Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Unleash Japan


(humiliating image via Hello!Magazine)

Do you remember the Chinese spy plane incident? That seems so long ago, so pre-September 11th. It was, arguably, the first foreign policy crisis of the Bush Administration. Even with the formidable and universally respected then-Secretary of State Colin Powell at the front of negotiations, our spy plane was returned to us, humiliatingly dismantled, and the crew was released, after a disturbingly lengthy stay of detention. Charmed, I'm sure. (Averted gaze)

Rich Lowry makes a compelling case in the latest issue of National Review to unleash Japan of their post-World War II military restrictions. And, why not? A "Pacifist" Japan in Asia does not suit the interests of the United States. It's actually rather silly. The American-imposed Article 9 of the Constitution presupposes perpetual Japanese aggression. Presently, however, Japan is in a state of romantic love with American popular culture. There, we have utilized our soft-power with impressive results. Japan is, for all intents and purposes, our strongest ally in Asia at the moment.

We are engaged in a War on Terror, and -- predictably -- China is taking full stealth advantage of our Middle Eastern distractedness to build itself up into a massive superpower. Every day is more evidence that China is creeping up on America's hegemony. The two-pronged offensive is economic as well as military. Even our ally Australia is reeling under the economic dynamo that is China. We are losing influence in the region to an authoritarian regime. Perhaps a reinvigorated SEATO is in order? The Corsair is sure South Korea wouldn't be against that idea.
Do we want such an authoritarian regime as China in such a position? Definitely not. Should the United States intervene in Syria or Iran, you can imagine that a Chinese invasion of that "renegade province" Taiwan would not be far behind. That slurping sound you presently hear is China salivating over the prospect of absorbing Taiwan, which it increasingly dominates economically.

The essay by Lowry is magnificent and timely. The Mandarins of Beijing have gotten off, of late, with humiliating Japan. It is fine sport for the population to bring up perceived historical wrongs. The mandarins allow a minimum of youth rage to bubble up, just to scare the Japanese, then, abruptly, cork it all back up. A very deadly game.

Japan is terrified, and the tensions of the Chinese populace at their authoritarian domination are manageably redirected by bringing up those perceived wrongs. Its all very ducky if you are a mandarin. Alas over a billion people are not. Poor once-mighty Japan, however, is straightjacketed as the Beijing rattles its gleaming sabers.

The red-hot Chinese economy is rapidly becoming an aggressive competitor. Think: Unocal oil deal. It is in the interests of United States to do everything it can to thwart the leadership in Beijing from achieving those ambitions. An unrestricted Japan, acting within the purview of its own self-interest, restrains Chinese aggression. And that is in the self-interest of the United States.

Let the land of the Rising Sun rise once more.

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