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The Tentacle


July 12, 2006

Is it time for Japan to Re-Arm?

Kevin E. Dayhoff

On the 4th of July, North Korea attacked the Sea of Japan with seven missiles - to the chagrin of the United States and Japan which had repeatedly warned it to discontinue its ballistic missile and nuclear armament program.

The missile tests, which ultimately only threatened a few fishermen, included a long-range "Taepodong-2 missile," which in theory has the capability of reaching the United States.

Essentially all the missiles failed - but the North Koreans were quite successful in getting the full-fledged attention of much of the responsible world - especially Japan.

Published reports suggest that Japan may very well be considering a pre-emptive strike against North Korea. This certainly should put the crisis over North Korea's rouge state behavior in a different light.

If the world and the United Nations won't live up to its responsibilities, perhaps Japan needs to re-arm and take matters into its own hands; which begs the question, is it in the world's best interests for Japan to re-arm?

Certainly, the Japanese must be following the raging debate in the United States - led by liberals - which suggests that the United States should cut and run from its responsibilities in Iraq.

In the eyes of our allies, and those who depend on us for their defense, this debate over the Bush administration's policies in Iraq can't be reassuring.

Meanwhile, where are China and Russia on this - besides sitting on their hands?

Okay, asking Russia to act responsibly may be a stretch, but certainly China, which wishes so assiduously to assume a leadership role in world events and must realize that it has quite a stake in this unfolding drama.

Gee, if this isn't déjà vu all over again.

When President George W. Bush was attempting to reign in Iraq's rouge-state behavior under Saddam Hussein, the United States could not get any cooperation from Germany, Russia or France.

Well, duh, the reason we couldn't get cooperation from them is simple. They were making too much money off Saddam Hussein.

Oh, never mind that Saddam Hussein was a weapon of mass destruction all by himself; as long as Europe was making money, what the heck? Besides, the United States will clean up the mess, after France, Germany and Russia had made enough money off the tortured and dead Iraqis left in the wake of this mad-man's reign.

In a case of situational ethics, Sen. Hilary Clinton (D., NY) has said that the president's policy on North Korea has failed because he insists on working with our partners in the United Nations to come to a consensus on how to go about reigning in North Korea's behavior, which is threatening the tranquility and stability of Asia.

What was it that she said, that the president was "outsourcing" the United States' foreign policy.

But other liberals have criticized the president for acting "unilaterally" in Iraq.

This is confusing to say the least. And my moonbat decoder ring is not helping me at the moment as to just what the liberals would want us to do with North Korea, consistent with what they have been saying about our intervention in Iraq. Be sure to keep reading the liberal press, as are the North Koreans, to see what secret plan the president may have in mind - ultimately.

Meanwhile, in the long view, maybe it is time that Japan spend some of its GNP on arming itself and looking after its own interests, instead of the United States being the Big Brother for everyone in the world - and at our expense.

Wouldn't China, Russia and North - and South Korea, for that matter - find a re-armed Japan "quite special?" After-all, throughout history, they have always had a "special" friendship.

Yeah, well, maybe not.

Okay, Russia and China, if you don't want Japan to re-arm, how about stepping up to the plate and having a meaningful conversation with your buddy in North Korea?

Speaking of defense spending, who's bankrolling the North Koreans? They have nothing to sell on the world market. And how in the heck does a nation which doesn't have the wherewithal to grow rice come up with the ability to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads?

Could it be that the Chinese have a stake in the North Koreans provocative conduct? It certainly continues to tie us down in Japan and South Korea, while China gets rich by selling us cheap goods that puts Americans out of work and shutters American industry.

If China wants to play a responsible role on the world's stage and continue to develop markets for its ever-growing economy, isn't a stable Asia in its best interests? One would think so.

Ultimately, what is in our best interests?

England can be depended on; but Germany and France have failed repeatedly to step up to the plate in a responsible world leadership role. Another future world power - India - does not seem interested in assuming a portion of the responsibility as world cop. Russia is certainly in no mood to play a responsible role.

This unilateral world police officer role of the United States is not necessarily sustainable if our industry and economy falter and we continue to be dependent on outside supplies of oil.

In the long view, the North Koreans are probably a greater threat to themselves than they are to the world. Conventional wisdom is watching the Chinese out of the corner of its eye, especially considering the Chinese approach to North Korea. The Chinese may be showing their hand.

In the long view, the Chinese worry more about the Japanese than they worry about us. They view our form of self-paralyzing government with condescending disdain.

We may want to start focusing on looking after ourselves, instead of saving the world for Europe and China to prosper at our expense. We may want to start cultivating a few more friends with the ability to fend for themselves if we end up in a knife fight in a phone booth with the Chinese. Look that "friend" up in a dictionary and you'll find a picture of Japan.

It's time, for some other nations and American elected officials to take on a renewed sense of responsibility in these matters.

Perhaps that time is now.

Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster: E-mail him at: kdayhoff@carr.org



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