politics

Clinton prods new government to be realistic on security issues

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That was quick. They only came to power yesterday and already the warm fuzzy glow has worn off.

With regard to security issues, the DPJ is going to have to get its own house in order before it starts talking to the United States. Given that the government is comprised not just of the DPJ, but also the left-leaning socialists and the Luddites under Kamei Shizuka, the big issue is going to be how successful Ichiro Ozawa (as chief head kicker) is in getting people to sing from the same hymn book. The worse thing that could happen is that there is no clear policy direction coming out of Tokyo. Such a development would both destabilize the new government and frustrate the folks in Washington. Moreover, Japan needs to keep a level head on its shoulders, while realizing that the DPJ was able to whip up some fervor in the election on the US-Japan Alliance issue, for Japan to turn around and go back on any agreements that are already in place would be a disaster for Japanese foreign policy, not just with regard to Washington, but other partners as well who might begin to question Japan's commitments to a number of treaties.

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...noting the United States has already begun ‘‘intensive’’ talks with the new Japanese government led by Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama on issues of mutual concern.

I see the bullying (and blackmailing?) has already started.

The remarks came amid concern that if the Hatoyama administration pursues the security policy goals it pledged during the election campaign, it could adversely affect relations between Japan and the United States.

I hope the Japan-US relationship will be affected big time, it would be a good thing.

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@sabiwabi: How can it be "bullying" and "blackmail"? The U.S. has no power over Japan that Japan does not grant it. It's a sovereign nation. Japan has been allowing a strategic U.S. military presence in Japan for an economic advantage for a very long time. Also, it costs Japan far less to have America cover its back than to do it itself. The power is in Japan's hands, not America's. If it wanted to, it could spend the money, lose its favorable trade status with the U.S. and give up the bases.

No country gets something for nothing. Japan isn't held hostage by the U.S., it's offering itself up for economic reasons. It could try to cultivate a better and stronger relationship with China and South Korea such that it wouldn't have to rely on America so much, but it's hard to stop suckling that teat when you're so comfortable and secure with it.

If you think it's "blackmail" for the U.S. to stop granting Japan advantages if the security situation is changed, then you are ignoring that all relationships are give and take in international diplomacy.

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BTW Cuomo wasnt Mayor, he was governor.

It was (former New York Mayor) Mario Cuomo

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Off course it's a blackmail, that's the only language that USA can spoke. Why don't we let Japan make some revision over some weird articles in their constitution and see if US will still remain as a loving and caring big brother.

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Orchid,

Its not so much the country, but the leaders that get bullied and blackmailed. BTW, America's leaders are also extensively bullied and blackmailed. Nobody is acting in the interest of their own country.

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I think any arguments about constitutional revision are way off. Within the incoming government, the left wing want to keep the current constitution (specifically Article 9), while some of the revisionists on the right wing of the party would probably like a more relaxed interpretation regarding the right to bear arms. Any such debate, however, is not going to happen simply because everyone realizes that the current problems of the constitution are more than enough trouble for all concerned. The left would probably be unwilling to push further left, much as the right would have trouble getting the constitution back on a more even course.

With regard to the comments of Mrs. Clinton, I think things are still very much at a touchy, wait and see stage. Before going for a full court press on this (and maybe putting a spanner in Japanese foreign policy in other areas - not supporting a Japanese run at a UNSC seat, etc.), the US is going to play softball. Then again, if the Japanese government does not take the hint (and it is able to function after the resulting storm that occurs on the domestic political landscape with business groups, etc. coming out in support of friendly ties with the US due to concerns about market access, etc), then the US might start playing hardball. At that time, arguments regarding blackmail and bullying would probably be more appropriate.

I don't think it is that smart just to consider this in terms of the US and Japan. If Japan takes a too proactive attitude in trying to renegotiate treaties, etc. with the US, some other nations are also going to become nervous about Japanese intentions and its commitment to treaties that are already in place.

Finally, due to ignorance or stupidity, I think the incoming government is yet to realize the difference between electioneering and realpolitik. Sure every party (in just about every democracy) makes some outlandish promises when on the election trail. The secret of viable government, however, is to quickly realize which of such promises are untenable once the objective of achieving government has been achieved.

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Would anyone know how much it costs the US annually to be in Afghanistan? Afghanistan seriously weakened the Soviet Union, and they eventually withdrew. It doesn't sound good that the refueling done by Japan is so important.

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I found several links on Afghanistan spending, but the one posted is very simple, clear. Note that the graphs are approaching vertical ascent.

http://www.nationalpriorities.org/2009/09/02/quick-facts-US-military-operations-Afghanistan

Anyone w/ additional info, please chime in.

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