Blackeagle (cdupchurch@hotmail.com)
Sun, 23 Apr 2000 01:06:15 MST


>Blackeagle wrote:
> > away from it's ardently pacifist postwar roots toward being a normal
>
>Hmm I am not so sure I would call it "root"...
>
> > to protect these interests. However, the end of the cold war means the
>U.S.
> > is not quite so ardent at protecting other countries interests. Our
>
>I don't see any change in US foreign policy after the "end" (as you so
>optimisticly call it) of the Cold War.

I fail to see how you cannot see a change. During the cold war, virtually
every aspect of our foreign policy was oriented in opposition to the Soviet
Union and it's allies. Almost every conflict, even religious ones like the
Arab-Israeli wars, took on the overtones of the struggle between the
superpowers. Wherever there was conflict, one superpower would try and use
it against the other. If the Russians supported one side, we would almost
always support the other, regardless of other considerations, like free
markets, democracy and human rights.

Since 1990, the U.S. has intervened only to protect our economy (Gulf War)
and occasionally (when we feel like it) to protect human rights (Kosovo,
Hati). Often we'll ignore a situation entirely (Rwanda, East Timor) or when
we do intervene we'll pull out at the slightest hint of trouble (Somalia).

As for the "end" of the cold war, I would divide everything that has
happened after WWII into three periods. The Cold War was the period of
superpower confrontation which began after WWII and ended with the
dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. The Post Cold War era (or as one
might call it, the era of rouge states) is a transitional period which began
with the Gulf War in 1991. My guess is future historians will decide the
end is marked by the Kosovo Crisis in 1999. What I think we are seeing now
is the dawn of a new period of history. My guess is it's primary feature
will be the interactions between a single superpower (America) and several
great powers (France, Germany, UK, India, China and Japan).

> > inaction during the East Timor crisis threw this fact into stark relief
>for
> > both Japan and Australia. Acquiring the ability to protect it's own
> > interests, at least on a limited basis when the U.S. isn't interested,
>is
> > the logical step for Japan to take.
>
>But Japan and Kuwait have things that East Timor and Tibet don't.

It appears you don't understand what I'm saying. While I feel that the U.S.
would definitely act to protect Japan from a direct attack, the East Timor
situation revealed that the U.S. will not necessarily act to protect Japan's
overseas interests when they do not coincide with the America's.

While most people in the U.S. could care less about East Timor, resolving
that situation was actually quite important to Japan. The East Timor
situation had the potential to destabilize all of Indonesia, causing it to
fragment into dozens of tiny, feuding states. Virtually all of Japan's oil
comes from the Persian Gulf via Indonesian waters. Thus a threat to
Indonesian stability is, indirectly, a threat to Japan's energy supply.

As I said above, the U.S. doesn't care about Indonesian stability as much as
Japan does (our main use for Indonesian waters is as a convenient way to get
our carriers from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean). During the crisis last
year, Japan lacked not only the political will to do something about it, but
they also lacked the military capability. In order to project a significant
amount of power into that area, Japan would need some sort of aircraft
carrier, along with a greater at sea refueling capability for it's escorts.
My guess is over the next decade, Japan will act to acquire both of these
capabilities.

________________________________
Chris Upchurch a.k.a. Blackeagle
cdupchurch@hotmail.com

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