Shenzo Abe Does D.C.

President Obama with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Feb. 22, 2013
President Obama with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Feb. 22, 2013

Last October a delegation of the U.S. imperial elite slithered into Japan, led by Richard Armitage, former Undersecrtary of State and Joseph Nye, Dean Emeritus of the Kennedy School of Empire – er, Government- at Dear Old Harvard. They came armed with a diatribe which they had co-authored for the Center For Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) the previous August wherein they belittled Japan for its pacifist stance, which put it in the humiliating status of "second-tier" nation. But the Armitage/Nye screed made it clear that Japan could rise from this degrading condition by taking up the cudgels against China. Not mentioned was that such a move could prove costly for the Land of the Rising Sun. But not to worry, Japanese brothers, Armitage and Nye implied, the U.S. Empire would back its Asian puppet from the other side of the Pacific, something that might one day come to be known as "leading from afar." The Armitage/Nye paper was a transparent attempt to goad Japan into belligerence against China.

Last week, newly elected arch militarist Prime Minister Shenzo Abe returned the visit coming to Washington, D.C., very quietly on Friday afternoon, a time of minimal press coverage. Abe was given little more than a quiet lunch with Obama, with no joint statement or press conference, quite adequate for a vassal state like Japan was no doubt the feeling of the American imperial elite. Later in the afternoon, Abe went immediately to the CSIS where Armitage and others hosted him for a short speech. A transcript is here. One might ask right off whether Japan would produce a leader so foolish as to get between two giants like the U.S. and China. Abe’s speech showed that the U.S. had found someone sufficiently obtuse in Mr. Abe.

Abe, speaking in English as befits a supplicant in the Imperial City, opened his little talk at the CSIS thus: "Last year, Richard Armitage, Joseph Nye, Michael Green and others published a paper about Japan. They asked if Japan would end up becoming a tier-two nation. Secretary Armitage, here is my answer to you: Japan is not and will never be a tier-two country. That is the core message I’m here to make, and I should repeat it by saying I am back and – (laughter, applause) – and – thank you – and so shall Japan be." No wonder there was applause. Abe had taken the bait. And laughter – merited by the laughable stupidity of the man. But as FDR found long ago it is quite easy to goad the Japanese militarists into acts of self-destruction. Someone might have told Abe at that very moment that tier-one nations are not occupied by a foreign power and reminded him of the tens of thousands of American troops stationed on his soil, over which the Japanese have little control as shown by the frequent assaults and rapes of Japanese women by "our men in uniform." The Japanese know full well the use of rape as a tool of humiliation and degradation as they demonstrated in Nanjing in WWII or the employ of Korean "comfort women," things for which they have yet to apologize. Now it is visited on them by the Americans and Abe says nothing. Nevertheless Shenzo feels he is baaaack, as he says.

But there is a problem. To be useful to the U.S. Empire Japan must build up its economy, which is doing none too well at the moment. Shenzo assured his sniggering hosts that he had that problem well in hand with an approach known as Abenomics, with three policies which he called his "three arrows." But there is a problem with this economic archery as Abe confessed: "True, we have shot those arrows before but only in timidity and incrementally. In my plan, the three arrows are strong and fast and being shot without any interval. Soon Japan will export more but import more as well." So the same strategy that failed before is to be used again and this time it will succeed. We all know how Einstein defined insanity, but with bait in mouth Abe had already shown his abject idiocy.

And one might ask how the U.S. will deal with more Japanese exports when Obama himself plans for U.S. economic recovery based in no small parts on exports – or so he says. Further, the U.S. is encouragi,ng Japan to devalue the yen to make its exports more competitive. What would the U.S. say to such an action by China? And how might the Obama administration explain such an action to its labor union base and its naïve pwogwessive supporter, who believe that the administration opposes such currency manipulation? But of course the power of Empire and world domination comes before any concern for the American worker – or soldier.

Also last week over 300 gathered at the Japanese consulate in New York City at the time of Abe’s visit to protest the rise in Japanese militarism. It was not covered by the mainstream media but is covered here with photos and press release. It is well worth examining. Two features deserve comment. First, the rally consisted mainly of Chinese, both American born and immigrants who fear for the fate of the Peoples Republic of China at the hands of the U.S. and Japan. There should have been more Americans of other ethnicities, because this is a struggle that will affect the entire population of the planet. And secondly, with all due respect, there is a tendency among Chinese to see Japan as the main villain here – an idea encouraged by the U.S. and perhaps the reason for the low profile of the Armitage/Nye delegation to Japan and the similar low profile of Abe’s visit to D.C. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The Armitage/Nye paper discloses the real schemers in this matter. Both China and Japan will lose in such a confrontation with one another. The only winner will be the U.S. Empire, "leading from afar."

John V. Walsh can be reached at

Author: John V. Walsh

John V. Walsh writes about issues of war, peace, empire, and health care for, Consortium News,, The Unz Review, and other outlets. Now living in the East Bay, he was until recently Professor of Physiology and Cellular Neuroscience at a Massachusetts Medical School. John V. Walsh can be reached at