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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Karel Van Wolferen on regime change in Japan & Ukraine, the resurrection of the Cold War (without communism), the 'pivot,' Okinawa, the 'reinterpretation' of Article 9, & 'Full Spectrum Dominance'

Karel van Wolferen's September 2014 analysis of the US-Japan relationship within the context of US neocon geopolitical aims,"The Havoc and Fantasy of ‘Full Spectrum Dominance’." sheds light on why the Abe administration is violating of rule of law to rush its "reinterpretation" of the Japanese Peace Constitution,  and using military force against Okinawan civilians to build a US miitary port and training base at Okinawa's most important natural cultural heritage site.

This rare analysis of Abe policies within global context is especially relevant now as the LDP regime pits itself against the majority of citizens in Okinawa and mainland Japan, on behalf  of the interwoven US-Jp military-industrial complex, which depends on war and the threat of war to justify ever-increasing military expansion and expenditures:
     The American-triggered regime change in Ukraine at the Western end of the Eurasian continent has been widely discussed. Less noticed, if at all, has been the American-triggered change of government in Japan four years ago as part of the so-called ‘pivot’ aimed at holding back China on the Eastern end. The two ought to be considered together, since they share a purpose known as ‘Full Spectrum Dominance’.

     A military ambition and agenda, this provides much activist energy among America’s neoconservatives and their fellow travelers, which include sundry financial and commercial interests. Made up of many parts, like the recently established “Africom” (U.S. Africa Command), the comparable effort to contain-isolate-denigrate the two former communist enemy giants, China and Russia, may be considered a central aim.

     It does not add up to a feasible strategy for long-term American interests, but few American initiatives have done in the recent past. Since neoconservatives, ‘liberal hawks’ and neoliberals appear to have captured the State Department and White House, and their activism has already produced significant geopolitical instability, it would be no luxury to dig deeper in developments on the rather neglected Asian side of the globe.

     The protracted overthrow in the course of 2010 of the first cabinet formed by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) does not at first glance resemble what happened in Kiev on January 22nd 2014 – when Victoria Nuland and Co triggered, aided, and abetted an anti–Russian coup d’état...No civil war against Japanese citizens who had supported a reformist program. It was a gentle overthrow. But an overthrow it was even so. And, importantly, while the Ukraine case served the elevation by consensus of Russia to being the new number one enemy of ‘the West’, the abrupt end to a new Japanese policy of rapprochement was the start of a fairly successful drive to create common imagery of China as a threat to its neighbors.

     Back in September of 2009, Japan underwent a politically momentous change when a new ruling party came to power, thereby ending half a century of what had been in fact a ‘one-party democracy’. As the first serious opposition contender for government, the DPJ had won an overwhelming electoral victory with a strongly reformist manifesto...

     One of this new government’s first moves was to initiate a new China policy. Its main architect, Ichiro Ozawa, had filled several planes with writers, artists, and politicians to visit China for the specified purpose of improving “people to people and party to party” relations. At the same time, the prime minister of this first cabinet, Yukio Hatoyama, was openly declaring his intention to join other East Asian leaders in the formation of an Asean+3 community, consisting of the existing Asean grouping plus Korea, China and Japan. It is highly unlikely that the now diplomatically ruinous and possibly dangerous Sino-Japanese conflict over the Senkaku/Diyaou islands would have come into being if his cabinet had lasted.

     As could have been expected, these unexpected Japanese initiatives created collective heartburn among Washington’s ‘Japan handlers’...

     Throughout the Cold War, Washington’s determination to rely on having an obedient outpost close to the shores of the two huge Communist powers did not require much pleading or pushing, because Tokyo had, as a matter of course, decided that it shared this same Communist enemy with Washington...

     The regime change drama can be said to have been prefigured shortly before the August 2009 elections that brought the DPJ to power. In January of that year Hillary Clinton came to Tokyo on her first mission as Obama’s Secretary of State to sign an agreement with the outgoing LDP administration (which knew it was stumbling on its last legs), reiterating what had been agreed on in October 2005 about a highly controversial planned new base for US Marines on Okinawa – a plan hatched by Donald Rumsfeld – which had earlier been forced down the throat of the LDP. The ruling party of the one-party democracy had applied a preferred method of Japanese politics when something embarrassingly awkward comes up: do nothing, and hope everyone will forget it. Clinton made clear that no matter what kind of government the Japanese electorate would choose, there could be no deviation from earlier arrangements...

     Much of the international Japan coverage at that time was done out of Washington with journalists interviewing the Japan handlers, since the body of regular American correspondents in Tokyo had dwindled to a very few who permanently resided there. Like we have just seen happen with the coverage of the Ukraine crisis in European media, Japan’s newspapers were beginning to reflect the reality as created by American editors...By these means the story about a politically new Japan led to the propaganda line that Prime Minister Hatoyama was mishandling the crucial US-Japan relationship...

     ...Hatoyama did not have to flee like the elected president in Kiev almost 4 years later. He eventually simply stepped down. He did so in line with a custom whereby politicians who wish to accomplish something that is generally understood to be controversial and difficult will stake their political future on the outcome. In this case Hatoyama had walked into a trap. He was given to believe that an acceptable compromise solution was being arranged for the problem of the new Marine basis in Okinawa. As he told me himself about half a year later, with that he made the biggest mistake in his political life.

     This is not how the newspapers have reported on it...but let this sink in: Washington managed, without the use of violence, to manipulate the Japanese political system into discarding a reformist cabinet. The party that had intended to begin clearing up dysfunctional political habits that had evolved over half a century of one-party rule lost its balance and bearings, and never recovered...Where earlier a China policy of friendly relations was being forged was suddenly nothing...

     The resulting anti–Chinese predisposition in the region perfectly suited the ‘pivot’, which has been Hillary Clinton’s program to develop greater muscle to curtail China’s influence. The American military, which maintains bases all over China’s neighboring soil, is not prepared to share power in the the Western Pacific, and Japan plays an important part in all this, even extending to current Prime Minister Abe’s reinterpretation of the famous pacifist clause in Japan’ constitution.

    ...Global diplomacy has gone out of the window in the meantime. Neither European countries nor Japan can, under current circumstances, engage properly with their gigantic neighbors. For a variety of reasons the powers that make a difference in the United States have demonstrated that they are comfortable with a reignited Cold War, this time without communism...

     ...full spectrum dominance does not constitute a feasible strategy; it is a dangerous fantasy among institutions that are not supervised by a politically effective coordinating center, hence are not on any leash...When we cheer NATO and its new initiatives for a rapid deployment force to be used potentially against the renewed enemy in Moscow, and when we cheer the supposedly great achievement of the European Union unanimously to endorse sanctions against that same new enemy, when we join the choir denouncing an imagined inherently aggressive China, we are encouraging a bunch of incompetent, politically immature zealots as they trigger chains of events whose likely dire consequences we could not possibly desire.

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