The article effectively begins by marking its target: Pearl Harbor as a patriotic rallying moment in US history. In the article by Eri Hotta, the wife of liberal Anglo-Dutch intellectual, Ian Buruma, the usual PC demons are brought out against the US to condemn it for provoking Japan into war. (Credit to David T at Harry’s Place for placing EH).
The author fails to understand the basic racism and cruelty in the Japanese political system of the time, nor its part in the reasons for Japanese imperial aggression.
“The decision to attack Pearl Harbor was reached after five months of deliberations that included numerous official conferences. It was a gradual process in which more sympathetic, albeit firm, US engagement might have helped sway Japan in a different direction.” It is not difficult to begin dissecting the prejudices shown here: by the absence of any reference to the murderous war Japan was waging in China, the author shows no regard for the victims of that war or towards China itself. The author displays no understanding of the balance of power issues that would have ultimately been the motives behind the US diplomatic stance, instead blaming the US in the classic PC attack fashion for “aggravating” the Japanese political scene by not being more friendly.
One wonders what the US should have done? Offered to divide up China? These PC idiots do not understand that weakness would have been presented as opportunity by the war-party, giving all the more reason to carve up the European empires in the far East.
“Rather than telling Japan that the US was determined to search for a diplomatic solution, America’s categorical reaction confirmed it to the Japanese as an arrogant and conceited enemy. ” What diplomatic solution? Japan had just seized Indochina and Dutch Borneo in addition to continuing to murder thousands in China! What solution could have been presented? Hand over a certain proportion of French and Dutch territory to Japan? Ask the Imperial Japanese Army to withdraw – please?
“Moreover, by transferring its Pacific fleet from San Diego to Pearl Harbor, the US encouraged the Japanese understanding that the US fully anticipated war with Japan.” Again, the American response is blamed for the original Japanese aggression and subsequent aggression. The US move to Pearl Harbour would have been a warning to Japan that if these attacks on sovereign and independent nations did not cease that – yes – the US would consider war to recover other states territorial integrity? Isn’t that called being the good guy in international affairs? The author is again paying no regard for the territorial rights of other powers and clearly dismissing all concern about the civilians subjected to the horrors of Japanese rule. In any case, the Roosevelt administration was far from decided on war, hoping that military build-up (what little there was) would deter further aggression.
A cornerstone of PC international theory is that diplomacy possesses magical powers, “The high-handed tone of the Hull Note of November 26, demanding Japan’s withdrawal of all its troops from China, was a final blow to the moderates in Japan’s government, who still hoped for diplomatic negotiations.” Wouldn’t this actually demonstrate how out of touch the “moderates” really were? That the US was not ultimately going to accept the imperial conquest of China and the Pacific? Who were the “moderates” fooling? Only themselves.
“It was ultimately in the name of saving Asia for all Asians from what was regarded as western arrogance that the government united to wage war.” Are you really sure that those were the reasons for the Japanese attack? Or the certainty in the military and war-parties that the US stood in the way of “the rising sun” of Japanese imperial greatness? The war plan focused on the destruction of the immediate means of obstruction (the USN) and the errection of an fortified island barrier, backed by the mobile power of the IJN, protecting a zone of economic exploitation in which the natives would be treated as slaves to be used for the glory of the Emperor. One would think that arrogant of the Japanese.
“The gunboat diplomacy that resulted in the opening of Japan and unequal treaties in the mid-19th century was but a beginning.” So preventing the carve-up of China and the destabilization of the balance of power was unjust to Japan? “Coupled with the economic hardship of the interwar years were instances of racial prejudice in the US that aimed at preventing Japanese immigration. United by this long-simmering and humiliating sense of exclusion, Japanese policymakers, whatever their differences, stumbled toward the December 1 decision to go to war.” No, the sense that the US was blocking their plans for regional domination (via the invasion of other states and the exploitation of their populaces) was the central factor in the arrogant decision to go war. That the Japanese military realised instictively that they were weaker than the US was a spur to try the attack on Pearl Harbor – knock the US out of the war for two years and become strong enough to deter a counter-attack: it might have worked had the strike gone according to plan.
“But no matter how strong and historically justified such grievances may be, those who resort to murderous tactics must be condemned.” But the author goes on to say, “However, high-handedness and tough talk alone are an inadequate response, for this approach further humiliates those who already feel humiliated, and alienates those who might otherwise proffer a more moderate voice.” Clearly she feels that standing up to aggression is wrong because it..does…not work? No, sorry that is nonsense. By this logic, Poland should have been compelled to give up its industrial centres and only port to prevent war with Germany, rather than tell Germany that war with Poland meant war with Britain and France. “Diplomacy no longer works with terrorism,” did it ever work?
“With global expectations mounting for a fresh start in US foreign policy, it is vital not just to remember, but to understand the attack on Pearl Harbor.” Yes, if you mean that declaring that aggression will meet force is inherently stupid and flawed, and if you believe in the magical power of diplomacy to solve all problems – because there are always moderates in every camp? Like in al-Qaeda? (We’ll only kill some of the Jews and not directly export terrorism into your nations? Our price?) Or in Russia’s attack on Georgia? (We’ll be content with half of the nation…and control over its politics).
No, I rather think Eri Hotta is a deluded PC idiot, who cannot see beyond the end of her anti-Americanism and I also have doubts about her attitude towards the victims of imperial and genocidal aggression – so long as the attackers are not American.
Sorry, but the Guardian and CiF are just completely amoral and prove the truth of George Orwell’s assertation that all self-professed pacifists are secretly in love with tyrannical power. You lot are disgusting.
Kudos to Oliver Kamm. He’s bang on the money.