Monday, June 06, 2016

Long-term Dysfunction 

Citizens of Okinawa, Japan, have long wanted the US military off the island.  Every mistake by a US soldier, sailor or marine is cause for renewed anger and demonstrations.  Issues have become so sensitive that the US Navy has ordered its 18,600 sailors on the island to stop drinking off-base, and it has cancelled liberty for them as well.  This came after a drunk sailor caused a traffic accident in which two people were hurt.  American military bases have been part of Okinawa since the island was taken in a bloody battle 70 years ago.  Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force bases on the island are essential to the US military defense strategy for the Far East.  If the US were to lose its foothold on Okinawa, it would back up its reaction force to Guam,.thousands of miles away in the center of the Pacific Ocean.  How did PR become so bad for the US on Okinawa?  For a long time, American occupiers acted without consulting Okinawans and lied to them about critical issues, such as the presence of chemical weapons on the island.  In other words, Americans acted like the conquerors they were.  Now, the US has to watch its footing lest it be kicked off the island.  Activists have stirred up the population to a fever pitch.  It's not a good position to be in, but it is one of America's own making.


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