The State Department is doing real damage and if secretary Rice doesn’t fix it quickly the president should replace her.
Here’s today’s WSJ ($):
The first stop on Condoleezza Rice’s post-detonation, nuclear reassurance tour was Tokyo. There she dutifully unfurled the American nuclear umbrella, pledging in person that the United States would meet any North Korean attack on Japan with massive American retaliation, nuclear if necessary.
An important message, to be sure, for the short run, lest Kim Jong Il imbibe a little too much cognac and be teased by one of his “pleasure squad” lovelies into launching a missile or two into Japan.
But Rice’s declaration had another and obvious longer-run intent: to quell any thought Japan might have of going nuclear to counter and deter North Korea’s bomb.
…The impeccably polite Japanese were not about to contradict the
secretary of state in her presence. Nonetheless, the (Japanese Foreign Minister) had earlier the very same day told a parliamentary committee that Japan should begin debating the issue: “The reality is that it is only Japan that has not discussed possessing nuclear weapons, and all other countries have been discussing it.”
Japan is not just a model international citizen — dynamic economy, stable democracy, self-effacing foreign policy — it is also the most important and reliable U.S. ally after only Britain.
One of the quieter success stories of recent American foreign policy has been the intensification of the U.S.-Japanese alliance. Tokyo has joined with the United States in the development and deployment of missile defenses and aligned itself with the United States on the neuralgic issue of Taiwan, pledging solidarity should there ever be a confrontation.
The immediate effect of Japan’s considering going nuclear would be to concentrate China’s mind on denuclearizing North Korea. China calculates that North Korea is a convenient buffer between it and a dynamic, capitalist South Korea bolstered by American troops. China is quite content with a client regime that is a thorn in our side, keeping us tied down while it pursues its ambitions in the rest of Asia. Pyongyang’s nukes, after all, are pointed not west but east.
Japan’s threatening to go nuclear would alter that calculation. It might even persuade China to squeeze Kim Jong Il as a way to prevent Japan from going nuclear. The Japan card remains the only one that carries even the remote possibility of reversing North Korea’s nuclear program.
Further, a nuclear armed Japan will reduce the Chinese dictators’ threat to Taiwan and so accelerate their demise. When they go, half the world gets safer and the US and its allies are free to focus their resources on fighting Muslim extremism and helping Islam modernize. But State doesn’t want that.
It’s possible secretary Rice is executing the orders of the president, so here’s a nice test of her loyalty:
“Upon reading the transcript of my appearance on Al-Jazeera, I realized that I seriously misspoke by using the phrase ‘there has been arrogance and stupidity’ by the U.S. in Iraq,” said Fernandez, director of public diplomacy in State’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.
“This represents neither my views nor those of the State Department,” Fernandez added. “I apologize.”
Yeah, right. This man is a senior diplomat and should have known exactly what he was doing – his words were taken by the world as confirming a loss of US confidence, so giving aid and comfort to our enemies.
If secretary Rice doesn’t fire him immediately, she’s complicit and the president should replace her.