Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Japanese Nukes?

Charles Krauthammer thinks it is not an unreasonable suggestion. I don’t know if he is right but, it does seem to me that the objections to it--if they are as he describes in this article--are pretty silly and outdated. It probably is a good time to take stock of who, exactly, our friends are in this world. It is also a good time to make a mental note of those in whom our trust is misplaced. The old alliances of post-WWII America may need some re-sorting, dusting off, additions and subtractions. This piece is a good device for starting that discussion.

Discussions - 11 Comments

Find out how other Americans feel. Our foreign policy index is an amazing way to gage public opinion about American foreign policy and the current state of affairs, and from the way things look, the public may just be at a tipping point. Read on…

Here at Public Agenda, we’ve created a new tool to track Americans’ opinions on foreign policy issues, providing a basis for political commentary. Similar to the Consumer Confidence Index, the Foreign Policy Anxiety Indicator provides policy makers, journalists and ordinary citizens with the public’s overall comfort level with America’s place in the world and current foreign policy.

An essential tool updated twice a year, the Indicator will consistently provide much-needed information on the public’s perception of more than two dozen aspects of international relations.

In a world strewn with violence and highly-charged international issues, Americans are broadly uneasy about U.S. foreign policy. The September 2006 shows the Foreign Policy Anxiety Indicator at 130 on a scale of 0 to 200, where 0 is the most confident, 200 the most anxious and 100 neutral.

Eight in 10 Americans feel the world is becoming a more dangerous place for Americans, yet they’re also skeptical about most of the possible solutions, such as creating democracies or global development. Only improved intelligence gathering and energy independence have substantial support, with energy firmly established as a national security problem
for the public.

In fact, the public lacks confidence in many of the measures being taken to ensure America’s security. Less than 33% of Americans give the U.S. government an “A” or a “B” grade for its execution of the following foreign policy issues: reaching goals in Iraq and Afghanistan, maintaining good relationships with Muslim countries and protecting U.S. borders from illegal immigration. And these are just a few of the findings of the survey.

These are some of the other startling findings:

- 83 percent say they are worried about the way things are going for the United States in world affairs (35 percent worry "a lot", with an additional 48 percent saying they worry "somewhat.")

- 79 percent say the world is becoming more dangerous for the United States and the American people

- 69 percent say the United States is doing a fair or poor job in creating a more peaceful and prosperous world

- 64 percent say the rest of the world sees the United States negatively

- 58 percent say U.S. relations with the rest of the world are on the wrong track

Want to learn more? Go to http://www.publicagenda.org/foreignpolicy/index.cfm to download the report.

Public Agenda is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group devoted to public opinion and public policy. The confidence in U.S. Foreign Policy Index is developed in cooperation with Foreign Affairs with support from the Hewlett and Ford foundations.

Great idea Julie! ’Member when Iraq was our lil’ buddy? Too bad you weren’t around to suggest giving them nukes back when we was buds! Then Curious George would have been right about them having WMDs, LOL!! ^__^

It would be amazing to think that someone could not tell the difference between Iraq in the 1980s and today’s Japan. But there it is.

You don’t think China might object to Japan having nuukes?

Interested, irritating China, which has done everything it could to put obstacles in our way as we’ve tried to deal with North Korea, and has also done everything it could to stall any genuine action at the UNSC regarding Iran, is a BONUS, not a detriment to arming Japan with nukes.

Furthermore, it shouldn’t be a case of us "allowing" Japan to go nuke, it should be a case where we, ourselves, transfer Pershing IIs to Japan. We should be the ones arming Japan to the teeth. The message to the world is that we’re in earnest. The message to Japan, "we trust you, isn’t it time for you to trust yourselves." The Japanese are a great people, with a great destiny before them. Their entry into this great war on jihadist islam, their taking a place on the side of the West and ordered liberty, is something to look forward to.

I generally agree with Dan, although if they went all-out they could probably develope most of this stuff on their own (I think I heard they could go nuclear in a year or so if they chose to). A Japan with a newly formed, actual military would be great benefit in that it would provide an ally with a modern military who is not afraid to use it. The Europeans are pretty much only there for moral support anymore, and that only comes occassionally. Who cares if China is mad? They’re spying on us, stealing our technology (military and civilian), undermining our foreign policy from Mongolia to Madagascar, and blinding our satelites as we speak. A think a nuclear Japan would be a very good thing, both symbolically and pratically.

I think there is a flawed premise that there is something militaristic about the Japanese character that should prevent them from having nukes. The events and structures that led to the horrible suffering they unleashed in World War II have been expunged. I don’t think there is any reason to continue to pacify and de-militarize them. The world has changed. Just as we don’t want to fight terrorism in a post-9/11 world with Cold War methods from the 1950s and 1960s, we shouldn’t make Japan live in this world as if it were Nanking in 1937.

Of course, there are a lot of other issues such as non-proliferation, whether Japan’s nukes would deter NK more than our massive assured destruction of NK in case of a nuclear attack, the China question, etc.

MacArthur’s somewhat pacifist and utopian Constitution gave the conquered Japanese a kind of undeserved moral high ground thus hindering them from honestly examining their war crimes and militarism. Ironically, he also wanted to use nukes on the Yalu.

That said, a mature democracy, as Japan surely is today, must shoulder the fair portion of its own defense. Canada, Europe, Japan and South Korea have all responded at times like spoiled teen-agers, knowing that they were safe under our umbrella and therefore free to occasionally kick us in the shins. In the long run, it is emasculating for a nation not to feel responsible for defending itself. Note the Belgian troops in Afghanistan who want simply to hide in their barracks. Alliances, yes; but "ally", like "friend", denotes a relationship of equals. That is, equal in comittment.

The decision is of course up to the Japanese.

Noel, the only reason we finally procured a cease fire in Korea was that Ike threatened to do precisely what MacArthur suggested all along, nuke the enemy. It was the realistic threat of going nuclear which persuaded the enemy to agree to a very uneasy cease fire.

In retrospect, MacArthur’s advice of forcefully reuniting the Korean peninsula seems prescient, very prescient. And the reason that MacArthur suggested nukes was that China, without declaration of war, had forced our country into a grueling meat grinder, a war exactly duplicative of the horrors of the First World War. MacArthur wasn’t about to allow his men to be subjected to a protracted bloodletting, with no end in site.

Tony, ever watched any anime? I disagree with you that the Japanese have lost that warrior spirit. It’s there, and it’s a part of their cultural DNA.

Nonetheless, I favor giving them nukes. They will need them for protection now, and having experienced Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they above all will be reluctant to use them. Militant or not, the Japanese are now our allies, and we have obligations to them.

It’s amazing that two of our greatest former enemies (Germany and Japan), with whom we were once locked in an epic struggle not seen since, are now two of our best friends in the world.

I say, let the Japanese have the nukes. It would give the Chinese pause and help contain their own expansionist desires, and would certainly give North Korea something to think about.

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