Sunday, September 14, 2003

This is incredible. According to Yahoo news, the U.S. is now demanding that Japan send troops to Iraq.

The U.S. is demanding Japan send its troops to Iraq early to help rebuild the war-torn country, a Japanese daily reported Sunday, the Kyodo news service reported.
Citing government sources, the Tokyo Shimbun said the U.S. is displeased with the uncertain outlook for sending the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to Iraq as Japan plans to delay the dispatch until next year due to the worsening security situation there, Kyodo reported.

While the U.S. says Japan is an independent nation and it should make its own decision on dispatching the SDF, it has expressed discomfort with Japan's failure to meet U.S. requests in "sweat-inducing areas," the newspaper said.
Great. So now the U.S. is demanding (not requesting, demanding) levies of troops? Like the "American empire" argument needed any further boosting?

And honestly, this really, really isn't a good economic idea. Japan's economy looks like it's growing again, and I believe that once Japan gets itself sorted out, it may well be the final piece in the puzzle in returning East and Southeast Asia to its role as the fastest-growing economic region in the world. Despite the very real (and very understandable) historical concerns that China and Japan have about each other, the combination of Chinese manpower and Japanese technological skill is a natural one, and the trip across the Japan sea is a much shorter (and therefore, cheaper) one than across the pacific.

It's also likely that the Japanese will move away from the peace constitution and return to the role of a traditional power, as the U.S. military budget becomes more and more strained. While this will undoubtedly create friction with China and Korea, the Japanese culture of today is a different place than the Japan of 1939, and their desired military role will undoubtedly change as well. Japan may well worry about China, but China has too much trouble with internal stability to think about foreign adventurism... and while North Korea is a threat, it's not as much of one as many Americans seem to believe.

While I don't see this arrangement sorting itself out relatively quickly, I do see it having been sorted out by the time the ducks come home to roost on the remains of the American budget. Assuming that American consumers stop being the "buyer of last resort" sometime in the near future (which is likely), Japan will be in a position to tell the United States exactly what it will and will not do for any American imperial ambitions. I suspect that they will remember this (honestly) imperialist insult when dealing with Americans in the future. I know I would.

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