There are three key points in neoconservative foreign policy. First, it is moralistic and strongly recognizes that America be the foremost leader of liberal values. Second, it is internationalist like many liberals, and assumes that any threat to American security must be curbed at an early stage, even though that is far away from US homeland. Third, it trusts efficacy of military force like most conservatives, and doubts economic sanctions and UN resolutions.

As widely mentioned among opinion leaders, Muravchik attributes some difficulties in Iraq to policy errors by Ex Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. He did not send enough troops, but since the surge based on policy recommendations by Frederick Kagan at the AEI and Ex-General Jack Kean, operations in Iraq is turning successful.

Even though some opinion leaders insist that the war in Iraq is in the wrong place against wrong enemy, they are not necessarily dovish. They believe in America’s special role that the United States must be willing to use military power for moralistic leadership. Democrat Senator Barack Obama insists on bombing terrorist camps in Pakistan, instead of Iraq. Also, Michael A. Ledeen, Freedom Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, argues that the United States should focus on the threat of Iran, not Iraq. Regardless of position in the Iraq debate, any administration is likely to take more or less neoconservative approaches.

Does this lead to inevitable clash between the United States and Europe? Actually, some Europeans are advocates of world order led by the American Empire.

British historian Niall Ferguson, Laurence A. Tisch Professor at Harvard University, is too well known. In his books, “Empire” and “Colossus”, Ferguson insists that the United States be more interventionist to maintain a liberal world order as Britain was.

Another European advocate of American hegemony is Josef Joffe, Editor of German weekly Die Zeit and Visiting Professor at Stanford University. In his book, “Überpower”, Joffe discusses how to maintain the American world order. Moreover, he defends the special relationship between the United States and Israel in the article “A World without Israel” in Foreign Policy, January 2005.

In France, Jacques Chirac has gone, and Nicholas Sarkozy has taken power.

Not only do some European opinion leaders support American hegemony, but also European nations explore more active involvement. According to Robert Kagan, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Europeans are stepping toward expansionist policy, in view of disturbances in Ukraine, the Balkans, Turkey, and North Africa (“Embraceable EU”; Washington Post; December 5, 2004). In the support for democracy in Ukraine, Europeans played no less important role than Americans.

Robert Cooper, Ex-British Diplomat and Member of European Council on Foreign Relations, insists on attracting new members from East Europe and Turkey, in order to pursue a liberal imperialist policy. Through this way, Europeans promote democracy for global and their own security. Also, NATO expansion could strengthen transatlantic endeavor to bolster a liberal world order. Robert Kagan concludes his article, “That could prove a far more important strategic boon to the United States than a few thousand European troops in Iraq.”

This October, the British government has released a new report, entitled “Global Europe”. This report, published by the Cabinet Office and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, recommends joint EU efforts to deepen liberal and democratic societies in Eastern and Southern neighbors; and also, joint sanctions against repressive regimes in Burma, Iran, and North Korea.

While Europe is stepping up towards active global commitment, Japan is wasting too much energy on trivial legal debate regarding further operations in the Indian Ocean. It is utterly stupid to spend much time on such a petty parliamentary talk in the era of global war on terror. This sort of excessive adherence to the notorious pacifist constitution would make Japan an under achiever. Remember, Japan has succeeded in joining top achievers club, through “getting out of backward Asia, and becoming the West.” Japanese leaders should bear this in mind, if seriously exploring NATO membership.

Neoconservative foreign policy does not necessarily lead to unilateralism of the United States. It presents much clearer vision to manage the world than other ideological sects. Neoconservative agendas are vital to European and Japanese interests as well. Ultimately, whoever the President of the United States is, his or her foreign policy is more or less neoconservative

Thursday, November 15, 2007

On American Endeavor for Global Democracy

Whoever the President of the United States is, democracy promotion is a key agenda in American foreign policy. Successful promotion of this ideology bolsters American soft power. As a commemorative event of publishing a new report “US Democracy Promotion During and After Bush” by Thomas Carothers, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace held a panel discussion on September 12.

This event was moderated by Jenifer Windsor, Executive Director of Freedom House. As the author of this report, Thomas Carothers, Vice President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, gave a presentation.

Two commentators attended this panel discussion. One is skeptic to the Bush initiative, while the other is pro-Bush.

Skeptic commentator is Francis Fukuyama, Berland L. Schwartz Professor at the Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University. His reputation is very great for his book, “The End of History.” He was one of signatories to launch the Project for a New American Century, a well known neoconservative think tank to endorse the Iraq War. It is widely known that he has converted to a vocal critic against the Bush administration’s Iraq policy.

On the other hand, pro-Bush commentator is Vin Weber, Former Member of the House of Representative and currently, Chairman of the National Endowment for Democracy, which is a pro-democracy NPO. He was an election strategist of the Bush-Cheney ’04 campaign. Despite his Republican background, he co-chaired an independent task force on “US Policy toward Reform in the Arab World” with Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. In addition, he is a member of the US Secretary of Energy's Advisory Board.

Let me review the video of this event to explore American policy on democracy promotion under the current and the next administration (Windows, Pod cast, Quick Time, and PDF).

To begin with, Thomas Carothers presented his analysis on the Bush administration’s policy for democracy promotion. Regarding the role of democracy promotion in the Bush administration’s foreign policy, some people say this is the central pillar, while others argue current administration does not take the issue seriously. Carothers says the truth lies in between and things are more complicated. US foreign policy is a mixture of security-and-economic-oriented policies and real democracy assistance.

Regarding democratization in Iraq, Thomas Carothers points out that while the Bush team appears to be passionate about the issue, it has not presented clear vision for this objective. Rather, he says, current administration has made some achievements for democracy in the rest of the Middle East. While US policy for empowerment of Arab citizens is proceeding gradually, this effort has been constrained by realist necessities to maintain close ties with authoritarian regimes in this region, such as Saudi Arabia, Gulf States, and Pakistan. This is because excessively rapid democratization could lead to the rise of anti-Western Islamist regimes.

In the rest of the world, the Bush administration continues the same patterns as those of previous administrations from 1980s to 1990s, according to Carothers. The United States confronts against dictatorial regimes such as Belarus, Burma, and Zimbabwe. Also, America supports people struggling for democracy in Ukraine, Liberia, Nepal, and Peru.

On the other hand, Carothers says that US relations with two strategic challengers, Russia and China, are realist, and determined primarily with economic-and-security interests. Also, the United States needs close cooperation with non-democratic governments in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and elsewhere in the War on Terror, despite proclaimed agenda for global freedom.

Regarding difference between Bush policy for democracy promotion and those of his predecessors, Carothers suggests three points: attachment to the War on Terror, hard lines in the Middle East, and use of military intervention. He points out that US endeavor for democracy in the Middle East has made little progress, but some achievements have been witnessed in the rest of the world, such as in Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia. Carothers argues that Bush policy is undermining the legitimacy of democracy promotion, because of excessive focus on Iraq and counter-terrorism. Also, he warns that success of “authoritarian capitalism” in Russia and China could be an alternative model for some countries.

Thomas Carothers outlines US endeavor for democracy promotion very well, though I have some disagreements regarding the war on terror and Iraq. Also, it is understandable that progress in the Middle East is slow, because of political complexity as Reuel Marc Gerecht of the AEI mentioned. I am concerned that he did not mention North Korea whose autocrat regime is posing substantial threat to our free world, regardless of progress in nuclear bomb and Japanese abductee issues. It is desirable to wipe out a state like this in the end. Is US policy to North Korea a realist like those to Russia and China?

Despite some distinctive points in current administration’s policies for global democracy, most of them are consistent with its predecessors. Therefore, I have to reiterate that agendas set by quite a few anti-Bush activists are dubious.

After the presentation by Thomas Carothers, Vin Weber and Francis Fukuyama left comments.

First, Vin Weber argued from pro-Bush position. He comments that President Bush tries to inspire more involvement in democracy promotion through his rhetoric, while Carothers criticizes it empty and unpractical. Basically, Weber agrees with Carothers that democracy promotion is not unique to the Bush administration, and this is a vital agenda for the next president as well.

Weber points out some progress under the Bush administration such as the Middle East Partnership Initiative. Also, he insists that more NGOs launch pro-democracy activities throughout the world, indirectly influenced by Bush policy.

Weber’s comment sounds right. Never have I heard so much of democracy promotion before. This is partly because of the War on Terror. We are in a critical era, and any US president could have taken approaches like current president has been doing.

Francis Fukuyama argued from another perspective. He insists that Iraq has distorted US policy for democracy promotion. Fukuyama points out that democracy was the third reason for intervention to overthrow Saddam Hussein, after WMD non-proliferation and the War on Terror. Also, he criticizes the Bush administration’s approach to use democracy promotion as a national security policy instrument, because it appears foreigners that the United States is hypocritical to use democratic ideals for its strategic interests. Fukuyama argues against Weber, saying that lofty rhetoric for democracy by the Bush administration will inspire people aspiring liberal society, but also inspire people having negative image about America.

It is right that democracy promotion should not be linked to strategic objectives excessively. Though I agree with Francis Fukuyama on this point, I think it necessary to remember that liberal ideals and security interests are coincided in US foreign policy.

This event presents well balanced views and comments on Bush policy on democracy promotion. Apparently, anti-American radicals are wrong to argue that democracy promotion is a neoconservative plot. Understanding this discussion is a key to foresee pro-democracy policy of the next administration.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

“Operation Iranian Freedom” by Cyberspace Citizens

Tension between Iran and the United States is growing as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Treasury Henry Paulson announced economic sanctions to stop nuclear projects by the Ahmadinejad administration. Someone even talk of possible US-Iranian war over nuclear proliferation, terrorism, and Iraq. How do Iranian citizens see current their country under theocratic rule? Previously, I have mentioned an online magazine, called “Persian Journal” in the post, “Is Middle East Democratization a Neocon Plot?” on this blog. Let me review this online journal so that we could understand political logic and sentiments among Iranians.

The website of Persian Journal self introduces this online community as the following.

Persian Journal is the news division of the more comprehensive sites, a progressive Iranian online community and resource. Persian Journal is an online magazine of Iran's current events and Iranian culture featuring news, in-depth analysis and investigative reporting as well as opinions and commentary from a network of exclusive Iranian columnists and bloggers. It also features a very robust forum for discussion of news and current events. All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner. The comments and submissions are property of their posters and their source. The is not affiliated with political, religious or any other organization.

Quite interestingly, Persian Journal is published in English, although articles are contributed by Iranian columnists and bloggers. Apparently, they are keen on prevailing their opinions and information on Iran to Americans, Europeans, and people throughout the world, rather than to their Farsi speaking fellows. Persian Journal is outward oriented.

On the other hand, it is closely tied with Iranian communities both inside and outside Iran. Advertisements on this site are related to daily life of Iranians. For example, “Iranian Dots” provides Iranian singles with information for match making. Also, Iran Online is linked to Iranian communities of various agendas and interests.

Prior to reviewing commentaries and analyses on Iran, I would like to narrate recent news. In view of invigorated Kurdish separatist activities in Turkey, Iranian Foreign Minister Manoucher Mottaki accuses the United States of assisting PKK in order to pressure Iran to slow down its nuclear research program and stop sponsoring Islamic groups in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Palestine. Such a hardliner policy of the Ahmadinejad administration cause bitter criticism among moderate leaders such as Former Presidents Mohammad Khatami and Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Meanwhile, White House Spokes Woman Dana Perino explained that the United States was pursuing sanctions because it was exploring diplomatic resolutions rather than fighting against Iran. On November 1, US Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns met with delegates from EU3 of Britain, France, and Germany. Also, Russia and China sent their representatives for this negotiation in London as well. Russia and China are still reluctant for further sanctions after the London talk.

How do Iranians see political interactions with international communities? Kashayar Hooshiyar, Managing Editor of Iran Review, criticizes the Bush administration’s adherence to “fairy tale idea” of promoting pro-Western democracy and borderless economy in the Middle East despite hardships in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hooshiyar argues “In fact, Iran's hardliner and despotic president, Mahmoud Ahamdinejad, has successfully been using such attacks to portray himself as anti-imperialist and the "Messiah" of the poor and oppressed people not only among the people of the region, but also, surprisingly, among a large segment of the Left in the West.” Furthermore, he says that the emergence of progressive mass democracy will be nationalist, and challenge Western imperialism of Coca-colonization, local autocrats, and capitalists. This is more serious threat to the United States than current theocracy in Iran, says Hooshiyar (“Iran, Iraq, and US Interests in the Middle East: Washington’s Dilemma”; Iran Review; October 30, 2007).

In my view, Hooshiyar does not understand strategic objectives of the American side. Just as Frederick Kagan, Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, argued at the policy forum at the University of Virginia, Americans are not interested in Coca-colonization or McDonald-ization. He says both Americans and Iraqis share vital interests in defeating uprisings by terrorists and radical Moslems. Hooshiyar dismisses that Iranian mullahs sponsor their activities.

Also, Hooshiyar confuses democracy with populism. Dmitri Trenin, currently the Vice President of the Carnegie Moscow Center, points out the real democracy is not simple rule of majority but politics by well educated and self conscious public. Radical nationalism of anti-Western, anti-Zionism, and anti-capitalism is not democracy. Remember that Egypt under the Nasser administration was far from democracy.

Persian Journal picks up opinions from the West as well. I would like to mention two of them, which describe dangerous nature of current regime in Iran. According to “Iran’s Leaders Need Enemies like Bush, and at Every Turn He Obliges Them” in The Guardian on October 29, “Ahmadinejad and the Revolutionary Guard need US enemies to justify their idiocies at home and mischief-making in Iraq.” Although the United States pushes for harder sanctions, it can impose limited effect on already isolated Iran, says the writer. In addition, he comments that EU is eager to do business with oil rich Iran, and Russia and China are reluctant to help the Bush administration. Therefore, the Guardian talks of possible war between the United States and Iran.

In “Pressing Iran to Disarm” on October 29, “The Star” of Canada recommends that the Canadian government endorse UN efforts including harsher sanctions, and also urge the United States to negotiate with Iran, instead of threatening it.

Persian Journal takes up news and ideas of various sources and ideological backgrounds, in order to promote understandings for democratization of Iran. Non-political news and commentaries such as those on culture, entertainment, and sports are published as well in this journal. Persian Journal is useful to understand politics and daily life of Iranians, including those who are in exile.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband Has Launched FCO Blogs

Britain’s FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) has launched official blogs this September. There are six FCO bloggers with diversified backgrounds in degree subjects, Foreign Service experiences, current jobs, and personalities. FCO blogs will be of much help to understand endeavors of British diplomats.

Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary David Miliband tells why he is keen on blogging and conversations with people across the world and throughout Britain.

Politics should be about dialogue and debate, and new technology makes this more possible than ever. But the gap between politicians and the public seems to be growing.

This is why in my last ministerial job I began writing a blog. I found it a great way to engage with people: to explain my work and my thinking in a more personal and less formal way than the usual Ministerial speeches; and to hear directly what people thought of what I was doing.

His enthusiasm for cyberspace democracy reminds me of Albert Gore. Prior to assuming current position, Miliband was the Secretary of Environment in the Blair cabinet. Is it a coincidence, or not?

Among numerous issues in British foreign policy, I would like to focus on relations with the United States, Europe, and the Middle East.

As I mentioned in a previous post, entitled “David and Gordon: New British Prime Minister and Atlantic Alliance”, David Miliband was critical to the Bush administration’s Iraq policy. In addition, Britain had withdrawn half of its troops from Southern Iraq, which is in sharp contrast with American surge in the Sunni area. How has the Anglo-American relationship changed under the Brown administration? Recent posts by Secretary Miliband suggest Britain is still a key partner in US policy in the Middle East.

In the posts, entitled “Deeds Not Just Words in Northern Iraq” on 23 October and “The Search for Peace in the Middle East” on 25 October, Miliband comments briefly about the meeting with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. On Northern Iraq, both Miliband and Rice sent a message to the Iraqi and the Turkish government that Britain and America were determined to work with them against PKK terrorism in the Kurdistan area. With regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Miliband explores to create the Palestine state coexisting peacefully with Israel, in order to endorse political process to resolve hardship of Palestinian people. While he emphasizes importance of US leadership, he is actively engaged in coordinating the transatlantic partnership, through talks with European leaders. From these posts, we understand that post-Blair Britain continues to be a key partner to the United States, despite some ideological differences. For detail, you can also see US-UK joint press conferences on Northern Iraq and Palestine in FCO News Release.

Actually, David Miliband is keen on close contacts with America. He had the “longest meeting” with Mayor Bloomberg of New York City. Also, Foreign Secretary Miliband visited Howard University in Washington DC to discuss grassroots democracy and minority education with American citizens.

Europe is another key issue. Let me introduce two blogs by Jim Murphy and Lindsay Appleby focusing on Europe. Jim Murphy is the Minister for Europe and a Member of Parliament. In his current posts, he comments about the Lisbon European Council and the Luxemburg Foreign Ministers meeting, for further integration of Europe. External relation of the EU is also important. At the EU-Russia Summit in Mafra, Portugal, both sides discussed climate change, energy, and security. Murphy shows lots of useful links to understand internal and external policies of the European Union.

Focuses of Lindsay Appleby’s blog is more or less the same as those of Jim Murphy. But unlike Murphy, she is a career diplomat, not a politician. Therefore, her blog talks more about EU bureaucratic organizations, rather than policy issues.

From the Middle East, Ambassador to Afghanistan Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles publishes a blog to report allies endeavor with local citizens for democracy and nation building. Ambassador Cowper-Coles has a long career in the Middle East. Besides political progress in Afghanistan, he narrates personalities of national and local leaders, which is beyond media attention.

Unfortunately, no FCO staff publishes an official blog from Iraq. I hope some diplomat will start blogging to wipe out negative impression among some leftists, regarding coalition efforts in Iraq.

Finally, I would like to mention two bloggers. Maria Pia Gazella is a Trade Officer at Santiago in Chile. As a local staff at the embassy, she would present something insightful from non-British viewpoints. Sarah Russell has just joined the Diplomatic Service this October, immediately after graduating from King’s College, the University of London with First Class degree in war studies. You may be impressed with her lovely smile. She is also brilliant, and will assume important role in British diplomacy in the future.

Through FCO blogs, you can learn a lot about UK foreign policy perspectives and the life of British diplomats. You can talk with policymakers without interference of gigantic media. Wonderful, isn’t it?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

US Policy in the Middle East: Managing Iraq and Thereafter

US intervention to Iraq is just the first step toward new order in the Middle East, and this is not the end. Therefore, it is essential to discuss how to manage current Iraq, and think of post-Iraq policy in the Middle East. I hereby would like to talk about two events as shown below.

(1) “Is Keeping Troops in Iraq America’s Best Interests?” (video, PDF)
September 18, 2007
Host: Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia

Moderated by
Gerald Baliles; Director, Miller Center of Public Affairs
Margaret Warner; Senior Correspondent, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, PBS


Frederick W. Kagan; Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute
Reuel Marc Gerecht; Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute

Jessica Tuchman Mathews;
President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Chas Freeman; Former US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia

First, I mention the debate on current Iraq policy at the University of Virginia. Key issues at the panel were negative influences posed to Iraq by Al Qaeda and Iran. While proponents insist that continual US presence in Iraq is vial to defeat Al Qaeda and to curb Iranian threat, opponents say that further US involvement will provoke Al Qaeda activities and Iranian penetration in Iraq.

Frederick Kagan points out that Al Qaeda in Iraq is closely connected with Al Qaeda worldwide. He says “If we simply were to withdraw and allow the sectarian strife to continue in Iraq unabated, we would be furthering the objectives of the Al Qaida leaders who sue that terrorism both to pose as protectors of the Sunni population against Shia death squads, and also as a cover for their own violence against the Sunni. And this has been one of the things that we’ve seen most dramatically in the process of beginning a defeat of Al Qaida.”

Another proponent Reuel Gerecht says Al Qaeda and Iran will radicalize Sunnis and Shia groups in Iraq, if the United States loses this war. This will undermine US engagement elsewhere such as the Taiwan Strait.

On the other hand, Jessica Mathews insists that there is no military solution for ethnic and religious conflicts in Iraq, as witnessed in Algeria against France, in Chechnya against Russia, and in Palestine against Israel. There are only political solutions, she says.

Also, Chas Freeman argues that US intervention and the destruction of the Iraqi state have created opportunities for Iran and Al Qaeda to move in. He quotes poll results to tell that the majority of Iraqi people feel US presence there ruins their sovereignty. Freeman insists that once US forces withdraw from Iraq, then, people in Iraq will focus on curbing threats posed by Al Qaeda and Iran. This will be a substantial gain for the United States, he says.

Former Ambassador Freeman’s comment sounds rather pessimistic to US mission in Iraq, and too pacifist about the consequence of US withdrawal. I would agree with Frederick Kagan. He is well-known for a report to endorse surge, entitled “Choosing Victory: A Plan for Success in Iraq” with the help of General Jack Kean. This report provided basic strategic ideas for the Bush administration to improve things in Iraq.

Frederick Kagan articulates the meaning of the strategic goal of promoting pro-American democracy. The key point is not whether they like George W. Bush, but whether Iraqis are allies to the United States in the war on terror. He says that the United States is the best ally for the Iraq Security Forces the Iraqi government, and local Sunni leaders in their struggle against Al Qaeda. Kagan is right to insist that early withdrawal will simply undermine American reputation in the Middle East. Remember, Professor Niall Ferguson of Harvard University mentions that terrorists had been acting in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait before the Iraq War, and they moved to Iraq in the post Saddam confusion.

Regarding dialogues with Iran, Frederick Kagan has no objection to it. But as he points out, it is no use just for US withdrawal from Iraq. He mentions Iranian connection with Al Qaeda in Iraq. Moreover, I would argue that current Shiite regime in Iran has a vital interest in prevailing their theocracy throughout the Middle East. A Chamberlainian approach to such a regime is fatally dangerous.

(2) “After Iraq: US Strategy in the Middle East after Troops Come Home” (video, PDF)
September 17, 2007
Host: Democracy: A Journal of Ideas
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Moderated by
Kenneth Baer; Co-Editor, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas

Jessica Tuchman Mathews;
President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
William Marshall; President, Progressive Policy Institute
Ray Takeyh; Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations

Then, Let me talk about the event on post-Iraq US strategy in the Middle East. Iraq is not the end. It is just the beginning of Middle East reform to defeat terrorists and dangerous regimes, which pose grave threat to America and its allies. On September 17, “Democracy: A Journal of Ideas” and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace hosted a discussion after Iraq. “Democracy” is a progressive journal analogous to conservative counterparties such as “Commentary”, the “National Interest”, and the “Public Interest”. This event was a panel on US policy after retreating troops from Iraq, primarily through progressive (i.e., liberal. This word is used quite often these days.) viewpoints. Three key issues were discussed: nuclear non-proliferation, democracy promotion, and Iran.

Regarding nuclear non-proliferation, Jessica Mathews criticizes current double standard policy of standing tough against authoritarian regimes while dealing tolerantly with democratic nuclear powers like India. Also, she insists on close cooperation with Russia to denuclearize Iran and North Korea. There is no doubt that Iran is a key to US Middle East policy on Iraq and thereafter. However, I suspect that Vladimir Putin consider using Iran a strategic card against the West.

As to democracy promotion, William Marshall points out that it is necessary to tackle the problem of marginalized people in the Middle East under the global economy. Actually, a conservative policy analyst Reuel Marc Gerecht mentions similar points in “Selling out Moderate Islam”. This issue becomes increasingly important in the post Cold War era.

Finally, Ray Takeyh commented on Iran. He says that Iran and the United States common interests to reconstruct a stable and unified Iraq. Therefore, he argues that both countries talk on the future of Iraq. Certainly, this should not be ruled out. The problem is, Iran assists Shiite radicals, in order to have strong influence on Iraq, which is at odds with US led initiatives for Middle East reform.

Though three panelists are critical to the Bush administration’s Middle East policy, people should keep it in mind that progressives pursue common agenda of Middle East democratization. Moderate reform in key Western allies, like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, is no less important than progress of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Iraq is at a critical stage now. Success here is a vital step for the future in the Middle East. Also, it is time that US and European policymakers began to think of post Iraq strategy in the Greater Middle East. Regardless of ideological backgrounds, two events present invaluable insights for those having keen interests in US foreign policy and Middle East affairs.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Ambassadors Address 200 years of US-Russian Relations

It is 200 years since Russia and the United States established formal diplomatic relationship. Currently, relations between Russia and the West are not necessarily good under the Putin administration. In an atmosphere of growing self-assertive nationalism and czarlistic authoritarianism, presidential election will be held in Russia next March.

In view of present Russian politics and diplomacy, ambassadors of Russia and the United States contributed a memorial article on the 200 year anniversary of US-Russian relations to the International Herald Tribune (“Relations for a New Century”; September 24, 2007). They present five recommendations for the US-Russian relationship in this century.

(1) Despite natural differences and disagreements between America and Russia on global political and economic affairs, both nations must identify and advance common interests.

(2) In view of rapid changes in the post Cold War era, the United States and Russia need to reshape their global strategies. Violent anti-Americanism poses graver threat to the world.

(3) The US-Russian relationship improves when both sides pursue common interests to develop shared solutions. Issues like terrorism and WMD proliferation have not been resolved, and there is much to be done.

(4) In addition to regular diplomatic channels between leaders, further institutionalization of dialogues between cabinet and sub-cabinet levels must be explored.

(5) Encourage broader contacts among scientific, social, and religious organizations. It is necessary to change visa systems for this purpose. Also, expand economic ties beyond WTO entry of Russia.

Certainly, it is important to develop further cooperation between the two giants. However, this message is excessively “diplomatic”, and more straight talks are essential to understand US-Russian interactions.

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace hosted an event, “200 years of US-Russian Diplomatic Relations: Ambassadorial Conference” on September 24 and 25. A panel discussion was held on 25th, moderated by Mark Medish, Vice President for Studies of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Jill Dougherty, US Affairs Editor of CNN International. Let me review the event (PDF, Windows Media Player, Quick Time, and Pod Cast).

This luncheon panel discussion was more straightforward than the article in the International Herald Tribune to commemorate 200 year anniversary of US-Russian diplomacy. The moderator Jill Dougherty has much experience in Russian affairs, as she received BA degree in Russian studies from the University of Michigan and has been a Moscow correspondent of CNN in 1990s. She is in a good position to chair the debate on Russia in post Cold War transition.

To begin with, Dougherty asked immediate question regarding rocky relations between the United States and Russia in face of presidential election in both countries. Former US Ambassador to Russia James Collins who is currently the Director of Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, mentioned that the election should not disturb relations between Russia and the United States. On the Russian side, Former Ambassador to the United States Vladimir Lukin points out common interests and disagreements between two countries. Both the United States and Russia share vital agendas such as counter-terrorism and WMD non-proliferation. On the other hand, there are many issues of discord in regional problems like Kosovo and the Middle East, said Vladimir Lukin. As Jill Dougherty explained it, the United Sates was ready to accept Kosovo independence, while Russia adamantly opposed to it. Lukin raised the same concern as Collins that Russian presidential candidates might be tempted to impress a strong Russia in their election campaigns.

Yuri Dubinin who was Russian ambassador to the United States in the “Yalta to Malta” period, says that both Russia and the United States are in democracy now, and insists “we need to know the opinion of our peoples, what is it that they want, and to solve the objectives, the problems the way the people want and not the way this or that country wants us to do”, to fill the gap between America and Russia on Kosovo.

Despite stark differences, Former US Ambassador to the Soviet Union Arthur Hartman tells Americans to be patient with progress of transition in Russia, and not to see the world solely through American perspectives.

Another critical issue was energy, whether Russia considered using it as political and economic weapon against the West. Regarding this question, both Vladimir Lukin and James Collins agrees that market determines the price of oil and gas, and the unique relationship between Russia and former Soviet republics changes inevitably.

Although this luncheon discussion was in a friendly atmosphere, both US and Russian ambassadors talk about the rise of nationalist sentiments in Russia associated with election. In a policy brief, entitled “Russia’s Strategic Choice”, Dmitri Trenin, Deputy Director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, says that Russia’s ultimate interest is a major power status in the world, vis-à-vis the United States and China. He points out current Russia is frustrated with NATO expansion to the Baltic area, and increasing US military influence in Central Asia and Georgia. More and more former Soviet republics are out of Russian hands. Trenin says the US withdrawal from the ABM treaty raises further concern on the Russian side.

Despite friendly atmosphere at the commemorative event of the 200 year anniversary of Russo-American diplomatic relations, turbulences are expected between the two giant nuclear powers. Russian presidential election this March will be one of turning points for US foreign policy after the Bush administration.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Hamlet: Japan’s Dilemma between the US-India Deal and Non-proliferation Regime

This is the first post on India in Global American Discourse. Considering its importance in security of the Middle East and the Asia Pacific region, it is quite late to post the first article on this country in October. I have written some posts on the US-India nuclear deal in the past. This is controversial but a key to the Bush administration’s strategy in the Middle East and Asia.

Regarding this deal, Japan faces a serious dilemma whether to support it or not, because India is out of the NPT (Non-proliferation Treaty) and CTBT (Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty). In an article, entitled “Japan’s New Prime Minister Faces India Dilemma” in the Asia Times on September 28, Masako Toki, Research Associate of the James Martin Center for Non-proliferation Studies at Monterey, California, raises a serious concern that approval to the US-India deal could ruin Japan’s accumulated credentials in non-proliferation and disarmament. Toki points out that the US-India agreement has no countermeasure against possible nuclear test by India, and this is the most worrisome point for Japan.

Also, it is necessary to mention that the Japanese public is extremely sensitive to nuclear issues. This summer, the then Defense Minister Akio Kyuma was harshly criticized for his careless comment, “The United States had no choice but nuclear attack against Japan in order to end the war quickly.” Both the media and the public condemned this remark an insult to atomic bomb victims.

Despite such widespread anti-nuclear emotion, the Japanese government has been extremely cautious to articulate its stance on this deal. Toki says “Tokyo has been wise enough to avoid further controversy but not strong enough to maintain its stance as a champion of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.” While Masako Toki insists that Japan not accept exception of NPT regulation like the US-India deal, new Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda is likely to strengthen strategic partnership with India as his predecessor Shinzo Abe was, following recommendations in the Armitage Report 2007.

Toki argues that Japan needs to articulate its commitment to disarmament and nonproliferation, even if this leads to short term conflict with India and the United States. She says “In the long run, a commitment to non-proliferation and disarmament remains the most important element of Japan's national identity and interest.”

For me, her recommendation sounds too idealistic. It is necessary to understand India’s strategic partnership with the United States and NATO. India is a key ally in the War on Terror. Regarding the US-Indian strategic partnership, Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee said “The new challenges that are emerging, including protecting the electronically connected and interdependent world from terror and organized crime, are immensely complex,” and “It is also naive to expect the international system to deal with such complex and significant issues without democratizing international decision-making,” in his speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on October 1 (“India Sees Nuclear Deal as Key to Global Cooperation”; Global Security Newswire; October 3, 2007).

Former Indian diplomat M K Bhadrakumar says that India will be a cornerstone in NATO’s global operation from the Indian Ocean to the Asia Pacific region. The United States endorses NATO-India partnership, in order to fill power vacuum in these areas. (“India Holds Key in NATO’s World View”; Asia Times; October 6, 2007)

However, the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and leftist members of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regard the deal sacrifices Indian sovereignty, because civilian nuclear plants are subject to US inspection. They are not pro-Western as current Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. I believe that the deal must be sustainable regardless of party politics in India. (“Feature”, South Asian Perspectives by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, September 2007)

If India were to be a real strategic partner with free nations, the US-India bilateral deal should include NATO, Japan, and Australia in the future. It is understandable that India does not trust current non-proliferation regime under IAEA inspection. However, a multilateral deal with common creed and interests will be helpful to make it more stable and sustainable. This could placate opposition by nationalists and leftists. Japan’s dilemma would be resolved through this way.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

CNAS: Intellectual Support on Foreign Policy for Hillary Rodham Clinton

As to 2008 election, Hillary Rodham Clinton is the most likely to win Democrat nomination for presidential candidate. In a previous post, “Democrats Need to Act beyond Defeatism on Iraq”, I quoted a comment by AEI Resident Fellow Thomas Donnelly, saying that a new think tank called the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) will provide intellectual support for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign. Donnelly criticize CNAS “a rather awkward name summons echoes of the Project for a New American Century, well, it is supposed to--has brought together a powerful collection of veterans of the Clinton administration.” Let’s have a brief look at the webpage of CNAS.

This think tank was founded by Kurt Campbell, current CEO, and Michèl Flournoy, current president. Both are educated at Oxford University (Campbell received BA from UC San Diego, certificate from the University of Erevan in USSR, and D Phil from Oxford; Flourny received BA from Harvard, and M. Litt from Oxford). This background could have tied them with the Clinton administration, as there were some Rhodes Scholars in this cabinet including President Bill Clinton himself, Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, and Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott.

The mission of CNAS is mentioned in Co-Founder’s Forum and the Introductory Video. In view of new security challenges in the post 9-11 era, both founders describe their missions as the following.

The CNAS mandate is to help identify the key challenges confronting this generation of Americans in the foreign policy and national security arena, and to help shape thinking about the governance choices for dealing with these concerns. We aspire to transcend the current campaign mode that permeates many Washington policy shops and political discussions to consider the real and enduring challenges and opportunities facing the nation.

CNAS states that they are ready to provide ideas for any administration from 2009 onwards, regardless of the party. However, it is noticeable that CNAS explores some different approaches in US foreign policy from those of the Bush administration. Regarding personal contacts, this think tank develops ties with liberal Republicans who do not necessarily share national security visions with the current administration. Also, in terms of policy agendas, CNAS tackles new issues.

Leading Republicans like Senator Chuck Hagel and Senator Richard Lugar are associated with CNAS. Particularly, Senator Hagel has been a vocal critic to President George W. Bush’s Iraq policy. It is quite noteworthy that Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage who served the Bush administration joins the Board of Directors along with Clinton cabinet members such as Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Former Secretary of Defense William Perry. Quite importantly, Armitage was one of signatories to launch PNAC, which was co-founded by William Kristol and Robert Kagan: leading proponents of the Iraq War. This implies that CNAS is more suitable for a centrist like Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton than other Democrat candidates like Senator Barak Obama, Former Senator John Edwards, and New Mexican Governor Bill Richardson.

CNAS held its official launch on June 27 this year at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington, DC. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chuck Hagel delivered keynote addresses. This illustrates close relationship with Hilary Clinton and bipartisan nature of CNAS.

Among many research subjects, key issues at CNAS are the Iraq problem and transformation of US military forces. Asia Initiative ’09 is another important project, which explores further cooperation between the United States and Asia, beyond preoccupation with Iraq. Quite importantly, CNAS tackles some issues which were not given sufficient consideration by the Bush administration, such as climate change and international refugee problem.

Among those subjects, Iraq is the most crucial one. The most recent report on Iraq, entitled “Measuring Progress in Iraq”, published on August 30 by Assistant Professor Colin Kahl of Georgetown University, recommends that the surge should end no later than the spring of 2008. Also, this report says that successful transition of power from US military to the Iraq Security Forces is the key to make some gains meaningful and sustainable in the long run.

However, since the Center for a New American Security is a small think tank, some critical issues to US foreign policy are not discussed sufficiently. Though active commitment to Asia is mentioned, CNAS has not published a policy brief on North Korea. Alliance with Western industrialized nations like Europe, Japan, and Australia, is no less important than ever in the global war on terrorism. Democracy promotion has been a key agenda in US foreign policy, and the Bush administration addresses its preeminence for US and global security. However, CNAS has no project on this issue.

Whichever party wins 2008 election, CNAS will address new agendas which current administration does not explore enough. The Center has to spend sufficient energy on some issues with which the Bush cabinet is struggling. At this stage, it is important to watch how this new think tank provides intellectual support for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

1-11 Shock: Reagan Diplomacy Needed against China’s Ambition in the Space

China’ success in anti-satellite weapon test on January 11 this year poses no less serious threat to the United States and its allies in East Asia than 9-11. Ashley J. Tellis, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, argues that the United States should develop both offensive and defensive space weapons in order to curb Chinese ambition to undermine American predominance in the space. I would like to talk about his recent policy brief, entitled “Punching the US Military’s ‘Soft Ribs’: China’s Anti-satellite Weapon Test in Strategic Perspective”, released in June this year.

On 1-11, China launched a medium range missile from Xichang space facility in Sichuan Province, which was fired at an aging Chinese weather satellite. The missile test chilled to the spine of American policymakers, because the success of this test implied that China was able to cut off space based communication systems of US forces. Ashley Tellis refutes dovish idea that the United States make a deal on arms control in the space with China immediately.

First, Tellis explains strategic logic of Chinese counterspace program. Since remarkable success of US armed forces in Operation Desert Storm in the Gulf War, Chinese strategists had begun to explore how to defeat far superior US conventional forces by attacking American space based facilities. American satellites play the key role in C3 (command, control, and communication) systems, and they are vital for military intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. Tellis says “China understands that its best chance of successfully countering US military power lies in being able to attack America’s relatively vulnerable eyes, ears, and voice.” He insists that China as a rising power will not recognize an arms control regime in the space, which could strengthen its competitors. In other words, it is quite unlikely that China be willing to negotiate space arms control at this stage.

Also, Ashley Tellis categorizes China’s counterspace programs against US forces. These programs include from space object surveillance and identification systems to attack weapons. In accordance with the altitude of orbits, China thinks of using specific ASAT (anti-satellite) weapons. Ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and laser beams are designed for lower orbit satellites. Electronic wave attacks would be applied for medium and higher orbit satellites. China even considers attacking US facilities on the Earth which transmit information from space based satellites to American strategists.

In conclusion, Ashley Tellis mentions three implications of China’s space programs, and makes policy recommendations. To begin with, Tellis points out that China invests in counterspace projects because of strategic necessity. It is not willing to conclude arms control agreement with the United States unless one of the following conditions is satisfied.

(1) China can defeat the United States despite America’s privilege for access to the space.
(2) China’s investments in counter space programs yields less return because of technological superiority of the Unites States nullify Chinese efforts.
(3) Chinese space projects provoke offensive counterspace programs of the United States, and the return of R&D exceeds the threat posed by America.

Second, Tellis warns that US supremacy in the space is endangered due to ASAT weapon test success of China. He recommends that the United States improve its ability to identify and assess all orbiting objects, and to anticipate the sources and the capacity for counterspace attacks.

Finally, Tellis warns of s “Space Pear Harbor” in case of crisis over the Taiwan Strait. The United States may have to consider preemptive attacks or horizontal escalation on the Chinese mainland, if it happens before American space facilities become survivable from surprise attacks by China. Ashley Tellis advocates the United States build up offense and defense military power in the space, instead of negotiating for arms control arrangements that are doomed to failure.

Tellis’ arguments sound rational for me. In the past, President Ronald Reagan launched SDI project in order to make the Soviet Union give up expanding its nuclear arsenals, and talk on arms reduction with the United States. American Siegfried must stop dangerous ambition of the Chinese Dragon like this way.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Is the UN More Legitimate than the US?

It is 9-11 today, which lead the United States to attack Afghanistan and Iraq. There has been widespread criticism to American strike against Iraq, because it is not approved by the UN Security Council. But I must ask this question. Is the United Nations more trustworthy than the United States? In addition, I have to mention that the United Nations is in no position of supervising any sovereign states. It is an independent nation, particularly a liberal democracy that can make a decision for world peace.

Then, why do people regard the United Nations as the anchor of peace and stability of the world? Its decision making system is not clear, and far from accountable. Rogue states and failed nations are involved in this process. There are no organizations to check and balance elitist bureaucrats. Their inefficiency and corruption are too well known. More importantly, while close ties between the United Nations and the global civil societies are supposed to make global governance democratic, this dark connection marginalizes the public throughout the world. There is no reason to rely on UN mandates when it is necessary to defeat grave threats like Saddam Hussein and other axis of evil.

Despite some drawbacks as I mentioned above, the United Nations is expected to play the key role to assure multilateral diplomacy successful. Robert Kagan summarizes European view to US-UN relations as the following.

From the European perspective, the United States may be a relatively benign hegemon, but insofar as its actions delay the arrival of a world order more conductive to weaker powers, it is objectively dangerous. This is one reason why in recent years a principal objective of European foreign policy has become, as one of European observer puts it, the “multilateralising” of the United States. It is why Europeans insist that the United States act only with the approval of the UN Security Council. (Of Paradise and Power, p. 40; Originally from “Unilateral America, Light Weight Europe”, working paper, Centre for European Reform, February 2001 by Steven Everts)

In reality, foreign intervention without UN approval has been necessary to maintain a peaceful world order. In Kosovo, NATO started bombing on March 24 in 1999, without approval of the UN Security Council. Britain intervened to Sierra Leone unilaterally in 2000. Thanks to successful mission, Tony Blair “Gets Hero’s Welcome in Sierra Leone” (Christian Science Monitor, June 1, 2007) on his final trip as the prime minister. It is utterly strange that global public opinion is extremely critical to US attack against Saddam Hussein. Quite interestingly, some antiwar global civil societies courted the United States to intervene into Myanmar and Liberia right after the overthrow of the Ba’athist regime in Iraq. What are they?

Actually, the United Nations and the global civil societies do not necessarily act on behalf of universal humanitarianism. It is quite well known that UN bureaucracy and multinational NGOs constitute an exclusive circle for decision making. Also, they cloud out local civil societies quite often. The UN-multinational NGO axis lacks accountability to the global public.

Dark connections between the United Nations and multinational NGOs nurture dreadful corruption. Joseph Lonconte and Nile Gardiner, Research Fellows at the Heritage Foundation, describes UN-NGO relations as the following.

Indeed, most of the U.N.’s favorite NGOs would use international rulings to overturn democratic protections in their home countries. The U.N.’s vision of civil society, in other words, is a penumbra of activist groups that simply endorse its agenda of centralized economies, large welfare states, and massive social engineering. Indeed, most of the U.N.’s favorite NGOs would use international rulings to overturn democratic protections in their home countries. The U.N.’s vision of civil society, in other words, is a penumbra of activist groups that simply endorse its agenda of centralized economies, large welfare states, and massive social engineering. (“Human Rights Failure”, National Review Online; September 28, 2005)

Also, they criticize sex scandals in Sudan and West Africa by UN and NGO staff.

Furthermore, the Oil for Food scandal symbolizes corruption of UN bureaucratic system. (“Oil for Food Scandal Draws Scrutiny to UN”, Fox News, September 20, 2004)

The veto of Russia and China at the Security Council, which blocks efficient decision making, makes UN incompetence even more serious.

Leading liberal democracies, notably the United States, Britain, and NATO can act more quickly and effectively to curb imminent threats than the United Nations. NATO will be globalized when Japan and Australia join. Then, UN mandates will be less important for international security.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Media and Jurists’ Humiliation to the Iraq War and the War on Terror

Some reports on Iraq are released these days. NIE report mentions some progress, while GAO report presents pessimistic viewpoints. It is commonly understood that Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is to be blamed for strategic mistakes. But liberal media and lawyers are also responsible for current hardship in Iraq. These agitators must be well aware of negative consequences of their work. As they respond to accidents in Iraq and treatment of prisoners at Guantánamo camp outrageously, terrorists make use of such tumults. For terrorists, particularly jihadists, liberal upheavals are endowments from Allah to humiliate America by all means.

One of my blog friends Mike Ross wrote some interesting posts on his blog, entitled “Conservatism”, which is published in Japanese. He is a diehard conservative American, and holding a Japanese passport as he has been living in Japan for decades.

One of his posts is “A Caricature of the Iraq War”, in which he comments briefly about a cartoon in Town Hall. See the picture above. As he mentions in this post, the media are too happy to find negative stories in Iraq, in order to blame America. In the other post on the same August 27, entitled “The War on Terror Is beyond Judicial Authority”, Mike criticizes vehemently that liberals are wrong to insist that terrorist prisoners at Guantánamo must be treated as civil criminals such as murderers and robbers. He is right. If terrorists were treated as civil criminals and easily released from the prison through normal legal procedure, they would repeat mass murder and destruction.

The threat of rogue leaders and terrorists is so grave that they must be treated completely different from good citizens like us. When I appeared in an NHK TV forum about Japanese pacifist constitution on August 15, Professor Setsu Kobayashi of Keio University and an antiwar activist Shigemitsu Hisamatsu blamed US attack on Iraq by quoting international law. I argued against them based on the logic of Hobbesian and Kantian world by Robert Kagan. However, the moderator did not give me enough opportunity to refute their egg-headed legalism.

Certainly, Setsu Kobayashi is a leading expert on Japanese constitution. But I have to mention an important point. However finesse those liberals’ arguments may be, they miss the vital point. Law protects our freedom, but not terrorists’ and rogues’. It is extremely regrettable that liberals like Professor Kobayashi put the cart before the horse. Japanese SF hero Kamen Rider fights against Shocker, an army of super villains, in order to protect freedom of human beings. But liberal extremist lawyers like Setsu Kobayashi fight against human beings, in order to protect Shocker’s freedom.

Why the media and lawyers are so happy to shame American hegemony in the world? Apparently, the world is better off when America defeats rogues and terrorists unabashedly. Europeans and Japanese have common interests with Americans. As I mentioned in a previous post, “Is Middle East Democratization a Neocon Plot?”, Europeans are tackling for Middle East reform. Japanese such as Former Foreign Minister Taro Aso, also advocate democratization throughout East Asia. Just as Josef Joffe who is an adjunct professor at Stanford University points out, victory in Iraq is the key to success in the War on Terror and global democratization (“If Iraq Falls”, Wall Street Journal、August 27). Despite this, liberal media and lawyers are extremely joyous when they find policy errors in Iraq and the War on Terror. Moreover, they defend “human rights” of terrorists at Guantánamo.

In my view, crooked pride and elitism of liberal media and lawyers lead them to help our enemy. Those media and lawyers take pride in their resourcefulness to criticize the authority. Since America is the hegemonic state, any US president is the easiest target for their attack. Also, their crooked pride lies in their “privilege” to glorify their career through blaming leaders. Although liberal media and lawyers disguise themselves acting on behalf of general public, these elitists look down on grassroots deep in their heart.

Regarding media response to the Iraq War, I would like to mention some articles written by experts at the American Enterprise Institute. In a pervious post, entitled “Democrats Need to Act beyond Defeatism on Iraq”, I quoted essays by Michael Barone and Thomas Donnelly. Both resident scholars point out that party politics plays an important role in the Iraq debate. In addition, I have to mention another article by Thomas Donnelley and an article by Frederick Kagan, in order to understand how media portrayal of the war misleads the public. In an article “NBC's Body Armor Embarrassment” in the Daily Standard on June 20, Donnelly concludes as the following.

The press and the leadership of the Democratic Party, in the throes of an extended Vietnam flashback, have decided the war is lost. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid even thinks he knows what's going on in Baghdad better than does Gen. David Petraeus, the commander on the scene. But the media and the Democrats still fear that their defeatist attitudes may alienate people in uniform, or Americans more broadly. Thus the need to cast soldiers as victims. The only victim in the body army story, though, is the truth.

Frederick Kagan contributed “Misunderstanding the Surge” to the Daily Standard on June 5, in which points out misreport by the New York Times due to poor understanding of situation in Iraq. According to Kagan, the New York Times failed to discern former chief commander General George Casey’s strategy from current chief commander General David Petraeus’ strategy when their staff published an article “Surge Has Failed” on June 4. General Casey’s plan was based on 2003 assumption, which had been focusing on transitioning security responsibility to the Iraqi forces. In order to curb sectarian conflicts in Iraq, the Bush administration decided to appoint new commander General Petraeus, and change the strategy. The New York Times evaluated the consequence of surge based on former commander’s plan. In fact, the surge has stated when new commander reviewed trials and errors of his predecessor to execute new strategy announced on January 10 by President George W. Bush. Kagan said it is necessary to wait and see the consequence of surge by September, and strategists such as Michael O’Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack of the Brookings Institution admit some progress in the war in August.

I have talked about the media, and I need to explore further sources to denounce arrogant and egg headed legalists. Why are these liberal extremist elitists so pleased to blame the White House? Frederick Kagan explains such psychology in his conclusion.

There will be many difficult months to come, as our enemies attempt not only to make the strategy fail, but to convince Americans and Iraqis that it will fail. ……. The New York Times wrongly judges the current commanders by their predecessors' expectations. And it wrongly presents their efforts to solve legacy problems as evidence that the current effort has failed. It may be emotionally easier for some simply to convince themselves that the U.S. has already failed in Iraq. But success remains possible if we have the will to try to achieve it.

Any kind of extralegal activities are legitimate in both wars because the nature of enemies is completely different from those in traditional wars. It is utterly wrong to blame this. Liberal extremist Brahmins, stop helping our enemies! They are overjoyed when Brahmins distort our public opinion. Is there any ways to keep these nuisances silent? They are much more to be blamed than Donald Rumsfeld!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Postscript of NHK Forum 2: Inseparable Alliance between Japan and the United States

In an NHK TV program on Japan’s pacifist constitution, broadcasted on August 15, forum attendants discussed US foreign policy and US-Japanese relations. This is an important issue to reconsider the pacifist constitution, because changes in global security environment provoke this debate. Also, it is the United States that hopes to change the pacifist constitution, in order to step up the alliance with Japan.

While we were talking about this issue, both rightists and leftists criticized US foreign policy harshly. They say Americans are excessively power dependent, and worry America’s hyper puissance endangers Japan’s independent decision making. Leftist attendants led by Sayoko Yoneda, a women’s rights and peace activist, even claimed that it serves right for America being attacked by terrorists. Had she known the theory of hegemonic stability which is a basic theory of international political economy, she would have never remarked such a stupid comment. Robert Kagan would have refuted them, by using his allegory of sheriff and saloon master.

It is my regret that NHK announcer Tamio Miyake, the moderator of this forum, did not provide sufficient opportunity for pro-American participants to argue against such a Sturm und Drang (Storm and Stress) of rampant anti-Americanism. Therefore, I am writing this post to refute the Sturm und Drang at the forum.

Some nationalist attendants, such as Kazuhiko Hosokawa, a leader of conservative organization, and Junko Amou, also a conservative cyberspace activist, insisted on strengthening Japan’s tie with the United States from a realist perspective. They say that Japan needs a close relationship with the United States simply because it is Japan’s national interest. When necessary, Japan must be ready to say “no” to America, they say. Certainly, both Japan and the United States are sovereign states. But I must advocate that the US-Japanese alliance is beyond that sort of petty realism. For further discussion, I would like to talk about the nature of the American world order and Japan’s national foundation as a modern state.

First, it is very important to understand the nature of the American world order. I have mentioned this in a previous post, entitled “Philosophical Understanding of Pax Britannica and Pax Americana” on February 27. In this post I talk about the theory of hegemonic stability. Britain and America has been providing the public goods of liberal political and economic order. This is my primary focus as a graduate student at the London School of Economics. For detail, please see the link to this post. When a rogue intrudes on the bar, it is the sheriff who faces the danger, not the saloon master. The hegemonic state assumes the burden of sheriff for global security. Leftists who said it served right for America being attacked by terrorists, must feel ashamed of their ignorant remark. It seemed that Sayoko Yoneda, Yumiko Akimoto, and a couple of leftwing activists uttered such a comment.

OK, I ask a question to these leftists. Are you with whom? Are you with our free world, or with terrorists and rogue states? Are you friends or enemies to our society? It is all right whether they are rightists or leftists, whether they are pro-American or anti-American. But I must remind them that their utterance in public is a complete insult to Japan’s most reliable ally. I would advise them to apologize for their misguided comment on TV on the next occasion.

Also, I have to mention Japan’s position in the world. It is vital to point out that freedom allies respect Japan because of its close relationship with the United States. Prewar Japan was one of Western Great Powers, and postwar Japan has been a member of leading Western Democracy Club. Europeans embrace Japan, because it is a key ally to the United States. A Dutch historian Jeroen Lamers who is the author of “Japonius Tyrannus”, a research on 16th century ruler Oda Nobunaga, comments that a staunch US-Japanese alliance is considerably advantageous to Dutch-Japanese relations, and ultimately to Euro-Japanese relations. One of Japan’s leading pro-American political commentator, Hidemi Nagao also makes similar cases in his book, entitled “Eternal Japan-US Alliance”, saying that freedom allies from Europe to Australia regard Japan as an important partner, because Japan and free nations pursue common policy agendas with the United States.

It is also important to mention world security environment in the post Cold War era. Currently, NATO is exploring global operation, and considering new strategic partnership with Japan, Australia, and even South Korea. Also, Japan is trying to develop new Asia-Pacific security framework with India and Australia. The common bond between Japan and above nations is the alliance with the United States. In other words, a stronger relationship with America enables Japan to develop stronger ties with respectable democracies I mention here.

To my regret, six eminent persons who appeared in this program failed to discuss this point. It is important to take this into consideration when we discuss collective security. They are the following people.

Setsuzo Kosaka: Ex-Chairman of the Constitution Reform Committee, Japan Association of Corporate Executives
Osamu Watanabe: Professor, Hitotsubashi University (Japan’s MIT or LSE)
Setsu Kobayashi: Professor, Keio University (One of Japan’s Ivy League colleges)
Yoshinori Kobayashi: Political Cartoonist
Kenji Isezaki: Professor, Tokyo University of Foreign Affairs
Takao Saito: Journalist

Such renowned experts, but missed to talk about this crucial point: a closer relationship with America means a closer relationship with respectable democracies. This is a waste of their reputation.

Moreover, I would like to give an “English lesson” to those who are wary of advancing further US-Japanese alliance. Britain maintains extremely close partnership to mange the world with the United States. I have talked of key points in the Anglo-American special relationship in a previous post, “Britain and Japan as America's ally: Review of Woodrow Wilson Event” to explore how to upgrade Japan’s relation with the United States. There are four key points in the Anglo-America special relationship.

(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.

No. (1) is the most important for Japan to explore more leverage in the world. Remember how miserable it was when Jacques Chirac, Dominique de Villepain, and Gerhard Schröder flatly rejected US request for support in the Iraq War. They had no influence, and simply stepped down from their positions quickly. Despite severe criticism, Tony Blair had an influence on US policymakers. Never miss this point!

Finally, I would like to talk of Japan’s spiritual foundation as a modern state. Spiritual base of modern Japan is Datsua Nyuou (getting out of backward Asia, and join civilized West). Nobody doubts that this has lead Japan to spectacular success road. The US-Japanese alliance is beyond security deal, but guarantee of Japan’s status as a leading Western democracy. Remember that US senators John McCain and Joseph Lieberman cast doubt on Russian qualification to chair the St. Petersburg Summit, because of authoritarian Putin administration, while none of respectable policymakers in both America and Europe did so on Japan’s qualification for the elite club membership from the beginning. A real patriot Japanese must take pride in it.

In previous posts, “New Year Question 2: The Legacy of Queen Victoria in East Asian History” and A Radical Agenda for Japanese People”, I argued that modern Japan started when Queen Victoria destroyed the Chinese Asian order with gunfire. The Japanese understood the meaning of the Western Impact, while Asians were still indulged in the Dark Age. Japanese people decided unrepentant farewell to the Dark Age, and dashed toward modernization and enlightenment with “Protestantism” diligence and ethics. Japanese people decided to accept the Victorian world order of Lockean and Smithian values, while Asians made virtually no effort to learn Western civilization.

As a result, Japan had become entirely distinguished from dormant Asians who were in a daydream of outdated Chinese world order. In the postwar period, Japanese people learned American invented management methods, such as William Edwards Deming’s total quality management, quicker than Americans with “Protestantism” diligence. In other words, Japan achieved the economic miracle, because Japanese became more American than Americans. Dutch historian Joroen Lamers made a similar comment in an interview with the Nagano Chambers of Commerce.

Rapid Westernization, unrepentant enlightenment, and Lokean and Smithian values are deeply embedded in the heart of Japanese people. There is no wonder that Japan’s best friends have been Anglo Saxon global empires. Without solid alliance with the United States, Japan would fall into a miserable archipelago offshore the Chinese Dragon. Apparently, the Japanese prefer enlightened West to Confucian Asia.

A staunch US-Japanese alliance is vital to maintain a liberal world order, and to guarantee Japan’s identity as a leading Western democracy.