Thursday, May 03, 2012

Constitution Day Readings

It is Constitution Day. The front page stories are about specific Articles of the Constitution. It is otherwise a slow news day, aside from the complete bordel of the Chen Guangcheng affair. On television, the revisionists and the anti-revisionists are slugging it out (on NHK it's Morimoto Satoshi versus Egawa Shoko in a no-holds barred death match. As she is the crusader who took on Aum Shinrikyo and survived, my money is on Egawa).

Michael Auslin has a new essay up at Foreign Policy riffing on the Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko's semi-summit (no dinner?) with President Barack Obama, the face-saving agreement signed at the last minute regarding redeployment of U.S. forces currently on Okinawa, the changes in Japan's positions on arms exports and the U.S.-drafted Constitution.  (Link).  It is a reality-based piece, noting what are real changes in the way this blessed land has interpreted the limits set by Article 9. 

I am afraid though, that Auslin goes too far by mentioning two subjects one should not bring up in polite company: the F-35 and Abe Shinzo.  The F-35 program is imploding under its own weight (E) and one observer even declares the plane a threat to the Japan-U.S. alliance . It would be unseemly of me to say I told you so... but I told you so.

As for former prime minister Abe Shinzo, the wiser course remains to pretend he never happened. Even his good ideas are not being copied.

To every Auslin, who knows something about the Constitution and how difficult it would be to alter it, there are a passel commentators blessedly ignorant of it.

The winner of this year's I Don't Know Me No Constitution Award goes to the milbloggers at TIME magazine, who are making this something of a bad habit.

Where to begin when a post begins with this humdinger of an assertion?
The prospect of U.S. and Japanese troops fighting side by side in the next land war in Asia — and heaven forbid the need for either — comes a step closer with a little-noted provision in U.S. realignment plans announced last week.

"Fighting side by side in the next land war in Asia" - takes the breath away, does it not?

Yes, I have noticed that the motto of the milblogs of TIME magazine is "Where military intelligence is not a contradiction in terms."


The Chysanthemum Sniffer said...

What Auslin doesn't say is that the 1996 guidelines agreement between the United States and Japan was the real point of change, and that every other national leader, except Koizumi and Abe, has had to be prodded and cajoled by the United States to move in the "right" direction.

With good political reason too: most people in Japan wouldn't know how to identify a U.S.-Japan defense guideline or a "Security Consultative Joint Communique" if one bit them on the proverbial, and many are ambivalent about ever-greater military cooperation with the United States. Which might make the wheeling and dealing that goes on above their head a tad unsustainable in the long run, perhaps.

The Chrysanthemum Sniffer said...

Plus, how is Noda accepting the U.S. decision to delink the transferal of Marines from the relocation of the base a "gift" to Obama? Indeed, it is a clear reversal of Washington's position, given Robert Gates' hardball comments in October 2011 that transfer was a condition of relocation.

MTC said...

Chrysanthemum Sniffer -

Michael Auslin's too conveniently ommits the fact that the LDP kicked the can down the road for 13 years regarding the move to Henoko. He also trots out the canard that the DPJ's troubles can be attributed to its unfamiliarity with being a ruling party. Considering the folks who sign his checks every month, it is hard to blame him for this absurd omission of the LDP's almost total responsibility for what has occurred (except for the part added on by Hatoyama Yukio's inability to know his own mind: that is a sourcce of failure that is no one's fault but his own).

Though it is understandably difficult to fathom what The Impenetrable One is thinking about any topic, I think he does not care about the content of any agreement made with the United States. Did he really want Japan to purchase the F-35? Not if he is in his right mind. Did the MOD want the F-35? It sure did. Has he shown the least bit of consideration for the MOD? Not one wit.

Being the son of a GSDF line officer might have something to do with his willingness to let the MODs bureaucracy bury itself in its own crap.