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Sat, Mar. 19th, 2005 09:29 am
Racist robots

48CommentReply

stanleylieber
stanleylieber
Stanley Lieber
Sat, Mar. 19th, 2005 12:08 pm (UTC)

Sure, I agree with you that current US policies may be just more imperialistic versions of Clinton policies. Surely that just underlines the fact that the US is worrying whoever is in power. Clinton only left a few years ago... you have to go back to the second world war to find your examples of Japanese militarism. Atrocities in Machurian villages is not the reality of contemporary Japan, whereas war and atrocity are the realities of the contemporary US. That is a fundamental reality, and if anything under-represented in the press.

I quite agree with most of this, with the caveat that the very qualities of Japanese society that you praise so frequently render your argument somewhat less substantial, for all its accuracy. For Japan, is laying low for sixty years any more of a 'solid state' than what I'm describing? Observe the behavior of the United States over the last sixty years. Is this also definitive? Damning, as Japan's is redeeming? If you take your own advice and pull back to a wider view, the historical behavior of Japanese society (and in particular, the Japanese governments tolerated by its populace) is less in line with your utopian view of its presumed present circumstances (neither of us speak the language) than it is with my cautionary observation that institutionalized, traditionalized politeness doesn't necessarily equate to enduring political or military docility. See The Art of War, which is still widely studied -- there are entirely different sets of cultural points of commonality bringing a gravitational influence to bear on their social mores. We (as Westerners) tend to see passivity as a 'solid state,' whereas an Easterner knows, feels, within every strand of his DNA, that that all states are transient. Let the big stupid Americans trip over their own feet. All things run their course. Perhaps sixty years is a 'cake walk' in the higher, global stakes.


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