On George W. Bush, Even Japan Goes Wobbly


taro aso.jpg
Japan Foreign Minister Taro Aso has called America’s military operation in Iraq “immature” and “not working very well.”
Bureaucrats are scrambling to explain what he really meant — that he wasn’t against the use of force in Iraq and that there are other ways than using force “to build peace — but the bottom line is that Japan has gone wobbly in its previous steadfast support of George W. Bush’s crusade in Iraq.
Just a few weeks ago, Japan Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma declared his opposition to the Iraq War which he called “wrong.”
These are remarkable, important, and hopeful statements (though we’ll have to go through the charade of referring to them as gaffes for a while).
When Germany expressed its opposition to the war in Iraq, I feel (though many European friends of mine have taken strong exception to my view) that America’s satellite of interests inside Europe finally reclaimed its soul in its entirety back from American control.
In Japan, Prime Minister Koizumi — at one time believed to be a populist-leaning prime minister who would assert a new, more robust yet healthy nationalism based on Japanese interests rather than American designs — actually went the other direction. When Bush set the US towards a new war against Iraq, Koizumi sacrificed Japanese sovereignty and re-fixed Japan as a lapdog of US interests.
The dog is out of the lap, apparently. And Taro Aso — a grandson of the famed post-WWII bureaucrat turned prime minister Shigeru Yoshida — is testing the waters of a less-tethered Japan.
I think that this new independence and candid talk can take either a good or bad course. But right now, Japan stepping forward and knocking out one of the few key pillars of global support Bush had is a very good thing.
To paraphrase John McCain, Foreign Minister Aso’s comment about Bush’s war constitutes “a vote of no confidence.”
— Steve Clemons


4 comments on “On George W. Bush, Even Japan Goes Wobbly

  1. erichwwk says:

    While I view property rights, markets, entrepreneurship right up there with the wheel, alphabet, and printing press as great inventions of mankind, I cannot let your assertion go unchallenged that:
    “The enormous American economy was built upon the backs and sustained by the hard work and inventiveness of a free, well educated, prosperous, and strong middle class.”
    America was built on cotton, and the backs of folks that were far from educated, prosperous, and free. Predatory inclination is not a new phenomena.
    We have some serious flaws in our Constitution. All the Constitutions essentially written by the US since World War II have been parliamentary systems, able to deal with a leader that has lost (or never had) confidence without resorting to a cumbersome dismissal process. No country has transitioned to a presidential democracy without breakdown, often repeatedly. Even Thomas Jefferson warned about keeping the compact current, with a convention every 19 years.
    But yes, accounting gimmickry and media control has hidden much of the damage. The Iraq war is just the tip of the iceberg, and I otherwise share your concerns.


  2. erichwwk says:

    As the paper by Richard Vague that you recently promoted stated on its opening page- ” Force does not subdue, it enrages”.
    I am saddened by what some folks call a political dilemma, that future Carl Rove types might make political hay out out what I too see as merely adult behavior, putting the lives of American soldiers before political expediency, and calling for an immediate stop to the use of American force in Iraq. Let’s be honest, this has nothing to do with stopping a bloodbath. If that were true, 70% of the Iraqis themselves would not be opposed to a continuation of the American occupation.
    So “immature” is putting a kind face on what the Germans would say about U.S. behavior in Iraq. Acting as the Mayans of old, who felt some positive purpose was being served by cutting out the hearts of its living young, as some sort of sacrifice to their Gods, is immature beyond belief.
    Germans view this as self-destructive murder with no purpose. But then they’ve seen this movie before and are not swayed by the selling of snake-oil patriotism, aimed mainly at preserving ego and power. How many Vietnams does it take before Senators realize the sky won’t fall in by treating terrorism as a criminal and political problem, and not as a military one? How can we supply and train an armed force when surveys reveal 60% of Iraqis approve of that equipment and training being used against Americans, and those that support Americans?
    As Einstein said, “One cannot solve problems by the same sort of reasoning that created them”. A pox on our spineless Congress, unwilling to assume their responsibilities granted by our Constitution, in calling an end to the funding for this farce, and an end to the usurpation of Middle East Oil, US Embassies, and military bases by force.


  3. Tony Foresta says:

    America’s enormous economy drives the worlds markets. The enormous American economy was built upon the backs and sustained by the hard work and inventiveness of a free, well educated, prosperous, and strong middle class. Once the criticality threshold is breached (a day that is close at hand) and middle class Americans, (the heart and engine of America) can no longer afford to sustain the enormous American economy – all bets are off.
    All the worlds nations are realigning to thwart, defend against, or prepare for American hegemony, and the psychotic delusion of the socalled Pax Americana ruthlessly enforced by fascist cabals in the Bush government through the misuse of terrible swift sword of America’s hypersuperior half trillion dollar a year defense industry, and various acts of financial malfeasance, political machinations, perfidy, and other acts of skullduggery bent on commandeering and controlling as much of the worlds oil and energy supply as the fascist cabals in the Bush government can wrench, or maraud from any victim nation with oil and energy resources.
    Here in the land of OZ, the people’s rights are radically erased, or fast eroding, there is little hope for job security, bargaining power, or labor rights, and the fascist in the Bush government continue robbing from poor and middle class Americans to feed the super rich with savage obdurance.
    From the market perspective, America’s predatory, imperialist foriegn policies, the costly bloody noendinsight horrorshow in Iraq, the brutal gutting of the America middle class (the heart and engine of America’s enormous consumer economy), the rapid degradation of the American education system, deteriorating competitiveness of American products and services in global markets, the monsterous massive and increasing debt load of the American government and population, the unsustainable deficit spending of the largest most porcine government in America’s history, the American governments reckless and irresponsible evironmental policies, systemic and endemic corruption, collusion, cronyism, tax fraud, book cooking, unadulterated greed, and criminal activity in much of Americas corporate culture, and the alarming factbasedreality that fascists cabals in the Bush government have betrayed and perverted the Constitution, the rule of law, the laws of the land, and the core principles that formally defined America’s unique experiment in democracy – provide more than sufficient evidence to undermine market bets or investment in Americas future.
    The fascists in the Bush government are destroying America from within. American either muster the will, the courage, and the mechanisms to dethrone the fascist warmongers and profiteers in Bush government, or the America we were born into, and long defended – is toast!


  4. John says:

    If I saw my my middle east oil circling the drain because of Bush, I might have even more unpleasant words for his policies…


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