Sunday, November 05, 2006

On November 8th, the topic is Korea, not Iraq

Neat graphic. It's unrelated to the diatribe at hand, of course. Just a reminder that General Shimonoseki got it right, and Colin Powell was prescient about Iraq. George "Butch" Bush, what a loon. The day after the election, watch now as the focus shifts to ... uh ... Iraq.

Back in the real world, Japan would be insane to stifle internal debate on whether they should assemble their nuclear weapons.

Granted, the word bandied about is "acquire" not "assemble" but only naifs who've never played Star Ocean: The Second Story would have doubts about the current status of Japanese nuclear capability. Japanese kids take it as a matter of course that Japan's leaders would never let a constitution written by Macarthur stand in the way of effective deterrence. On essentials, Japan is one mind top to bottom, so pay attention.

On November 8th, the Sea of Japan will (or certainly should) occupy a huge third of U.S. foreign policy analysis. There are some items to consider.
  • Since the Nixon Shocks, Japan does not entirely trust U.S. willingness to hold the nuclear umbrella over Japan. Decades of aggressive U.S. hectoring about trade imbalances have not helped, either.
  • World War II is not over in the Sea of Japan. Japan is technically still at war with Russia and both Koreas, over the sovereignty of Sakhalin and some tiny but terrifically symbolic maritime rocks few people can locate on a sea chart.
  • These awkward facts have been overshadowed for sixty years by larger issues, such as the Cold War and American military bases on Okinawa. If we Americans blink or lose focus on the security of Japan, Japan will cast aside a cloak of modernity with heartfelt regret and no second thoughts at all.
  • The United States (and India, for that matter) tolerate China's nuclear weapons because for the most part they are intended to enforce quiet on China's Russian north. Japan is quietly aware, but not yet paranoid, of the Chinese nuclear threat.
  • When it comes to North Korea, the alarm bells and klaxons are loud and urgent. Pyongyang can singlehandedly destroy a delicate, nursery quietude that China has wrestled demons for 50 years to create. Kim Jong Il, madman, holds the future of Asia in his unstable hands. I suspect he is not only mad, but dead, and anything North Korea does from now on is motivated, directed, guided, controlled and impelled by China.
  • You could argue, of course, that China's unseen hand has stirred in every world events stew since the U.S. "accidentally" bombed the Chinese consulate in Kosovo, but that would be paranoid. Not delusional, just paranoid. In twenty, ten or two years (or two months), when Kim Jong Il prods China to fix Korea once and for all, who will be on the Chinese "allies of America" list? Japan?
So much for that. On the other hand, Saddam Hussein (who was despised as a socialist by every right-thinking Muslim nation in the Middle East prior to 2003) now has 10 days to appeal his death sentence.

Don't quote me, but I suspect George Bush will looking at the Middle East these next few days. Weeks. Months. "Republican foresight" remains a threat to national security.


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