Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Fundraising Seminar for Public Interest Activities

In my view, quite a few of those who publish a blog on politics are interested in launching some kind of public interest and advocacy activities by themselves. Activities they think of may not be hardcore political ones as I do. Some of them want to be involved with politically neutral and humanitarian activities. If I were to get involved in such activities seriously, I need capital such as infrastructure and money. Is it enough for you just to publish an anonymous blog? (Some bloggers use their real names with their photos on their blog, and others show their real names and photos on regular styled websites linked to their blogs just as I do.)

The Society of Endorsing Activities by Citizens (SEAs) in Tokyo holds fundraising seminars to support those who are ardent in their pursuit for public interest activities. In my case, though I have found an intermediate incorporation (an organization between social incorporation and NPO incorporation), it has no capital at this stage. If someone wants to advocate some social issues, information of better quality is indispensible. Also, travel fee to attend international conferences is necessary.

The final seminar of this year was held at the Japan Foundation on November 26. I have attended the 4th and the 5th seminar. I am a complete layman on fundraising, but I am beginning to understand some basic concept of it.

A reception party was held along with this seminar, and I had some opportunities to talk with guest speakers. I hope I can start something concrete for fundraising of my own advocacy.

Those who are really interested in starting public interest activities, and political bloggers who want to do something beyond anonymous blogging, listen to me! Find an agenda of your focus, and then, contact SEAs.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Secretary of Defense Gates Speaks on Nuclear Weapons in This Century

Secretary of State Robert Gates gave a lecture, entitled “Nuclear Weapons and Deterrence in the 21st Century” at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, on October 28. Though Gates serves the Bush administration currently, he is one of the candidates for the Secretary of Defense in the next administration of President-Elect Barack Obama (“Who's in the running for Obama administration jobs”; AP; November 20, 2008). Whether appointed or not, his viewpoints on nuclear non-proliferation represent vital bipartisan agendas for the United States. Therefore, it is worth watching the video of this event (see this link).

Secretary Gates talked on intertwined domestic and international challenges to US nuclear policy. Also, the Secretary spelled out the relationship between aging US nuclear infrastructure and credibility of deterrence.

To begin with, Secretary Gates outlined post Cold War nuclear strategy of the United States. Having cut outdated arsenals like B1 bombers and stopped nuclear tests unilaterally during the Clinton era, the United States reviewed strategic posture under the Bush administration. Gates says that it is necessary to reduce reliance on nuclear deterrence, and increase capability for non-nuclear deterrence and responses to potential threats. The reviewed posture consists of the following triad.

(1) Strike capabilities, both nuclear deterrence and conventional attack capabilities
(2) Defense capabilities including ballistic missile defense
(3) Infrastructures to support (1) and (2)

Though security environment has changed in view of 9-11, grave nuclear threats are posed by resurgent powers like Russia and China, and rogue states like Iran and North Korea.

Though Gates is concerned with nuclear modernization by Russia and China, and its implications to security of the Free World, he does not regard them as adversaries to us. To my regret, he has not articulated why Russia and China are not adversaries. Certainly, the United States needs to cooperate with Russia in order to cut a massive stockpile of nuclear weapons in both countries. Economic ties with China are growing important. Still, both Russia and China are challenging our liberal democracy, and such ambitious powers are strengthening nuclear capabilities. I feel his attitude to both powers somewhat soft.

Quite importantly, Secretary Gates pointed out the problem of aging nuclear weapon systems of US forces. The media rarely mention such a critically dismissible issue. He says, “No one has designed a new nuclear weapon in the United States since the 1980s, and no one has built a new one since the early 1990s.” This is a serious issue to keep US nuclear deterrence trustworthy. Nuclear weapon engineers are retiring and current stockpile of nuclear arsenals need to extend their life span. The Secretary says that the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy work together to “reduce aging stockpiles by balancing the risk between a smaller number of warheads and an industrial complex that could produce new weapons if the need arose.”

At the Q & A session, Secretary Gates stressed vital interest of defending US allies in Europe and the Pacific region.

The most focused issue at the Q & A session was the missile defense issue. Secretary Gates said anti-ballistic missiles in Europe were against Iran, not Russia. He explained American efforts to form credibility and security building measures with Russia. Though Gates did not mention missile defense in Asia at this event, we can infer that what he has in his mind is North Korea, not Russia and China. However, I wonder what Secretary Gates thinks of possible conflict over the Taiwan Strait. Any intimidation by China on the Strait will endanger sea lane security to Japan and South Korea, vital allies to the United States in the Far East.

I do not agree everything with Secretary Gates regarding Russia and China. Also, it is a pity that Gates did not talk sufficiently on North Korea. However, I am pleased to hear Secretary of Defense Robert Gates quote Theodore Roosevelt, and said “It would be a fatal thing to leave ourselves unarmed against the despotisms and barbarisms of the world.” This lecture is very helpful to understand America’s agenda on global non-proliferation. I hope President-Elect Barack Obama, the very icon of global leftists, understand the quotation very well, whether he appoints Robert Gates to the Secretary of Defense or not.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Military Preferred McCain: Can the President Elect Really Command Armed Forces?

I have been criticizing President-Elect Barack Obama for his incompetence as the Commander in Chief. In any case, he was elected, and it is essential to discuss his qualification.

I found an interesting link in a blog post on the Middle East, published by the Los Angels Times (“IRAQ: U.S. troops weigh in on Obama versus McCain”; Babylon & Beyond; November 5, 2008). According to a link to this post, about 2/3 to 3/4 of US Armed Forces personnel preferred Senator John McCain to Senator Barack Obama in a poll before the election (“If the presidential election were held today, for whom would you vote?”; Military Times; October 3, 2008).

Among military personnel, the most important issue to decide the candidate to vote was leadership character. In this poll, it is John McCain who wins overwhelming trust over Barack Obama. McCain endured POW experience in Vietnam, while Obama has no military experience. Moreover, Obama has been critical to America’s vital mission in Iraq. Warriors feel common bonds with leaders who share battle filed experience or national defense values. This is why Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar were charismatic. This is why Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan are applauded today. Barack Obama has none of such personality advantages. To the contrary, he has dubious ties with enemies of our free world, notably, William Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, and Rashid Khalidi. I can hardly understand why some undereducated voters worship Obama as their savior.

When Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California said “I only play an action hero in my movies, but John McCain is a real action hero” at the rally in Ohio, I was moved to hear his speech. No other speech in this election was so impressive as this. It brings us home that President-Elect Obama has no characteristic image as the Commander in Chief of the Superpower.

In addition to personality, I am concerned with kith and kin preference given to Barack Obama. In the military, even minorities, including Hispanics, Asians, and so forth, chose McCain over Obama. However, an overwhelming majority of Blacks supports Obama. It is a great advantage to have a solid voters group to win the election. But this advantage can turn into a disadvantage to command armed forces and govern the state. It is quite tough to lead the Superpower. When Obama faces difficulty in managing national and global problems, such a stark racial split will undermine his leadership.

America is at war, and whether to stay or withdraw from the Middle East, the decision made by the Commander in Chief needs to be trusted by officers and soldiers. Can Obama really govern the state and command global military operations to defend our free world?

The media says the advent of the first black president historical, but I do not think so. Anyone gets dark-skinned when suntanned. How many presidents, prime ministers, kings, and emperors have we forgotten! A leader can make history by what he or she does, not by the status or the position he or she assumes.

This is the last post on the election 2008. There are so many critical issues throughout the world. It is time that Global American Discourse got back to the normalcy. In any case, this blog will keep on watching President-Elect Barack Obama.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Divided States of America: A President Obama Can Never Heal the Nation

I would like to show an impressive result of an exit poll of the Presidential Election, conducted by MultiEducator, a company of history education with computer software. The above table is the result of exit polls based on gender and race.

It shows a stark racial division in the United States. Contrary to media report, Barack Obama’s bid for presidency brings us home to this critical fact, rather than healing it.

While about 55% of white voters chose McCain and 40~45% chose Obama, nearly 95% of black voters chose Obama and less than 5% chose McCain. The figure of black voters is quite unrealistic, if the candidate was selected entirely by policy and personality. America is a pluralistic democracy of various thoughts and interests, and so is the black society. A 95% approval reminds me of the election in Iraq to “select” Saddam Hussein just before the Iraq War. Apparently, the media brainwashed minority voters.

Just a simple glance of the figure tells us that Barack Obama cannot heal racial division. He is neither the messiah nor the savior. When the honeymoon between newly-elected president and the media is over, the tension among ethnic groups will turn worse.

The media must tell us the truth, not lies.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Is This Democracy, or Idiocracy?: US Election and Its Implication across the Globe

Senator Barack Obama has achieved an impressive victory in the presidential election, supported by youngsters who have been uninterested in politics so seriously until recently. In other words, it is those who were not politically oriented that is changing the world today. This is not the only phenomenon in the United States but worldwide.

In Japan, Prime Minister-then Junichiro Koizumi marked a landslide victory in September 2005, thanks to enthusiastic support by those who were moved with TV show politics. In Russia, people chose Dmitri Medvedev for the president in March 2008, because they applauded Vladimir Putin’s image as a strong leader. In both cases, politics was driven by young voters who are poorly aware of their national agendas.

Should we call this sort of new populism as real democracy or barbaric idiocracy? In the context of history, it is necessary to observe whether this populism evolve into a new age democracy like the rise of civil society in the 17th and the 18th century, or into a turmoil of idiocracy.

The rise of civic power became noticeable at the Rio Summit on global warming in 1994. ICBL was awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 thanks to cooperation by the web of global citizens of willing.

It is the Afghan War in response to 9-11 terrorist attack when left wingers across the world mobilized “ordinary citizens” to anti-war rallies for the first time. Those “ordinary citizens” are not the sort of people keenly aware of politics. Having enjoyed some success in mobilizing laymen to the rally, leftists organized enormous scale protest movements against the Iraq War. Global democracy has turned into global idiocracy.

We have to bear in mind that it is continual blow to the Bush administration by the global “civic”, or more precisely, “idiotic” society that has influenced the attitude of the media in the United States and abroad. This had led to the rise of Barack Obama.

In the Financial Times, Clive Crook points out that biased attitude of the media has brought substantial advantages to Obama (“How McCain lost the centrist vote”; Financial Times; October 26, 2008). But even Crook is biased. He says that the Obama side did not make fatal mistakes while the McCain side made some errors. Actually, Barack Obama’s ineptness was revealed when he met with General David Petraeus in Iraq. The Media did not question Obama’s competence as the Commander in Chief on this critical occasion. Japanese journalist Yoshihisa Komori casts doubt on strange attitude of the media (“Major media discuss this election from completely Democrat-biased viewpoints”; Stage-kaze Hatsu; November 4, 2008).

In the US presidential election, Senator John McCain won support by top national security experts such as Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Retired General Norman Schwarzkopf, and Carnegie Endowment Senior Associate Robert Kagan. Also, a good citizen like Joe the Plumber was with McCain. On the other hand, Senator Barack Obama was boosted by voters whose political judgement is questionable, like Lindsay Lohan (This Hollywood star is notorious for wanton behavior.) and youngsters of marijuana junkies. In other words, Obama won the election, thanks to bête noire of the American public.

As Former US Vice President Albert Gore argues, the rise of civic power, from the Rio Summit to the Obama phenomenon could not have happened without the web (“Gore sees transformative power of Web in politics”; Computer World; November 7, 2008). Internet politics can pose both positive and negative impacts. Will the Obama phenomenon trigger another rise of civil power, or another rise of idiocracy? This must be understood from global context.