Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Blow Out the Candle
Today, July 8th is Dr. Michael J. Green's birthday.

While some have celebrated CSIS's Japan Chair Dr. Green's birthday a bit early, I fear I am almost too late, just one minute to midnight.

It appears, however, that he is celebrating in Tokyo where his friends are. As Shisaku has noted, he is busy giving interviews to the Japanese press. Yes, they are tired old interviews with the same tired responses, but Tokyo loves the answers.

His many Japanese friends and clients probably felt assured that he was quick to mention the China threat and Tokyo's need for the F-22 Raptor. After noting* that he did not think China had much political power, he went on to observe:
But China's military buildup worries me. The reason is because the country has significantly increased its capabilities in such fields as satellites, cyberspace, and submarines. The aim is to demonstrate China's presence in the South China Sea, the Taiwan Strait, and the East China Sea. The United States should sell F-22 fighter jets to Japan and F-16s to Taiwan to maintain the power balance. It would be better for Japan, the United States, Australia, and India to conduct maritime exercises. There is a need to give the impression that the more China pursues its unclear military buildup, the tighter the solidarity among its neighboring countries will become.
This is what Green's hosts want to hear, but it is a dangerous declaration. Starting last week, there has been a rigorous debate publicly and privately about selling the F-22 to Japan. The answer is NO by the greater majority of government officials and analysts of Asian regional security issues. The discussion started by two CSIS Pacfic Forum newsletters played out on the pages of The Nelson Report and a number of defense-related publications, both open source and classified. All agreed that it was dangerous if not irresponsible to allow Tokyo to use the F-22s as a test of the U.S.-Japan Alliance and to give the Japanese the impression that it was possible and reasonable for them to acquire these advanced strategic aircraft.

In short, Dr. Green, formerly of the Bush Administration's National Security Council and best friends with the new Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Dr. Kurt Campbell, is providing misleading analysis to his Japanese friends. He is setting them up for disappointment, either by design or ignorance.

Thus, the birthday candle only for one.

LATER: *Sorry, but I neglected to note the newspaper citation for the Green interview. It is the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, July 7, 2009, p. 5.


  1. I can think of more reasons why Japan should not get the Raptor than I can of reasons why they should. The reason why they should boils down to: because it is a neat toy! My mom never let me buy toys I couldn't afford and with Japan's shrinking defense budget, I don't think they can afford the Raptor...

  2. and they would be unwilling to protect its secrets...


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