Saturday, July 23, 2005

Poll: Americans Say World War III Likely
Japanese Say They Aren't Interest In Things Like War

It looks like Americans have a bit more grasp on reality than the Japanese. From AP:

WASHINGTON - Americans are far more likely than the Japanese to expect another world war in their lifetime, according to AP-Kyodo polling 60 years after World War II ended. Most people in both countries believe the first use of a nuclear weapon is never justified.

Those findings come six decades after the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The war claimed about 400,000 U.S. troops around the world, more than three times that many Japanese troops and at least 300,000 Japanese civilians.

Out of the ashes, Japan and the United States forged a close political alliance. Americans and Japanese now generally have good feelings about each other.

But people in the two countries have very different views on everything from the U.S. use of the atomic bomb in 1945, fears of North Korea and the American military presence in Japan.

Some of the widest differences came on expectations of a new world war.

Six in 10 Americans said they think such a war is likely, while only one-third of the Japanese said so, according to polling done in both countries for The Associated Press and Kyodo, the Japanese news service.

"Man's going to destroy man eventually. When that will be, I don't know," said Gaye Lestaeghe of Freeport, La.

Some question whether that war has arrived, with fighting dragging on in
Afghanistan and Iraq as part of the U.S. campaign against terrorism.

Now, check this out. Susan Aser has the right idea.

"I feel like we're in a world war right now," said Susan Aser, a real estate agent from Rochester, N.Y.

The Japanese were less likely than Americans to expect a world war, less worried about the threat from North Korea and less inclined to say a first strike with nuclear weapons could be justified.

"The Japanese people take peace for granted," said Hiroya Sato, 20, of Tokyo. "The Japanese people are not interested in things like war."

Wait, I gotta write that down. "The Japanese people are not interested in things like war." Check. Thanks Hiroya. I got it.

That wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that, as is also the case with Europe, we are your freakin' military.

The lesson here is, when you pay for another person, or country, to have a free ride, they forget reality. The idea that a Japanese person, just sixty years after the Rape of Nanking, could tell us that the Japanese people aren't interested in war, is both laughable and illuminating.

It is dangerous to have people live in this kind of derangement. When people are not connected to the world by practical concerns, they are liable to follow their own delusions down all sorts of rabbit holes. Such thinking is what leads otherwise intelligent people to be able to say with a straight face that America is the biggest threat to world peace.

I think one of the lessons to come out of the War on Terror is that we have to force our allies to become responsible once again for their own defense. Otherwise, we have no true partners, only resentful teenagers, pissed off that we won't lend them the car.