Brad Glosserman touches on some U.S.-Japan alliance issues (with DPJ) in the Japan Times

Japan Times link

This one was an interesting read.

People who are focusing on the military alliance really wondered what was going on a few weeks ago. As part of the election campaign, the DPJ (Minshuto) was filling in the shades of gray in things about U.S.-Japan security alliance that the party disagreed with.

And it turned out, that the Manifesto stated in the end that Minshuto just wanted to be deeply involved in the dialogue between the two countries.

Then, sometime after the election, Mizuho Fukushima of the Social Democrats (Shakai Minshuto or “Shamin”), quickly put the refueling issue and the Okinawa bases into the news cycle. It made me wonder why Shamin was so interested in honing in on issues where they could not get a quick result.

Yes, the refueling mission is symbolic and sort of dumb. The United States doesn’t need Japan to refuel its ships in the Indian Ocean. And it gets too many people upset. So I read it as (yet) another one of the stupid moves of the Bush Administration, pressuring Japan to do things with its undeclared military force that get everyone worked up.

The focus by Minshuto and Shakai Minshuto on the security treaty made me wonder where this Regime Change was going to go.

Because my view–as I’ve clearly said it before–is that if America isn’t really wanted in Japan, then we should leave. (Provided Japan isn’t again a threat to us like in the 1940’s.)

But if we leave, it’s everything.

And if anything happens negative afterwards, it’s not our fault. If you still have phone service after the first nuclear exchange between you and the other Asian powers, give us a phone call and let us know how it’s going.

Brad Glosserman points out what everyone knows implicitly, which is that Northeast Asia is not exactly the safest place in the world. There is a lot of tension in the region. America’s value here is that we put our skin in the game and help to stabilize the North Pacific. It’s not that Japan can’t defend itself. It’s that Japan would have to defend itself.

This is how we as a nation kept the Western Europeans free throughout the Cold War. It was clear to the old Soviet Union that if they rolled the tanks through East Germany, they would have a fight with America. And it would quickly, you know, escalate.

So likewise, the treaty between Japan and America says that each will defend the other if attacked. But since Japan has Article 9, they can’t be expected to join in offensive measures. So America makes up the difference.

Many Americans don’t know and/or don’t understand what is in the U.S. Japan security treaty. But basically in 1960, Ike decided that he wanted to minimize the chance of any Third World War (or Third Sino-Japanese War which might escalate into one). It was clear, that in the vacuum of a military absence in the region, it was very likely that some new conflagration would arise in the ’60’s or later. So the Eisenhower Administration recommended a very strong treaty, the purpose of which was to discourage any aggression by the other Asian powers.

It worked.

Do things need to be discussed, done differently, “modernized”? Yes. I think America should welcome and encourage that—we get the bad end of the deal in a number of places.

Back to Minshuto, however: the party mostly ran on domestic issues. A number of these issues have been unaddressed here for 20 or maybe 30 years, from what I can tell. And it’s a full plate, you know.

So very rapidly the “equal partnership” initiative is being de-emphasized, and things like getting money into the hands of parents that need it for their children is being put forth.

That’s great. And very much in the spirit and tradition of post-War Japan and the many successes it has had.