Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Cheney To Snub Japanese Defense Minister in Tokyo

Japanese Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma suggested last month that the war in Iraq was a mistake. He was criticized roundly by (hawkish Japanese prime minister Shinzo) Abe's people. Now, apparently as a punishment, the Bush administration asked Japan not to schedule a meeting between Cheney and Kyuma during this week's visit.

Thus, Cheney will snub the defense chief, the very person he would be expected to talk to in a visit focusing on defense and security issues. The message seems to be: Friends don't criticize friends. Japan, historically the bully of Asia, instinctively understands such threatening behavior.

There was no rational reason for Japan to get entangled in Iraq, and there's even less reason to become involved in Iran. However, Cheney appears bent on whipping up support for a reluctant Japan to continue to follow the Bush administration's lead in the war-torn Mideast. In refusing to meet with the defense minister, Cheney seems to be saying, in effect, that a silent nod to the wise is sufficient.


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