However, I really cannot avoid letting off a little steam in response to this passage from Weston Konishi's latest opinion article:
The question is whether Ozawa's opposition to the anti-terror bill is a political tactic or a more fundamental shift away from his previous support for the U.S.-Japan alliance? And where, by extension, does the DPJ – which includes critics and supporters of the alliance – stand as a whole regarding elements of the U.S.-Japan security relationship?No, Mr. Konishi, it might be you who has to move beyond icon worshipping cheap shots. Please study the history of the Democratic Party's and Ichirō Ozawa's security thinking. There is one; I am sure of it.
Statements by Ozawa, as well the official DPJ policy platform, shed little light on these questions. The DPJ is generally supportive of the U.S.-Japan alliance, but calls for Japan to have greater "autonomy" in the decision-making process. The DPJ's basic security policy statement elliptically argues that: "The stance that Japan should take from now on is to engage in close dialogue and consultation with the United States, giving full consideration to Japan's national interests." (Since when did Tokyo stop considering national interests when engaging the U.S.?)
Now that the DPJ is no longer just a noisy opposition party, it needs to move beyond iconoclastic critiques of the alliance and start filling in the details of its position on security cooperation with the United States.
Perhaps you will then hesitate before typing out breezy "Since when did Tokyo stop considering national interests when engaging the U.S.?" flummery. Trust me, if you stopped a hundred persons on the street you would find a goodly number who will give you a precise answer as to exactly when "Tokyo stopped considering national interests when engaging the U.S."
You would also understand what every Japanese understands, that:
"The stance that Japan should take from now on is to engage in close dialogue and consultation with the United States, giving full consideration to Japan's national interests"
is a code phrase for "not what Abe-san was willing to keep giving away in order to keep America in line with his personal hobby horses, most particularly his quixotic hardline position on the abductee issue."
That there is a reason why the word autonomy is emphasized and probably should not be entrenched between dismissive quotation marks.
You might also be slinging about fewer such LDP-friendly "Now that the DPJ is no longer just a noisy opposition party" bon mots about as party favors. You could even help out by exhorting the LDP to be "more than just a power-mongering, overbearing cauldron of mendacity and corruption."
Just a thought.
Oh, Glocom has it posted the full essay here, should all and sundry wish to read it.
Later - I know that Konishi-san meant well, trying to offer analysis and advice only to get tripped up by unthinkingly dismissive hipster lingua franca of the Washington policy centers. He needs to drop the hooks, tropes and cute asides when he leaves the warm concrete confines of the Beltway.