A Hidden Cost of the Alliance

Tuesday, February 10 2009 @ 02:43 AM JST

Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto

On Monday, U.S. military chief Gen. Walter Sharp called on North Korea to refrain from further brinkmanship in reference to the recent moves which are suspected to be the preparation for launching the Taepodong-2 ballistic missile. He reportedly said, "Many, many countries around the world are watching North Korea right now to see if it will act responsibly."

Give me a break, General. Haven't you learned that the right thing to do in the face of a provocative move by Pyongyang is not to talk, and not to watch?

When I was a canid-phobic kid, my mother used to tell me to avoid eye contact with dogs while refraining from running away from them. For the 7-year-old kid, it was quite difficult to observe this rule, but I don't think it's too hard for a general to practice it, because any adult knows that a dog that barks a lot will never bite. In 1939, Hitler invaded Poland giving little signs of it beforehand. Two years later, Japan did the same in Pearl Harbor, having been emboldened by the initial success of what its European ally had named "blitzkrieg" or lightening war.

It's now obvious that Obama, Clinton, Gates and their generals should prepare their country for a possible lightening without talking too much about transient successes and failures in their Munich Conferences.

In fact, though, these gentlemen and the woman still keep talking thus far. Why is that? I think the primary reason why these talkative people cannot refrain from depriving professional pundits of cushy job opportunities is not because their Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, but because America has too many allies all over the world while it has no identified foes these days.

For the United States, the security treaty it entered into with Japan 49 years ago is the single most counterproductive alliance. The Japanese are the people who boast that not a single drop of Japanese blood has been shed in warfare since the end of WWII, and that this should last forever. They believe any hostile situation should be, and can be, settled by words, while the American commitment to protecting them in any event and at any cost should be confirmed and reconfirmed over and over. Having dealt with these impossible folks in the last half century, the American people have developed refractory panglossia by now.

My prognosis for the disease of talking incessantly would be very simple - just cut the military ties with Japan. Only then, will the President, his Secretaries and generals be able to concentrate on their own jobs without acting like political pundits. And for the part of political pundits, they will hopefully stop constantly politicizing nonpolitical issues, reducing more far-reaching issues to mere political issues, or inventing false issues.

In the past these experts in international politics have automatically and blindly endorsed the notion that both sides of the U.S.-Japanese partnership find a good tradeoff in the security treaty, although they can never identify and quantify all the pros and cons entailed in it very specifically. Much less can we expect them to point out that there is also an unquantifiable cost factor involved in it.

Unless the American people wake up to the reality before long, the likes of North Korea, China, Russia and Iran will have the last laugh.

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