The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II has been momentous for many reasons. A new law enacted by the Japanese last week is not the least of a string of consequences of a new Cold War that threatens our world. For the first time since 1945 Japanese military forces can be used in overseas conflicts, even if Japan is in not involved. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made no bones about proclaiming the move as supportive for US hegemony.
When Shinzo Abe took office in 2012, many thought so-called Abenomics would rekindle Japan’s industrial might. Instead of forging a new Japan economy based on sustainability, and Japanese ingenuity, Abe has joined America in another arms race. This latest announcement is a prelude to war – no question. The Obama administration needed a right-wing military ally, and it just got one.
Since Sinzo Abe attended the Sochi Olympics against the wishes of Barrack Obama back in 2014, a lot has happened. The Japanese leader once had a valid strategy for his country to pursue peace in practicing good détente with Vladimir Putin and Russia, while fending off rattled sabers over in China. This Bloomberg article from 2014 speaks of this “shift” in Abe international politics, which was a turning point for today’s situation. This “shift” in allegiances across the globe was in part rekindled when Japan, the United States, and many other “western” powers attempted to rewrite WW II history. First Obama and his allies shunned the May 9th Russia celebrations of Victory, since then Mr. Abe attempted to retell the world of Japan’s role in the war. Abe in Sochi was on the path of peace, and suddenly the Japanese leader turned his back on Putin and détente, and joined the Group of Seven counterparts to back sanctions on Russia over Crimea? This begs the question, “What happened?”
For his part, Shinzo Abe has always seemed the honorable leader. His obvious liking for Russia’s president has been continual cannot fodder for western media. Even so, Japan’s situation in the world not being so enviable right now, one has to wonder at Abe’s motivations for putting on the ō-yoroi (大鎧, or ‘great armor’) against Russia and China now. I always believed Abe to be a man of honor, so once again we see unimaginable leverage being applied by Washington. Let’s look at what happened just after Sochi, and maybe today’s battle lines can be further assessed.
In February 2014, Abe was in Russia watching a magnificent Olympics. On March 1st western mainstream media began reporting how Obama would kick Putin out of the G8. Then on March 24th newspapers carried the news the G8 in Sochi, became the G7 in Brussels instead. On March 25th CNN announced a US-Japan deal to dispose of hundreds of kilograms of highly enriched uranium (HEU) and separated plutonium from the Asian nation’s nuclear reactor facilities. But the transfer of weapons grade plutonium was only a fraction of what Japan has stockpiled, the announcement was a signpost only. In April Abe’s détente nightmares became more evident.
Reporting for The Wall Street Journal on April 24th, Mitsuru Obe reveals for the world “what happened” to Mr. Abe’s Samurai resolve to establish good relations with Russia. The Tokyo economics reporter encapsulated the situation so:
“A bilateral accord is a crucial step for moving forward discussions on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a U.S.-led free trade initiative involving 12 nations. It is also the main economic component of Mr. Obama’s foreign policy “pivot” to Asia.”
The TPP at the time was portrayed by papers like the Washington Post as a positive Obama move (and Hillary Clinton one) toward something called a “New American Pacific Century,” as if the old leverage ways of Washington have never worked. The fact is Abe attempted to play his economic cards right in dealing with Obama, but the threat of losing billions in US auto sales dollars took its toll. The TPP passage has been crucial for Obama, we see this even in the western press. The papers back then painted the TPP as selling pork bellies to the Japanese, but in reality TPP is just a bigger NAFTA – a disaster for American workers and US industry. Regardless of these facts, Abe and Japan were forced to ally with the US against Russia. But there’s more.
Weapons races, outright war, I’ve discussed the role of the military industrial complexes and bankers before. While the big news outlets SPAM you with general business and political news concerning Obama, Abe, Putin, and leaders like Germany’s Angela Merkel, it’s the underlying business reporting that lets you in on the real deals going on. Take, for instance, Japan choosing to select the Japan selects Fuji/Bell option for UH-X program. I’ll wager the reader did not even know before now Japan has military buildup planning going on. The UH-X program is one of many Japan’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) programs to develop next-generation weapons systems for the country’s “self-defense” forces. This deal, which ended up being a European-US collaboration to build choppers for Japan, put more than $2 billion in the Japanese coffers. The deal that was signed right after Russia left the G8, was sealed just in time for Abe’s most recent military buildup announcement. But there’s more still…
The ink is not yet dry on Mr. Abe’s militarism reform and already companies like Thales ramp up to produce advanced fighting machines like the Hawkei (4×4) protected mobility vehicle for Japan. Abe’s four-day visit to Hanoi, Vietnam last week was highlighted by a promise to provide Vietnam with patrol boats. Earlier this month the U.S. State Department has approved a possible $1.5 billion sale of two Lockheed Martin Corp Aegis combat systems to Japan to provide ABM capability there.
Estimates suggest that as much as 80% of Japan’s population is in opposition to Abe’s revision of the country’s military doctrine. This is yet another reason for wondering at what leverage Obama had to apply in order to get Japan in the new Cold War. With a nuclear energy industry in question, and the same old import demands the Japanese have always been constrained by, Abe’s country is in the thick of an international mess again. If Pearl Harbor was an act of Japanese survival, then beating plowshares into a new breed of Samurai swords today, it brings about some uneasiness among historians. This year the Japanese Defense Ministry asked for the largest budget since WW II, part of which is slated to buy Global Hawk drones, six hi-tech F-35 stealth fighters and 12 V-22 Osprey crossover aircraft, among other weapons systems. At this moment Japan’s military power is in the 9th position relative to the US, Russia, China, and other nuclear powers. With a bigger budget, and with fewer constraints on development, it’s clear the Japanese could easily overtake all other nations except the United States and Russia within a few short years. It’s already clear the makeup of Japanese forces is transitioning from purely defense oriented units, and into amphibious units capable of projecting military power. Furthermore, there are indications Japan’s legendary technological capabilities might be brought to bear in ironing out or enhancing such questionable US weapons systems as the F-35. Under the old doctrine, Japan was prohibited from participating in such military R&D roles.
Looking at these most recent events from an early warning standpoint, it’s crystal clear a new arms race is on. Abe’s stance toward Russia is a prime indicator, but the underlying militarism news underneath is a blaring alarm. From amphibious capability, to telltale hints at nuclear capability as in the CNN piece, Japan is already neck deep in advanced weapons development. This report from Defense News lays out the country’s ramped up effort in the space weapons business. Furthermore, South Korea as the final encirclement domino in the Obama plans for Cold War II, it’s representative of today’s dangerous détente game. The report linked to, from the Executive Intelligence Review (EIR), reflects on the ongoing power struggles. A quote from this says all we need to know about Obama’s strides via the comments of former high level officials from South Korea, including three former Foreign Ministers:
“While Seoul still views its historic alliance with Washington as crucial, the speakers repeatedly emphasized that the US will not be allowed to break Seoul’s dramatic move towards close cooperation with both China and Russia in the “Silk Road” process.”
On December 7th, 1941 the naval forces of the Empire of Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands. The event, once called a “day of infamy,” was actually provoked and fueled by events that mirror what’s going on in our world today. Any historian worth his or her salt, can verify, the United States administration back then not only provoked the Japanese, but US intelligence knew of the attack before it happened. America “sanctioned” Japan for expanding the nation’s military and economic sphere. Dependent on imports of various strategic value, the Japanese had no alternative. The cataclysm of world war expanded, hundreds of trillions in today’s currencies were bet, won, and lost as nations were destroyed and rebuilt. Tens of millions perished, billions paid the price, and we all continue to live under a spell.
So my title to this story is out of a natural fear, a justifiable consideration, and a potent suggested inquiry into Washington’s intentions. Is America prodding these nations into another war? Will the rising sun of Japan be economic and positive, or will the world witness at once a final chapter for our own futile systems? I do know it is time we all consider what is going on.
Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.