Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Slogan Change

The slogan of this blog has changed as shown below.

Pro Anglo-American hawk and liberal imperialist blog for Japan as a leading WESTERN DEMOCRACY along with America and Europe. Advocacy and analysis of global politics from long term perspectives. Act beyond biases of World War II and the Cold War! Step toward New Era!

Pro Anglo-American hawk and liberal imperialist blog. Advocacy for a world led by top Western Democracies. FREE NATIONS OF THE WORLD, UNITE!

It is not the time to talk about World War II biases. We face the rise of new challenges, such as the Russo-Chinese axis, rogue states, and radical ideologists. History has started again, and Hobbesian struggles between nation-states are intensifying. It is a solid alliance of top democracies that can defeat those threats.

Free nations of the world, unite!

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Afghan Test for Obama: Competence as the Supreme Commander and Relations with Allies

Currently, Afghanistan is in a critical condition, and the Obama administration needs to make a vital decision whether to accept the recommendation by Army General Stanley McChrystal who heads the coalition forces in Afghanistan. During the election, Barack Obama insisted that the focus of the War on Terror be shifted from Iraq to Afghanistan. He even mentioned early withdrawal of troops from Iraq and send them to Afghanistan, instead. Therefore, it is vital for the Obama administration to turn the mission in Afghanistan toward a successful direction. As the Afghan operations are more multinational than Iraq, President Obama’ s decision will have insignificant impacts on security policies of NATO allies. Also, newly elected Hatoyama administration of Japan needs to understand Washington’s response to the McChrystal Assessment, in order to reset the US-Japanese alliance into an equal partnership.

In view of rampant attacks by insurgents and some alleged frauds in the presidential election on August 20, General McChrystal has submitted the Initial Strategic Assessment to President Obama via Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. As shown in the above video, President Barack Obama is not so generously accepting recommendations by generals, unlike former President George W. Bush. In the report, McChrystal stresses that the coalition forces gain support of the people, instead of simply killing enemies. He says, Progress is hindered by the dual threat of a resilient insurgency and a crisis of confidence in the government and international coalition. To win their support, we must protect the people from both of these threats (p.5 ~ 6). In addition, he quotes a comment by Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Wardak that Afghan people have never seen the US and NATO forces as occupiers. This is completely different from the case of Soviet invasion (p.8). Most of the media fail to mention this crucial comment.

Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, and General David Petraeus, Head of the US Central Command, expressed their endorsement to the McChrystal Assessment (“McChrystal Request to Reach Pentagon by End of the Week”; Washington Post; September 24, 2009). In order to push further surge in Afghanistan, Admiral Mullen talked with General McChrystal, General Petraeus, and Admiral James Stavridis, Supreme Commander of NATO, at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. At the Hill, Senator John McCain urged the Obama administration to send additional troops as soon as possible (“U.S. Military Leaders Discuss Troop Needs for Afghanistan”; Washington Post; September 26, 2009). Despite strong demands by top leaders of the US Armed Forces, President Obama is still reviewing the assessment. The second assessment will be sent to the President in early October (“Top general in Afghanistan asks Pentagon for more troops”; Los Angels Times; September 26, 2009). Within the Obama administration, Vice President Joseph Biden, Chief if Staff Rahm Emanuel, and national Security Advisor James Jones advocates an alternative strategy to troop build up, while Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke endorse the McChrystal Assessment (“Plan to Boost Afghan Forces Splits Obama Advisers”; New York Times; September 26, 2009).

Meanwhile, in the second report handed to Admiral Mullen and other attendants at the Ramstein meeting, General McChrystal gives an option of additional troop level from 30,000 to 40,000. Republicans urge quick decision to send troops (“U.S. commander offers troop options for Afghanistan”; Reuters; September 28, 2009).

The Afghan War is a real test for President Obama as the Commander in Chief. During the election, the majority of armed forces personnel were concerned with his competence in this field, as I stated in a previous post.

Also, the Obama administration’s decision will have significant influence on European allies. Thomas Valasek at the Centre for European Reform points out that European forces will withdraw, if Obama does not send further troops (“ANALYSIS - Obama's Afghan troop response is key for Europeans”; Reuters India; September 23, 2009). Barack Obama needs to show his dedication to the victory of free nations of the world. The most important message in the McChrystal Assessment is the protection of civil life and Afghan trust to the allied forces. Read the report again and again, and then, take necessary measures immediately, as the Bush administration did in Iraq.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Iran’s Adherence to Nuclear Ambition

Iran shows no sign of abolishing its nuclear program. At the General Assembly of the United Nations held in New York the other day, the nuclear negotiation with Iran is one of the key issues on global security. In June this year, Iran was criticized from the global community for fraud in the presidential election. Shortly after the turmoil, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace hosted a panel discussion on Iran on June 23, as shown in the above video. Regarding the P5+1 (US, UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany) nuclear talk, Roger Cohen, Columnist of the New York Times, says that both Russia and China are reluctant to undermine their relations with Iran, and therefore, he is pessimistic with multilateral talks.

Actually, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad revealed that Iran has built the second uranium enrichment facilities secretly, at the press conference of the United Nations General Assembly. The plant is expected to be located near Qom, and unlike the first plant in Natanz, it is too small for commercial use but adequately sized to produce weapons grade enriched uranium. At G20 Summit in Pittsburgh, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicholas Sarkozy, along with US President Barack Obanma, condemned it a deception to the global community. Iran’s nuclear ambition has become more imminent threat than ever (“U.S. and Allies Warn Iran over Nuclear ‘Deception’”; New York Times; September 25, 2009).

The problem is beyond a hardliner President Ahmadinejad. Karim Sadjapour, Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, focuses on the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to explore the nature of current regime of Iran, and its implication to the nuclear issue. According to his report, the nuclear program is the key to pursue revolutionary virtues of foreign policy. Khamenei regards nuclear project as a symbol of scientific advancement, which will lead Iran to become self sufficient and politically independent, and bolster Iran’s national esteem on the global stage(”Reading Khamenei: The World View of Iran’s Most Powerful Leader”; Carnegie Endowment Report; March 2008; p.27~28). Therefore, it is quite unlikely that P5+1 reach an agreement with Iran immediately.

In an interview with the Council on Foreign Relations, George Perkovich, Vice President at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, suggested the following to negotiate with adamant Iran. First, Perkovich insisted on getting the issue to the Security Council, because Asian members would criticize Iran for going too far, and they would dissuade it from pursuing further researches for nuclear bombs. In addition, he urged President Obama to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, in order to demonstrate his willingness to stop nuclear arms race (“No Signs of Iranian Flexibility on Nuclear Program”; Council on Foreign Relations Interview; September 2, 2009). Unfortunately, the first proposal has failed to work, as President Ahmadinejad revealed the secret plan at UN press conference.

Prior to the UN assembly and the P5+1 negotiation on October 1, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad showed no intention of halting the uranium enrichment project (“As Talks with U.S. Near, Iran Denies Nuclear Arms Effort”; Washington Post; September 21, 2009).

John Hannah, Senior Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and Former National Security Advisor to Ex-Vice President Dick Cheney, argues that President Obama make use of his popularity among Iranian citizens standing up against the fraud presidential election this June, and show his endorsement to them to pressure the theocratic regime to move forward on the nuclear talk (“Call Them Out, Mr. President”; Weekly Standard; September 21, 2009).

Hannah’s suggestion seems to be of much help in dealing with adamant theocrats, ruling Tehran. The problem is, President Barack Obama is reluctant to boast American righteousness as seen in the Cairo Speech. Also, Obama was cautious to pressure Iran in the post-election turmoil, though American and foreign leaders urged him to take resolute actions against the Khamenai-Ahmadinejed regime. We need to watch the forthcoming negotiation on October 1.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

President Obama, Cautious of Accepting General McChrystal’s Recommendations on Afghanistan

In the previous post on Afghanistan, I mentioned that General Stanley McChrystal of the US Army would submit the second assessment to suggest the number of additional troops to be sent there. I would like to explore its impact on policymaking process of the Obama administration in a forthcoming post. Now, let me talk about the assessment and current stance to the report by the Obama administration.

In an urgent and confidential report, General McChrystal warns that more forces are required to fight this war. Otherwise, he says, that the mission will fail. However, the General concludes "While the situation is serious, success is still achievable."

In addition to further surge, General McChrystal suggests to improve governance in Afghanistan. As the state institution is weak, officials abuse power, which lead to widespread corruption. Also, McChrystal proposes to build up the capability of the Afghan government to manage detention facilities. Currently, insurgents are overcrowded in those camps, and it is vital to interrogate them more effectively to obtain information about terrorists. Moreover, McChrystal suggests that ISAF build good relations with local residents, and help Afghan security forces grow up to 400,000, including both the army and the police.

Finally, the report points out that terrorist headquarters are located in Pakistan, and leaders support fighters in Afghan battlefield from there. Without sufficient surge, McChrystal concludes that ultimate costs of this war will be significantly higher (“McChrystal: More Forces or 'Mission Failure'”; Washington Post; September 21, 2009).

The problem is, American public support for the Afghan War is dropping sharply as shown in the table below. Mark Mardell, North America Editor of BBC, says “Obama will find it tough to sell the general's policy to a party and public reluctant to see more men and women sent to bolster an Afghan government accused of election fraud.” In view of such an atmosphere, General McChrystal used a strong word, failure, to push for a big surge. Paul Reynolds, World Affairs Correspondent of BBC, says that McChrysytal dared to use the F-word, because wants to achieve success in the end (“US in Afghanistan failure warning”; BBC News; 21 September 2009).

Prior to this assessment, General Sir David Richards of the new head of the British Army in Afghanistan stressed that defeat for NATO would have an "intoxicating impact" on extremists around the world (“General: If we fail, the world’s terrorists will be intoxicated”; Evening Standard; 18 September 2009).

Source: BBC

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama is cautious to accept the assessment, and he is going to reassess the Afghan strategy ahead of formal request for surge by General Stanley McChrystal. Republican Senator Mitch McConnell insists that the President follow the advice by General McChrystal as his predecessor did in Iraq. He argues that President Obama be more respectful to General David Petraeus and General Stanley McChrystal in this war (“Obama Questions Plan to Add Forces in Afghanistan”; Wall Street Journal; September 21, 2009).

This post is just a narration of the strategic assessment of the Afghan War. Static analysis of the assessment will appear in a forthcoming post on Afghanistan. This war is a real test for President Obama.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Was Preemptive Attack Necessary against North Korea?: A Review of Robert Kagan Comments in 2003

Shortly after the Iraq War, a Japanese freelance journalist Kazuki Ohno interviewed Robert Kagan, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. This interview was on neoconservatism and American foreign policy, and it was published in a Japanese political journal, entitled SAPIO on June 25, 2003.

In this interview, Kagan talked about North Korea, the most critical threat to the security of North East Asia. He stressed that no diplomatic negotiations and economic incentives have made any progress in nuclear non-proliferation, because North Korea was a totalitarian regime. Kagan also said it was quite unlikely that Japan could normalize the relationship with North Korea.

Since then, it has turned out that what Robert Kagan said in the interviews is right. North Korea simply got rewards without abiding by international obligations. Regrettably, North Korea has acquired the bomb. As Kagan said in this interview, military attack was the last resort to stop nuclear proliferation into a rouge state.

In those days, criticism to the US-led Iraq War was rampant, which led to substantial inflow of Al Qaeda terrorists to Iraq. The media reported anything inconvenient on Iraq so happily, and global leftists were emboldened to hear those news. Terrorists were overjoyed with such trends, until they were defeated in the big surge.

Such globally agitated pacifism is one of the reasons why the Bush administration hesitated to conduct a necessary attack against North Korea. We all know the result of it. The uproar of global leftists was so immense that the United States missed the vital opportunity to destroy one of the worst regimes in the world. Never forget this, those who argue against Pax Americana!

Friday, September 18, 2009

US Missile Defense Withdrawal from Poland and Czech May Activate Russian Hawks

The Obama administration has decided to withdraw the Missile Defense Plan to deploy anti-ballistic missile system in Poland and Czech. It was intended to protect US allies from Iranian nuclear missiles. Russia bitterly has been opposing this plan since the Bush era.

President Obama’s decision spurred vehement criticism among Republicans such as Senator John McCain and Former Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton. Alternatively, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that the United States would deploy Aegis-equipped ships to shoot down Iranian missiles (“U.S. replaces Bush plan for Europe missile shield”; Reuters; September 17, 2009).

Russia is likely to regard this decision as a victory to the United States. On the other hand, Poland and Czech raised concerns that the Obama administration is appeasing to Russia. (“U.S. to Shelve Nuclear-Missile Shield”; Wall Street Journal; September 17, 2009)

Thomas Valasek, Director of Foreign Policy and Defence at the Centre for European Reform, says that Obama is right to proceed nuclear disarmament with Russia, but it must be combined with assurance American engagement to Eastern Europe. Also, he points out that Russia is still obsessed with the idea of zero-sum game, which is US gains mean Russian losses, and vice versa (“Missile strategy must not be seen as a retreat”; Financial Times; 9 September 2009).

However, things are quite tough. I have been writing some posts on Russia to explore widespread cult nationalism in the post communist era. In view of this, Republican Senator Jon Kyl condemns President Obama as the following.

Despite the fact that Poland and the Czech Republic have committed their soldiers to fight alongside U.S. forces in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, today the Administration has turned its back on these allies. ….. The message the Administration sends today is clear: the United States will not stand behind its friends and views ‘re-setting’ relations with Russia more important. This is wrong! (“Kyl Blasts Obama Missile Defense Surrender”; Weekly Standard Blog; September 17, 2009)

Gary Schmitt, Director of Advanced Strategic Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, comments “It looks like not only have we hit the reset button when it comes to Russia, but now with our friends in Central Europe—except this time, it’s a big fat “no thank you” for your willingness to stick your neck out to protect allies" (“Are We Dropping Missile Defense in Europe?”; The Enterprise Blog; September 16, 2009).

More importantly, hawks are invigorated to hear this deal in an increasingly rightist Russia. I have mentioned that Russians are more and more infatuated with Joseph Stalin these days, and the Medvedev-Putin administration make use of this patriotic passion for their authoritarian rule.

Russian diplomacy is based on zero-sum ideas, and Moscow foreign policymakers do not understand Western concepts of “win-win” deals which Obama has in mind. The rise of hardliners will pose negative impacts on Ukraine, Georgia, and trans-Caucasia as well (“Demise of U.S. shield may embolden Russia hawks”; Reuters; September 17, 2009).

I strongly argue that the Obama administration needs to understand the nature of the counterpart regime. As shown in the Prague and the Cairo Speeches, Barack Obama is too hesitant to trumpet American power and ideals. Nile Gardiner, Ex-Foreign Policy Staff to Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, said it was too apologetic. The world never needs soft and sweet America. President Obama, please don’t discourage Poles and Czechs, whose real HOPE lies in close ties with the West.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Case for Benevolent American Imperialism by Paul Wolfowitz

In view of annoyance to long War on Terror and the global recession, the American public is becoming critical to global commitment as shown in the ABC-Washington Post Poll on Afghanistan. Former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz argues against such isolationism, and says that the United States be more actively involved in democracy promotion throughout the world. Let me review his article in Foreign Policy.

In this article, he criticizes realists’ understanding that the Bush administration was so belligerent as to impose American ideal of democracy on Iraq by force. Contrary to their viewpoint, Wolfowitz insists that the war was intended to remove a threat to the United States and the global community. Instead of installing another dictator or prolonging American occupation, President George W. Bush decided to establish a democratic regime there. The US-led coalition fights in Afghanistan for the same reason.

Quite importantly, Wolfowitz comments that the United States can push reform while dealing with unfavorable regimes. He mentions the Reagan diplomacy with the Evil Empire of the Soviet Union had led to perestroika. Moreover, he points out that Libya has given up the nuclear weapons program for fear of American will, not because the Bush administration spoke nicely to the infamous dictator Muammar Khadafy. Even modestly in some cases, Wolfowitz insists on continual push for reform in China and Middle East nations.

Based on the above perspective, Wolfowitz argues that the United States not compromise with Asian or Islamic values cited by dubious autocrats in those regions. He points out that Arab citizens are willing to hear the United States champion democracy, and criticizes that foreign policy realists dismiss this.

I agree with him. Remember what I said in “Islam and Democracy” and “Five Questions on Islamic Radicalism”. People in the Islamic world, even radical Muslims, admire Western freedom.

While some realists are cautious of destabilization as a result of democracy promotion, Wolfowitz argues that this is not so dangerous. Rather, he regards it as a positive catalyst for change, as seen in the fall of Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines, and recent movements against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran (“Think Again: Realism”; Foreign Policy; August 2009).

Contrary to widespread wrong understanding, the article by Paul Wolfowitz articulates that neoconservatives are pragmatists, not belligerent idealists. Realist foreign policy does not necessarily serve American and global security.

Furthermore, Paul Wolfowitz appeared in “Weekend All Things Considered” of NPR on September 5 this year. In an interview with the radio host Guy Raz quoted a counterargument to Wolfowitz by Professor Stephen Walt of Harvard University, "Idealistic wars of choice like Iraq invariably force policymakers to engage in threat inflation and deception, and Wolfowitz was an able practitioner of this art." In reply, Wolfowitz expressed his wholehearted support for democratic reform in the Arab world.

Quite importantly, Wolfowitz says that it is American interest to get involved with internal affairs of other countries, and argues that the Obama administration’s foreign policy is more aligned with neoconservative thoughts rather than realist ones. Like American presidents throughout the history, Barack Obama does not leave internal issues of other countries untouched, but willing to drive reform as shown in Afghanistan (“Wolfowitz on U.S. Role in Other Nations' Affairs”; NPR; September 5, 2009).

Paul Wolfowitz presents invaluable analyses and commentaries in the era of new security challenges, such as Islamic radicalism in the Middle East, nuclear proliferation by rogue states like Iran and North Korea, and the rise of cult nationalism in Russia and China. It is necessary to understand the fundamental idea of American interventionism from long term perspectives. The article and the interview will be of much help for this objective (also, listen to 1 and 2).

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The First Assessment on Afghanistan by General McChrystal and Commentaries by Experts

General Stanley McChrystal of the US Army, who heads the coalition force in Afghanistan, has submitted the first strategic assessment on Afghanistan on August 31. According to a blog run by Major Paul Smyth of the British Army, the assessment is directed by US Secretary of Defense and NATO Secretary General. The assessment includes socio-economic development and improvements in governance as well as military operations (“ISAF Commander Submits Assessment”; Helmand Blog-Afghanistan; August 31, 2009).

As mentioned in the above video, things in Afghanistan are quite tough, and the Taliban is still strong.

In the assessment, General McChrystal said the war on the ground was serious but told confidently it was winnable. The report recommends that the coalition forces deploy more troops in Kandahar province in the east and Khost Province in the south. The number of troop levels for the further surge will be stated in the next assessment later this month. A couple of senior defense officials say 40,000 additional troops will be required (“General Seeks Shift in Afghan Strategy”; Wall Street Journal; September 1. 2009).

The problem is, a recent poll by the Washington Post and ABC News shows that the approval rate for the Afghan War has dropped dramatically, and 51% of those who replied the questionnaire say that the war is not worth fighting, while 47 of them believe it worth fighting. Paradoxically, liberals are critical of President Barack Obama to increase the troop level (“Public Opinion in U.S. Turns against Afghan War”; Washington Post; August 20, 2009).

The legitimacy of August 20 election result is vital for success in the Afghan War. The opposition presidential candidate Former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah blames some fraud in favor of current President Hamid Karzai. The Electoral Complaints Commission deals with their complaints. Though Karzai is likely to win the election, substantial areas in Afghanistan are out of government control. General McChrystal understands political consensus is no less important than tactical success (“McChrystal ball”; Economist; September 1, 2009).

Nevertheless, Stanley McChrystal foresees some hope for victory. Frederick Kagan, Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, argues why the Afghan War is winnable.

Unlike widely believed understanding, current Afghanistan is completely different from that invaded by the Soviet Union in 1979. Politically, Afghanistan was about to fall into civil wars even without Soviet invasion. In addition, the Red Army was so heavy arm dependent against NATO forces that it was ill-equipped with counter insurgency battles (“We're Not the Soviets in Afghanistan”; Daily Standard; August 21, 2009). Kagan also says that no other strategists understand the nature of counter insurgency operations better than Stanley McChrystal (“Ask the Man Who Knows”; Daily Standard; September 8, 2009).

The key to the victory is how people react to the next strategic assessment by General McChrystal. The Obama administration is based on war-reluctant liberals. If his recommendation for surge spurs vehement criticism to the war itself, things will be deadlocked. Will President Obama overcome their opposition as Former President Bush did on Iraq?

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

A Criticism to a “Peaceful Rise” of China

Some innocent believers in the global economy welcome a “peaceful rise” of China. Such naïve people in America and Europe insist that China will contribute to global economic growth, and they are happy to accept China as a “responsible stake holder”. In addition, the incoming Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama remarked that Japan work closely with China to found the East Asian Community, in his controversial article to the New York Times, “A Path for New Japan” on August 27.

However, as I have been arguing on this blog, China, along with Russia, poses a critical challenge to the liberal order of global political economy founded by the West. Quite importantly, the market economy has developed side by side with democracy in Eastern Europe, while it has given rise to cult nationalism in China and Russia, which is more dangerous than communism. Actually, the ambition of Chinese leaders is not so “peaceful” as they say. They are exploring to make their reminbi an alternative reserve currency to US dollar, and ultimately, destroy the Bretton Woods System, as I mentioned in the post on the Yekaterinburg summit this year. The Chinese authority shows increasingly pushy attitude to the West.

Charles Grant, Director at the Centre for European Reform, has released an insightful briefing note, entitled “Liberalism Retreats in China” in July this year. Although China has introduced the market economy, the Communist Party still holds a tight grip on politics, and the party imposes ideological constraints on the citizens. Let me review his commentary on China’s economic nationalism and assertive behavior to the West.

Economic nationalism in China has been accentuated dramatically after the global economic crisis. The government restricts foreign direct investment in strategic sectors such as heavy chemical, energy, aerospace, and high-tech industries, and place them under a rigid state control. In trade, China keeps the exchange rate of the renminbi artificially low against the dollar to make Chinese exports competitive in the global market. I would like to stress that China free rides Western-led liberal economy, while violating the global code of conduct.

More problematic issue is an increasingly assertive foreign policy. China sponsors repressive regimes in Burma, Sudan, and North Korea. The Beijing authority demonstrates military might around the South China and the East China seas. The clash on human rights, such as Tibet, Tiananmen, and Xinjiang, is a critical issue between China and the West. Quite interestingly, China is tougher to Europe than to the United States. This is because the United States is the superpower, capable of imposing substantial damages on China, but Europe is not. Moreover, Chinese media are reluctant to report American leaders criticize China, while willing to bash such comments by Europeans.

For example, when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton blamed bloodshed at the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre this year, the Chinese government decided not to report this speech. Chinese people are unaware of bitter attitude by American leaders. On the other hand, when European leaders denounced Chinese brutalism in Tibet, Chinese media magnified it.

This is an important lesson for Japan. When the counterpart is strong, China acts modestly. On the other hand, when the counterpart is weak, China shows no hesitation to confront. Beware of it, Mr. Hatoyama! It is no interest for Japanese people to live in a “Common Asian House” with the Beijing regime.

Although the Chinese authority manipulates nationalist sentiments among the public as shown in the case of Japanese embassy attack (“Youth Attack Japan's Embassy in China” Washington Post; April 10, 2005), grassroots emotions often drives the government to challenge the West as witnessed in the case of Tibet and Uighur. Martin Jacques, Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics, points out that the Chinese public regards Western support for such minorities as a plot to dissemble China, in his latest book, “When China rules the world: the rise of the Middle Kingdom and the end of the Western world”. Growing state control on the economy, particularly after the global economic crisis, will be a hurdle to develop business with the West, and this will damage long term relations between China and the rest of the world.

Grant mentions some optimistic aspects as well, such as common interests in nuclear non-proliferation and economic partnership. However, politics and the economy in China are becoming less and less liberal. Its foreign policy is driven by cult nationalism, whether led by the government or provoked by the grassroots. Its economy is becoming increasingly state-controlled. The clash between China and the West will evolve more and more serious. Mr. Hatoyama, keep this in mind when you assume prime ministership on September 16.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Russia Becoming Increasingly Nationalist at the 70th Anniversary of the Soviet-German Invasion to Poland

Global American Discourse has published a few posts on Russo-Western conflicts and nationalism recently. The tension between Russia and the West will be intensified as the presidential election in Ukraine will be held in January next year. Also, a nationwide nostalgia for Joseph Stalin is growing, and the Medvedev-Putin administration makes use of this emotion.

As if it is a prelude to further tension between Russia and the West, a remark by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin of Russia startled President Lech Kaczynski and Prime Minister Donald Tusk of Poland, and leaders across Europe who attended the 70th anniversary ceremony of the outbreak of World War in Gdansk, Poland. In sharp contrast to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany who expressed heartfelt regret to Nazi brutalism, Putin denied the massacre of Katyn Forest in 1940, in which 22,000 Polish officers and soldiers were executed by Soviet Red Army (“Russia and Poland clash over who was to blame for the war”; Independent; 2 September 2009). Furthermore, Major General Lev Solotov of SVR, Russian foreign intelligence agency has released a report to mention that Polish cooperation with Nazi Germany before the war and Polish attempts to sow discord among the Soviet Union’s ethnic nationalities. (“In a Visit, Putin Tries to Ease Rifts With Poland”; New York Times; September 2, 2009, and also, the report in Russian)

In the video below, Russia Today reports almost the same as Western media do.

The Putin Russia is rewriting the history, and showing excessively self assertive attitude to the West. In other words, Russia is acting like the Old Soviet Union.

The fall of communism has transformed East European nations into free and peaceful allies to the West, but things have gone completely different in Russia. Post-Soviet political anomies have led to the rise of cult nationalism, which is more dangerous than communism. As I repeatedly say, the Clintonian dream of incorporating Russia into the Western political economic system of IMF and WTO has failed. The market economy has not changed Russia into a real democracy.

Despite this, the Obama administration is too hesitant to demonstrate wholehearted American support for Poland, regarding the deployment of the anti-missile system. I wish George W. Bush had manipulated some crises in East Europe and Former Soviet Union, in order to let John McCain win the election, and to contain Russian expansionism. The Georgian crisis was not enough to awaken American voters.

The 70th anniversary of the German-Soviet invasion to Poland is a reminder that Russian challenge to European security will grow increasingly critical. The ceremony in Gdansk is no less important than the summit in Yekaterinburg this summer. Keep an eye on Russia.