3 Aug 2015

Japanese military abroad

Changes to Japan's constitution that would allow it to send military forces abroad in frontline combat roles are overwhelmingly opposed by most Japanese.

But as in a lot of 'democracies'... what the people want means little.

Quote of the week so far:

"The Wall Street Journal covered the core event of the drama in these terms: “Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a significant stride (on the 15th) toward his goal of expanding the role of Japan’s military, as the main chamber of parliament passed a package of national security bills despite scant public support and doubts about its constitutionality.

“The passage of the bills enables Mr. Abe to make good on a promise he made to U.S. lawmakers to approve ‘by this summer’ legislation that allows Japan to take on more responsibility under their bilateral security agreement.”

The stunning complacency the Journal betrays here echoes Abe’s own. Somebody needed to make the point that Abe’s primary accountability is not to U.S. lawmakers but to the people of Japan."

  - Michael Hoffman, The Japan Times


  1. Typical of US 'journalism as entertainment', there was only brief mention of the recent change in Australian
    leadership. Given that the current Liberal Party is an egregious misnomer , are we to assume the down under electorate as ridiculous as those in
    the US?

    1. The terrain is a bit different to what you are used to.
      The Liberal Party is more than one thing at the same time, and is less different in policy to the Australian Labor Party – its direct opponent – than say the Republicans are to the Democrats in the US.
      The differences of policy would seem very minor to you. Both endorse a strong welfare net, they have much the same foreign policy.
      The Liberal party is both liberal and conservative (yes it’s possible)

      Conservatives – as in those who fit the definition of social conservative, Right-winger, what have you… - attach themselves to the Liberal Party because they literally have no other place to go if they want a foothold in a party that can actually gain power – and even the Liberal Party cannot ordinarily win against the Australian Labor Party (ALP) without being in coalition with the Nationals, who represent rural Australia.

      But the “Liberal” refers to economic liberalism. We distinguish between large and small “L” liberal accordingly.
      Except in abstraction we don’t tend to use the word ‘liberal” in the way you do, because much of the population are liberal by your definition anyway. Incendiary social issues like abortion come up but they side-shows to the one thing everyone cares about which is the economy.

      Tony Abbott represented the Right of the party, though I should point out he is also most responsible for the political destruction of One Nation, the closest thing we ever had to a functioning Tea Party. Even our Right wingers are seldom THAT Right wing.
      There was a crisis on the other side – the ALP - that let him get his hands on the Prime Ministership (long story…). Coming up behind him were all those actual conservatives who tap into the Liberal Party for a platform a lot of the party does not endorse.
      The sum effect was that he dismayed the electorate, who – being by and large indifferent to ideology – did not see the shadow of those conservatives falling over the government. The Liberal Party would have been obliterated in the next election, which is about a year away, so the centrist and socially liberal elements of the Liberal Party reasserted themselves. Unity wasn’t worth losing the election. Plus some of them would have been genuinely dismayed at how far to the Right the Liberal Party had drifted.

      A former Liberal Party Prime Minister actually resigned from the party in his later years because he felt it had become too conservative.. the drift had been going a long time.

      Remember the Prime Minister is not a president. You don’t vote for the person, you vote for the party, and the leader of the party that wins becomes Prime Minister. The party can sack him if they so vote - you can sack your own boss. It’s not as cataclysmic as a US president vacating the White House mid-term.

      The conservative wing of the Liberal Party are VERY unhappy campers now (much to my delight), but if they leave the party they are politically dead. If they form another party it will just sit on the side-lines in total impotence. They are screwed for years to come now, in my opinion. The politically disinterested have sensed their presence. The Liberal Party dabbled with genuinely Right wing policy and every poll promptly went to shit. The people and all of the non-Murdoch media eviscerated them for it. They won’t do that again any time soon.
      I’m quite gleeful.