What distresses Nye, and the Pentagon, is that the new prime minister, Mr. Yukio Hatoyama, has begun to insist that previously settled agreements about the status of U.S. military forces in Japan, especially the Futenma base on the island of Okinawa, should be revisited. Nye complains that Hatoyama leads a
Nye certainly knows more about this than I do. But I can't believe that Japanese readers of these words don't resent Nye's apparent assumption that they are children to be led and manipulated.
This op-ed reminded me of Chalmers Johnson's account of U.S. bases in Okinawa in Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire. According to Johnson, Okinawans have good reason to be furious about the U.S. bases that since 1945 have occupied much of their 454 square mile territory, an area about the size of Los Angeles. In 2000 Johnson wrote that the island housed 39 bases occupying 20 percent of agricultural land, as well as adjacent seas and the airspace overhead.
This lack of jurisdiction matters. Again, from Blowback,
And this was just one case among many of abuse of the "native" population by the supposedly friendly occupiers. In a 2003 article available online, Johnson concluded that
Blowback is the first volume of Johnson's monumental trilogy on U.S. empire; it was followed by Sorrows of Empire (in which, in passing, Johnson explains how learning about the Okinawa saga put him onto the project) and Nemesis: the Last Days of the American Republic.
As the United States becomes ever more deeply mired in wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and wherever our politicians and generals take us next, Johnson's deeply researched, painful, and wise three volume opus remains completely relevant. He never lets his readers escape awareness that empire abroad encroaches ever more deeply on popular sovereignty at home, new faces in office notwithstanding.