Monday, June 01, 2009

The World Turned Upside Down 

If Rip Van Worldaffairs had gone to sleep in 1940 and woke up today, imagine his surprise. He would identify a small plantation in Asia owned by a bunch of lunatics and populated by 20 million slaves. He would see that they had fired some missiles and developed nuclear technology which could probably devastate Japan, a country 10x its size and a million times its productive and intellectual capacity.

He would probably say WTF is wrong with Japan? Why would it allow itself to be threatened, by force, by this inconsequential crime family?

Similarly, he would identify Iran with this same developing threat of force. True, he wouldn't identify the same mafiosi ownership model, but he would see a bizarre and cultish theocracy speaking in apocalyptic language amassing impressive and dangerous weapons. Those weapons, by the way, would be deliverable to Europe and all of the Middle East. He would see that Israel had the means to defend itself, but then he would say, WTF is wrong with Egypt? And WTF is wrong with Turkey? And WTF is wrong with Germany? Where have all the Prussians gone?

When things in the world make no sense, they seldom last. Just ask anybody who studies financial bubbles. Now, they may last awhile. Even a very long while. But it is exceedingly difficult for me to believe that the power imbalance between the small, absurd and essentially weird nations of North Korea and Iran and other former "great powers" will persist. Either they will stand down, or we will see an arms race. I won't begin to try to predict. In the Middle East, we saw the US force Saddam Hussein's version of North Korea to "stand down." Similarly, Israel put a stop to Syria's current nuclear ambition, as they had in 1981 with Iraq. In India and Pakistan, we have a balance of nuclear power because, again, it makes no sense for Pakistan to have the ability to dominate the nuclear equation viz. India.

US discussions with Japan and South Korea suggest the possibility that they will arm themselves after first asking China to disarm the North Koreans. The west has had enough of North Korean extortion. With Iran, we simply don't yet know.


By Anonymous koolau, at Mon Jun 01, 04:23:00 PM:

Japan has renounced her right for waging war/aggression on others. Her defense forces are merely a speed bump against an enemy. The theory is that US forces in Japan and elsewhere will repel an invader or attacker.

I don't see why Japan should be taking pro-active measures against N. Korea when they were partially responsible for its creation. Japan destroyed the unified Korean nation, allowed Soviet domination to create the partition and instilled the hostility of N. Korea against itself.

Japan is feeling the consequence of starting a World War and bringing misery to this world.

If Japan did build nuclear weapons for deterrence, I would not trust them to stop there. They would begin full scale military buildup and I can see it will lead to another Asian invasion. China would join N. Korea and reduce the Japanese islands to glass before Japan completes its buildup.

Thus, Japan has no choice but to bend over, pay N. Korea money and suffer.  

By Blogger Polybius, at Mon Jun 01, 08:23:00 PM:


I don't think any sense of collective historical guilt is reason enough to wish the death and destruction of living, breathing people today. The vast majority of people now living in Japan had nothing to do with Japanese imperialism. Why should they suffer?

Yes, the Japanese constitution renounces war. And yes, most Japanese themselves reject war and militarism. But this rejection is partly predicated on the promise of American protection. That promise seems much less certain today than in the past.

Don't be surprised if Japan does eventually decide to go nuclear. People are very anti-nuclear weapons - for obvious historical reasons. But threats to survival can cause people to change.

In any case, the Japan Self-Defense Forces are larger and better equipped than you might think.

(Personal disclosure - I currently live in Japan, and have been here about four years.)  

By Anonymous koolau, at Mon Jun 01, 10:42:00 PM:

Too bad history doesn't have a way of disappearing with the new generation... or else why should I be paying the national debt that the older generation created? Why should the treaties that countries sign during prior administrations/kings/dictators be applied to the present time?

I enjoy the benefits of Hawaii statehood when it was clearly a theft and armed takeover of a sovereign nation. I am innocent of those past actions, but history doesn't disappear and we still deal with the consequences. The US has to give large monetary, legal, educational, physical repayments in perpetuity to the Hawaiian natives. I am innocent of this yet I pay my taxes, allow native Hawaiians to own land and live in areas forbidden to non-Hawaiians. In the US, there is a school where non-Hawaiians are forbidden to apply or attend. In direct violation of several Federal laws, it is upheld because of the consequences of our actions. To say that we shouldn't be held liable is wishful thinking and not going to happen in the real world.

When Japan arms itself, we will see another Asian war, except with much more killing and Japan will be the focus of most Asian nations' rage. China, N. Korea, S. Korea, Philipines, Malaysia, Indonesia will all invade and make the Japanese suffer 1000x. Meaning Japanese people will exist only outside of Japan.  

By Anonymous koolau, at Mon Jun 01, 11:11:00 PM:

If you consider N. Korea an inconsequential crime family, you have very bad judgement.

If you walk down the street and see an insane homeless person shouting and thrashing about, wouldn't you be concerned? That homeless person deserves more of your attention than the polite millionaire walking behind you.

Our society concerns itself so much with the poor and "powerless" that a growing and majority of our wealth and resources are being spent on them. If poor people were inconsequential, we could dump them into a volcano or chop them up into shark food. Feed them to the polar bears so they won't go extinct.

Rip Van Winkle would wake up and wonder why the strong nations and those with real investment are not destroying their enemies.

The Roman and Mongolian empires could last so long and be so powerful because they eliminated their enemies without mercy. Carthage is a mere footnote that only historians can barely remember. America must learn the lesson that our enemies wish to kill us, their words lead to actions, and we must be merciless to our enemies.

History shows that there is no justice. Majority of crimes are left unpunished, evil can triumph, and only strength matters. Strength in war, economic prowess, international relations and total domination of your enemy will ensure survival. Nepal is a clear example of survival when the British threatened to dominate them as a mere province of India. The gurkhas were so fierce and strong that the British would rather just let them be.

Iran should be destroyed, much like the Mongols did before. We would enjoy another 1000 years of relative peace from those people.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jun 02, 08:43:00 AM:

Japanese defense expenditure is interesting. Most sources seem to agree that while it's less than 1% of GDP, it is still one of the top five military budgets in the world. Despite it's longtime defense build-up and substantial resources for more, it's clear Japan has relied primarily upon the American defense umbrella promised to it after WW2 for protection. For many years Americans have grumbled about our responsibility to defend numerous countries, Japan among them, and now the president seems to be serious about pushing more of the financial burden of their defense onto the countries themselves. Will Korea and Japan like spending the money but not controlling the weapons? Probably not, and yet will we like seeing Japan re-militarized? Probably not.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jun 02, 08:47:00 AM:

When one blithely says "Iran should be destroyed", what do you mean? Like in a soccer game, or financially through competition? Or, are you suggesting the country needs to be destroyed militarily and the people executed? What an extremely weird statement!  

By Anonymous koolau, at Tue Jun 02, 03:15:00 PM:

Iran wants America to die. The golden rule applies for us to kill Iran. We shouldn't go so far as to apply a genocide, but we need to destroy their army/leadership, their hezbollah militias, and destroy their utilities and infrastructure. Let the natural chaos ensue and allow them to kill themselves. They will be fighting internally for decades, while we can rest and advance. The next time they start to cause trouble, we'll be in an even better position with a greater advantage since they were set back for a few decades.  

By Anonymous sirius_sir, at Tue Jun 02, 08:40:00 PM:

Iran wants America to die.I have friends in Iran who might argue differently, one of whom has told me she detests her President. I won't argue that is the majority view, but it is one that should be considered, cultivated, and promoted.

Additionally we could destroy Hezbollah, target the Iranian nutters in charge, make Assad an offer he cannot refuse... Realistically, I have little to no hope our current policy on these matters will soon change. Hell, we can't even stop the midget regime in N. Korea. But maybe our covert forces are working overtime in concert with Mossad and the Iranian resistance to make the ME and the world a better place.

A guy can dream, can't he?  

By Blogger Whiskey, at Tue Jun 02, 09:13:00 PM:

Koolau --

Israel knows that Iran will launch a surprise first strike from Lebanon and Gaza aimed at killing most Israelis.

So they must either kill most Iranians, so that their nuclear program is dead and cannot be restarted, or die.

It's that simple. The world does not stop for your moralizing. People either choose to live or die. Israelis must kill about half of Iran to live. They don't have Superman and Green Lantern to protect them without killing, and Obama has withdrawn America's defenses from them. Indeed he's green-lighted Iran's nuclear program.

Japan will decide if they wish to be ruled by the Kim hereditary rulers or not. If they do not, they will have to construct their own nuclear network and strike first, hard, at North Korea. With enough to threaten China too.

Japan will likely fight. They have no wish to be ruled by the Kims.

This is the price of the withdrawal of Pax Americana -- more war not less. North Korea quite likely in ruins, and Iran too.

Soon, we will have to decide, if we wish to live or die, when not if the Taliban gets ahold of Pakistani nukes or three. After NYC dies, from a shipping container nuke, and there's a threat to another city, we will have to decide if our moral vanity is more important than the lives of the people in Dallas.

We will KILL most Pakistanis. So that Dallas and Atlanta might live. Its as simple as that. Unicorns and rainbows nothwithstanding.  

By Anonymous koolau, at Wed Jun 03, 12:49:00 PM:

That is why the democrats call for restraint and weak liberals calling for less torture and mercy will hamper our victory. Torture does work, as many instances in history have shown. It is torture against people who know nothing or for plain cruelty (like Japanese) that results in the negative feelings.

I would argue that Guantanamo prisoners know a little or a lot of information useful to our fight. We should continue these interrogations to their conclusion. They aren't innocent people snatch from the playground. They are fighters wounded in battle and not outright killed.

Japan should not be the ones to contain or destroy N. Korea. I would not accept such military power in the hands of the brutal and cruel Japanese. China and India will need to check N. Korea and Japan's military ambitions.  

By Anonymous koolau, at Wed Jun 03, 12:56:00 PM:

Iranians who detest their President are weak, cowards. Let them buy weapons, hire mercenaries, train private armies and kill those fascist muslim clerics and their worshipers. A government can only rule when supported by the people. Even if the people want a better government, they can tolerate the present one. That restrains them from taking any action.

Why aren't there visible and powerful opposition groups inside or outside Iran? Because Iranians want to kill Americans, and non-muslims. They want us dead. They want use poor, suffering and at their mercy.

I don't care about those minorities who are pro-USA, they should do something or leave their country. It is not outsiders responsibility to cultivate an opposition. That must come from within. Our responsibility is to destroy the enemies military and economic power so they can't hurt us. If they descend into savage chaos, that is better.  

By Anonymous Boludo Tejano, at Wed Jun 03, 02:40:00 PM:


China and India will need to check N. Korea and Japan's military ambitions.

As the PRC supplies NoKo with food and fuel, it has the ability to stop NoKo’s shenanigans in a New York minute. The PRC likes NoKo tweaking the tail of the Foreign Devil US. The PRC prefers its protectorate over NoKo to having a free and united Korea as a neighbor.

India: not a factor.

The end of US dominance,self-inflicted or not, makes for a more dangerous world.  

By Anonymous sirius_sir, at Wed Jun 03, 05:44:00 PM:

koolau, it's entirely your prerogative not to care about the Iranians who are pro-USA. I care, and think it would be smart to work with them for our mutual advantage. Maybe as you say it's not our responsibility to cultivate an opposition. I don't necessarily disagree with you. But if even a relatively few Iranians are willing to work with us, wouldn't it be stupid of us not to avail ourselves of the assistance? And I entirely fail to understand this insistance you have on seeing Iran descend into savage chaos. I would think that a moderate, functioning democracy would be better for everyone, including us.  

By Anonymous koolau, at Wed Jun 03, 08:01:00 PM:

A democracy full of people who hate you is still a country and government of people who wish you dead.

When those Iranians are fighting themselves for survival, they can't be bothered to think about the outside world.

Democracy isn't a cure for evil and poverty. The Philipines are a democracy, yet they are living in poverty. India is a democracy, yet they also live in poverty.

The solution is to distract and reduce our enemies. If we can send in all the agitators, a successful play made by the Germans in WWI, then we should pursue that in conjuction with destroying the Iranians military and economy. Revolution is only ripe when there is chaos and sufferring.  

By Anonymous koolau, at Wed Jun 03, 08:14:00 PM:

This isn't like partisan France, where the entire population was willing to work with the Allies. Iran has a underground opposition that has no organization, funding, courage, experience or successes. Can we see instances of assasinations, intelligence coups, sabotage, or direct action? I have not seen any demonstrations that espouse peace and a pro-USA theme. The only protests are Death to America, blame America for xx problem, vote for this extremist instead of that extremist.

There are no courageous opposition leaders willing to fight and die. Thus, they should assume the same fate as the rest.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jun 04, 02:36:00 PM:

"Kill 'em all", huh? Oddball, ugly stuff. Thankfully, you aren't in charge.  

By Anonymous markm, at Thu Jun 04, 07:09:00 PM:

Koolau: Where'd you get that idea about France? There were more eager collaborators than there were French people willing to stick their necks out to make trouble for the Germans. Some of the worst Nazi actions, such as rounding up Jews, got plenty of help from like-minded Frenchmen. When American troops landed in North Africa, they had to fight Vichy French troops, defending a French colony for the German occupation...  

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