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Foreign Relations Fiasco? N. Korea and Japan

02/20/2013 @ 6:06pm

If it is true that the U.S. held secret talks with North Korea, without conferring with Japan, this is a foreign relations fiasco.

Here is how I would interpret this if I were the Japanese.Bear in mind: Japan is a rowboat run east of the Korean peninsula.  Like Florida and Cuba, only Cuba is no longer threatening to throw nukes all over the place.

It is over six decades since the surrender of Japan.  It is time for Japan to arm up.

What I just wrote is horrifying.  I do not trust the Japanese (sorry, Japanese folks, but I read history).  What the Japanese did to the Chinese, the Koreans, and others in Asia—and to American POWs—during WWII was inhuman.  In an ethnocentric way, we remain fixated on what the Germans did, and we hardly recall the butchery inflicted by the Japanese on conquered peoples.

That was then; this is now.  If I were Taiwanese, or Japanese, or Filipino, or from the countries of Southeast Asia, I would be forming my own alliance.  Forget about the Americans holding the Chicoms at bay.  Forget about what the Japanese did during WWII.  Well, don’t forget; how could you?  Keep an eye on the Japanese but understand what peoples you share common interests with.  Comprehend who it is these days who wants to enslave or obliterate you.  It’s not Japan.

And, be very wary of the USA’s commitment to you.  Frankly, many of us are weary of providing the military shield that keeps you in whatever modicum of independence you exist.  But, there are others with their own agenda, an agenda not so suspicious of communism.

I do not pretend to be some kind of foreign relations expert.  I do observe—wryly—that the foreign relations experts seem to be at a loss these days to mount a coherent foreign policy—anywhere.  I do know this.  People have family; people have friends.  Nations have neither.  Nations form alliances.  Alliances are based on shared interests.  One nation may perceive that its interests are shifting elsewhere.  Without telling the other.

The Japanese people need to look to their own defense.  They should reclaim that right, I think.  Forfeited by their actions during WWII, yes, but forfeited long enough.  Besides, if the Japanese build a new army, navy and air force, what are we going to do about it?  (Hint: that would be, nothing.)  I am aware that they have their defense force, but it’s time to re-think their constitution which says: ” …the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.”

I can hardly believe I am urging them to arm up.  It sends a shiver up my back.  If I were a WWII veteran of the Pacific campaign, I might see it differently.  But, this is not 1941.  If the Japanese choose to go forward as a pacifist nation, that is their choice.  If they are lulled into the continuation of post WWII pacifism by the U.S.’s ostensible influence in Asia (specifically over North Korea and the Chicoms, they had better wake up.  And arm up.

Good Lord!  I can hardly believe what I wrote.  Some of you will be angry with me.  I don’t blame you.

But, we should never, ever forget the butchery the Japanese inflicted on their enemies, not all that long ago.  The true message is not that Japan is somehow uniquely evil.  The true message is that whether Japanese, German, Russian, Turkish, or for that matter, Canadian or American, the history of this world is one of war.  The pacifists and the vanquished do not fare well.  Governments have many times lead their people into disaster—disastrous over-confident aggression, and disastrous inept defense.  An armed populace guards against fierce attacks from the outside, and ineptitude from within.

If I were the Japanese, I’d amend the constitution and include a Second Amendment.