Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I don't think these guys (Congressman Barney Frank et al) are allowed to write this sort of thing:

Immediately after World War II, with much of the world devastated and the Soviet Union becoming increasingly aggressive, America took on the responsibility of protecting virtually every country that asked for it. Sixty-five years later, we continue to play that role long after there is any justification for it. Huffington Post

Given that every incremental federal dollar spent today is being financed with borrowed funds, maintaining that collection of overseas bases results in a perverse daisy chain of borrowing from foreigners,* spending those borrowed funds overseas then sending never-ending interest payments back overseas as we roll over that debt again and again. (Letter to the National Committee on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform by Rep. Barney Frank, Rep. Ron Paul, Rep. Ron Wyden, Rep. Walter B. Jones Linked PDF from the above Huffington Post)

I have read that Okinawa was mentioned somewhere by Reps Frank and Paul, but can find no direct reference to it. (Edited to add: Here is one.)However, wouldn't it be nice if Americans and Japanese---the people, not just the governments and the "experts"---would get a chance to look at this and debate it and force those "in the know" to explain exactly why forces at the present level and configuration are still necessary in 2010, and to explain what would indicate that they would no longer be necessary at some point in the future?

No, I am not on drugs; I am merely fantasizing.

NPR's On Point is to broadcast an discussion on the military spending issue with Ron Paul and Barney Frank today (audio not up yet.)

Note that they are not talking about cutting expenses on the backs of those in Iraq and Afghanistan, but questioning the continued need for 480 US military installations in 38 countries.

*Ironically, one of the recent justifications given for the need to have US troops in Japan is the----how shall I put it?---the rising China threat. China is one of our biggest creditors, so we are borrowing from China and paying interest on that debt to China, in order to defend against China. Wonder if China would demand higher interest should the the US get into a conflict with them? Or would the US just stop borrowing from China and fund the conflict some other way? Oh, wait....did I say fund a conflict, meaning something like pay for it without borrowing from foreigners? Sorry, maybe I am on drugs.


  1. I recently spent eight months on Okinawa teaching history at the U.S. bases there.

    I am now convinced that the United States is wasting billions of dollars a year in Japan, among other places.

    While in Japan I was inspired to write a novel dealing with the subject. I entitled it "Ghosts of Empire."

    It's about two fatal events on Okinawa that threaten to derail negotiations for a new Status of Forces Agreement.

    My hope is that through fiction some Americans will wake up to the pointlessness of U.S. foreign policy in Asia, a policy that is as absurd as it is wasteful of American treasure.

  2. I hope something works, but I fear that it will take some sort of disaster to get us out. Good luck with your book.