By NAT WEINSTEIN
In a brazen Aug. 26 New York Times editorial titled, “Japan Discovers Defense,” this very influential voice of American imperialism tells Japan it must break with its post-World War II rejection of militarism and serve as window-dressing for a U.S.-led NATO-like “peace-keeping” force in Asia.
The editors take care to express satisfaction with every step by Japan toward re-militarization, but follow it with a diplomatically-worded critique of its inadequacy. For instance, the editors write:
Despite defense spending of more than $40 billion a year, Japan’s military strength remains limited. Tokyo relies mainly on American power and American forces based in Japan, South Korea, and the Western Pacific to keep its territory and the surrounding region safe from hostile attack. [From whom?]
Japan has no nuclear weapons of its own and no ability to transport its forces by air or sea beyond its immediate area. Its troops have not engaged in combat since World War II and its constitution bars waging war or threatening to use military force.
We get a clue as to the possible source of a “hostile attack” anticipated by The Times editors in the following: “But in recent months, Tokyo has shown a new willingness to stand up to North Korean bullying, deflect criticism from China and involve itself in regional defense arrangements [emphasis added].”
And to make clear that Japan had better not get any ideas of using a massive build-up of its military against the world’s chief cop and enforcer headquartered in Washington D.C. and the Pentagon, the editorial declares: “Wisely, Tokyo and Washington are moving to update [their] alliance to give Japan a more explicit military role in responding to regional crises, like tensions on the Korean Peninsula.”
In a nutshell, The Times editorial is intended to shake Japan out of its pacifist stupor which-it is important to note-was imposed on imperialist Japan by its American imperialist victors after its defeat in the Second World War.
This all takes place while the U.S. bipartisan capitalist government has been triumphantly celebrating its victory over the former Soviet Union and has launched a series of so-called “peace-keeping” military assaults around the world.
In fact, despite imperialism’s euphoria over its Cold War victory, which, by the way, was pretty hot at times (the Korean and Vietnam Wars), smaller and larger hot wars have been on the increase everywhere in the world. We need mention only two, the most recent wars on Iraq and Yugoslavia.
The U.S.-led United Nations assault on Iraq was really the opening shot fired against any uprising by any nation or its peoples who dare to rise up against the American imperialist attempt to impose a Pax Americana on the world. The historical precedent for this Latin term, which means American Peace, was the Pax Romana, established over 2000 years ago by the Roman Empire.
And the U.S.-led NATO war on Yugoslavia was the opening barrage of American imperialism’s counter-revolutionary war on the remaining social conquests of the degenerating workers’ states in Eastern Europe and Asia. That’s where The Times editorial fits into the Pax Americana plans for world conquest set in motion by American imperialism.
The Clinton administration wants a massive build-up of the so-called “defensive” military capability of Japan to serve as the spine of a world police force in Asia. But just as the United Nations served in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq as the facade for American imperialism; and just as NATO served the same purpose in Eastern Europe, now an Asian “NATO” seemingly headed by Japan would serve as camouflage for the world’s chief cop in Asia.
But it’s far from certain that Japan will serve as the agent of American imperialism or that the Japanese people will meekly serve as cannon fodder for American capitalist interests-or for Japanese capitalist interests, for that matter.
Furthermore, Japan is locked in the vise of a near decade-long financial and economic crisis. Large sections of the Japanese working and middle classes have already lost the sense of economic security imposed on Japan by the mere existence of the Chinese workers’ state across the Sea of Japan.
The guarantee to China’s rural and urban working class of an “iron rice bowl”-that is, cradle-to-grave economic security resulting from China’s socialist revolution some 47 years ago-compelled Japanese capitalism to guarantee a version of such an economic guarantee to its working class. (A similar system of relative full employment had been established in post-war Western Europe in the face of the former Soviet bloc countries system of cradle-to-grave economic security.)
The Stalinist governments in all degenerating workers’ states have eroded the system of cradle-to-grave economic security. This is the result of their desperate attempt to transform themselves from a privileged caste, with no right to private ownership of the means of production, into a full-blown capitalist class.
But scores of millions of workers in these countries have lost their jobs and face a future impoverishment typical of the neocolonial world and thus represent a huge and irremovable obstacle in the road to the Stalinist bureaucracy’s march toward capitalist restoration.
And finally, the growing crisis in both China and Japan, which is really an expression of the deepening crisis of world capitalism as a whole, will engender oppositional forces to the best-laid plans of American imperialism, along with that of its grudging allies and subordinates in China, Japan, and elsewhere in the world.