Be worried about Op-Eds. The authors are just trying to sell a point of view.
See if you share my concerns, however, about the following passages from an op-ed recently published in a major newspaper:
Japan's military, the Self-Defense Forces, exists in the constitution only for the protection of Japan - a clause that has been liberally interpreted in recent years to allow limited deployments of troops.In the Japanese constitution? Really? Which Article?
After the first Gulf war, Tokyo belatedly passed a law to permit troops to join United Nations operations to avoid a repetition of the ridicule that it was the "ATM" of security - paying for others' troops, but not sending its own. Under the law, Japan began to roam in places as diverse as Cambodia and El Salvador.Honduras...but who can keep those Central American republics straight anyway, right?
To be sure, Japan's spending on defense remains below China's. And Japan's high figure masks the fact that Japan hews to a policy of not exporting arms and thereby limiting its defense industry.Japan's defense spending is less than China's--according to whom? Oh, wait, whom did the author last work for? Oh, that's right--silly question, my bad.
I am fairly certain I know what the author meant to say in the passage coming after "And Japan's high figure...". But he doesn't say it, does he?
Japan is thus ready to usher in a new era with a full Defense Ministry. It is ready because its armed forces are well-armed and professional; because it operates within a defensive alliance with the United States, and because it has demonstrated a constructive contribution to international peace operations. It is ready politically, because it is prepared to accept a greater role for Japan in the world.Wow, who would have thought that changing the stationery could mean so much!
It is ready in all respects save one: political relations with a re-emerging China.And the author's solution to that thorny problem is?
China can be expected to step up a campaign against Japan's return to normal power status. Some of the barbs will be saved for the United States, for sowing potential discord.Hmmm...ameliorate the current tense relationship by ignoring China's concerns, accusing the Chinese government of bad faith and jettisoning Article 9.
The real crunch will fall to Koizumi's successor, who will be chosen in September. That will be over the new constitution, and whether and how far it should to go in jettisoning the pacifist clause and establishing a legal basis to play a major role in international security.
(Awkward instants...and the first animal is jettisoned!!!)
I'm afraid my only response is:
De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine!