Monday, October 10, 2005

The trend continues: so long, Schroder

Lost in the cacaphonous din of the Miers nomination is the following news: Angela Merkel of the Christian Democrats (now, there's a party title unlikely to fly in this country) appears to be on her way to becoming Germany's next Chancellor.

Although the government under her will be rather evenly mixed, the result of a compromise between her party and Schroder's Social Democrats, her replacement of Schroder as Chancellor continues a worldwide trend noted here.

The trend? In general (with the noted exception of Spain), in countries which have had post-Iraq war elections, those who backed the coalition have been electorally victorious, while those who bucked it are gone.


At 4:54 PM, October 10, 2005, Blogger SC&A said...

Yeah- Gerhard Schroeder moves to theback of the bus.

I'm heartbroken.

Now, watch for Joska Fischer to re-embrace his radical left roots.

At 8:07 PM, October 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bunnies. Good point.

"At least he's doing something," is a miserable reason to vote for somebody, since, among other things, it implies the "something" isn't either likely to be pleasant or effective.
It does, however, beat the do-nothing most of the time.
Better to have competing somethings.

At 11:11 AM, October 11, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While it's fine to gloat (I guess), I'd be careful to avoid mistaking this "trend" for changes in the popular support for the war in Iraq. To do so makes it seem like you view these countries as little "mini-mes" of the US, without their own domestic issues and internal political situations that may override concerns about Iraq.

German popular opposition to the war was around 70%. I doubt that has changed much. But taking part in the invasion and occupation of Iraq isn't a question now. I'd bet voters were more concerned about an 11% unemployment rate than getting a chance to send troops to Iraq.

Same in Japan, around 70% opposition. I doubt that anyone seriously considers the last election there to be a referendum on support for keeping their 200 or so soldiers in Iraq.

At 11:46 AM, October 15, 2005, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the formation of Japan's Self Defence Forces (SDF).

On July 1, 1954, Japan established SDF which was divided into three branches: Ground Self Defence Forces (GSDF), Maritime Self Defence Forces (MSDF) and Air Self Defence Forces (ASDF).

Over the past half-century these forces have evolved into one of the best-equipped militaries in the world.

After the Cold War, with Japan's politics becoming increasingly rightist, the nation's security policy and the nature and functions of the SDF have changed dramatically. This has caused great concern in neighbouring countries, and the direction the SDF is now charting has drawn widespread attention.

In May 1957 the Japanese Government published the Basic Policy for National Defence that defined the purpose of national defence and responsibilities of SDF.

The Basic Policy stipulated "the objective of national defence is to prevent direct and indirect aggression, but once invaded, to repel such aggression thereby preserving the independence and peace of Japan founded on democratic principles."

In June 1992, the Japan Diet (parliament) pushed through a Peacekeeping Operations bill, which granted Japan the right to send SDF troops abroad.

In August 1999 the Diet rammed through the Law Concerning Measures to Ensure the Peace and Security of Japan in Situations in Areas Surrounding Japan, under which Taiwan was included as part of "situations in areas surrounding Japan."

In October 2001 the Diet approved three bills concerning terrorism, including the Anti-terrorism Special Measures Law, which further expanded the scope of SDF activities, loosened the restriction on use of weapons and set the precedent for sending troops overseas at the time of war.

To co-operate with the United States in Iraq, the Japanese Government hastily enacted the Iraq Reconstruction Assistance Special Measures law last year. It was this law that was used to "legally" permit SDF to play a role in wartime Iraq without UN authorization or a request from the host country.

On May 20, 2004, Japan's House of Representatives passed seven contingency bills to supplement the three existing laws.

Before these laws came into effect, Japan's SDF could resort to force only when invaded. But now SDF can initiate attacks as long as they feel threatened and even launch pre-emptive strikes. Meanwhile, the SDF operation area has expanded from Japanese territory to the surrounding areas and even far beyond.

There's facts, which I have, and then there is the 70% statistics, which Unknown Blogger has.

The facts tell one story, the statistics tell another.

The audience gets to decide which one they want to believe in, although it would not necessarily mean the most popular one is the reality.

People should take care to distinguish the support for the War in Iraq, and support for a solid Japan-US alliance.

Personally, I don't give a damn for what nations will contribute troops to Iraq. The best of the best, the British, can't even remove the corruption from Basra and the militia threat that killed Vincent, a freelance reporter.

To do the job of Iraq correctly, America must do it herself, with American troops and American command decisions. However flawed people may think of them, they are infinitely better than any other's.

Therefore Americans in the United States should be far more concerned about the political and military alliances with such nations as Poland, Britain, and Japan than with the substance or support concerning Iraq.


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