Sunday, June 28, 2009
See the above video of C-Span. Senator John McCain gives a tributary speech to Neda Agha-Soltan who was brutally shot by Iranian police when she attended a democracy movement on the street in Tehran. Despite mounting pressure across the United States and overseas, President Barack Obama is still obsessed with the past CIA coup d’état to topple Mohammed Mossadegh and too hesitant to assume leadership to act against Iran. Supposed to be Kantian leaders of Europe, such as President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, are more active to support Iranian resistance.
It is almost six month since the inauguration. I mark the famous words by Vice President Joseph Biden, and I regard this crisis as the most critical test for President Obama. The media across the world bowed down and praised President Obama’s speeches at Prague and Cairo to repent for arrogant global strategies of past presidents. Current crises cannot be managed through such apologist appeals of populism, and the world needs a strong superpower to defeat threats to our liberal world order. North Korea is just a test for a crisis management skill, but Iran is beyond this. It is a real test for Barack Obama’s moral leadership on the global stage and his loyalty to American values. Conservatives have been questioning them ever since his wife Michelle’s extremely well known remark of For the first time, I feel proud of my country.
The Washington Post discussed Obama’s leadership credential over the Iranian Crisis, and quoted pro-con commentaries by experts (“Iran Unrest Reveals Split in U.S. on Its Role Abroad”; Washington Post; June 23, 2009). Among them, I am impressed with one by Nile Gardiner, Former Foreign Policy Researcher for ex-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Gardiner says "It's almost as if the president lacks confidence in the greatness of his own nation. He seems unwilling to aggressively project American global power, as if it were something to be ashamed of." This is what I have been feeling exactly since the Prague and the Cairo speeches.
Currently, Nile Gardiner is the Director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at the Heritage Foundation. Gardiner criticizes President Obama’s apologism in his articles. He points out “The world today is considerably more dangerous than it was in the days of the Bush Administration, and the Obama White House has nothing to show for its weak-kneed efforts. The brutal truth is that the United States is increasingly viewed as a soft touch by its enemies, increasingly jeered rather than feared.” However, Gardiner insists that it is not too late for Obama to change Carter-styled diplomacy (“Barack Obama should stop apologising for America”; Daily Telegraph; 3 June 2009). In another article, Gardiner lists problematic apologies, and said “American leadership is not a popularity contest, nor should it be an exercise in self-loathing. Rather, it is about taking tough positions that will be met with hostility in many parts of the globe. Above all, it demands the assertive projection of American power, both to secure the homeland and to protect America's allies” (“Barack Obama's Top 10 Apologies: How the President Has Humiliated a Superpower”; Heritage Memo; June 2, 200).
Mark Hyman, Commentator of Sinclair Broadcasting Group, comments much more bitterly, and he says that Obama’s foreign policy comes from spiritual influence of his childhood mentor, Pastor Wright, notorious anti-white agitator (“Jeremiah Wright Foreign Policy”; American Spectator; June 26, 2009).
The global public has marked the words by Joseph Biden. Now, it is time to mark the words by Nile Gardiner. The media and global liberals love to see President Obama apologize for and humiliate America. The Iran crisis tells us how dangerous that sort of populism is. Will the President transform himself from Barack Carter Obama into Barack Truman Obama?
See the following video comments by Nile Gardiner.
Fox New 5; June 16, 2009
Fox Business; June 17, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Watch the above video broadcasted by a new TV network founded in Russia in the post Soviet era (Mega-deals and security to link China and Russia”; Russia Today; June 17, 2009). This company, named Russia Today, provides Russian viewpoints in English for the global public, just as Al Jazeera presents Arab standpoints.
At the BRICs Summit at Yekaterinburg, Russia and China praised unprecedentedly good bilateral relations these days, and signed trade deals to expand economic cooperation. Quite importantly, they insisted that their dependence on the dollar be lowered, and more national currencies be used in international business. Clearly, Russia and China expressed their solid determination to confront the West in the economy.
The joint press conference by President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia and President Hu Jing Tao of China illustrates that Clintonian attempt to incorporate both new capitalist nations has ended in failure. Instead of becoming good citizens of Western-led liberal framework of global political economy, Russia and China decided to challenge us and establish their own order in their economic zone.
The dollar standard is founded on the trust to political and military power of the United States, and this is beyond economic rationalism. Both Russia and China are building up their armed forces rapidly to rival against the West, and expand their influence in their neighborhood. Such dangerous opponents are posing another challenge to us. What’s next?
At this stage, Russia and China cannot afford to make their currencies alternatives to US dollar. According to US Department of Treasury, both giants are dependent on the fortunes of US dollar debt (“Alternatives to the Dollar? Not So Fast”; Reuters Blog Commentaries; June 15, 2009).
Also, BRICs nations have mutual disagreements from the economy to security (“BRIC plotters stage a farce”; Asia Times; June 20, 2009). Apparently, Brazil and India are not interested in defying our regime, and they do not build up their military power so rapidly as Russia and China do.
Powerful enough or not, Russia and China declared their desire to dissemble an Anglo-American liberal order of the Bretton Woods System, and transform the global economy into a regime that reflects their authoritarian statist ideology. Economists are liable to talk of their emergence solely in terms of the market economy, and dismiss political threats posed by their ambition. But any economic policy is politically designed. Therefore, I regard their will to challenge us critical to global security.
The Yekaterinburg Summit is a landmark to show that the Clintonian attempt to incorporate Russia and China into our global economy was shattered. How can we deal with their ambition to challenge our preeminence in the world? What happens if we appease them? They may not be strong enough at this stage, but it is their will to overturn our preeminence that matters. History has not ended, but it has started again.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Just as Sir Winston Churchill urged reluctant Americans to stand firmly against Soviet expansionism after World War Ⅱ in the famous Iron Curtain Speech, Senator McCain criticized the President, I do not believe that the president is taking the leadership that is incumbent upon an American president, which we have throughout modern history, and that is to advocate for human rights and freedom, and free elections are one of those fundamentals (“John McCain: President Obama not showing 'leadership'”; Politico; June 17, 2009 and the video).
As I mentioned in the previous post, Barack Obama’s dull response to current violence in Iran reminds me of that of Jimmy Cater in 1979. I have argued again and again that the loss of Iran has imposed a tremendous cost to US foreign policy. Had Iran been a friendly and reliable ally to the West, 9-11 would not have happened and Saddam Hussein could not have pursued a stupidly megalomaniac dream of becoming a Gamal Abdel Nasser. Ever since the United States and Britain demanded Stalin to withdraw the Read Army from northern Iran when World War Ⅱ ended, Iran had been a buffer against Soviet expansionism to the Gulf. Historically and geopolitically, Iran has been such an important strategic keystone in the Middle East.
This is why I argue John McCain’s Churchillian comment vital to prevail our freedom, and to help fellow Iranians. As far as this issue is concerned, There is no liberal America, or conservative America. There is no white America, or black America, but there is the United States of America. Yes, that’s right Mr. President, but are you really loyal to what you said in public?
Former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfovitz says that both Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush stayed neutral at first, when anti-government riots broke out in the Philippines in 1986 and in the Soviet Union in 1991. However, both presidents decided to endorse the civic power for democracy in the end (“'No Comment' Is Not an Option”; Washington Post; June 19, 2009). As Wolfovitz argues in this column, those interventions were of considerable help to strengthen America’s soft power.
Remember that Harry Truman had become a real global statesman only when he accepted the Iron Curtain Speech by Winston Churchill. It seems to me that Barack Carter Obama is not interested in becoming none of leaders like Truman, Reagan, and Bush Sr. Our fellows in the Middle East, don’t expect so much to current US President. Maybe General David Petraeus is a real savior for you. Don’t give up your Hope for the Change.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Strangely enough, while President Obama denounce legitimate sponsorship for anti-communist coup d’état, he shows no enthusiasm to endorse current democratic rally against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Let me review the history of Iran. During the Anglo Iranian Oil Dispute from 1952 to 1953, Mosaddeq tried to associate Iran with the Soviet Union. In Cold War power politics, what he did was unacceptable. Once Iran had fallen into communists’ hand, security the whole area around the Persian Gulf would have been extremely fragile. The United States was right to endorse Britain to block red expansionism. Remember that America always represented conscience of global citizens when aligned itself with Sir Winston Churchill who was the Prime Minister then for the second time. A provincial lawyer from the Mid West, Harry Truman had become a global statesman when he accepted the Iron Curtain Speech by Churchill (Can Obama the Savior deliver such a great speech?). Also, nationalism uproar in the Middle East needed to be curtailed. Saddam Hussein was inspired by Gamar Abdel Nasser in the Suez Crisis. When Saddam invaded Kuwait, he identified himself with Nasser who nationalized British controlled Suez Canal. Mosaddeq could have provoked dangerous nationalism as Nasser did.
Until the economic crisis in the late 1970s, Iran had been enjoying modernization under the shah. It is utterly wrong to say that the coup d’état has led Iran to anti-Western. During the Pahlavi era, numerous Iranians gladly enrolled colleges in the United States. Those who were educated in the United States and other Western nations occupied top positions in the government, the military, and the business. Contrary to what Obama said in the Cairo Speech, this is a proof of widespread pro-Americanism in Iran in those days.
Regarding Obama's remark on Iran in the worldwide-praised Cairo Speech, Charles Krauthammer, a columnist of the Washington Post, criticizes that the President blames the US side unfairly (“Obama Hovers From on High”; Washington Post; June 12, 2009). Barack Obama may be a Wilsonian idealist as Robert Kagan says (“Woodrow Wilson's Heir”; Washington Post; June 7, 2009), but his idealism undermines US diplomacy if he has no confidence in Americaness. Krauthammer argues that American involvement in the coup d’état to overthrow democratically elected Mosaddeq gives no excuse for Iran to take hostage at the US embassy in 1979 and sponsor terrorists. I agree with him. In the column, Krauthammer points out that President Obama is extremely biased to favor Islamic radicals on the Islam-Western clash in the Cairo Speech. This is a vital point to understand the speech that the media bow down and praise.
Prior to the presidential election, Foreign Policy published a special edition on the web, and foretold corruption and confusion associated with it. Karim Sadjapour, Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said this election was a rivalry between Tehran and the rest. Without credible polls, it was difficult predict the result, and global media tended to dismiss rural opinions. In the end, Sadjapour said that unelected mullahs decide the winner, which would make the result controversial as it happened in 2000 US election over Florida votes (“Why Iran '09 Could Be Like Florida '00”; Foreign Policy, June 2009). Cameron Abadi, Writer for German journals Die Zeit and Spiegel International, compares current election with the revolution to oust the shah in 1979. Whether Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Mir Hossein Mousavi, the winner would face tremendous opposition resistance, because this election reflects clashes between conservatives and reformists ("Iran's New Revolution"; Foreign Policy June 2009).
If this is a prelude to another revolution in Iran, should the United States intervene? Remember that President-then Jimmy Carter did nothing to stop radical mullahs during the revolution in 1979, and America has lost Iran since then. William Kristol wonders why President Obama is so reluctant to use America’s soft power if he is truly loyal to his conviction for democracy (“Kristol: Where's the Soft Power?”; Weekly Standard Blog; June 14, 2009). Jimmy Carter failed to endorse well-educated and pro-Western generals to stand against mad and anti-Western mullahs. People know the outcome of it. Will Barack Carter Obama fail to endorse democratic Iranians and allow mad mullahs to rule this country continually?
Senator John McCain urges President Obama to speak out corrupt and fraud election (“Obama refuses to 'meddle' in Iran”; BBC News; 17 June 2009). Yes, this is how American soft power should be used.
Those who were moved to listen to oracles of the Cairo Speech by the Savior must think again, and the Iranian Crisis is a real opportunity to judge the young and brilliant president. He is tested now. Will Barack Carter Obama repeat the same error committed by James Earl Carter?
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Hidaka is an ultimate insider of political corridors in Washington. Having graduated from Tokyo University with a bachelor’s degree in American literature, he joined NHK (Nihon Hoso Kyokai, or Japan Broadcasting Cooperation) to report inside stories of the US government, armed forces, and business. He has been a good friend to eminent American leaders from Republican Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger to Democrat Jimmy Carter.
On the other hand, he is an outsider, because he is not an American. But this is an advantage to tell American politics objectively, and even boldly. Remember, British writers John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge have won enormous reputation with their book “The Right Nation”. Actually, Hidaka worries that it is quite likely that Obama will be assassinated if he continues the Wall Street bashing. Due to close ties among financial, industrial, and military élites, Obama’s populism could provoke anger of the establishment. Hidaka warns that far right racists may align themselves with establishments to assassinate Barack Obama. Since this book is written in Japanese language for Japanese readers, Hidaka speaks such a taboo so boldly.
At the beginning of the book, Yoshiki Hidaka questions whether President Obama will become a Franklin Roosevelt or not. His conclusion is “No”. Whether in national security, the economy, or whatever, Hidaka criticizes that Obama has no grand design. In addition, since Obama had no experience to train himself as the leader, he is incapable of dealing with more experienced and skilled his cabinet members.
Pro-Obama Americans say that they trust him because he is a genius. Certainly, Barack Obama is extremely gifted to capture the heart of innumerable people, as seen in the Prague speech on nuclear weapons and the Cairo speech on the Middle East. But as Hidaka comments, being gifted is not sufficient to assume presidency of the sole superpower in the world. Despite favorable media response, I am critically concerned with his sweet speeches at Prague and Cairo, because Obama is in self-denial of America’s hegemonic role in the liberal world order. Such dangerous populism without solid vision can undermine US foreign policy and global security.
Let me review the book from the following points: background of the Obama presidency, foreign and security policy, economic policy, and US-Japanese relations and East Asian security.
Hidaka argues that the vital reason for Obama’s victory in the election is widespread distrust the state among voters. American people are fed up with anti-terrorist surveillance under the Bush administration such as wire tapping. In such an atmosphere, Obama succeeded in agitating the peril of economic crisis, which led American voters to turn their policy focus away from national security. Through consummate election tactics, Hope of the Change Barack Obama defeated Country First John McCain. However, Hidaka points out that Obama distracts public attention to his dubious personal contacts with far left activists and local mafias in his constituent Chicago area. Hidaka wonders why American media are so generous for Obama as to avoid charging dirty personal contacts which makes his leadership qualification questionable.
In foreign and security policy, President Obama is so naïve as to believe that talking with any actors will bring peaceful relations around the world. Hidaka criticizes that Obama’s law-oriented approach in a Hobbesian savanna of international politics. More importantly, most of the members in Obama’s foreign policy team are amateurs, and they do not know about the war, he says. While the Bush administration succeeded in screening terrorists out of US territory, Hidaka warns that looser surveillance to dangerous radicals under the Obama administration will undermine American security.
In the economy, Obama has no grand design other than Keynesian public investment. However, it is heavily dependent on financial inflow from China. As China is moving toward increasingly nationalist and more domestic demand oriented economy, financial inflow from China to the United States will decrease, which will be a critical hurdle to pursue a big spending policy.
Hidaka is critically concerned with Obama’s lukewarm attitude to China. While the Bush administration strengthened economic ties with China, they curtailed Chinese expansionism in global and regional security. President Obama has no clear vision to deal with China. Hidaka warns poorly designed Asia Pacific policy under the Obama administration will damage US-Japanese relations substantially.
Strangely enough, both global and American public opinions are infatuated with empty sweetness of words and phrases by the Savior, Barack Obama. It is necessary to wake them up to see Obama as he really is. Even you do not understand Japanese to read this book, it is invaluable to know that a Japanese De Tocqueville presents such a bitterly critical and eloquent analysis on the Obama administration. Therefore, I introduce this book to understand Barack Carter Obama.
Monday, June 01, 2009
Dan Blumenthal, Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and Robert Kagan, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, points out that the Bush administration did not accept recommendation by former Secretary of Defense William Perry and current Under Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter ("If Necessary, Strike and Destroy"; Washington Post; June 22, 2006), to attack missile facilities in North Korea. Their idea sounds right, as Israel bombed a nuclear power plant construction site in Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War. However, as Blumenthal and Kagan say, the Obama administration is more reluctant to take this approach. Also, China wants to keep relations with North Korea, despite rhetorical denounce to the nuclear test. Instead of current six-party talk, both authors argue that the United States negotiate with North Korea, in close consultation with Japan and South Korea. They say that current negotiation process allows China to to set the political agenda while quietly increasing its leverage over the North. It is quite regretful that President Obama is cutting missile defense system, although Kagan and Blumenthal argue enhancing this system as the first option against this rogue regime (“What to Do About North Korea”; Washington Post; May 26, 2009). Come to think of it, Ronald Reagan defeated the Evil Soviet Empire with the SDI program. North Korea tests nuclear bombs whoever the US President is. But missile defense system would deter North Korea to fire its nuclear missiles, because this rogue state would ruin them if they were intercepted. Had Senator John McCain been elected, he could have managed this crisis through Reaganite diplomacy. How unfortunate that Barack Carter Obama assumes presidency now.
In view of this, William Kristol urges Republicans and conservatives who are obsessed with resisting Obama’s big government to focus more on national security as Former Vice President Dick Cheney has drawn public attention with his bitter criticism to President Barack Obama (“Who Will Confront Obama? Cheney, Gingrich and...?”; Washington Post; May 25, 2009). I agree with Kristol. It is not only a man named Barack Obama but whole America is tested now. This is why I strongly disagree with K.T. McFarland who belittled the threat of North Korea in an interview with FOX News.
Jamie Fly, Executive Director at the Foreign Policy Initiative, argues that a sea blockade combined with Chinese pressure will screen out illicit trade with North Korea and send a strong message to Kim Jong Il (“Making Pyongyang Pay”; Weekly Standard Blog; May 28, 2009). The Cuba Crisis in 1962 was resolved in this way. The problem is, China is not willing to use strong pressure. As Fly insists in the blog post, the Congress needs to pressure the Obama administration to take a steadfast action.
Douglas Paal, Vice President at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and National Security Council staff of the Reagan and the Bush Sr. administrations, told the current administration not to rush back to negotiation because it would appear a reward for wanton behavior by the rogue regime (“North Korea's Move Tests International Will on Nuclear Issues”; PBS Jim Lehrer News Hour; May 25, 2009).
In Japan, Yoshiko Sakurai, a conservative journalist and the founder of the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals, announced an urgent policy proposal to manage the crisis of North Korean nuclear test on May 29. She and her proponents declared a four point recommendation, whose fundamental viewpoints are in common with American experts. The following points were declared.
1. Close trilateral partnership of the United States, Japan, and South Korea. Re-inclusion of North Korea into the terrorists list of US State Department.
2. China should stop aid to and trade with North Korea. Chinese banks must be sanctioned, if they continue illicit business with North Korea.
3. Impose a sea blockade to stop technology transfer to Iran and Syria, thereby cut North Korea’s source of revenue.
4. Permit Japanese Self Defense Forces to attack enemy if necessary. Japan should found a defense policy framework beyond postwar pacifism.
I agree to this proposal.
On the other hand, Motoaki Kamiura, a military analyst and the Director of Japan Research Center of Military Affairs, presents an interesting analysis in Hyakka Saiho which is the online journal that took up some of my previous blog posts. Kamiura says that Kim Jong Il may have lost control over radical generals in the military (“UN Security Council Explores Further Sanctions against North Korea”; Hyakka Saiho; May 29, 2009).
It is time that we understood current negotiation process would not work. Further sanctions and blockades are not enough. I strongly agree with Jamie Fly that we sponsor democratic uprising against the Kim regime. We can learn good lessons from brilliant success of President Ronald Reagan who liberated people in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. The rogue tiger tests Barack Obama plus Japan and South Korea. But the wanton dictator must be defeated by all means.