Friday, April 23, 2010

A crack in the Japanese/American relationship 日本とアメリカの関係にひびがあるのか?

Is there a crack between Japan and America? It is more like a fissure.

I read the following column on the L'Etranger site:


This is what I call American Cultural Imperialism. Way too many Americans assume that what ever America does is best for everyone in the world, and that any non-American who does not understand and welcome this, well he is childish, and perhaps not quite right in the head.


Thusly the phrase "increasingly loopy" in reference to Prime Minister Hatoyama.


When France defied the US and did not help invade Iraq in 2003, they were called surrender monkeys. This is because to American thinking, the French had never fought in any war as well as Americans. And yet, the French were proven to be quite right in not following America in invading Iraq. The war has turned out to be a meaningless debacle, and America has killed and tortured many for no reason.


I like many other Americans, and people across the world, was inspired by the election of President Obama. I had great hopes that he would end America's wars in the Middle East.


Well he has begun drawing down troops in Iraq. But conversely, he has greatly increased the American effort in Afghanistan, a conflict which is just as hopeless as Iraq.


Well, the US military is used to getting what it wants. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, logic would have dictated that America could draw down on it's expensive military. After all, the ultimate purpose it was created for, a nuclear and/or conventional war with the Soviet Union, disappeared that year.


In fact, former Soviet, now Russian military capabilities were greatly decreased. Most of their submarine fleet was simply scrapped. What about America?


Well, in America, the entire military engaged in a battle to save itself.


Here is a link on converting nuclear ballistic submarines to carry Navy SEALS so that they can be used to fight terrorists.

I really have difficulty of thinking of something more expensively useless than this concept. If America must send SEALS somewhere, I really do think there are many cheaper ways to do this.


And how about America's massive overseas complex of over 700 bases?


Does America REALLY NEED all those bases? And to fight who? According to Obama administration estimates, there are only 100 Al Qaeda left in Afghanistan. Yet the number of US troops is being increased to 106,000 from the 71,000 already there.


Estimates of Taliban numbers are about 15,000. However, they never attacked America. They want to expel American troops from Afghanistan, but they do not want to attack America. Yet the United States cannot win with this advantage.


And forget the Afghan Army, it does not exist.

To give you an idea of the size of the US military, here is a graphic showing world aircraft carriers.


One thing, there are only two UK carriers operational, one is in reserve, the other is planned. Also, please remember that carriers do not operate independently, they require an escort fleet of 5 to 7 ships to protect them. So by looking at this chart, America has 22 aircraft carriers, while all other nations combined have 12.


But of those other nations, I can only imagine Russia as a possible, but not likely adversary. So what purpose does all this American military power serve?


If America is truly the nation of justice as it claims, why does America need so many weapons?


The only true enemies of America I can find on the planet are those few hundred Al Qaeda. (estimates put some 300 Al Qaeda in Pakistan)


I think America has become insane. Americans have become slaves to their military machine, even as standards of living crumble in the United States, massive amounts of money are continually invested in the military to preserve weapons systems, and to develop new ones.


Yet it is Americans who believe this massive military is necessary to preserve peace around the world. And that is why the Obama administration is angry at Prime Minister Hatoyama.


Truly Americans cannot understand that feelings in Japan have changed. I think that the administration of President Obama did not mind negotiations about the Futenma problem as long as they were short and produced the conclusion to build at Henoko.


They do not care to understand that a large part of the reason for the electoral victory for the DPJ was the promise to renegotiate the 2006 agreement. Which in fact, was truly unfair.


And the reason Japanese people do not want American bases in their communities, well American troops behave like hooligans. I have worked in a foreign talent agency in Japan for over ten years. We would cast foreigners for Japanese TV dramas, recreation dramas, movies, that sort of thing.


But we have always tried to avoid using people from American bases. They are very unreliable, they steal, they are especially arrogant and selfish on the set. Many times I have had bad experiences with American military people.


I must say that the American military command in Japan DOES make efforts to be helpful, recently Yokota airbase refused to allow the movie "The Cove" to be shown on base.

まあ、日本在アメリカ司令部は努力しています。最近、横田基地で、"The Cove"(和歌山県イルカ問題に対して)と言う映画を上映禁止にしました。

Well, I do appreciate that, it is a movie created under dubious motives to show Japan in a bad light. But the problem is that US troop behavior is atrocious, despite the efforts command makes.


If the United States government cannot respect a democratic decision by the people of Japan to reject and renegotiate the 2006 agreement, how can America be said to be promoting democracy around the world?


So what about Japan, what if Japan refuses to go ahead with Henoko?


Well, I think it is time to rethink the whole Japanese/American relationship. It seems that it has not changed in any way since the end of the Cold War. It's focus is entirely based upon military power.


And this is not healthy for either country. Frankly, the Japanese military is quite strong enough for Japanese needs. We do not need American forces permanently based in Japan.


So. I think it is time for the Japanese government to be strong with America. I think it is time for Prime Minister Hatoyama to tell America that Japan has bent over backwards to accommodate American demands. And whatever solution Prime Minister Hatoyama devise, be it Tokunoshima or some other plan, America should accept it.


If America cannot accept the democratic actions of one of it's closest friends and allies, then perhaps it is time to reduce US forces in Japan.


And I think that Prime Minister Hatoyama should remind President Obama that the true danger facing this world comes from Global Warming and oil depletion, and that America itself is wasting too many resources on an unnecessary military.


And it is in dealing with the crises of Oil Depletion and Global Warming that we should forge the basis of a new Japanese/American relationship.


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