Is Mr Kim more dangerous than Mr T?

So, what was that fuss about? Yes, I am talking about the “historic” summit in Sigapore. That day, 12 June, all the Japanese TV news programmes were occupied by the flood of “live coverage” (which in fact was just repetition of same things).

What was achieved by the summit? The editorial piece of the recent edition of the Economist magazine seems to sum it up. It says to the effect that Trump put “showmanship first” in order to push up his ratings and that the winner of the summit was definitely Kim Jong-un. The article concluded by saying;

Striking any sort of deal with such a figure (ie: the North Korean leader) is unpleasant. Striking a bad one would be a moral and diplomatic disaster.

Japanese people have been abducted by the North Korean agents and many of the victims are still there. We see even today quite a few North Korean boat people arriving the coast areas and stealing some electric appliances storaged in the fisherman’s huts. They are certainly not quite welcomed visitors here and I did find it rather unpleasant to see the young dictator flying victoriously back to his home country after the victorious event.

But did I see any articles or news programmes to discuss the role played by the media to drum up the insane excitement? I even had an unpleasant suspicion that all the excitements were played up by the media whose intention was to increase viewing rates and copy sales.

I have, however, a different kind of question to ask. Which is more dangerous to people in the entire world, Kim or Trump? Which poses more danger to the world? My own answer, with no doubt at all, would be the latter: Trump, that is. This particular US president is more dangerous to the world than the North Korean leader.

Mr Kim and his father and grandfather might have done terrible things to their own people for the past six or so decades but it is fundamentally their domestic problem. The current one might have made arrangement for his own brother to be killed by poison but again it is their problem for the justice to be done. Mr Kim has not attempted to kill Japanese prime minister. Have he or his predecessors ever dropped bombs on foreign countries including Japan? He has threatened many times he would very soon be able to shoot missiles to America. Has he actually done that? Was my beloved San Francisco bombed by Mr Kim?

Despite all the threatening words, Seoul has never been the “sea of blood”. No Japanese towns have yet been hit by Mr Kim’s missiles despite Shinzo Abe’s hysteric warnings. Is it not, in any event, reasonable to assume that Mr Kim is aware of what might happen to himself if he did hit other countries by his missiles?

What about Trump? Well, he has dropped bombs on Syria in April together with UK and France on the ground that the country’s leader had allegedly used chemical weapons on his own people.

He said on 14 April 2018;

A perfectly executed strike last night. Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military. Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!

But he had said five years before;

Don’t attack Syria – an attack that will bring nothing but trouble for the U.S. Focus on making our country strong and great again!

Is it not fair to assume that he attacked Syria because it would help “making America great again”, nothing to do with the welfare of the Syrians, meaning that the president is quite willing to drop bombs anytime/anywhere if He thinks it will help making his country great again.

I repeat my question: which is more dangerous to the entire world, Trump or Kim? For your information North Korea’s military spending in 2015 was $3.5 billion, about 23.3% of their GDP. What about Mr Trump’s country? They spent in 2014 $581 billion: more than 100 times as much as Mr Kim’s country. Yet, America’s spending was just 3.5% of GDP.

Don’t you think that Kim is idiotic to spend such a big share of GDP for the military spending rather than welfare for the people? But my question is not which is more idiotic but which is more dangerous to the world. For your information, Japan spent 0.9% of its GDP in the same year.

This is getting far too long. I must stop.

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Theresa May, the Judge!?

In case you don’t know (and there is no reason why you should), I have a Japanese language blog magazine entitled “musasabi journal“. It is updated every other Sunday. The first edition was “published” on 23 February 2003. It’s now fifteen years old.

I recently have taken a look at the very first (23 Feb 2003) edition just to see what is in it, and found that one of the articles posted was an excerpt from BBC’s Newsnight programme in which Tony Blair was grilled by Jeremy Paxman about his project of invading Iraq together with his American colleague, GW Bush. During the Paxman interview, my journal recorded Blair as insisting to the studio audience, “I do believe I’m doing the right thing.” 25 days later, 20 March 2003, the Iraq War started. Within three weeks, the Saddam Hussein’s regime fell and on 1 May the American president gave his “mission accomplished” victory speech.

Fifteen years have passed since. Some 300,000 Iraqi people and more than 4,000 American soldiers were killed. It is also said that the fights with IS have killed 7,000 Iraqi civilians, 20,000 security personnel and more than 23,000 IS fighters. It would surely be fair to say that the IS-related deaths would not have taken place without the collapse of the old Iraqi regime led by Saddam Hussein who was executed in December 2006.

In the meantime, I recently have read a piece of article in the Economist magazine entitled “Iraq is getting back on its feet“, presenting various facts and figures to show positively how the Iraqi’s lives have improved in recent years. The article gives the impression that the Iraqi people are in much better shape than they were fifteen years ago under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein.

I am not interested in talking about would-have-been or might-have-been but do wish to ask a bit more fundamental (ie: amateurish) question that I ought to have been asked 15 years ago in my magazine. Tony Blair insisted that he was doing the “right thing” by trying to get rid of the dictator. Was he really right to invade into another country to topple their leader? Was he asked by the Iraqi people to do so? Did Saddam Hussein try to attack Britain? Nobdy asked him to do so. Nobody even seemed to attack Britain or America (as the Japanese attacked the Pearl Harbour in 1941).

Fifteen years later in April 2018 another British prime minister, Theresa May, gave a press conference stressing the importance of her action of joining (again!) American president to attack Syria, the neighbouring country of Iraq, to “punish President Assad for gassing his own people”. Fifteen years ago, the Iraqi people had their leader executed. Today, the Syrian president is labelled by the American president as “Monster”. Might President Asad be bound to be in the same destiny as his Iraqi predecessor?

Today I ask PM May the questions I ought to have asked Mr Blair fifteen years ago. What right does she have to shoot missiles to and drop bombs on Syria, being perfectly aware that they might kill people as well as destroying the chemical facilities. Was Syria attacking Britain by chemical weapons? She did it because Asad was “gassing” his people? So what? If Mr Assad was in fact doing what was allegedly doing, it is surely the Syrian’s business, not the British or American’s, to fight against the “dictator”. Am I not right? She said she had done what she did to “punish” Assad. Punish!? When was she appointed for a judge?

I should quickly add that John Bolton was the US ambassador to UN fifteen years ago and is now the National Security Advisor.

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Shinzo doesn’t like it. How about you, Donald?

In case you do not know there will be a general election in Japan on Sunday 22 October. The snap election was called by Shinzo Abe, the prime minister, for the country to “survive and overcome national crisis”. What national crisis? One of them, it seems, is the “rocket man” in the Korean Peninsula. Japan needs a very strong leadership to survive the “North Korean aggression” and, of course, the even more aggressive Chinese. Who has that strong leadership? It is of course Mr Abe (according to Mr Abe.)

In case you do not know, Japan has had the problem of abduction with North Korea for the past forty or so years. Many Japanese citizens were abducted by the North Korean spies in 1970s and 1980s and have been held hostages there as tutors to teach Japanese language and culture to Pyongyang agents.

Read the 13 October edition of the Guardian and you will find that Donald Trump will meet some of the abductee families during his visit to Japan in November. The meeting has been arranged by Shinzo Abe who boasts about a very friendly “Shinzo-Donald” relationship with the current US president. Abe said in his election campaign speech, “He (Trump) promised he would do his best to rescue the Japanese abduction victims.”

A mother of one of the abductees has said, “Purpose of our campaign is nothing other than bringing the abduction victims back. I hope the activities such as this one(Trump’s meeting with her) will lead to the early coming home of our families.” She of course meant to say, “I’m not interested in meeting Trump. I want to see my daughter.”

Trump always talks about the possibility of military action. Shinzo Abe talks nothing but “strong pressure”. Might these two men be able to do anything useful to bring the abductees back? I doubt it.

The Abe’s government also seems to be set to win the enough number of parlimentary seats for Shinzo to make it possible to materialise his long-held ambition to change the current “pacifist” constitution to permit Japan normal military powers. Japanese voters care little for the government party but do not trust opposition parties to deal with matters such as North Korea, says an Economist’s article.

I am curious to know what the American president would think about Shinzo’s dream of throwing away the current constitution “imposed” by the Americans on Japan. The article 9 of the constitution says;

Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.

In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

Shinzo doesn’t like it. How about you, Donald?

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Trust your distrust

Very quickly (despite that this is the very first posting since November 2016!!.)

So, what did the election 2017 results tell you about Britain? What they did seem to tell me was that fanaticism does not work in Britain. You don’t really like extremism and fanaticism imposed by people like Farage and Gove. Believe me, they aren’t really your kind of game. Your kind of game is “muddling through”. I’m serious, not joking or ridiculing at all. You have this instinctive dislike and distrust against dogmatism. Just trust your distrust. I’M SERIOUS! Please mind you, though, “muddling through” would make sense if (only IF) you are willing to share your destiny with other peoples. You can’t “muddle through” alone. OK?

I hope I’m making sense…

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Brexit does not mean Brexit (yet)

14980648_10154718614277417_2424991511600423422_nFollowing the 5 Nov posting, Simon Jenkins of Guardian says, “The judges’ ruling confirms it – Brexit must go ahead, no ifs or buts.” He also says, “Parliament, warts and all, is sovereign. It can deny withdrawal and face the consequences.” He sounds (to me) like intimidating MPs. Am I wrong to read his message as saying;

“You (MPs) can legally reject what the voters said on 23 June. Do that and the entire country will be upside down and it will be your responsibility. OK? Do you still want to do that!?”

17 million people voted for OUT and 16 million for IN. If this was an issue you can revisit in future I would have accepted it even if I don’t like the result. Think about a referendum, for example, on whether Britain’s railway system should be re-nationalised. Suppose that 17 million people voted for YES and 16 million for NO. Then you should do as the majority say. It’s a people’s will. Of course, people make mistakes. Even the 17 million people might prove to be wrong: train service might be even worse than before nationalisation, in which case you reprivatise it. No problem.

What about BREXIT? You go out of EU and there will be no way to come back in the foreseeable future. Do you have to go out only because 17 million say so? How do you know they are right and 16 million wrong? Nobody knows. That’s why you have MPs employed for more substantial discussions. Of course even MPs make mistakes. British MPs voted, after lengthy discussions, for Blair’s motion for bombing Iraq in 2003. Although there is nothing you could do about those killed in the war caused by the wrong decision you could still sack all the MPs who made the mistakes.

MPs are not “delegates” (ie: agents) of their constituencies. They are “representatives” whose job is to give careful and intelligent thoughts on issues on behalf of the people. That’s why they are paid salary.

I have no idea why Theresa May, an MP, had to say, “Brexit means Brexit” just because 17 million voted for it. If referendum result was anything absolutely final to which MPs have to stick, what do you have a parliament for?

Having said all that, might it be unfair to expect British MPs to be courageous enough to stand up against the editors who are quite willing to labelled them as “enemies of the people” for pleasing their readers and increasing the circulation figures? The figures look terrible to the tabloids. Daily Express who used to sell 4 million copies fifty years ago now seems to sell only 400,000…Even the Sun who sold 3.7 million in 1976 now sellls just 1.8 million.

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Would anybody please tell me whether I’m a narcissist?

Miyako, my wife, thinks I am a narcissist. Am I? I thought a narcissist is a guy who tends to believe he is the greatest person on the earth. So do I think of myself that way? Yes…sometimes…well…often…OK all the time…so what!? If I in fact was the greatest person there is nothing wrong about thinking of and calling myself that way. Is there? IS THERE!!??

Oxford dictionary of English language (online) defines the word as “Excessive interest in or admiration of oneself.” Mmmm…Do I have that sort of interest?

A Dutch journalist named Joris Luyendijk says in his piece for the Prospect magazine;

“psychotherapists employ the concept of narcissism to describe people with an unstable sense of identity. Feelings of vulnerability, dependency and helplessness can overwhelm them and for this reason narcissists cling to notions of grandiosity”.

He seems to believe that the BREXIT Britain is a narcissist nation. What is he talking about? Read the not-so long essay and you will know.

Without knowing whether the the British (or the English) in general have narcissism in their national character, the “psychotherapists’ concept of narcissism” does ring me bells. Michael Gove contributed to the Spectator magazine a statement to express his enthusiasm for BREXIT;

“We are the world’s fifth largest economy, with the best armed forces of any nation, more Nobel Prizes than any European country and more world-leading universities than any European country…”

“Are we really too small, too weak and too powerless to make a success of self-rule?”

Nobody claims that Britain (or England, if he likes) is a small, weak and powerless country, but I had the impression that Gove suspects people do and cannot stop yelling, “I am not stupid, you are stupid!!”

Another example of narcissism is;

“I cannot allow myself to die until my Japan, which has been made a fool of by China, and seduced as a mistress by the United States, is able to stand up again as a stronger, more beautiful nation.”

This is what Shintaro Ishihara, a former Tokyo governor, was quoted as saying in a NY Times article. He is a typical narcissist with an “unstable sense of identity.” He tends to think that other people make fun of him unless he shows his self-worthiness. He behaves as if he is absolutely confident of himself despite that he always fears that others think he is idiot (which, I think, is partly true).

Am I a narcissist? I still don’t know…Do you!? Let me put aside the issue of narcissism. Who cares whether or not Jiro, a 75 year-old Japanese, is a narcissist, anyway!?

I was personally against BREXIT. I did not believe the country should leave the EU for the sake of their future (and for the better world). I am however beginning to change my feeling after I saw a copy of the Daily Mail’s front page about the recent court ruling on the parliamentary discussion of the BREXIT isssue.

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I am beginning to feel that it might, after all, be better for Britain to leave EU: not for the sake of Britain but for the EU’s future. Do EU really need a country as their member where a rag like Daily Mail enjoys a huge popularity? Do EU need a country where an MP says in the twitter “Unelected judges calling the shots. This is precisely why we voted out. Power to the people!

Is it possible for only England to leave? No? Pity!! Then I fear that Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales should first leave UK and join EU. The English, then, can sack those judges and go wherever they wish to…

 

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Self-interest or selfish interests

Britain’s EU referendum in three days. Here is what I would like to say to my British friends whether they will read it or not…

Just sit back and think! Why did you join the EEC in 1973? Why did you decide through the 1975 referendum to continue to be the member? Was that only because the institution would serve your “self-interests”? Now you want to get your country back just because you see that the institution does not serve your selfish interests (sorry, self-interests) any longer?

One more thing. You have no right to jeopardise an institution maintained by sincere efforts of the people of the continent by your own voting. Deciding IN or OUT by voting has nothing (NOTHING) to do with democracy. Call it an inhouse quarrel among the island people (at best). In reality it is nothing but a “Tory party in-house disagreement than on any pressing problems with the EU” (according to an American friend of mine).

I sincerely hope that the continent people’s determination and efforts to make a better world will not be shaken by the rock-paper-scissors game by the islanders. Some of them still seem to believe in the outdated theory: everybody should seek his/her self-interests so that he/she will help making the world better place. We need EU with or without Britain. Do we need Britain without EU?

Having said all that, I cannot stop feeling even more depressed about the current political situation here in Japan: here we have had narrow-minded political class for the past 4 – 5 years. They are the Japanese version of Brexits. Japexiters!? I should talk about them separately.

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