Tag: Japan

Meanwhile in Japan…


1072px-Flag_of_JSDF.svgFrom today’s New York Times, the world continues to be… interesting:

TOKYO — The lower house of Japan’s Parliament passed legislation on Thursday that would give the country’s military limited powers to fight in foreign conflicts. […] The bills represent a break from the strictly defensive stance maintained by Japan in the decades since the war, under which it would fight only if directly attacked. Critics, including a majority of Japanese constitutional specialists, say the legislation violates the country’s postwar charter, which renounces war.


The Strategika Podcast: Understanding Chinese-Japanese Tensions


In the new series of Strategika podcasts, we’re looking at the tensions between China and Japan and what the implications are for the United States and the future security situation in East Asia. In this first installment, I talk to Miles Maochun Yu, professor of East Asia and military and naval history at the United States Naval Academy. Miles explains the historical backdrop for tensions between the two countries, how China’s modern grievances may be a smokescreen for something slightly more nefarious, and what the U.S. needs to do to manage the situation. Listen in below:

A Teachable Moment for Rand Paul?


We now have on our hands Barack Obama’s War, for our latest Middle Eastern war belongs entirely to him. And someone — let it be me! — should alert Sen. Rand Paul to this teachable moment, for Obama’s War (which Rand Paul supports) was brought on by the very policy of non-intervention that he, his father, and the Cato Institute all championed. As Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has testified in word and deed, there is essentially no difference on foreign affairs between left-wing Democratics and arch-libertarians who sometimes vote Republican.

This war might have been avoided. Had Obama taken the trouble to arrange for a few thousand American soldiers to remain in Iraq — as he easily could have — the Iraqi’s coalition government between Shia, Sunni, and Kurd would have held, despite Maliki’s perfidy. That, in turn, would have prevented al-Qaeda’s reemergence in the Sunni-dominated provinces of Iraq. Moreover, ISIS would not be in control of great swathes of Syria had the president followed the advice of his advisors and allies and backed the secular-minded opposition to Bashar al-Assad from the start.

Kim Jong Un-believable? Sony to ‘Amend’ Rogen Film


The-Interview-movieKorea observers no doubt expressed the same disappointment as I did Friday when reading this: “Sony Will Amend Seth Rogen’s The Interview After North Korean Threats.” I’ve been looking forward to a lampooning of the 30ish dictator. He’s got an interest in popular culture that ensures his attention to the movie.

Quick no-spoiler synopsis: The CIA recruits two journalists (Rogen & James Franco) that landed an interview with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. Their mission: kill Kim. 

I’m actually more bummed about having to wait until December instead of October for the film. In reality, this is not a U.S. backing off in the face of North Korean bombast. Making the movie is a statement in itself.  It’s more about Japan.

Rand Paul, Fashion Plate


rand-paul-628x434[1]Senator Rand Paul is often cited as a candidate who can cross traditional Republican lines and reach new constituencies: youth, civil-liberties types, African Americans. But I think Senator Paul’s influence has now entered the most unlikely place ever for a Republican politician: the fashion world.

Back during the senator’s 2010 campaign, a picture of Paul circulated the interwebs. It showed the candidate waiting to go on TV. He had come to the studio directly from his son’s soccer game, but it was one of those talking-head appearances, in which he would appear only from the waist up. The picture shows Paul’s improvised look: Suit jacket, dress shirt, tie — and matching plaid shorts.

Well, today we see what the image hath wrought. Various news outlets report on the latest men’s fashion: Short suits.

A Violent Weekend


Let us begin our tour with a quarrel in a faraway country. As Yahoo Japan reports, “A Vietnamese fishing vessel has sunk after being rammed by a Chinese vessel and the 10 fishermen have been rescued. While Vietnam has not responded yet, the Coast Guard warned “the situation at the site it very tense.”‘

This is not an isolated incident, but rather an escalation of recent tensions. It is most likely a response to last week’s announcement of cooperation between Vietnam and Japan, which followed the Chinese “deploying an oil rig off the Paracel Islands, which Vietnam also claims, leading to physical clashes between Chinese and Vietnamese vessels.”