America's Political Polygamy

Monday, February 02 2009 @ 12:21 AM JST

Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto

I have nothing whatsoever against polyamory. Not only that, I have spent a little too polyamorous adulthood myself. But it's a different story when it comes to polygamy. And it's a natural thing to analogize a bilateral treaty to a marriage. If you don't think your marriage requires an exclusive commitment, why don't you discuss the matter with your spouse?

Being a country with a forked tongue, the Unite States has seemed to have two or more cornerstone alliances in Asia for quite a while. The political polygamy has been especially evident since the early 1970s.

Soon after the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty went into effect in 1970, President Richard Nixon visited China to lay the groundwork for the normalization of diplomatic ties with the communist country. The main reason Nixon abruptly changed his China policy was because he thought China, alone, could help America out of the Vietnam quagmire.

Unlike the docile Japan, China is a nation that doesn't do anyone a favor for nothing. Needless to say, Mao Zedong and Chu Enlai urged their American counterparts to reciprocate. China's archrival Japan had already become Asia's economic powerhouse and was still on a strong uptrend. Some historians say that in Beijing, Nixon and his National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger said, "Let us take care of Japan to your interests." We don't know if that is exactly what they said, but everybody knows that they promised to make Japan's Prime Minister Eisaku Sato expedite the ratification of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and to tell him to further promote the hogwash about Three Nonnuclear Principles he had been advocating since 1967 to eternalize the "nuclear allergy" of the Japanese people.

When Nixon said he was sure that he could neutralize Japan forever, Mao must have thought, "Who could ask for anything more?"

The downright breach of trust upset the Japanese people at the beginning, but over time they became inclined to forgive, or forget, the fateful act of betrayal on the part of the Americans.

Last week the Obama administration decided to launch a framework for new "comprehensive strategic dialogue" with China. According to a ranking State Department official, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and China's Premier Wen Jiabao will visit each other on a regular basis to talk over strategic issues. Even Clinton, who is known not to have a very good chemistry with the Chinese leaders, seems to agree to the "new" approach. The decision came only weeks after her cornerstone remark exhilarated the Japanese. It's true that Secretary of State-designate did not explicitly name the enemies. But there's no such thing as an alliance without an enemy.

According to the Yomiuri Shimbun daily, Michael Green, former senior director for Asian affairs at the U.S. National Security Council warned that the establishment of a new framework for high-level talks between the U.S. and China could unsettle some of Washington's allies. But Green needn't have worried too much. It made only Japan feel a little uneasy, but as usual it won't take long until it condones the infidelity. In the past the country of Madame Butterfly has been quite used to being double-crossed by the likes of Nixon, Kissinger, Bush, Rice and Hill.

At any rate we learned all anew that Washington as Japan's guardian angel is as untrustworthy as a civilized country can be. So it all the more makes you wonder if Japan's patience is practically limitless. So it seems, in fact. I just don't know what to say about its learning disability.

I have repeatedly warned that the disease the Japanese have long been suffering en masse is highly infectious. And by now, the bilateral relations have come to the point where the two nations deserve each other. Although Obama and his Japanese counterpart opt to look away from it, this is exactly what China has been seeking for since Mao Zedong.

Despite its six-decade-old dictum that not a single drop of Japanese blood should be shed in warfare, Japan has spent an annual $40 billion for defense, mainly because suckers in Japan's Defense Ministry have always been duped into purchasing U.S.-made weapons at prices two to three times higher than what the Pentagon is paying its contractors. A military that fights may commit unwarranted attrocities at times, but one that does not fight is doomed to corruption. There is one thing that has never crossed U.S. President's mind - it's not Japan's venal government but the Japanese taxpayers that have been constantly ripped off under the U.S-Japanese security treaty. Worse, American taxpayers haven't benefited a bit from this exploitation either.

The two allies across the Pacific still want to stay with the incongruous partnership on a paper-thin pretext that the alliance does both parties more good than harm, as if there were such a thing as a win-win deal that sustains in international relations. It seems that they are too intellectually lazy, or not courageous enough, to go to Reno, where they would find a real change. It's a different story, though, if both governments are determined to extricate Beijing from the difficulty it's been undergoing at the cost of their own peoples.

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