Posts Tagged ‘Japan’
April 13th, 2012 at 1:43 pm
How Demographics Affect Defense Spending

The Daily Caller profiles a new book, Population Decline and the Remaking of Great Power Politics, that explains why aging and shrinking populations in China, Japan, and Europe will dramatically alter American foreign policy.

Some of the book’s findings are startling:

  • By the end of this decade India will surpass China as the most populous nation.
  • Japan will lose 1 million people a year by 2060, contracting from 127 million to less than 87 million.
  • Europe’s expensive social welfare model and aging populations will increasingly spur governments to scale back military spending in order to fund burgeoning entitlement program.
  • Even though America’s current rate of replacing itself gives it a demographic advantage, unless serious reforms are instituted to entitlement spending, it too will continue to cut military expenditures to pay for rapidly expanding benefits for the elderly.

India surpassing China means that democracy – not a communist-controlled autocracy – will be the government adopted by the most populous country on Earth.  It may also encourage the United States and India to forge a closer strategic partnership around shared values to check China’s ambitions.

And of course, we’ve already seen how the European model of heavy on services, light on defense is making the region – though not a few individual countries – increasingly irrelevant when it comes to making the world safe.

In his budgets, President Barack Obama has chosen to increase spending on entitlements and gut defense, arguing like a European that multilateral institutions such as the United Nations and NATO can accomplish more than any one nation.

Paul Ryan highlighted this danger in his latest budget proposal, “The Path to Prosperity: A Blueprint for American Renewal.”  In it, he faults President Obama for cutting $500 billion from the Defense Department instead of making the changes needed to entitlements so that Americans can be protected both at home and abroad.

Americans need not accept decline through badly prioritized budgets.  Instead, using innovative entitlement reforms like the ones in Ryan’s Path to Prosperity, we can have sustainable entitlement programs and a robust defense.

We’ve got the people.  Now we need to implement the right policies.

April 29th, 2011 at 1:10 pm
It Takes People to Grow an Economy

The Wall Street Journal reports China’s controversial one-child policy will have disastrous effects on the country’s capacity for economic growth, a stunning rebuke to policymakers who argue that predetermining fertility rates is key to eliminating poverty.

Since the one-child-per-couple policy went into effect in 1980, over 400 million births have been prevented, decreasing the amount of poor people and thus the rate of poverty.  (Though since the policy applies to everyone, it has also reduced the amount of children born to middle class and wealthy families; i.e. those most likely to produce entrepreneurs and innovators.)

An informal advocacy group in China is trying to overturn the one-child policy because of a generational imbalance that threatens continued economic growth:

They say China’s elderly population is expanding rapidly as Mao-era baby boomers retire, putting new burdens on society to cover the cost of their retirement. At the same time, China’s labor force is due to start shrinking in 2016, reversing the demographic phenomenon of a widening pool of low-cost labor that powered a manufacturing boom over the past three decades.

It takes people to grow an economy.  If Chinese policymakers continue to eliminate entrepreneurs and workers from the economy, they will soon experience the same chilling effects of the demographic winter settling in over Western Europe and Japan.

March 18th, 2011 at 1:48 pm
Precautionary Principle Applies to Government Assurances on Japan Radiation Levels

Environmentalists embrace the ‘precautionary principle’ in opposing human development of land.  In essence, the principle boils down to better-safe-than-sorry.

Though eco-crazies use the precautionary principle as a substitute for science that empowers government, Americans on the West Coast should put the teaching to another use: being skeptical of government assurances that radiation from Japan is too little to harm humans.

As one commentator puts it:

In addition, the radiation currently being measured does not take into account radiation emitted by pools of deadly spent nuclear rods, which only began to emit serious amounts of radiation a few days ago.

We will not know the true level of the threat until the radiation particles emitted as a result of the three explosions that devastated Fukushima hits the west coast over the weekend and into Monday.

The article goes on to recount similar guarantees that turned out to be fatally false.  The most recent example involved Ground Zero workers being told – erroneously – that the air on site was safe to breathe.  Tragically, hundreds of ground crew workers are suffering from crippling illnesses associated with inhaling toxic substances.

Now, we’re being told that buying over-the-counter potassium iodine pills verges on alarmism.  If the price of a helpful supplement puts one’s mind at ease, have at it.  After all, it’s not like the president and his party can boast a sterling track record when it comes to predicting outcomes in the economy, health care or job creation.

March 15th, 2011 at 1:45 pm
Overexposed Obama Undercutting Seriousness of the Presidency

No one begrudges a man his pastimes, but veteran White House reporter Keith Koffler wonders whether President Barack Obama might be better off canceling his upcoming ESPN appearance and focusing – at least in public – on any number of world crises.

This morning, as Japan’s nuclear crisis enters a potentially catastrophic phase, we are told that Obama is videotaping his NCAA tournament picks and that we’ll be able to tune into ESPN Wednesday to find out who he likes.

Saturday, he made his 61st outing to the golf course as president, and got back to the White House with just enough time for a quick shower before heading out to party with Washington’s elite journalists at the annual Gridiron Dinner.

With various urgencies swirling about him, Saturday’s weekly videotaped presidential address focusing on “Women’s History Month” seemed bizarrely out of touch.

Koffler also notes the growing concern among members of Congress that Obama is AWOL in the deficit reduction debate, seemingly content to let the legislative branch decide whether to shut down the government if negotiations fail on Friday.

Forget debating whether this president is able to make the right decision when he gets a 3am phone call.  So far, it looks like he can’t maintain focus during his regular workday.

March 11th, 2011 at 6:34 pm
Mid East Wars, Asian Quakes Reawaken Emphasis on Foreign Policy

There is never a dull day in the Oval Office.  In the midst of budget fights and 2012 politicking, President Barack Obama surely does not relish the foreign policy “distractions” that are dominating the news cycle, if not his personal schedule.

But Obama can’t continue to avoid his office’s innate leadership responsibilities in the wake of yet another humanitarian crisis.  First, he dithered while an enormous oil leak ravaged the Gulf of Mexico.  Then, he looked the other way while Middle East protests pushed the region into chaos.  If Obama lets this pitch from wrecked Japan sail by with America’s big stick resting on his shoulder, his disastrous responses will be the perfect metaphor for his catastrophic presidency.

January 13th, 2011 at 7:41 pm
U.S., Japan Discuss Joint Missile Defense Development

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is finding a much more favorable response from Japan than China about how to get tougher with North Korea.  On the Tokyo leg of Gates’ weeklong Asian tour, the Pentagon chief “discussed the potential export to allies of missile defense capabilities both countries are developing,” according to reporting by Reuters.

CFIF recently profiled missile defense expert Brian Kennedy about the rationale for implementing a broad-based system of missile defense to deter not just a North Korean nuclear strike, but also one from China.  You can read the entire article here.

December 17th, 2010 at 11:53 am
Just the Facts: America Still Leads the World in R&D Spending – By Far
Posted by Print

This week, the Battelle Memorial Institute reported that China will surpass Japan in 2011 as the second-largest spender on research and development, spending $154 billion to Japan’s $144 billion.  An interesting milestone, perhaps, but that should be kept in its proper perspective.  Specifically, that the United States still spends well over twice as much on R&D – over $405 billion in 2011.  That’s significantly more than China and Japan combined.

This isn’t merely esoteric or trivial.  To the contrary, it’s important to keep in mind at a time when naysayers here and around the globe question America’s continuing leadership role, and threaten to undermine American preeminence via regulations such as “Net Neutrality” and other big-government “solutions” in search of imaginary problems.

August 11th, 2010 at 7:39 pm
An Encore for Obama’s Apology Tour
Posted by Print

Last week, CFIF’s Timothy Lee did a terrific job laying out the justification for President Harry Truman’s decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 65 years ago this month to bring about the end of World War II.

As I mentioned in this space during President Obama’s visit to Japan back in November, the President doesn’t seem to appreciate the significance of that historical moment. At the time of his Asia trip, Obama was unwilling to close the door on attending an anniversary ceremony to commemorate the bombings — something no previous American president had even considered.

While we can be thankful that Obama himself didn’t make the trip (Michelle probably couldn’t get a connecting flight from Spain), the U.S. Ambassador to Japan, John Roos, is attending as a member of the official delegation — another unprecedented display of undue deference. Translation: same groveling, less press stateside.

Writing in the Korea Times, former Scripps Howard editor Dan Thomasson gives blistering rebuke:

The military-industrial complex that brutalized much of Asia for more than a decade, killing millions, had loosed the furies that in the end brought about the horror that was visited on these two cities and their residents. The dead and dying there were victims of their own government, not the United States.

No matter what revisionists would have us believe, without that ultimate retribution, America and its allies faced the loss of up to a million men and women in the invasion of the Japanese home islands where the fanatical leaders were prepared for whatever it took to resist, including the immediate murder of prisoners of war. President Harry Truman had little choice other than to give the order that ultimately would change the world and its balance of power.

There might have been some justification for the appearance of an American official at these ceremonies had there ever been such an official presence from the Japanese at any Pearl Harbor memorial or any admission of guilt in the horrendous atrocities committed on the Chinese, Koreans, Filipinos and Burmese.

The mass beheadings and rapes at Nanking are only one small example. As far as I know, no official Japanese wreath has been laid at the tomb of the U.S.S. Arizona where American sailors rest, true victims one and all.

It’s bad enough that the president is abandoning American greatness in the here and now. But it’s entirely intolerable for him to dishonor the memories of those who have secured it in the past.

August 6th, 2010 at 10:18 am
On This Date: Atomic Bomb Dropped on Hiroshima, Japan
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“He who controls the past controls the future.” ~George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

Sixty-five years ago today, the B-29 Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.  That decision was a no-brainer.  After four years of wretched, filthy, excruciating, scorched hellhole-by-hellhole Pacific warfare vividly portrayed by HBO’s recent series The Pacific, American leaders preparing to invade Japan expected one million U.S. casualties, not to mention two million Japanese deaths.  Apparently, however, that is of little import to contemporary historical revisionists.  Pontificating from the comfort of their armchairs and coffeehouses, they sanctimoniously second-guess President Truman’s decision and imply a false moral equivalency between the Japanese and American war efforts.  Imagine the misery of Iwo Jima multiplied by forty (we suffered 25,000 casualties at Iwo Jima), because that’s what such sophists suggest as the more humane alternative.

The facts simply do not support the revisionists’ self-righteous argument.  First of all, conventional bombing of Japanese cities killed over twice as many as the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs.  Would revisionists prefer that instead of ending the war more quickly with the atomic bombs, we should have burned Japan to the ground city-by-city, causing even more Japanese deaths?  Second, revisionists are wrong to say that Truman could have brought surrender by “demonstrating” a nuclear explosion on some deserted island.  After all, the Japanese didn’t surrender even after one bomb had incinerated Hiroshima.  They required a second at Nagasaki.  Third, would revisionists have been happier with a drawn-out blockade of Japan?  How many people would that have slowly starved to death?  How many American airmen, soldiers, sailors and Marines would have died through Japanese naval, air and ground attacks in that interim?  Fourth, as referenced above, do revisionists contend that an inch-by-inch invasion would have been preferable?  Not only would that have cost millions of American and Japanese lives, but it would have left Japan nothing more than a heap of dust.

This debate is about more than historical trivia.  In seeking to rewrite history, as Orwell suggested, revisionists encourage a future where a nation attacked refrains from vigorously defending itself and its ideals.  That, in turn, facilitates tyranny.  In the name of those who gave their lives in defending this nation, and in the name of future generations, our current generation cannot allow that to happen.

May 20th, 2010 at 3:24 pm
If Gangsters Get the Death Penalty for Drive-By Shootings, Why Can’t Rogue Governments Who Target Warships?

If a carload of Crip gang members shot up a Los Angeles Police Department bus killing 46 officers, every gang member involved would be convicted of murder and given the death penalty.  They wouldn’t be fined and given a stern warning.

So, why can’t that law enforcement approach be applied to rogue governments like North Korea who was identified as sinking a South Korean warship, an act that killed 46 South Korean sailors?  After all, “cop killers” are singled out for particularly harsh penalties precisely because they target the guardians of law, order, peace, and safety.  How can the mass murder of 46 military personnel aboard a sovereign nation’s vessel be any less of an attack on a nation’s security?

Sadly, that isn’t the tenor coming from South Korean officials and their allies.  They sound like they’re more interested in meaningless United Nations resolutions and economic sanctions.

The South’s president is vowing to “take strong resolute countermeasures against North Korea and make it admit its wrongdoing through strong international cooperation.”  Such cooperation includes calling the North’s attack “inexcusable” (Japan) and an “act of aggression” (USA), which are only slightly bolder than China’s declaration that the event is “unfortunate.”

The truly unfortunate reality is that we live in a world where terrorist groups and governments slaughter innocents under the guise of fictitious provocations, while so-called civilized societies let those who volunteer to defend their safety suffer the consequences of enlightened restraint.