WHY DID THE U.S. WAR SECRETARY GET GRUMPY IN ASIA?

greetings,
WE SHALL READ AND EXCERPT OF MESSENGER ELIJAH MUHAMMAD’S WORDS BEFORE READING THE EVENTS WHICH TOOK PLACE IN ASIA A FEW DAYS AGO TO GIVE YOU A TRULY ENLIGHTENED PERSPECTIVE OF UNFOLDING EVENTS;TAKEN FROM ,”THE FALL OF AMERICA,”pg.110….,” America wants everyone to help her bemoan all of her set-backs but when she causes others to fall…breaks up the countries of other peoples and destroys their independence and freedom, she laughs and prides herself as doing a great thing. She puts her feet upon their economic neck and destroys their independence as a nation.

14 All this now returns to America. The little nations are now awake. They had looked for true friendship from America but instead America deceived them.

15 Again, I repeat, the Bible prophecy…”As thou has done, it shall be done unto thee.” There is no friend for America. Also it is written in the Bible, “In the day of thy fall, none shall help thee….”

16 Why? Because you, America, have been and are an aide of the destruction and fall of other peoples. So who should help you in the day of your fall? This is what Allah (God) wants to bring home to America through His prophets.

17 The Holy Qur’an refers to America in this kind of prophecy: “When her doom comes there will come one calamity after another.” As soon as she thinks she is getting over the sore made by a previous calamity, another will attack her.

18 America is undergoing all that is prophesied against her. It is nothing new. It is well-known.”…..NOW READ THIS—–>

Gates gets grumpy in Tokyo
By Peter J Brown

United States Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has to be more mindful of his body language. It says a lot about his state of mind. This is something that can be developed by playing poker, among other things, and given the very high stakes game that is unfolding in Asia, perhaps a round of cards might be just what Gates needs.

Two photos of Gates this month – one taken in Tokyo and a later one taken in Seoul – convey two different messages entirely. The photo of Gates meeting with Japanese Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa in Tokyo shows an unhappy, even irate, Gates. There is no mistaking his body language. His latest trip to Japan was no doubt frustrating, or perhaps worse, a waste of his time.

In Seoul just a few hours later, Gates was all smiles as the

cameras clicked.

Back in Washington DC, the Washington Post ran a picture of a grumpy Gates in Tokyo along with a story in which a senior US State Department official declared that, these days, China was easier to deal with than Japan.

Gates had hoped to depart from Tokyo last week with a firm agreement in place concerning the relocation of the US Marine Corps base on Okinawa, which in turn would allow President Barack Obama’s visit to Japan next month to proceed more smoothly. Instead, Gates got nothing but a garbled message from Japan, which benefits neither Japan nor the US.

Gates simply wanted Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama to say, “We have a deal, and we will have it all finalized by the time President Obama touches down in Tokyo next month. I promise, and there will be no surprises.” Instead, Gates got a healthy dose of “don’t knows” as in, “We don’t know when we will make a decision, and we don’t know what exactly that decision will be.”

One retired senior Japanese military officer described the visit by Gates as one that brought to the surface the many deep problems in the national security agenda of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), which came to power after elections in August.

“For one thing, the Social Democratic Party [a partner in the ruling coalition], which has insisted on a total pullout of US forces from Japan, has been given far too much leverage because of the fragile nature of the base of this coalition,” this officer said. “Also, the decision by the DPJ to delay the release [pending review of Japanese defense policy] of the so-called National Defense Program Guideline, which was expected by the end of this year until next year, shows how confused the DPJ is when it comes to identifying major defense policy objectives. And it is not the result of the fact that the government is so new.”

At the same time, while the Gates visit may have involved a look at the reality of the situation – something that the new government was not ready to deal with at this time – it simply provided the DPJ government with another opportunity to portray itself as a force for change without compelling Hatoyama and his coalition to take a stand as well one way or the other.

“It is as if better solutions will result only if more time is allowed to pass,” said this retired officer. “This explains the uncertain status of the Okinawa relocation plan. Hatoyama is simply avoiding the hard decision, and is instead buying time so as to avoid upsetting the two opposing parties in this instance, that is, the US government and the residents of Okinawa.”

Hatoyama and the DPJ may have forgotten that there are two new governments involved here and not one. The important role that Gates plays may also have been forgotten. Gates in the only cabinet officer left standing from the prior administration of George W Bush. He represents a desire for continuity and competence in a US administration which promised sweeping changes, while the reform-centric team of Hatoyama and Kitazawa has promised the people of Okinawa that their wishes will be upheld and that Japan was not bound to the current relocation scheme.

The relocation plan involves moving 9,000 US Marines from the southern island of Okinawa to the US Pacific island of Guam, at a cost of US$10 billion – two-thirds of which would be paid by Japan. It also requires the relocation of a US air base from the Okinawa town of Futenma to a less densely populated part of the island.

Gates knows all about battles with bureaucrats and politicians from both major political parties in the US, so he knows what Hatoyama is confronting, but what he cannot be so sure about is what sequence of events or underlying motives actually triggered the outcome here, which compelled him to leave Japan with all this unfinished business still in limbo last week.

After decades of living in close harmony with the US, Tokyo is starting to drift. It may be deliberate or it may be quite by accident; either way, Japan will have to realize that making the US nervous may lead to unpleasant consequences for all parties.

US Navy Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, accompanied Gates. Mullen met for the first time with Japanese General Ryoichi Oriki last week, and he described the US-Japan alliance as rock-solid. Mullen also thanked Japan for its many contributions to peace around the world.

While the defense of Japan is the top priority, the alliance “has also provided a basis for regional stability and for response”, Mullen said. The future plans for US forces in Japan are focused on “the military capability, the operational flexibility [and] the adjustment to the continuing threats in the region”, he said.

Mullen addressed the dual threat posed by North Korea and China’s military build-up that seems targeted at US and Japanese naval forces.

“We all agree that a de-nuclearized North Korea is the outcome we all seek. We can’t accept anything else,” he said. “I have also been concerned about [China’s] increased investment in their defense capability, their clear shift of focus from a ground-centric force to a naval- and air- centric force that seems to, now, push off-island, if you will, beyond the first island chain and out to the second island chain.”

At the same time, Mullen emphasized that the US appreciated the enormous value of military-to-military relationships and exchanges with China. In fact, on Monday, less than a week after leaving Tokyo, Gates was scheduled to welcome General Xu Caihao, the vice chairman of the People’s Liberation Army Central Military Commission and China’s second-highest ranking uniformed officer, to Washington. Xu will be in the US from October 24 to October 31.

However, these exchanges by themselves are not enough to dispel the uncertainty that surrounds the strategic intent of the buildup now underway.

“I have said for a long time that the peaceful rise of China, the economic engine that China is – there’s a lot of positive potential there,” Mullen said. “And so I would hope in the end that, in fact, their strategic intent is a positive one of security for their people and their country and not one that puts us into a position that could generate a conflict.”

Mullen’s comments were clearly aimed at a Japanese audience that stepped into voting booths at Japan’s national election in August and overwhelmingly signaled its enthusiasm both for Hatoyama as a person and for the new DPJ agenda.

Hatoyama has his hands full as he balances the Japanese electorate’s expectations with the security needs of his country.

In his first speech to the Diet (parliament) on Monday, Hatoyama spoke of the importance of a ”close and equal [and multi-layered] Japan-US alliance” and he portrayed this as the basis for peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. He perceived the alliance as one where both the US and Japan carried equal weight when it came to shaping the role both Tokyo and Washington would play in maintaining global peace and security.

Hatoyama hedged on the realignment of US forces in Japan. While he once again acknowledged the “burden, pains and sorrows experienced by the people in Okinawa [prefecture]” – as if to distance his government from the deal that Japan and the US forged in 2006 – he never went as far as to declare the 2006 agreement dead in the water.

Much to the extreme disappointment of many Japanese military officials and defense planners, what is dead is any hope that the US will export the F-22 to Japan. This stealthy and sophisticated fighter jet has been high on Japan’s list for months, even while F-22 weather-related problems, and those related to heavy rain in particular, made this aircraft seem not as invincible as it appeared.

In turn, Gates got not so good news when it came to Japanese exports. Perhaps this was another reason for that unhappy look on his face. After all, besides the base controversy, Gates was in Tokyo to win Japanese approval for SM-3 Block 2A missile exports.

SM-3 Block 2A missiles are state-of-the-art anti-missile weapons that can be deployed on ships. The US and Japan have been working together on this system as well as other high-tech anti-submarine and other cutting-edge defense hardware and software.
Gates, however, is once again confronting anti-US sentiment in the ruling coalition with the Social Democratic Party clearly in the driver’s seat on this one. And any deal that would overturn the long-established Japanese ban on weapons exports to nations – other than joint US-Japanese anti-missile systems and components exported to the US – let alone any US-driven deal to this effect, faces stiff resistance.

In other words, when Gates brought this issue up during his meeting with Kitazawa, the Japanese defense minister showed that body language is something he does know well, and he succeeded in not rolling his eyes as he politely informed Gates that the request would be given due consideration.

Because all the indicators point to a done deal down the road, Kitazawa was just being diplomatic, and perhaps pragmatic, just days before the latest round of elections in Japan – two by-elections were held last weekend.

Some in the US who have watched the debate over the viability of Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI) technology might find this to be a curious offshore twist to the story of this missile defense program. In other words, whereas at one point KEI was close to termination as a program in the US, it seems as if it was alive and well – and well-funded – far away on the other side of the Pacific.

Japan’s contribution in this instance involved the integrity of infrared ray sensors, while the US was responsible for the KEI projectile, which is designed to intentionally collide at very high speed with an incoming enemy ballistic missile.

One export item that remained under the radar screen last week was Mitsubishi Electric Corp’s Proximity Link System (PLS), which will be used to guide US-based Orbital Science’s future Cygnus resupply mission spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) during nine upcoming resupply missions for the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), starting in 2011.

Just days before Gates arrived in Japan, Mitsubishi Electric announced the $66 million PLS deal, which involved technology originally developed for use on the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV).

As unmanned PLS-equipped spacecraft approach the ISS, the PLS serves as an automated guidance, rendezvous and docking mechanism. It establishes a link to the Proximity Communication System, which was installed in the ISS with the Japanese Kibo Experimental Module.

The successful operation and reliability of the PLS has no doubt caught the attention of the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and specifically the DARPA team working on the “Future, Fast, Flexible, Fractionated, Free-Flying spacecraft” project known simply as F6.

F6 involves replacing today’s large monolithic spacecraft with clusters or groups of wirelessly linked elements, or nodes, which execute or replicate a specific spacecraft function. You simply unite these nodes together in space, and presto, you have a satellite.

PLS would greatly enhance recoupling to the extent that pairs of F6 nodes would engage in refueling or other mated operations in space. However, because under the existing Japanese export rules, a PLS system could not be exported to the US for use by DARPA – again the “D” stands for “Defense” – DARPA will have to look elsewhere or Japan will have to further revise and amend its export regulations.

So, whereas SM-3 Block 2A missiles can be exported to the US under exemption approved in 2004, perhaps PLS systems can only be exported the US on a limited basis, and only to non-defense US customers at this time absent further revisions or amendments.

Wonder who is smiling now.

Peter J Brown is a freelance writer from the US state of Maine.

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