Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Upon one condition...wait...upon two conditions...hold on...

When asked in Diet interpellations on the ninth of this month whether the government of Japan supports the Bush surge plan for Iraq, the Prime Minister Abe responded thusly:


from 米のイラク新政策、理解し支持…衆院予算委で首相表明 ("The Prime Minister Expresses in the House of Representatives Budget Committee...that He Comprehends and Supports the New American Policy for Iraq") Yomiuri Shimbun, February 9, 2007.

Now I think I know what the prime minister is trying to say. What I am having trouble discerning is what he is actually saying.

"(The Government) expects that the effort will be undertaken in an effective manner. From the point of view that it is necessary to attempt to bring economic revival and security to this region, (we) comprehend and support (the American plan)."

Now given the Bush Administration's past record on security and economic revival in Iraq, that first sentence ("The Government expects...") represents the triumph of wishful thinking over experience.

It is the second sentence that has my head twirling about, though.

Is the Prime Minister following the White House line so closely that he thinks foreign policy is not a matter of winning or losing but whether one put in a "best effort" or not? "From the point of view that it is necessary to attempt..." is fine...but what about from another point of view, like "let's not get killed out there for no reason" or some other rational desire for self-preservation?

Or is this a sly way of giving only half-hearted support to the plan, on the order of:

"If we are talking about the need to do something, anything, to try to improve the situation in Iraq, sure we support the plan. However, from the point of view of believing the plan will actually be improving the situation on the ground, no, we do not support it."

Whatever the interpretation, one hopes that some day the "partial credit" warriors will be forced into a well-deserved retirement.

Please let it be soon.

No comments: