Sunday, January 17, 2010

Stuck in a Bad Romance

Lady Gaga must have written this song with the US-Japan Alliance Managers in mind. She certainly caught on to their dialogue and the state of this Pacific relationship.


Caught in a bad romance

Ra Ra-ah-ah-ah
Roma Roma-ma
Oh la-la

Want your bad romance

On Friday, January 15th, the public portion of the two-day 16th Annual Japan-US Security Seminar was held. What started as a Japanese initiative to create and cultivate a group of Americans sympathetic to the remilitarization of Japan and who could provide access to the inner workings of U.S. defense policy has evolved into a Japanese government and American defense industry collaboration to maintain, promote, and mythologize this constructed group of  American and Japanese Alliance managers.

This group so often talks about architecture, because it is architecture. They create a fragile structure based on increasingly out of date plans and inadequate codes. The annual seminar simply slaps a coat of historically incorrect paint on a historic home.

This year the conclave was held earlier than usual and in neither Hawaii nor San Francisco. Instead, it was in Washington, DC on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the US-Japan Security Treaty (January 19th). The venue was the very expensive and elegant Willard Hotel. It is in the lobby of this famous hotel during the Grant Administration that the term "lobbying" was coined .

I want your ugly
I want your disease
I want your everything
As long as it’s free
I want your love
Love love love
I want your love

The day prior to the Seminar was the Alliance Manager's  "Young Leaders Program." This is designed to cultivate the next generation of Alliance Managers. It introduces a select group of younger scholars to well-known Asia policy types, to the good life (all got to stay at the Willard), and to that special feeling of being included in private, invitation-only dialogues. It entices like a drug.

In all, it ensures good behavior. If the young public intellectual to-be expresses skepticism or asks where the money is coming from, then those jaunts to the onsens and mountains at Aspen are over. Oh yes, they are looking for more candidates to participate in this program. I say, go for it. You will be fed well and many nice things can be said about free travel to Hawaii.

You know that I want you
And you know that I need you
I want it bad
A bad romance

To a man, and they were all men, the Alliance Managers at the public seminar confessed how unprepared they were for the Hatoyama Administration. None had expected much change in Japanese foreign policy. And some even thought like Yukio Okamoto, Japan's foreign policy shadow shogun, how it was "wonderful" that Hatoyama wanted a "close and equal relationship."  As Okamoto admitted, they had misinterpreted what equal meant. It did not have any relationship to increasing the reach and capabilities of the Japan's military.

Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage agreed, they had been "too complacent." He too confessed he did not anticipate the changes in Japan. Armitage felt that they (assume the Managers) still needed to have "a real understanding of the real hearts of the leadership of the DPJ."  For right now, he felt that the DPJ is not speaking the same language as those interested in strengthening the Alliance. The new Japanese government just did not understand deterrence.

Armitage a longtime consultant to Japanese interests, is best known for organizing a nine-page election-year vanity paper, written primarily by Dr. James Przytup, that summarizes the discussions of the Japan-US security seminars during the 90s. The Armitage Report served as the basis for Bush Administration's Japan policy. He is also known for having revealed to the press the identity of a covert American operative, Valerie Plame.

President of the Pacific Forum Ralf Cossa introduced Okamoto and Armitage as "two of the superstars" of Alliance management.


[This post will be in two parts. The music just makes me wanna dance...or something.]

1 comment:

  1. I've been all excited about today's anniversary and now we have some music---music from this century!---to help celebrate.

    Happy US-Japan Security Treaty 50th Anniversary.


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