December 28, 2003


Asian forces in Iraq signal global shift (Christopher Lingle, 12/29/03, CS Monitor)

[W]hile editorial writers and politicians anguished over the Bush administration's insensitivities toward the French and the Germans, US allies in Asia were stepping up to the plate.

In particular, the democratically elected governments of both Japan and South Korea have been generally supportive of US policy in Iraq and have pledged materiel and manpower to join coalition forces. Indeed, Japan pledged active involvement in the Paris Club, the informal group of official creditors studying ways to reduce Iraq's debt, before Mr. Baker even left on his trip last week. In another sign of solidarity, Japan is likely to forgive up to two-thirds of the $4 billion Iraq owes Japan. And Tokyo has offered $5 billion for reconstruction in Iraq.

In the cases of Japan and Korea, their decisions to support US efforts in Iraq came despite the fact that several Japanese diplomats and South Korean reconstruction engineers were gunned down this fall by Iraqi guerrilla forces in separate attacks. The two countries remained firm in their commitment of support in the face of considerable pressure from protestors urging their governments to avoid further entanglement in Iraq.

From an economic standpoint, Japan contributes significantly more than either Germany or France respectively. But even when the GDP of the two European powerhouses is combined ($3.7 trillion), it is only a smidgen more than is Japan ($3.55 trillion). Adding South Korea's GDP ($931 billion) to Japan's means that together they are significantly more important as economic forces than the European counterparts.

It is also true that Japan's population (127 million) is larger than either France's (60 million) or Germany's (82 million). The combined population of Korea and Japan represents a larger mass of humanity than the total of France and Germany.

Which is a problem for the Democrats, who are an Atlanticist (Europeanized) party.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 28, 2003 7:41 PM

I for one favor the "internalization" of whatever educational system produces Democrats that believe the "world" consists of -- Manhattan Island, well the UN Building; looking East, you can just see the Eiffel Tower; then Brandenburg Gate; and very faintly, is it the Kremlin? The rest is just not there.

Posted by: MG at December 29, 2003 8:37 AM

Last century was an American Century and this century is an American Century. I'm not sure why you're giving top billing to the supporting cast.

Posted by: David Cohen at December 29, 2003 5:16 PM

The Democrats right now are a Luddite and a surrender party; geography has little to do with it, except in connection to Paris and sometimes Berlin. And don't forget that the previous occupant of the White House was beholden to the Chinese and the Indonesians.

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 30, 2003 8:58 AM


Don't be too sure of the 21st being an "American" century.
The Chinese in particular seem to be moving aggressively to improve their lot in the world.

Although I don't expect the Chinese to seriously challenge the US' Earthbound military might for decades, if ever, they have plans to establish themselves in orbit, including a Moonbase.
If the prospect of nukes in space doesn't faze you, read Heinlein's 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress' for a look at what a Moonbase could mean for the Earth's balance of power.

Just as they are skipping land-line phone networks in favor of cellular, the Chinese seem to want to take military might to the next level, where they would have the advantage.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at December 30, 2003 11:17 AM


That's just silly. Their system can't compete in the long term. The more freedom they provide the more problematic just governing will become, never mind being a global/intergalactic competitor of the U.S.

Posted by: oj at December 30, 2003 11:29 AM

Sure, that's the most likely way for it to play out, but what if China splits into a fast-growing world power, on the coast, and an agricultural interior ?

Totalitarian governments have achieved great heights of power and progress in the past, and even if it's fleeting, the US could still get badly hurt.
After all, we owe at least some credit for the lack of a nuclear exchange with the USSR to plain ol' luck.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at December 31, 2003 12:01 AM

Credit? We should have sought the exchange.

Posted by: oj at December 31, 2003 2:04 AM

Perhaps, but only prior to about 1963. After that, don't even dream about it.

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 31, 2003 12:40 PM

Michael -- Last century was an American Century despite facing two totalitarian enemies.

Posted by: David Cohen at December 31, 2003 3:00 PM