I was very moved by 13akio13's post.
At present, I can think of no good reason for the US's continuing occupation of Japan. Mr Roos should stop being condescending and obfuscatory and admit that any conflict with China is extremely improbable given that the US and China are so deeply interdependent. And Japan and China are reconciling slowly thanks to a new pragmatism that favors prosperity over nationalism. Mr. Roos should indeed go home and reconsider everything he thinks he understands about Japan. He should also review everything he thinks he knows about NKorea. Internal security issues in the hermit state are not going to be contained by the US troops in Okinawa.
Certainly I favor a strong USA. I favor a prepared, rational and cooperative USA. I also favor a strong Japan. I favor a pro-active and independent Japan. To the extent that the US seeks to impose its security vision on Japan, it is indeed threatening Japan. I am certainly not usually a apologist for the US. But in this case, I must apologize to 13akio13 and other Japanese who feel quite justifiably that the continuing US occupation of Japan is now both intolerable and indefensible.
I look ahead to an era of mutual respect, support and encouragement between the US and Japan. This will require the dedication of many talented persons in both countries. The challenges of today and of the immediate future require new solutions, new arrangements.
The US needs to re-focus and partner with the Russians in anticipation of the looming threats posed by Islamic jihadists in Central Asia. Soon, the Russians and the US will both have a military presence in Kyrgyzstan. Joint endeavors could very well prevent Central Asia from becoming a second Middle East. Why don't we redeploy the troops in Japan to Kyrgyzstan? I mean, is Guam still of any strategic importance?!
Japan should be trusted to work out regional security issues with SKorea and China. A strong security equation in the Far East is the best bet against the rising tide of Islamic extremism in the Indonesia and the Philippines (and regional prosperity is the best long-term weapon against the regime in Pyongyang). The US has shown itself to be ineffectual in addressing these threats. We need to trust that our alliance with Japan has deeper roots than US troop presence: in fact, continuing US troop presence is actually eroding that alliance.
I have great hopes for a continuing, fruitful and regionally beneficial relationship with Japan. And I am concerned that continuing US troop presence in Okinawa is undermining that possibility.
We are no longer a world composed of nations vying for power. We are a world in which hopeful and determined individuals must collaborate in fighting for a better tomorrow. A global, rational culture in pursuit of peace and prosperity is emerging. It is indeed criminal to stoke paranoia merely to extend the life of a wilting and useless status quo. China is not the threat. The threat is terrorism. US troops stationed in Japan are wasted assets. C'mon--let's put our heads together and pull ourselves out of the 20th century before it's too late. . . .
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Terrorism is no respecter of political parties. And it's naive to think that Bush and Obama are so very different. ( And btw, the Iraq War was in the works since the early 90s. Individuals within the Pentagon and the State Dept. were gunning for it and in '03 they finally got their way. That's why the war seemed to come out of nowhere, seemingly disconnected from the War on Terror. Probably the Saudis gave the the final push. We may never know. There are real forces at work that have nothing to do with politics. The shadow government is real and real powerful.)
Anyway, we took the bait in Afghanistan and now we're in deep. Al-Qaeda was hoping we'd attack and they got their wish. Their aim: to bankrupt us, to bleed us slowly of political will, to drain our resources. They'll get us to build infrastructure, schools and hospitals, even as they continue to use our troops for target practice. Meanwhile, the USA is going into a tailspin: 50% drop-out rates in NYC high schools, failing infrastructure, dismal unemployment figures.
The Middle East has figured out how to get its needs met. Extortion. Oil supplies are dwindling; new energy technology is in the works. They're afraid of turning into another Africa. So, basically, they say: "Create goodwill by rebuilding our countries or continue to fear terror attacks." . . . And we continue to fall for it.
9/11 could have been prevented by common sense vigilance. But this has been disabled by liberal fundamentalism, political correctness and bureaucratic sloth. So we export our security issues and send our kids to die in cowardly roadside bomb attacks. Like the war on drugs, this thing has no end. They attack, we send troops. We're then convinced that we must nation-build.
Innocent Iraqis and Afghans have died because intel is never perfect and precision weapons are fallible. But jihadists don't mind this so much. It's a small price to pay for turning world opinion against the US. To counter world opinion, the US must then engage in building roads, hospitals, etc.. In this way, the despised and decadent infidels end up picking up the tab in order to save Middle East from becoming one big Somalia. Pretty neat. Winning hearts and minds will cost you, that's for sure.
The civilized world is being mugged. It's that simple. And the absurd, horrific, convulsions of sectarian violence only seems to attract more assistance from us--instead of causing us to get the hell out, which is the only sensible thing to do. People who love death more than life have bottomless needs. Meanwhile, lots of decent people in the US would love some of the blood and treasure the government is sending overseas. It's a real tragedy. We need to nation-build right here at home.
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The presence of US troops in Japan is becoming increasingly irrelevant. In a conventional conflict, China could easily shut the US out of the Far East. In a nuclear conflict, Russia now has the upper hand with it's newly modernized delivery systems and deployment platforms that will soon far outclass anything the US has. In a conflict with NKorea--especially given the US record in Iraq and Afghanistan--it would be perhaps foolish for Japan to expect much effective protection from US troops. . . . In short, it is time for the US to redeploy its troops elsewhere and for Japan to go its own way, militarily and diplomatically. While a sense of honor has perhaps kept Japan in a "junior partner" position relative to the US since WWII, such a status quo is no longer viable. The US has more to gain by developing a more mature and substantive relationship with a self-motivated Japan. . . . US troop presence is doing little except making Japan more of a target for NKorean aggression.
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Harmon's remarks are especially funny. Ever since the 60s when liberal politicians began exploiting the peace movement to further their careers, we've listened to Democrats feign shock and righteous indignation. "Gonzales looked me right in the eye and LIED! To ME!" "Mind-boggling" indeed!--that the inner workings of national security wouldn't be opened up to a run-of-the-mill career politician! . . . I'm sorry, but when it comes to my survival, I'll trust Michael Hayden any day over a bunch of scurrilous "lawmakers". . . . Wake up, silly liberals! No one has harmed a hair on your heads! Abuse, indeed! . . . Take a look at the al Qaeda torture manual if you dare and then perhaps consider revising your definition of abuse.
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The leadership in Pyongyang is clever and psychotic. Six-party "talks", "denuclearization", "sticks and carrots" . . . these are games that Kim Jong-Il knows how to play. I don't understand how we can continue to persist with methods that have only allowed NKorea to beef up its strike capability, starve its people and rattle the region. And sanctions, however harsh, don't work. They didn't work in Iraq. Sanctions merely starve an already deprived population and harden its leadership. . . . The NKoreans have suffered enough. War with them would result in a horrible humanitarian crisis. Refugees would pour into China and a region that has only recently gained solid footing in the world would wobble dangerously. The world economy needs a solid, ascendant Asia. We cannot afford to risk even the partial destruction of a promising but still fragile SKorea. . . . The only way to manage and ultimately neutralize the NKorean threat is overwhelming, demonstrable technical superiority. A new generation of weapons is needed. Laser technology may be the answer. The civilized world cannot afford to continue to be pinned down by the antics of troglodytes like Khameini, Kim Jong-Il and the Taliban. Old school nuclear weapons will fail to extort concessions only once they are superceded by far superior weaponry. . . . Sanctions and all modes of punitive isolation only make regime change virtually impossible. More ambitious covert ops and radically superior weapons are the only real answer.
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Pelosi is probably the most atrocious example of liberal arrogance. She won't say anymore about it because she knows no one can make her. The mainstream media is staffed almost exclusively by the daffy left. The country is full up with Kool-Aid drinkers. That's how a rabid lapdog like Pelosi can sink her fangs into the ankles of true heroes without fear of of reprisals. The country is drunk on Obamamania. It'll be awhile before any liberal is held accountable for anything. All a liberal has to do is snarl and everybody backs off.
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Apologies to jeancolmar, but I've done a lot of reading and at this point I doubt there is convincing evidence that Iran does NOT direct and empower Hamas and Hezbollah. The evidence for Iran's involvement is so voluminous that I couldn't fit it here.
I know it's tough. The evidence doesn't support the liberal fundamentalist stance. But I don't expect that it will make much of a difference to the die-hards. As with all fundamentalists, evidence that fails to support the cherished belief is immediately damned. All I can do is invite people to look into the matter with some objectivity and some persistence.
Lobbing blind missiles into civilian populations can only have one result. In this case, it hardly seems a result that would be welcomed by the residents in Gaza. Check out what the Arab street has to say about Hamas. Everyone knows Iran is calling the shots. The Palestinians are being victimized from all sides. Iran could put a stop to it all.
Israel has been goaded into an existential conflict. Their behavior has all the desperate, ill-advised earmarks of the besieged. It's easy for frightened Europeans to point the finger at Israel. After all, if they don't, they face riots and destruction from within.
Those who equate Hamas with the Palestinians are naive in the extreme. Prove me wrong.
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Hamas and Hezbollah are most certainly the fists of Khameini in Iran. I refer anyone who doubts this to refer to Nov.-Dec. edition of Foreign Affairs. (Comprehensive on the current political state of Iran). Also, I cite the works of Robert Baer (no one's shill and a true patriot), particularly his new book on Iran.
Iran is sacrificing Palestinians in hopes of preventing an Arab-Israeli solution, which would threaten their recent ascendency. Hamas doesn't represent the majority of Palestinians, who, in fact, have no authentic political voice anywhere in the world. Interesting how no one talks about how they are treated in Lebanon . . .
If Iran really wants to be a regional superpower, Khameini should broker the peace in Gaza. He has the power to enforce a cease-fire, after all. And he'd be doing what no leader in history has been able to do. He's be Man of the Year! Iran has the capacity to do much good. Khameini should listen to the youth. They are extremely intelligent and growing increasingly impatient with this anachronistic sultan.
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Some blame sales, some blame the "Wild West" mentality, some blame corporate-sponsored hype, some blame guns. In fact, all blame belongs to the individuals who momentarily allowed their animal sensibilities to overcome all basic, decent considerations. This is the basic flaw in America today. Blame pornography, junk food, government, free market depravity, advertising . . . But protect the individual's right to be a complete idiot! No wonder the Russians are laughing at us!
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And so it is: the terrorists are virtually nickle-and-diming us to death on the front lines! Their mastery of the bottom line probably has the average Harvard MBA mumbling in admiration. This is upsetting beyond words. Brave souls are thwarted by bureaucracies. Over and over the terrorists have demonstrated that they can achieve their ends by bankrupting us. Yet we respond by continually short-changing the very people who put their lives on the line every minute of every day! The US trembles at the mere mention of a recession. And yet, what will the world economy be worth if the front lines continue to be eroded? Let's fortify our brave allies! What other strategy is worth a damn?! While nervous hippies in the West cut back on exotic groceries and get-aways, the dirt-poor soldier on the front-lines is counting his pennies to buy a few bullets! Who is protecting whom?!
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It could be that removing NK from terror list is an attempt to diffuse a dangerous situation. After all, tools like terror lists tend to work least when dealing with pathologically unreasonable regimes. Washington may perceive that the terror list only nudges the situation in a more sinister direction. NK's removal from the list may be part of an elaborate sticks-and-carrots routine.
It is certainly Japan's responsibility, though, to question US strategy and intentions as well as share experience and expertise regarding NK. The US should be very careful not to give the impression that she is either abandoning a valuable ally or proceeding recklessly. Japan should strive to assert herself at every phase of the process.
We could look for clues in the case of Libya--persuaded more by events than by rhetoric to renounce terrorism. The unfolding of favorable events is somewhat hampered right now by the global economic crisis. But with patience and combined knowledge, anything is possible. Including the restoration of reason in NK.
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Iran has been dogging us since the Beirut embassy bombing in '83 and the subsequent attack on the marine barracks. Odds are, Iran played a major role in 9/11.
Liberal fundamentalists and "devout secularists" like to believe that the Muslim Brotherhood are their brothers, too. Seeing as how they've exhausted their last flimsy moral fiber "fighting" for abortion rights, it's not surprising that they've fallen into the Kool-Aid again.
5,000 women per year die in "honor killings" but the silly lefties are consumed with paranoia over the Christian Right. Ahmadenijad is feted by the Che Guevara t-shirt set (the most heavily closeted anti-Semites around) after announcing a few months back that there are no homosexuals in Iran. Again, the Kool-Aid besotted idiots prefer to focus their histrionic outrage at the Christian Right.
While the full sound and fury of the fundamentalist left is directed at the safest targets around, jokers like Ahmadenijad and Chavez are combining their ideological forces for the express purpose of bringing down the US. Were they ever to succeed, the hateful left imagines that life would be one big party, an orgy of freedoms. Do they know nothing of Islamic fundamentalism?
In the wake of 9/11, 3 million persons perished when the humanitarian aid they so desperately needed was not forthcoming. But, most tragically, the left prefers throw their breathless support behind the murderers of women, gays and starving Africans.
From Beirut in '83, to Khobar Towers, the World Trade Center bombings of '93, the attack on the USS Cole, and the cowardly despicable attacks on the embassies in Tanzania & Kenya, terrorism was on the rise until Bush went on the offense. Since then, state-sponsored terror has been blunted and decent Muslims in the Middle East are increasingly turning against al-Qaeda. History will be kind to George Bush, even if the Kool-Aid drinkers presently fill the air with their strident, unfocused hysteria.
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Talk of timetables is a good thing. It points to success. Why has it taken so long? Religious "differences" and the cancer of terrorism. Let's put the blame where it belongs.
As usual, the US does what the UN lacks the guts to do. The world goes into spasms of outrage. But I imagine that most are secretly relieved that sharia law isn't coming to their neighborhood--at least not anytime soon.
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It's really difficult to imagine an provincial politician like Carter or Clinton pulling off a brilliant piece of diplomacy like Bush's "Lobster Summit". George W. brought US-Russian relations to an unprecedented high. And anyone who who thinks we can win the global war on terror without good US-Russian relations should probably try drugs to see if they can jostle some brain cells. Bush's presidency has shown tremendous vision and imagination. His diplomacy vis-a-vis China, Russia and N. Korea perfectly illustrate the enlightened pragmatism that is the US at its best.
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I wonder how long the US will be in Kosovo. . . . It goes to show that a Democrat can invade a foreign country without UN approval, occupy it indefinitely and the media will give him a pass. But if a Republican ousts a dangerous thug like Saddam Hussein, brings him to trial and converts Iraq from a fear-based autocracy to a fledging democracy, the cowardly media will crucify him.
Everyone can see that things are pretty much winding up in Iraq. Whether it's Obama or McCain, troops will probably start coming home in about the same amount of time. But whatever that length of time, a Republican will be seen as prolonging the agony for personal gain and a Democrat will be seen as a long-awaited bringer of peace.
It's amazing to me that liberal fundamentalists are calling Obama a flip-flopper for wanting to get a good look at the problem.
Actually, it doesn't amaze me at all. It's consistent with the nature of fundamentalism.
As for the oil problem . . . why is American media completely ignoring Honda's hydrogen fuel cell technology? Embarrassment, racism or fear of real change?
Oh, and when will the US get out of Japan?
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Japan will make a better ally once her military is restored and her national will is completely independent.
For many years, America kept Japan under her umbrella mostly out of fear, having learned to respect Japan's potential to project force. Post-WWII, US protection made rearming "unnecessary" for Japan. But we are all quickly reaching the point where it is no longer viable to conduct policy based on historical fears.
Although Japan is not nuclear, many in the US know that Japan could probably become nuclear very quickly with very little trouble. Meanwhile, the US finds herself facing an increasingly multi-polar world. Every knows that a powerful and capable ally is better than a demoralized one that acts only out of a sense of obligation. It's also true that in today's world, being perceived as a "puppet" of the US increases that nation's vulnerability to global terrorism. If Japan cannot stand strong, US regional interests will be profoundly jeopardized.
Many in Washington fear this new paradigm shift. But the fact is that the US can no longer afford to manage the world. Persisting in unipolar thinking is only edging us toward unnecessary crisis. If the "Master Plan" involves "risking" Japanese ascendency, thereby safeguarding the survival of our grandchildren, then I'm all for it.
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Posted in: This is a difficult issue directly related to energy security. A decision should be made after considering the impact of a disruption of the supply from Russia on the domestic economy and society as a whole.