Thursday, October 22, 2009

They've Lost Control Part 2

President's man Robert Gates loses it in Japan.

U.S. pressures Japan on military package
(John Pomfret and Blaine Harden, 10/22/09 Washington Post)

"Worried about a new direction in Japan's foreign policy, the Obama administration warned the Tokyo government Wednesday of serious consequences if it reneges on a military realignment plan formulated to deal with a rising China.

"The comments from Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates underscored increasing concern among U.S. officials as Japan moves to redefine its alliance with the United States and its place in Asia. In August, the opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) won an overwhelming victory in elections, ending more than 50 years of one-party rule.

"For a U.S. administration burdened with challenges in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, North Korea and China, troubles with its closest ally in Asia constitute a new complication.

"A senior State Department official said the United States had "grown comfortable" thinking about Japan as a constant in U.S. relations in Asia. It no longer is, he said, adding that "the hardest thing right now is not China, it's Japan." "

(You can read the entire article by clicking on the link above.)

If the U.S. considers Japan as its closest ally in Asia, it sure hasn't treated it as such. To the U.S., Japan is not an "ally"; it is just a vassal state to do its bidding, whether it is an economic policy or foreign policy. The U.S. has "grown comfortable", so much so that it dispatched the new ambassador to Tokyo who is a virtual "nobody" in the eyes of Japanese, many of whom took it as an insult.

Then, in comes DPJ (Democratic Party of Japan, many of whose members are ex-LDP politicians after all) and says it wants to reconsider the alliance with the U.S., including its military assistance to the U.S. (refueling operation for the U.S. on Indian Ocean, relocation of the Marines helicopter base). The new ministers of the Hatoyama administration, o horror of horror and indignation to the American counterparts, dare talk back.

Flipped out, the Obama administration, through Mr. Gates, tells Japanese of "serious consequence". Like what? Invade Japan?

Let's think about the logic here. The Obama administration clearly considers China as "threat", and demands that Japan, a country sitting right across from China whose trade with China and the rest of Asia is bigger than that with the U.S., be part of the U.S. instead of Asia.

There may be more to this news, as can be inferred from Mr. Gates' behavior in Tokyo. According to the article, he skipped dining with defense officials there, and skipped the welcoming ceremony at the Defense Ministry. What looks like a childish snub to protocol-conscious Japanese coming from an experienced player like Mr. Gates makes me wonder if Japanese are finally kicking the U.S. troops out of Japan. (That would be extremely popular with Japanese people.)


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