I saw this in the Mainichi, and went searching to the individual Congressmen’s websites.
Ron Paul, Congressman of Texas, gave a speech to CPAC last week where he mentioned the United States government’s excessive spending on the military.
The quote about Japan:
Just remember, the Soviet system did not collapse because we had to fight them, they collapsed for economic reasons. Guess where their final plunge was on their empire – Afghanistan. So it makes no sense for us to think that we can keep troops in 135 countries, 900 bases and think we can do it forever. So no matter how badly you want us to do that, it’s time to reassess that foreign policy. It’s time for us to bring troops home. We’ve had troops in Japan since World War 2 and in Germany, why are we paying for their defense?
Democrat Dennis Kucinich’s comments appeared in a well circulated interview reported by Kyodo News.
And I have to ask myself, as a 5 1/2 year expat of Japan: why are we continuing to spend the money for the defense of Japan.
When one gadfly House member gets on a topic, nobody really listens. But when two gadflies are in there, well, maybe it’s because something smells.
The people that I talk to around Pennsylvania, most have no idea why the U.S. bases 50,000 troops and all that hardware in Honshu and Okinawa. (It’s primarily a legacy of the Second Sino-Japanese War. We are the true keepers of that and discouraging a Third Sino-Japanese War, which would be an awfully Cold one.)
The amount of money we are spending as Americans is never factored into the debate. It’s just assumed that the U.S. should have a far-flung military presence throughout the world, and that we must pay for it. (Or borrow it from China, or print money at the Federal Reserve.)
I do not think that China is a military threat to anybody, and not that they couldn’t be if they wanted to. I am sure that the 21st century Chinese, as a people, would love to stick it to Japan if they could, but individual Chinese are some of the best friends Japan has right now.
I don’t like to talk about people I know as friends on my blog, but I did meet a number of really wonderful people from China when I was in Tokyo. They are very progressive and are as much the open-minded people we Americans like to think ourselves to be. And very nice people, too.
If the Defense Establishment were willing to update their discussions about North Pacific Regional Defense to include the fact, as Congressman Kucinich says, we aren’t going to war with China and they sell us a lot of stuff on credit, then we probably don’t need to entangle ourselves in any problem Japan might create for itself with China.
It would be nice to see more debate about this stateside, especially when the House is threatening to shut down next month because America is allegedly running out of money.