Friday, March 30, 2007

Friends in Warm Places

Occasional lunch companion and decent human being Lance Gatling (that he is the president of the Japan chapter of the Republican Party should not be held against him) is in Okinawa trying to reassure anyone who cares to listen that the new ballistic missile defense systems will be both effective and congruent with Japan's defense-only military policy.

Expert: U.S., Japan ready to counter N. Korea
Consultant says missile defense plan can oppose threat
Pacific Stars and Stripes

By David Allen - Saturday, March 31, 2007 - NAHA, Okinawa — Japan and the United States are in an excellent position to counter the threat of North Korea's development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, a Tokyo-based aerospace and defense consultant said Thursday at the U.S. Consulate on Okinawa.

North Korea's test-firing of a missile over Japan last July and a nuclear test in October is proof the country is developing the capability to strike a crippling blow to Japan, said Lance Gatling, a former State Department foreign officer who now heads a defense and space consulting firm.

A recent Japan Ministry of Defense strategic review called North Korea's weapons development the greatest threat to peace in East Asia.

Japan is particularly vulnerable because it is so close to North Korea and nearly half the population is in just four urban centers, primarily Tokyo, Gatling said.

"This makes it very difficult to defend," he said. "Having weapons of mass destruction (so close) to a highly concentrated population is a very bad combination."
Yeah, that's definitely not good.

While I do not share Mr. Gatling's confidence in a technical solution to what is a political problem (if I am lucky, he has not been reading any of my recent less-than-complimentary posts about the military hardware the U.S. has been flogging in the Asia Pacific region) he at least knows what he is talking about.

Unlike a lot of folks (sadly, they do not know who they are) who get to spout in the dailies and the magazines.

Anyway, if these darn things are going to be deployed in our backyards we better sure as heck bone up on what they are all about.

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