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Why are U.S forces still in Japan

Squareboy

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:box: I do not see why there are still U.S. forces in Japan, it makes no sence to me, and what are they doing, just sitting there wasting America's money? I do not see anything for them to do in Japan, the war was so long ago, we still have forces in Germany too, I do not understand why this is and I would like to know, I also want to know how many troops there are, even if it is a small number, I do not see the purpose!
 

hua he

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Originally posted by Squareboy
:box: I do not see why there are still U.S. forces in Japan, it makes no sence to me, and what are they doing, just sitting there wasting America's money? I do not see anything for them to do in Japan, the war was so long ago, we still have forces in Germany too, I do not understand why this is and I would like to know, I also want to know how many troops there are, even if it is a small number, I do not see the purpose!

If US force are out of Japan, Korea, Guam, Singapore, the East Asia will be in chaos again and economy here will be blowed severely. If that happens, US will lose more money there (of course US will lose it's influence here).
 

Enfour

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The Consititution of Japan (drawn up after WW2 and supervised by the US) prevents Japan from having an active millitary force except for minimal defence efforts. Hence the Japanese Self Defence forces.

(However Koizumi is trying to have this section of the constitution changed)

This means that the US troops are here to ensure that Japan has an adequate defence force but this also serves as a convenient location for US troops to ensure stability and control for the region.

From Japan, the US can keep a close eye on the North Koreans, the Chinese and be close to other "hot spots" (read communists)
 

senseiman

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"Stability and control of the region" really just means the US having the ability to launch armed attacks on any country it chooses. Those bases, never used to actually defend Japan, were the launching pad of some of the most horrendous atrocities of the Cold war commited in Southeast Asia by US B 52 bombers.

The presence of US troops here has absolutely nothing to do with defending Japan. Who is going to invade Japan? The Japanese "self defence forces" are in fact one of the most powerful military forces on the planet. The Japanese annual defence budget is more than 40 Billion dollars, enough to rank it in the world's top 10. This is far more than any other Asian power, including China. No country in the region is in any position to pose any real threat to Japan. North Korea has no Navy, meaning the only thing it could do would be to launch a few missiles at Japan, which would then result in its immediately being wiped out by American missiles. This would happen with or without US troops in Okinawa and mainland Japan. Ditto for China. The actual likelihood of these worst case scenarios happening is almost zero, the threat has been blown up to huge proportions by politicians in order to scare the public. In Japan it serves the purposes of right wingers who want to re arm Japan and do away with article 9 of the constitution, in the US it serves the purpose of the neo conservatives who are always looking for an excuse to extend US military dominance.

The US actually doesn't pay very much to keep its forces stationed in Japan, a large percentage of the costs are paid directly by the Japanese government. The Japanese government is also currently footing the bill for the construction of an artificial island off the coast of Okinawa that will be used as an airstrip for US military forces. This island will completely cover one of Okinawa's last remaining Coral reefs and is being done completely against the will of the local population, who have no say in matters that will massively effect their lives. The cost will be about 3 billion dollars to the central government and the island will only be useful for about 15 years. This is an absurd and destructive waste of resources being carried out in the alleged interests of security. But really the only people who benefit are the construction firms that build the facilities and the right wing ideologues who want to turn Japan into a war machine again. Its really disgustin.
 

Maciamo

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I won't add much to what Senseiman already eloquently explained.

US troops are not absolutely necessary for the defence of Japan or the atability of the region, given the fact that they have other bases like Guam and in South Korea. But I understand that on a strategic point of view, it's better to be implanted in as many areas as possible to gain a better control of the region.

As for Germany, I really wonder what they are still doing there, if not spending their $ to give a push to the newly ailing German economy. I don't think Germans complain about it anyway. I guess that US troops are less welcome and more conspicuous in Asia than they'd be in North or Western Europe, where they could pass for locals in civilian clothes.
 

noyhauser

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The reason why the United States is in Okinawa and other bases is because the Japanese government wants them there. That窶冱 what is completely missing from most debates of this sort. After the Cold war, across Europe and Asia nations were pulling out all the stops to keep bases in their regions. The Fears for an American Withdrawal from Europe were particularly acute, where nations like Germany lobbied hard to keep their bases open. Japan is no different. Okinwa, is a hedge towards all potential threats towards Japan, as well as protection of sea lanes in and out of Japan, as well as a closer seaport for the US military to carry out operations across the world. You are correct in the assertion that the Japanese military is one of the most effective in the world, but it still isn窶冲 as effective as the largest military in the world as a security guarantor, and it is severely handicapped. Japan has no Carriers, nuclear submarines, its navy is seriously hampered because of a lack of long range antiship missiles, or an effective air to ground capability. (The Japanese excel at Air to Air capabilities though). The Japanese military is severely handicapped to fight a war on its own, because certain weapon platforms are conceived to be 窶徙ffensive窶 and therefore politically unusable because of article 9. For example, long range antiship missiles. Since the Chinese now have 4 Sovremenny Class Destroyers from Russia, carrying 8 SS-22 Sunburn missiles, which have an effective range far exceeding and far more effective than the Harpoon missiles that the Japanese destroyers all carry. Pretty well, the PRC navy can lob shots at the Japanese navy while it has no recourse. Bilateral deals with the United States allow the JSDF to not specialize in areas that could have a 窶徙ffensive capability窶 but allow the United States to carry out those capabilities in its stead. Without those capabilities the JSDF cannot fight a war at all.

Japan窶冱 nearest rival today is China, which has no bilateral contacts with Japan or the United States ion security issues and has acted belligerently in the past to its neighbours (Spratleys, Vietnam, Tibet, Taiwan, India, Kyrgystan, and Russia.) What if the future, after a economic collapse, the Chinese communist party starts to rely on nationalistic arguments and becomes increasingly overt in its aggression as a sign of its power to its people (Case in point Serbia 1998 under Milosovich during the Kosovo crisis). An economic collapse in China is not a far fetched occurrence either.. Having an immediate American presence there is a hedge against that threat. Okinawa today is not there to protect Japan itself, but is the main base to defend Taiwan. Since it would be a diplomatic disaster for the United States to place forces in Taiwan, there is a need for a nearby base to defend that island. Without the American protection for the island, which China has made provocations before, most recently in 2000 ahead of the presidential elections, confidence in the Taiwan government would decline. Given precarious nature of the Asian markets, having a crisis of this sort, would send those economies into a tailspin. Imagine the economic repercussions of China invading Taiwan, especially on Japan with its major economic difficulties. Therefore having a hard presence nearby is a deterring factor. Sure if you didn窶冲 have bases nearby N. Korea wouldn窶冲 attack directly with its nuclear missiles because, but it may be more apt to start more infiltration missions, or armed incursions into Japan. Or would the China use provocation to force a crisis and create a panic in Japan, to destabilize its economy? Is it really far fetched? Would the US use its nuclear guarantee then? Where would you draw the line? That窶冱 why the United States maintained a huge conventional Force in Europe during the cold war while it had a massive Nuclear force behind it. By maintaining a visible military force, N. Korea would have less of a bargaining position vis a vis the United States and Japan, through its own military force. By possessing Nuclear weapons, N. Korea has dramatically increased its bargaining position, by having the implied nuclear threat, even if it isn窶冲 going to use it. It is now able to pretty well preclude any sort of invasion, ever, from the United States for fear of an attack on Seoul or Osaka. When the new National Missile Defence programs come on line, the ability for North Korea to exert such an influence over Japan will be diminished significantly.

If you want I can go into Germany窶 case for American Troops too窶ヲ since its my area of specialty (European Security)

BTW I don窶冲 have any figures for Okinawa in particular, but I do have figures for Japan on American military deployment.

US army-1900 personnel- 1 Corps HQ
Navy, 5200,@Yokosuka and Sasebo
Marines-20,000, 1 Marine Expeditionary force @ Okinawa (these are the troops that would be immediately sent to Taiwan in the event of a invasion. )
Airforce-11,300-90 combat aircraft,
 

Maciamo

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Very interesting. That really sounds like a specialists' knowledge. So half of the US forces in Japan are in Okinawa, and these are the ones that would protect Taiwan. Does the Japanese government also have to support them financially, and does Taiwan also contribute to the bill ?
 

senseiman

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You make some interesting points, Noyhauser, but there are some other things worth considering. If we agree that China is Japan's biggest rival, then it is worth considering what the actual security threat is to Japan from China. I think you play up the case that China is a danger too much. You make a long list of countries China has fought wars with, but the most recent of those (a border war with Vietnam) was 24 years ago. A lot has changed since then.

The China of the 1970s was an isolated communist state emerging from decades of warfare and social upheaval. Today's China is one of the most important members of the world economy. It is a member of the World Trade Organization and its annual bilateral trade with the United States is in excess of 100 billion dollars. With more American and Japanese companies opening factories in China each year this figure can only go rise.

China' s economy, much like Japan's economy 40 years ago, is almost entirely based on exports to the west. So why would China ever do something, like say attacking Taiwan or Japan when such an action would absolutely destroy its own economy by cutting off its lifeblood? I think the situtation in China would have to get unbelievably bad for the party leaders to even contemplate military action, which could only worsen China's economic situation. It just doesn't make any sense, at least not in the world today.

Is also worth noting that China's military power is not particularly strong, at least in terms of its ability to project its power. It has an antiquated small navy that is incapable of invading Taiwan, which has modern US equipment, with or without US intervention.

The likelihood of a war between Japan and China is even more far fetched, reaching into the realm of science fiction. Japan is an island nation with a lot of natural advantages that have prevented it from ever being invaded. I am sure Japan's self defence forces are adequate to the task of defending Japan, even without the offensive weapons capabilities you outlined.

I understand the theory behind the flexible response ability that US ground forces in Okinawa provide, but I feel it is unecessary and flawed to assert that this benefits Japan's security.

Everyone in the US administration is screaming bloody murder about the North Koreans trying to use nuclear blackmail to gain concessions from the US. But what they fail to mention is the only thing North Korea wants from the US is a non-agression treaty! That is, the North is making plans to defend itself from a threatened US attack and will only give this plan up if the US agrees to not attack them. Hardly seems threatening to me and I think there are a lot of backhanded motivations driving the US to deliberately keep relations with North Korea hostile.

With the recent invasion of Iraq and President Bush's announcement that the US has the sole right to attack any country on earth, it is abundantly clear that US military power can no longer be viewed as a stabilizing force in the world. Quite the contrary, I believe the presence of US military forces and the views of the people who command them have the potential to be far more destabilizing than North Korea or China . The North Korean 'crisis' is one example, as the only way a war in Korea could conceivably start these days would be with a US invasion of North Korea, not a Northern attack on the South. Given the philosophy and track record of the current administration this is not an entirely unthinkable situation and it is a much more immediate threat to Japan's economic and military security than any potential threat from China or North Korea. For this, among many other reasons I feel Japan would be better off without US troops stationed here.
 

Ldy Yakuza

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Maybe someone has already posted this, but let me just explain simply what is told to me. I do not know too much about the other branches of the military, but I know that the U.S. Navy has a phrase they go by called ``Sea Power`` This idea basically means we are constantly making our military presence known throughout the world.
But more importantly the U.S Navy is made up of fleets. There are about, I believe, 7fleets around the world. Each fleet has an AOR or area of responsibility. One of the most important would be the 7th fleet. Reason being, the AOR of the 7th fleet is from the international date line to the Indian Ocean. So anywhere in between those locations is under the command of the 7th fleet. The 7th fleet command ship (the ship in charge of all ship`s and bases in the AOR) and command is located in Japan.
So,as easy as it may sound to just make the American military get out of Japan, its really not that simple
 

senseiman

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Of course its not that simple. Getting the US troops out of Japan obviously isn't going to happen anytime soon because there are too many entrenched interests keeping them here. Still, for the sake of the Okinawan people who have to put up with 20% of their land being used by the US military I think the possibility of them packing their bags is one worth considering. Bureacratic rationale aside, I don't see why the US's desire to keep a worldwide network of military bases should take precedence over the Okinawan (and other) people's right to their own land.
 

noyhauser

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I want speak to some of the areas you do bring up Senseiman like the characterization of Chinese government as a normal nation under International Political Economy standards as somewhat misleading.

First you have to look at how the Chinese foreign investment system. Unlike any other Asian Tigers, investment in china requires a company to build the plant there, teach Chinese workers how to produce the item, the technology behind it, and must invest in the equipment to produce it. Now here is the kicker, state ownership must always be at 50%+1. So in the event of any sort of crisis, the Chinese government can pretty well walk away with all the technology that they want, and western companies would be left hanging. This is what has been happening in China over the last two decades, Western companies (many Japanese ) have been investing their best technology, while the Chinese government learns the technology and keeps it for themselves afterwards, using it for modernization. Therefore the effects of a western withdrawal from china would not be as bad as in other Export oriented nations because of these changes.

My point about the Chinese government becoming increasingly nationalistic would be based upon an economic collapse and instability in the Communist Party. This is not a unlikely scenario, given the very rapid growth pace of the Chinese economy, that often sees collapse. Case in Point Thailand 1980~96. WTO membership within this case actually may become a scapegoat for the collapse and unleash a wave of anti-western nationalism. What was the largest demonstration in Tiannamen since 1989??? The protests for US bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade in 1999 (which I think the US deliberately did). So when the CCP gets into trouble they could ride a wave of nationalism and then follow calls to be more belligerent. Who would be #1 on the Hit list?? Taiwan. (If you already are in an economic collapse, its not going to matter what you do to your economy after that)

Assertions about Chinese poor navy strength are becoming inaccurate. Bilateral deals between China and Russia, especially with the two main companies in the Russian arms industry has been steadily increasing, which has increased China窶冱 military standing.. Two Sovremmenny窶冱 and two indigenous counterparts (luhai class which are Sovremmennys under license) would rip apart the Kidd class destroyers that the Taiwanese have. Without an Aegis equipped destroyers, The Taiwanese need American Seapower to combat these threats. Furthermore, Russia has committed to build the submarines that will replace the 1960s era units the Chinese rely upon. These submarines will be the next generation of Russian submarines and will at least be the equivalent of the older 688+ (or 732 type), which is in American service. The Chinese Nuclear option, which has become dilapidated over the last 20 years, has received a Huge boost with the development and deployment of the DF-31, which increases the Flexibility and robustness of the Chinese Nuclear option. (its pretty well a truck mobile solid fueled ICBM) Up to this point the Chinese had static liquid fueled rockets, and didn窶冲 even store their nukes in the same place as their launchers, which would take nearly a day to launch. The Chinese air force has also been building up, with the purchase of 228 SU-27s (a fighter as capable as the F-15As and even the F-15C).

Now I think you also don窶冲 understand what the nature of threats are today.. A full invasion into Japan will never be in the cards, but what about a bit of saber rattling? That is not farfetched, especially with China. My best example is the so called 窶徇issile exercises窶 that took place off the coast of Taiwan during the1996 election to scare voters from voting for the KMT nationalist candidate. If the US bases weren窶冲 there, than these exercises would be even more common. Enough of them would push Economic markets into a spiral. Remember, capital inflows move away from instability. Having the American Military nearby keeps that stability in place, as a guarantee to investors.

Completely hypothetically now -True the Japanese military could probably fight off a Chinese military if it ever for a completely insane reason invades Japan, even with its major handicaps. But No military likes to have procurement holes, especially ones as large as Japan. Having really no Air to Ground capability is about one of the largest capabilities holes I have ever seen. If the American-Japanese alliance wasn窶冲 to exist then the Japanese military would procure weapons and systems to fill these holes. The biggest one might well be the Japanese production of a Nuclear weapon as its own deterrence. (no matter what you say about china, they do have nukes and are Japan窶冱 traditional competitors, and I don窶冲 see an Asian Union that is keeping them peaceful like the EU) Then you see how much harder it would be to keep article 9 of the constitution intact.

All north Korea wants is a non-aggression treaty? No really, all they want is to drag more concessions out of the United States. I don窶冲 need to remind you who initiated the Korean War, who initiated a nuclear program in 1985, far before any talk of a 窶從on aggression treaty窶? Kim Jong Il likes playing cat and mouse games with the US, he did a good job of it with Clinton in 1994, getting two light water reactors out of it (which were never built), and 500000 liters of Fuel oil in the mean time, for what amounted to a empty process. What happened to President Kim Dae-jung's Sunshine policy? That went over well. Really North Korea is the Chinese little terrier. Pyongyang is utterly dependant on China for its economic means. If the Chinese were really interested in 窶徇aintaining peace and security窶 they would pressure the N. Koreans to disarm and press for major reconciliation talks. But no窶ヲ China likes the Job Pyongyang is doing and keeps America on its toes.

I窶冦 going to finish this post later窶ヲ I will answer you questions Maciamo later, but I窶况e got to finish my Abstract thats due in by the end of the week
 

noyhauser

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Okay part #2

For Japan, like the United States, political stability is vital for Japan窶冱 economic arena. As I mentioned, the threat is not of a full scale invasion, but of a belligerent acts that destabilize its economy. For an example, look at the effects on the Nikkei after the N. Korean No-dong II missile test over Japan. The US窶冱 role is to guarantee that security. Japan could do it itself, but then it runs the risk of discarding article 9, and upsetting it neighbours because of imperial ww2 sentiments.

Maciamo,

The Marines are specifically earmarked for Taiwan窶ヲ but I think they can also deploy to Korea as well. Even in the event of an attack on Korea, I don窶冲 think they would be deployed into Korea unless the situation was desperate enough, or that Taiwan was secure from attack (ie several carrier groups protecting the area), for the worry of a sneak attack.

Most Of the Airforce is either in Okinawa or around bases in Kyushu. Because of fears of N. Korean infiltration into S. Korean bases in the event of war, the US airforce much prefers to operate across the Tsushima straight to prevent any sort of surprise attack that could wipe out its airforce assets on the first day of the conflict.

Im not sure what are the budgetary arrangements for okinawa. My guess is that the US government probably pays the bill for base facilities, while the Japanese Gov窶冲 doesn窶冲 receive any sort of compensation in return, (they give the land over the Americans). Looking at Yokohama窶冱 base, Its very difficult to see how the US could continually pay rent on what could be some of the most expensive waterfront properties in the world. It also injects a lot of money into the local economy窶ヲ with its various detractors, but I think the Japanese government believes this to be an acceptable trade off (especially given it stabilizes trade links with its neighbours and ensures the flow of raw materials into Japan.
 

senseiman

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You make some very good points that I hadn't considered Noyhauser and it has given me cause to re examine my position on some of the issues we are talking about. I suppose that with the modernization of China's military and the fundamental flaws in its economy the likelihood of a more aggressive China emerging in the future is higher than I had thought. It still seems rather convoluted though. China would likely start attacking its neighbors if its economy collapsed and the US must stay there because if China started attacking other countries it would destroy the markets. But certainly the collapse of the Chinese economy alone would destroy the markets in Asia so there wouldn't be any left for the US to defend......the logic of this gives me a real headache!!

Still, while I can see how this would necessitate a US naval presence in the region, I don't see how it justifies the presence of 20,000 US Marines in Okinawa. The US maintains ground forces in South Korea mainly to act as a trip wire for further US commitment should there be a war there. They aren't significant enough in strength to stop a North Korean invasion, but the sight of thousands of US troops being wiped out by communist invaders would be enough to convince the US public to send a larger force, hence their existance. In Okinawa this is not the case. You say they are there to protect Taiwan, yet certainly the presence of the US 6th fleet would be enough alone to deter China from a hypothetical invasion there.

Plus, if it is politically infeasible for the US to station forces in Taiwan, why would it be politically feasible for the US to send troops to fight a war there? Stupid question, the US just sent troops to fight a war over weapons of mass destruction that don't even exist, so how hard could it be to convince the public of the need to defend Taiwan, right?

The history of the Korean penninsula since world war 2 is an interesting subject. While it was the North that invaded the South in 1950, its worth noting that the two states were already in an effective state of war before that, and that in the months prior to the invasion it was believed that a Southern attack on the north was an equally likely scenario. I might also note that post 1953 acts of military provocation, repression and arms buildups occured just as often in the South as they did in the North. This isn't to defend North Korea, but try to put its actions in some perspective. If it is trying to develop nuclear weapons, it is only to counter the massive numbers of American nuclear weapons pointed at it. They did have an agreement to scrap their nuclear program, but as you mention the US equally failed to live up to its end of this bargain by not building the reactors it had promised. This wasn't because the North wasn't complying with the agreement (they should have been built years ago when IAEA inspectors were keeping track of the Norths nuclear program), but because the US negotiated in bad faith. From what I have read (and maybe there is something I'm missing) the only 'concession' the North is demanding is a simple agreement that the US not attack it. Perhaps the US government under its curent administration has some sort of secret evidence (like all the secret evidence they had about non existant Iraqi WMD and ties to AL Qaida) that makes them believe North Korea would be a threat to the world even with a peace treaty, but I'm not inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt. Its true that Kim's sunshine policy is on the rocks, but if you listen to what South Koreans are saying, they aren't blaming the North for that, they are blaming the Bush administration for deliberately provoking the North and rightly so. By calling the North evil and lumping it in the same group as a country the US has just launched a massive, unprovoked attack on, how are they supposed to react?
 

senseiman

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[Edited by Maciamo : I replace the posts in the right thread]

Provocation and sabre rattling of course do damage to markets by making investors worry about their money. But if you look at the more flagrant acts of sabre rattling in the past couple of years you'll discover its been the Americans, not China or North Korea, that have been doing most of the provoking.

I guess this is more of an argument against the current administration than US military facilities that have been there for decades, but it is related. You say that China might hypothetically go a little nuts with its military in the future, but that ignores the fact that the US is going nuts right now! As you say, China might one day be taken over by an ultranationalist leader bent on military expansion as a way of distracting people from a sour domestic economy, but that is an exact description of the Bush administration running the US today!
 
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Gaki

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Why would China attack Japan anyway ?

War is only started for the benefits of the country, in past history it has been Japan invading China and rarely the other way round.

There would be no benefit for China to attack Japan in modern times.

In response to original question : US forces are based in Japan, in my opinion, to keep Japan in under their control. The American government is a sick mind, which aims to keep control the world.
 

senseiman

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Good point, Gaki, why would China ever attack Japan? It doesn't make any sense.

I think the US keeps troops in Japan to control most of Asia, not just Japan. There is a good site on the government and politics links section of this website to a site called US troops out of Okinawa. It has a speech by a former US marine who served in Vietnam and was briefly stationed in Okinawa. He tells some really bad stories about what US troops did there and his personal experiences, its worth a read. I tried to type the link here, but it doesnt seem to work.
 

infinitijapan

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i do think that U.S. troops in japan is good but i also think that it may be a bad thing.the wasting of resources for that shity useless fake island is very bad and they should do it somewhere else at least and leave the natural wonder there be.
the only good reason for having them there is encase the idiots in N.korea try to do something to any of the surrounding countries or if china trys something.also if any country was able to have troops close to probable enemies they would do it like that!i also think that the droping of bombs was very sad but it might of been the only way to stop the war and i do not think it was racist also many people were lost in pearl harbor and the US government wanted the people to have some sort of rec. for what happend and revenge is something that most humans like(as sick as it sounds)
p.s. sorry if my words bore u im not a good writer:)
 

jirzji

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Having experienced China from the inside for some time, i believe the chinese governments first concern is to get the country on its feet economically and level the huge internal differences across the country to some reasonable extent. even more one should realize that China is not 1 country but an artificial hotchpotch of a douzain of nationalities, be it historically ruled by the Han population, which represents some potential timebombs aswell. Here lies the true weakness of the country. This fact gives the government already enough headaches to be busy with.

One of the reasons for China's haughtiness towards the outside world is, that for the time being it can't have an (American) nosey parker interfering, while it still has to deal with it's complex (and only for chinese comprehensible) internal issues. The mid-term governemantal policy guidelines aim at national stability first. Having a strong army force is part of that.
This also meaning a huge potential threat, requires the Americans to have some counterweight in the area, keeping an eye on the situation.

I remember, the Chinese governement was increasingly developping good relations with the previous US administration, which abruptly came to an end because Chinese by nature can't accept brutal arrogance, such as demonstrated by a late whiz kid in the white house.

So far for the political layer. What would China's interest be to invade (or even sabre ratlling with) Japan, who manages, despite the political squabbling, to do enormous investments (of course with the aim of return of benefits) both financially and through knowledge transfer?

On the other hand, would Japan wish to start an invasion, for whatever reason, and this would not hamper the US strategical vision, i am 100% sure it would get US backup (much like what we see with Israel), although my imagination is probably leading me too far here.
Most probably the forces are just there to remind Japan of its role as political doggy ("you were bad once!"). So where better could they be than Japan. This justifies the number of troops.

Things mostly occur at more than one level. The quarreling over historical issues is merely throwing sand in the eyes.
 
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noyhauser

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Originally posted by jirzji
Having experienced China from the inside for some time, i believe the chinese governments first concern is to get the country on its feet economically and level the huge internal differences across the country to some reasonable extent. even more one should realize that China is not 1 country but an artificial hotchpotch of a douzain of nationalities, be it historically ruled by the Han population, which represents some potential timebombs aswell. Here lies the true weakness of the country. This fact gives the government already enough headaches to be busy with.



Maybe, but I think the situation similar but not as pressing as what happened in the the Soviet Union during its day. The potential time bombs are definately in the Far east with Uighur Seperation movement in Xingjiang and Tibet in the South, but the USSR also had these problems as well.. I dont think that they are problems in themselves, as the CPSU is more worried about overall domestic instability. If these groups emerge, it would probably occur after the government is overthrown, kinda like what happened in Soviet Union, where ethnic cleaveges revealed themselves after the government collapsed.

Originally posted by jirzji
One of the reasons for China's haughtiness towards the outside world is, that for the time being it can't have an (American) nosey parker interfering, while it still has to deal with it's complex (and only for chinese comprehensible) internal issues. The mid-term governemantal policy guidelines aim at national stability first. Having a strong army force is part of that.
This also meaning a huge potential threat, requires the Americans to have some counterweight in the area, keeping an eye on the situation.[/B]

Yes, but the Current procurement plans have shifted towards "force Projection" rather than domestic pacification. Look at how the Chinese military has cut 500,000 troops in the last 2 years, but has continued increasing its spending. When combating domestic instability, technologically advance forces are not as effective as low tech large scale armies. What sort of pacification effect does a Hi tech Destroyer at sea, or a ICBM have for a domestic population? Far less than an extra 50,000 soldiers on the street does. The modernization of the Chinese military forces is now more focused towards outwards threats than inwards ones. The Chinese naval procurement strategy is a example of this. In the last 5 years the navy has purchased itself a considerable Blue water capability, in a bid to influence its outside sphere better.

Originally posted by jirzji
I remember, the Chinese governement was increasingly developping good relations with the previous US administration, which abruptly came to an end because Chinese by nature can't accept brutal arrogance, such as demonstrated by a late whiz kid in the white house. [/B]

Clinton was flexible on principles and hard on Details. He didnt mind who he traded with and acted accordingly. Bush is the opposite, Flexible on Details but very hard on principles. His ideological beliefs is that repressive governments are extremely bad, and the US should not encourage them. In Bush's mind, the US should be on the forefront of spreading liberal democratic values rather than allowing repressive regimes to proliferate.

Originally posted by jirzji
So far for the political layer. What would China's interest be to invade (or even sabre ratlling with) Japan, who manages, despite the political squabbling, to do enormous investments (of course with the aim of return of benefits) both financially and through knowledge transfer? [/B]

Arrg. READ MY POSTS CAREFULLY. For the fourth time, my theory works on the assumption of a Chinese economic collapse and the rise of a Nationalistic State. Want a example? Argentina and the Malvinas/Falkland Invasion of 1982. Argentina, police state undergoing a economic collapse with a military junta government attacked Falklands, which created a nationalistic fervor within that nation. Now chances are for China it would be directed at Taiwan, rather than Japan, but that is the reason why they have forces in Okinawa. It doesn't even need to be a econonic crisis for the Chinese government to resolve Taiwan, a leader could make it a causi bellum to garner peoples support.

And if there is an economic collapse, it is likely that China would blame the Japanese anyways because it is its largest investor, and would of exhaberated the crisis by withdrawing its money at the first sign of trouble. Thailand after its collapse in 1997 pointed fingers at the US investors for withdawing their money far too quickly, making their crisis far far worse.


Originally posted by jirzji
On the other hand, would Japan wish to start an invasion, for whatever reason, and this would not hamper the US strategical vision, i am 100% sure it would get US backup (much like what we see with Israel), although my imagination is probably leading me too far here.
Most probably the forces are just there to remind Japan of its role as political doggy ("you were bad once!"). So where better could they be than Japan. This justifies the number of troops. [/B]

No, completely wrong. The United States craves stability for its capital markets. 50% of the worlds capital market flows through New York. The US tries to keep the world as stable as possible to promote world investment. That is the US strategic vision. Although the US doesn't like the Chinese government, it won't do anything to destabilize it. Having your #3 and #4 largest trading partners go to blows is about the worst thing you can do for your economy. The US forces are there for stability, especially for South Korea and Taiwan.

Furthermore The bases in Japan are there because they are cheaper to maintain and because it would cost too much to rebuild them somewhere else. The Base at Guam is far less more expensive to operate than the ones in Okinawa and Sasebo. The Domestic market at guam is too small to support the base adequately. This includes a wide range of goods, like machined parts, food, construction materials, ect.. Much of this must be shipped in by the military, which costs far more than civillian operators.Because Japanese bases are beside major cities it is far cheaper to operate their bases there than in more remote areas. They can also rely on civillian transportation networks to get goods from the US.

Also because Japan is a very stable nation, the US rather have its bases there, than in a less stable nation. The US has a bad experience of having to lose its bases because of domestic instability. Case in point, Cam Rahn Naval base in Vietnam where the United States dumped in Billions for its development only to lose it ten years later. The Russians would later utilize those facitities during the 70s and 1980s. Japan's bases have been there since the 1950s, and they can rely on them being there for quite a long time.
 

kinjo

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[quoteThe Consititution of Japan (drawn up after WW2 and supervised by the US) prevents Japan from having an active millitary force except for minimal defence efforts. Hence the Japanese Self Defence forces.[/quote]
those self defence forces are exactly the same as a regular army. they just have a different name.
and about us troops... usa likes to colonize other countries... like iraq... they like to spread their military throughout the world to gain more control
 

noyhauser

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No they don't, Not in the least. Read what I posted earlier (because this really is starting to bug me), they have a limited offensive capability due to intelligent procurement that prevented the JSDF from purchasing offensive weapons. There is no long range Air to ground weapons(excluding the ASM-2 but that is different type of weapon) , no cruise missiles, no long range bombers, no Supression of Air Defences systems and a whole host of other procurement holes. The Japanese military is a high spender, but only in areas that are defensive in nature.
In its present state, the Japanese military can't "invade" other nations, or even do anything moderately dangerous. At most it could conduct a blockade, but even that is pushing it.

And The US doesn't Colonize countries, the Utopia for the United States is if it could be isolationist, so that it does not have to undertake military adventures. There was some indication before september 11th that the bush administration would become more isolationist. September 11th changed the US's security thinking, so that it would react proactively against threats against it, or the liberal democatic system that it is trying to maintain (often called the unipolar moment). If Iraq is being colonized, then why is the US eager for an exit strategy? because it doesnt want to sustain massive casualties. But it must remain because it wants to prevent the nation being overtaken by another Autocrat, or decends into anarchy.
 

kinjo

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No they don't
i personally dont think that an army can be of pure defensive nature. you cant tell me that the japaneye army is incapable of theoretically attacking another country. and too, it just sounds implausable. as said i read that the name change to "defence force" allowed them to build up an army that they wouldnt have been allowed to build up under a regular armys name. so, if they already have the possibilities to do this, why would they stop here and say "yes, we can build up a real army under another name, but lets not do it". that makes no sense somehow. next, i think as well that lots of details in matters of army, weapons and such is held secret. its everywhere that way to prevent other countries from detecting weaknesses. and thus we dont know everything about the japanese "defence" force and again we cant really judge over it.
but thats just my opinion. :) if everyone would have the same opinion we couldnt discuss but just pat on our each others shoulders to tell us how great we are, right? ;)

then why is the US eager for an exit strategy?
define "exist strategy" pls.

And The US doesn't Colonize countries.
with colonizing i mean deploying military forces in other countries to change them to us americans weill.

September 11th changed the US's security thinking, so that it would react proactively against threats against it
it gave the us american government a wave of patriotism used to realize the plans which have been there before the 11th sept. incident about attacking certain countries for reasons of gaining more control in that region. but that is another topic and does not belong here. back to japanese defence force pls.
 

noyhauser

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Sure if you want to argue on a pure philisophical level, every military has an intrisic offensive value. Thats what John J Mearshimer and other Realists thinkers contend. But you completely (and they) completely discount the mindset of leaders who have poor militaries who discount military operations because of the weakness of their forces and because of other reasons.

I can tell you that they won't attack another nation because they don't have the capability. How are they going to transport their weapons? They have no way of transporting their Heavy tanks from Japan. How will they invade another nation? They have no invasion craft or maritime capability. How will they attack from the air? No ability to supress air defences means that the JASDF cannot deal with Surface to Air missiles. A logistical service designed for completely different conditions and Attacking another nation is impossible.

Everybody says that "militaries are kept secret" and you can't know what they actually have. Thats not true at all. You already read my thread in nuclear arsenals. You can't hide billions of bugetary dollars. If you have billions of dollars hidden somewhere it causes major problems in the economy. The best example is how major companies like enron and Worldcom misreported profits and it later came back to haunt them because their later earnings were based on those profits. It doesnt happen in government, because government has far more accountability. Imagine a government was charged with misreporting a budget? Companies would all run away from it because it was untrustworthy. That is not opinion that is fact.

Ill reply to the rest later.
 

senseiman

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The fact that the US wants to get its troops out of Iraq as soon as possible in no way means that it isn't acting as a colonial power. No imperial power wants to keep large numbers of its own troops overseas policing the colonies because it is too expensive. Most of the troops the British used to govern India were Indians themselves for example. The standard practice with imperial powers in the 19th century was to conquer a country with your own troops, then buy off some segment of the native population and pay them to do the dirty work of policing for you. That is exactly what the US is doing in Iraq today.

Saying that the utopia for the US is to be isolationist isn't really true as it implies that the US would do its own thing while leaving the rest of the world free to do whatever it wants. What you really mean is that the utopia for the US would be for the rest of the world to do what the US wants without the US having to go around invading countries that don't comply to its will. Of course everyone wants other people to do things for them without having to be coerced, so this isn't really exceptional at all.

Whatever you want to call it, the US is ruling the world effectively as a colonial power. It has set up a global financial and economic system from which it is able to extract about 25% of the world's wealth while giving very little to the rest of the world in return. The grasp of this system covers almost every nation on earth, which is much larger than that of any previous imperial power. The fact that most of the nations in the developing world have a nominal form of independence is rendered almost completely meaningless by the fact that the US can either economically strangle or militarily attack any country that refuses to follow its orders.
 

noyhauser

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Personally I actually think that the claims that US is a "imperial power" is a very overblown. I won't contend that the US isn't a military power par excellent. Undoubtedly the US has one of the greatest military machines of all time. But it is extremely constrained in its use of military power. Now everybody is going to cry "oh but look at Iraq". The US needs allies, no matter what they say. Imagine the US didn't have the support of the UK, and the other European Nations... Bush would of been unable to go to war. Without the UK he would of been completely isolated, and would of seen a public backlash at home. Can you see Bush go to war today after the War in Iraq? Very doubtful. The US would have virtually no support anywhere in the world to do so. Britain as a Imperial power never had those constraints, they could attack as they please, without restriction. Moreover the US doesn't have the dominance like Imperial powers to exert its will on conquered territory.

Claims of the US's economic and cultural dominance ring less true. The European Union's GDP outweighs the United States, and the EU spends far more money on Foreign Aid than the US, which has in many cases just as much effect on a developing nation as any military intervention can. If you say this is the US's world System then the OECD nations (including Japan) are complicit in its creation. And you may say that the EU is not a unitary actor, but on Foreign trade and development aid it is, since that is a pillar I competence and therefore under the normal Commission/Parliament/council system.

Furthermore the US cannot enforce a blocade without other nations support. Cuba, still trades with Europe and Canada even with the Helms Burton law in the US. Although Cuba is stagnant, it is doing far better than the Iraqis were with a full UN economic blocade. Also the US doesn't derive the same amount of its GDP off of International Trade as other nations do. the US, only 20 % is derived from Trade.

Also the US is a isolationist nation. All you have done is based your opinion of the US on recent events and ONE term of an administration. You must remember that the last 3 years are a abberation of the major trend of US foreign policy. Normally the US must be lured out of its shell to undertake interventions. But whenever the US has been directly attacked by terrorism, it has reacted to that threat. The berlin disco bombing in 1986 led to attacks on libya (operation Eldorado Canyon). The Tanzinia/Kenyan embassy bombing in 1998 would result in the Sudan/Afghanistan cruise missile strike (operation infinite reach). The War in Aghanistan and Iraq are the result of September 11th. But take september 11th out of the equasion and the US has not acted anywhere to the same degree as other Imperial powers have in history. It does not colonize or "control" any countries like the British/French/Belgians did during their reigns. Remember Bush Ran on a semi-isolationist ticket. The Second Gulf war (in 1991) and Somalia were an abberation, they were based on a New World Order of wilsonian ideals of a world community to deal with major problems, one where US was a member of that community. After the Somalia debacle, the US could not be cajoled into undertaking interventions for the longest time (even with the EU trying to get the US on board for Yugoslavia.)

I believe that after the next election, the US will revert to a semi isolationist power. I can't see the US undertaking another "imperialist invasion" as you would like to put it. This current state costs the US far too much money, and is politically damaging. If Iraq doesn't quiet down, calls about the Vietnam syndrome will come out, bush will have to decrease his rhetoric accordingly.
 
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