Comment on Prof. Tanaka's Article
Jacob Kovalio (Carlton University, Ottawa, Canada)
The French attempt to "dilute" American prominence by transforming the G-8 Evian summit into a gathering of 33 nations did not succeed. That impression was reinforced by the fact that Mr. Bush got satisfaction on all issues he, and other well-intentioned people, considered important although he stayed in Evian only for one day. The American leader did exactly what Professor Tanaka prescribed, in that he insisted and got, the full cooperation of his fellow conferees for American initiatives on rebuilding Iraq, fighting global Islamist terrorism [GIT], diseases such as HIV/AIDS especially in Africa and the nuclear weapon programs of North Korea and Iran. Broadly speaking, it is to the credit of the Japanese leadership that it has served well its national interests by supporting the intervention in Iraq, dynamically working against GIT and continuing its leading contribution to African development through the TICAD mechanism. On the last issue, one would like to see Africa able to help itself. Unfortunately, that is impossible without adequate political leadership which is the one element African nations do not yet possess. Former president Nelson Mandela's unfortunate diatribe against the US and the West, the day G.W.Bush announced the American HIV contribution in March, illustrates that need. A reform of the United Nations so that its General Assembly is not dominated by brutal African and Arab regimes and their allies, and the Security Council is enlarged to include Japan and other important nations is long overdue.
The Koizumi-Kawaguchi team has steered well Nihon Maru foreign policy, by supporting the intervention in Iraq - against heavy anti-American opposition from political and academic circles in Japan. That stance resulted in the United States, and then the Evian gathering, adopting the Japanese position on the dreadful issue of the kidnapping of Japanese to North Korea, and on the nuclear threat of the Kim Jong-il regime.
The military success of the United States intervention in Iraq is most negatively affected by two things: the exaggerated emphasis on WMD as a reason for overthrowing President Hussein and the incredible lack of prewar planning of how to manage the political, security, social and economic transition to a "Saddamless" future. One still hopes that the American/British/Australian/Polish action in Iraq will, in time, trigger political reforms in the Arab/Muslim nations of the Middle East, to result from internal initiatives, not from additional Western intervention. At this point, it is disconcerting to see the continuation of antiwar [anti-American] demonstrations despite the fact that not a day goes by without new revelations about atrocities committed by the Tikriti regime, the number of whose victims is well over two million. The inescapable impression is that 12 years after the collapse of European communism, the sorry legacy of Soviet-era doctrinaire anti-Americanism and anti-Westernism is being kept alive by ultraleftist university professors and students on campuses throughout the globe. One wishes Francis Fukuyama were right.