Coalition of the willing and able

Very good news, likely to be ignored by the American media, is receiving important play in Japan. The Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan's largest newspaper, reports that the Japanese government is "re—examining" (trans: preparing to revise) aspects of its self—imposed ban on arms exports.

The exercise is aimed at allowing Japan and the United States to work together more closely developing an anti—ballistic missile defense system. Specifically, Japan would revise its three principles constraining arms exports, to allow Japan to export parts for these ultra—high technology missiles.

 This is extremely important in both speeding—up and making more effective the deployment of an effective missile shield system, to be used by both countries, and shared with other allies, principally the coalition of the willing, presumably.

Contrary to many popular books proclaiming Japan's eclipse as a high technology powerhouse, Japan's micro—electronics, advanced materials, precision manufacturing, photo—optical, and robotics sectors, among other key areas, are capable of producing leading edge products which cannot readily be created elsewhere. An anti—missile defense system needs to push the state—of—the—art in all of these areas.

Very steadily, Japan has been stepping up to the plate and taking politically difficult moves to expand its participation in the grand alliance of free nations currently fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Japan recently suffered diplomatic casualties in Iraq, but is pressing ahead with deployment of military forces to Iraq, in a historic move.

Japan has a huge domestic peace movement, which continually argues that as the only victim of nuclear weapons use, Japan should never become militarily active. For the Japanese government to steadily push the envelope, as it has been doing, requires iron determination, and a willingness to bear high political costs.

To be fair, beginning in the Clinton Administration, Japan began integrating its defensive capabilities with America's armed forces at a much higher level than before. Japanese military assets now function in support roles as part of an integrated force deployment in Northeast Asia. The motive force, of course, is the obvious threat of North Korea's nuclear—armed madman, Kin Jong—il, who has lobbed missiles over Japan's skies with impunity. Given the historical animosities between Japan and Korea, and Kim instability, Japan is absolutely correct to be alarmed.

The Bush Administration has pushed these ties much further, and the benefits to both countries are multiplying. Japan is much more valuable to the United States as a source of enhanced military technology than it ever could be as a donor of funds, the role it played in the First Persian Gulf War. Japan, in turn, is moving closer to the core of the coalition of the willing — no small feat for a nation whose constitution forbids the maintenance of a military establishment.

All of this must be understood in the context of the fundamental forces at work. The Leading Nations of the World are forming a club, which will effectively operate as the Global Police. Like the best clique in a high school, one is either inside it, or wishes one could be. The price of admission is the contribution of forces to combat, the creation of a distinctive military competence, and the willingness to expend blood and treasure. The rewards of membership are access to the most advanced military technologies — completely beyond the means of nonmember states, even those as large and sophisticated as Germany, France, and Russia — and a place at the table when the Big Decisions are made.

Japan has decided firmly that it will be in the alliance, not outside of it, like the Axis of Weasels. Fortunately, Japan has a very major contribution to make, thanks to the technological and manufacturing genius of Japan's extremely intelligent and hardworking populace. Very good news, indeed.

Given that the Bush Administration receives steady and often vicious criticism for alleged unilateralism, the continued creation of this historically unprecedented alliance of the capable and willing, renders the criticism irrelevant.

Very good news, likely to be ignored by the American media, is receiving important play in Japan. The Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan's largest newspaper, reports that the Japanese government is "re—examining" (trans: preparing to revise) aspects of its self—imposed ban on arms exports.

The exercise is aimed at allowing Japan and the United States to work together more closely developing an anti—ballistic missile defense system. Specifically, Japan would revise its three principles constraining arms exports, to allow Japan to export parts for these ultra—high technology missiles.

 This is extremely important in both speeding—up and making more effective the deployment of an effective missile shield system, to be used by both countries, and shared with other allies, principally the coalition of the willing, presumably.

Contrary to many popular books proclaiming Japan's eclipse as a high technology powerhouse, Japan's micro—electronics, advanced materials, precision manufacturing, photo—optical, and robotics sectors, among other key areas, are capable of producing leading edge products which cannot readily be created elsewhere. An anti—missile defense system needs to push the state—of—the—art in all of these areas.

Very steadily, Japan has been stepping up to the plate and taking politically difficult moves to expand its participation in the grand alliance of free nations currently fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Japan recently suffered diplomatic casualties in Iraq, but is pressing ahead with deployment of military forces to Iraq, in a historic move.

Japan has a huge domestic peace movement, which continually argues that as the only victim of nuclear weapons use, Japan should never become militarily active. For the Japanese government to steadily push the envelope, as it has been doing, requires iron determination, and a willingness to bear high political costs.

To be fair, beginning in the Clinton Administration, Japan began integrating its defensive capabilities with America's armed forces at a much higher level than before. Japanese military assets now function in support roles as part of an integrated force deployment in Northeast Asia. The motive force, of course, is the obvious threat of North Korea's nuclear—armed madman, Kin Jong—il, who has lobbed missiles over Japan's skies with impunity. Given the historical animosities between Japan and Korea, and Kim instability, Japan is absolutely correct to be alarmed.

The Bush Administration has pushed these ties much further, and the benefits to both countries are multiplying. Japan is much more valuable to the United States as a source of enhanced military technology than it ever could be as a donor of funds, the role it played in the First Persian Gulf War. Japan, in turn, is moving closer to the core of the coalition of the willing — no small feat for a nation whose constitution forbids the maintenance of a military establishment.

All of this must be understood in the context of the fundamental forces at work. The Leading Nations of the World are forming a club, which will effectively operate as the Global Police. Like the best clique in a high school, one is either inside it, or wishes one could be. The price of admission is the contribution of forces to combat, the creation of a distinctive military competence, and the willingness to expend blood and treasure. The rewards of membership are access to the most advanced military technologies — completely beyond the means of nonmember states, even those as large and sophisticated as Germany, France, and Russia — and a place at the table when the Big Decisions are made.

Japan has decided firmly that it will be in the alliance, not outside of it, like the Axis of Weasels. Fortunately, Japan has a very major contribution to make, thanks to the technological and manufacturing genius of Japan's extremely intelligent and hardworking populace. Very good news, indeed.

Given that the Bush Administration receives steady and often vicious criticism for alleged unilateralism, the continued creation of this historically unprecedented alliance of the capable and willing, renders the criticism irrelevant.