Saturday, December 18, 2010

Obama's Diplomacy B.W. -Before Wikileaks-

This Huffington story about Assange's WikiLeaks on press and diplomacy is of the best vintage since the "crisis" started!

But first of all this one which hurts, a lot. "Here are the locations that the U.S. State Department sees as key in Japan (marked on the above map):"

"Back in the year 2007, B.W. (Before WikiLeaks), Barack Obama waxed lyrical about government and the internet: "We have to use technology to open up our democracy. It's no coincidence that one of the most secretive administrations in our history has favored special interest and pursued policy that could not stand up to the sunlight."

At that moment he was, of course, busy building an internet framework that would play an important part in his becoming the head of the next administration. Not long after the election, in announcing his "Transparency and Open Government" policy, the president proclaimed: "Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing. Information maintained by the Federal Government is a national asset."

Cut to a few years later. Now that he's defending a reality that doesn't match up to, well, reality, he's suddenly not so keen on the people having a chance to access this "national asset."

More on the Huffington story here:

Waiting for Openleaks

Sources:, Business insider.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Asia related cables from Wikileaks

I did not read any leaks... of course.

Here are all Wikileaks cables released:

The Australia related cables from Wikileaks by the Age newspaper:

Among the cables: North East Asia

"ONA analysts led the discussion of Northeast Asia during a working lunch, providing a regional overview that included China, Japan, Taiwan, the Koreas, Russia, and India. ONA assessed that China, clearly rising to be the region's preeminent power, was focused on a perception management campaign to contain any notions of a "China threat," while Japan was "divided internally" on such basic issues as defining "its own place" in Asia and the modern world-despite its push for a seat on the UN Security Council. ONA viewed the management of the US-Japan alliance as the single most important factor shaping the security of Northeast Asia, whether to balance China, prevent a conflict on the Taiwan Strait, or deter North Korea. ONA viewed the Taiwan Strait situation as "cooling," but stated that the long-term trajectory was negative-especially as Chinese military capabilities grow rapidly in parallel with unmet expectations for a KMT-led government in Taipei "to deliver" on improved ties to the mainland."


The group discussed the capabilities of Japanese intelligence service interlocutors, comparing views based on the INR delegation's recent exchange in Tokyo and those of DIO seniors' and analysts' similar interactions. McNarn agreed that there were signs of progress within the senior levels of the Japanese IC regarding trilateral US-AUS-JPN efforts against countries of mutual concern-particularly within the defense intelligence establishment against such themes as North Korean WMD and China's naval capabilities-but noted that incompatible security standards continued to be a major hindrance precluding more robust collaboration. McNarn and Shoebridge were particularly interested in A/S Fort's comments on INR's role in leading US Intelligence Community efforts within the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI), noting that the Australian intelligence community was "hard pressed" to understand the full extent of the threat, let alone serve in a position to lead the coordination of any interagency mitigation efforts. McNarn said the Defense Signals Directorate (DSD) had "the lead" for Australia in tackling the issue but was more focused on traditional intelligence collection/counterintelligence themes, and that Australian intelligence would need to stay engaged with its US counterparts to share lessons learned in the cyber arena.


"ONA highlighted India as the strategic power-once firmly ensconced in the non-aligned movement-being courted by the US and its allies to balance China's rise, but noted India's social system and economic disparities posed Qnoted India's social system and economic disparities posed unaddressed sources of internal instability that ultimately undermined its near-term effectiveness and long-term potential. ONA assessed that Japan would continue to push for increased engagement and investment in India, but asserted that Japanese cultural chauvanism continued to be an underlying issue that hindered improved economic and security ties with India. ONA argued that China's ability to acquire "strategic depth" was limited by geography, and that this-combined with an export driven economy that demanded access to international energy, resources, and trade networks-constrained its ability to exert an uncontested sphere of influence akin to the US or Soviet Union during the Cold War."

More on the URL pasted.

Sources: The Age

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The Asia related cables from Wikileaks by Asian Gazette is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Japan "clever" defense policy strategy

"Under Giant Trees" by Nan Na Hvass, Sleevage

"Japan's warrior tradition is infinitely more deeply rooted than latter-day, post-World War II pacifism"

Japan must improve its defense capability near its maritime border with China in the southwest, Vice Defense Minister Jun Azumi said on 8 December. Azumi also said that Japan must ensure the mobility of its forces over the next decade to strengthen its defense, and it should revise its weapons export ban. With a public debt neighboring 5 trillion US $, I'd comment that it is easier to say than to do!

Yet, the expansion of China's military has increased regional instability and official sources told me the plan is already established. It means Japan should strengthen defense cooperation with South Korea, Australia and India. Definitely, North Korea's actions provided a suitable environment for Japanese-South Korean coordination and we know China won't let it go so easily. So the situation requires answers. It came around last summer when a decision was made to move the forces form the north more towards the Okinawa China seas and to reduce the cavalry - tanks - of the forces deployed on Hokkaido.

Now this is very important: Tokyo's politicians and military authorities clearly emphasize now the need to strengthen defense cooperation with South Korean, Australia and India. This is it! It is happening right in front of our eyes! Europe is not able to achieve a coherent defense policy. But fast as usual, US major allies in Asia are trying to do it "their way" and indeed Asian and Pacific countries are taking responsibility for the security of Asia, with or without American help in the future.

One example: This is everywhere in today's press, Japan says it will expand its network of land-based U.S. Patriot PAC-3 missiles to better defend against North Korean ballistic missiles. It is said that the White Paper on national defense, the annual revision of the country's basic defense program, is expected to be adopted by the end of 2010 or early 2011 to reflect the recent crisis on the Korean peninsula. We'll see and I doubt it will go so fast because of the Diet work...

Right now, the missiles are now deployed at three air bases in Japan, but additional systems will be placed on all major Japanese islands, what it means is that patriot missiles were previously deployed only at three air bases in Japan but in the near future additional systems will be placed on all major Japanese islands. Not so many countries can afford but Japan is one of a dozen countries to choose the combat-proven Patriot missile system as a major component of their air and missile defense programs.

Facts show that Tokyo's Kan administration determination to boost its missile defenses was strengthened after Pyongyang conducted a series of ballistic missile tests in July 2006, and an underground nuclear test explosion three months later and the military is particularly concerned about North Korean medium-range ballistic missiles with the flight range of 1300 kilometers.

Now, now... We need to pay careful attention to Japanese official statements about defense and national security. Statements like that above have become more frequent than ever and are reshaping public attitudes

Japan under a so called peaceful constitution is always sitting between two chairs. Its sincere desire to protect peace and forge new alliances via the UN to alleviate people's pains in conflict torn regions, but its military industrial complex, narrowly linked with the United States is also a difficulty to reject alliances when danger is facing the house.

As a security firm analyst put it, "Japan's warrior tradition is infinitely more deeply rooted than latter-day, post-World War II pacifism." Support for more expansive defense operations are manifest in Japan's deployment of a contingent in Iraq, airlift operations from Kuwait, fueling support for Allied naval forces in the Arabian Sea, and support for anti-piracy operations off Somali, including building a bases in Djibouti. In the past, PKO forces in Cambodia or Africa (Mozambique) were the test-tubes of a step by step military advance of Japan Inc. In French we talk about "la politique japonaise de réarmement par petit pas!"

Once Japan's constitution is amended or modified to permit collective security, the era of post-war pacifism will have ended. Parliament discussions these days held behind the scene show that the Kan's administration is trying to play "politics accounting" trying to secure safe majority at the lower house by allying with center or left parties, in this end this is the reason why prime minister Kan opened a deal with SPJ leader Fukushima. From my sources, she'll only agree if Kan shows "moderation" on the Okinawa held Futenma issue. No surprise if the military show the muscles with announcement on the missiles deployment. I am told that the SDF simply cannot stand the "leftist" mind of the current administration of Naoto Kan and his chief cabinet secretary Yoshito Sengoku.

Some observers still try to downgrade this Japan military build up, cooperation has several faces they say, especially in airspace industry as a Japan Times reader commented:

"NASA would not have met with as much success since the early days of manned space flight as it has if it hadn't been for the technological assistance from Japan's community of scientists and engineers. One wonders what mankind will accomplish in the future if all countries involved in space exploration fully cooperate with each other. But as long as the militaries of these nations are involved in space-related projects, cooperation will be greatly limited. Keep the politicians on the ground."

We could not say better thing, I'd be simply adding that diplomacy and intelligence network are more efficient tools to preserve from very unclear and impulsive schemes. But as one knows, lately, intelligence seems to be on the side of the "extremely opened leaks option..."

Sources: Agencies, Reporter's notes.