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The Japan Times


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"Abe’s new voter mandate"

Die Japan Times schreibt in ihrem Leitartikel zum Ausgang der japanischen Oberhauswahl, dass Premierminister Abe allenfalls ein Mandat für seine ökonomischen Reformen, nicht aber zur Änderung der pazifistischen Verfassung erhalten habe. "Sunday’s election result may have opened a window of opportunity for the pro-amendment political forces. But that does not mean amending the Constitution should now be a priority. The fact that none of the forces made it a campaign issue is proof that there is no urgency to revising the Constitution. Abe asked for a vote of confidence in Abenomics in the race — and was rewarded with the election win. He should realize that voters prefer political stability and a steady implementation of the steps he promised to spur the economy."

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"Bangladesh in deep trouble"

Bangladesch drohe nach der Mordserie an säkularen Bloggern und Aktivisten eine Ära des "chronischen Terrorismus" gegen Minderheiten aller Art, schreibt Gwynne Dyer. Premierministerin Sheikh Hasina habe die Morde zwar nicht offen gutgeheißen, sie habe sich allerdings klar an die Seite konservativer Muslime gestellt. "Prime Minister Hasina leads a country of 160 million people that is officially committed to defending the freedoms of speech and belief of citizens of every religion (and of no religion at all). But while she publicly deplored the murders, she was careful at the same time to insinuate that the bloggers were outrageous people who had in some way deserved to be killed. (...) So is Bangladeshi society drifting into the chronic terrorism against minorities of all sorts that afflicts its former ruler, Pakistan? The answer, unfortunately, is probably yes — and the blame lies mainly with the two women who have polarized Bangladesh’s political life for so long."

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"Time to take sides in the war within Islam"

Der französische Publizist Bernard-Henri Levy fordert den Westen auf, sich im weltweiten Konflikt zwischen Anhängern eines moderaten Islams und religiösen Extremisten vorbehaltlos und mit klaren Worten auf die richtige Seite zu stellen. "Specifically, we must call a spade a spade. An Islamist may be a lost Muslim or a Muslim gone astray, but he or she is a Muslim all the same. We must stop repeating ad nauseam that these aberrant Muslims have 'nothing to do with Islam.' In other words, we must acknowledge that two Islams are locked in a fight to the death, and that because the battlefield is the planet and the war threatens values that the West embraces, the fight is not solely the Muslims’ affair."

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"The makings of Syrian peace"

Russland sei offenbar auf gutem Weg, seine Strategie für eine Befriedung des Syrienkonflikts umzusetzen, schreibt Gwynne Dyer. Das Ziel sei von Beginn an gewesen, die vor der russischen Intervention ins Wanken geratene militärische Patt-Situation wieder herzustellen und die "moderaten" Rebellen von der Notwendigkeit politischer Kompromisse zu überzeugen. "The negotiators for these 'moderate' groups are still demanding the departure of Assad from power as the price of a permanent ceasefire. They haven’t a prayer of getting such a sweet deal, but the Russians are putting pressure on Assad to come up with a formula of words, however vague, that will persuade the 'moderates' to accept amnesty and come in from the cold without losing too much face. (...) Russian President Vladimir Putin’s goal was to isolate the Islamists and reconcile the rest of the rebels with the Assad regime, and it is well on the way to accomplishment. It will not be a happy ending for any of the groups involved in the Syrian civil war, but it is the least bad outcome that can now be realistically imagined."

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"Should Seoul go nuclear?"

Die jüngsten Provokationen aus Nordkorea haben die Diskussion über die Ausrüstung Südkoreas mit Atomwaffen neu angefacht. Doug Bandow vom Cato Institute spricht sich für einen solchen Schritt aus, der die USA entlasten und ein neues nukleares Abschreckungspotential schaffen würde. "Abandoning nonproliferation is not a decision to take lightly. No one wants a nuclear arms race. But China already is improving its nuclear forces to diminish Washington’s edge. And allowing North Korea to enjoy a unilateral advantage creates great dangers. So policymakers should consider the possibility of a nuclear South Korea. The NPT does not necessarily triumph over other security concerns. Keeping America entangled in the Korean imbroglio as Pyongyang develops nuclear weapons is a bad option which could turn catastrophic. Blessing allied development of nuclear weapons might prove to be a better alternative."

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"Marco Rubio is the Republican war candidate"

Das Establishment in der Republikanischen Partei habe sich im Präsidentschaftswahlkampf offenbar auf Marco Rubio als einzig verbleibende Alternative zu Donald Trump geeinigt, stellt Doug Bandow fest. Im Hinblick auf die künftige amerikanische Außenpolitik wäre Rubio aus Sicht Bandows allerdings der weitaus gefährlichere Präsident. "Indeed, Trump, despite his bluster and exaggeration, gets much right about foreign policy. He recognizes that the Iraq invasion had disastrous consequences, opposed the Libyan imbroglio, and criticizes proposals to fight on both sides of Syria’s hideous civil war. He opposes military confrontation with Russia. He also has raised the long overdue question: Why are Americans expected to forever subsidize rich dependent allies, most notably Europe, Japan and South Korea? He understands that the Pentagon should not be a welfare agency for foreigners who prefer that someone else pay for their defense. In contrast, Rubio is almost the polar opposite of Trump. He is prepared to spend his presidency starting wars. A true neocon believer, he sees war as the first resort. Moreover, he believes he is a foreign policy guru despite routinely issuing simplistic policy prescriptions based on ideological illusions."

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"Is it time for the U.S. to dump Saudi Arabia?"

Josh Cohen hält es für überfällig, dass die USA ihre bislang engen Beziehungen zu Saudi-Arabien auf den Prüfstand stellen. Dies sollte aus den offensichtlichen moralischen, aber auch aus handfesten sicherheitspolitischen Gründen geschehen. "Given the two countries’ divergent values, the U.S.-Saudi alliance relies almost entirely on overlapping economic and national security interests. The U.S. long relied on Saudi Arabia as an oil supplier, a steadfast beacon of opposition to communism and a huge buyer of American arms. The Saudis, meanwhile, depend on the U.S. to protect their security. Despite these long-standing ties, Saudi Arabia now harms American national interests as much as it helps them. First, the Saudis and the U.S. diverge over American policy toward Iran. (...) Second, Saudi Arabia executed al-Nimr despite concerns expressed by the U.S. that doing so could damage hopes for peace in Syria. (...) Third, thanks to the shale oil boom in the U.S., American dependence on Saudi oil has dropped dramatically. (...) Finally — and most importantly — the U.S. must accept the fact that Saudi Arabia is a major contributor to worldwide Islamic extremism. Washington policymakers clearly understand this. In a leaked Wikileaks cable, former Secretary of State — and now presidential aspirant — Hillary Clinton stated 'donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.'"

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"Bidding goodbye to Schengen"

Gwynne Dyer glaubt nicht, dass das Schengener Abkommen angesichts der Flüchtlingskrise aufrecht erhalten werden könne, da bisher nicht erkennbar sei, wie die Außengrenzen der EU effektiv gesichert werden könnten. "The brutal truth is that most of the people crossing from Turkey into Greece, including the Syrians and Afghans who come from war-torn countries, are 'asylum-shoppers.' They were already safe in Turkey, which is sheltering almost 2 million Syrian refugees and spending billions of dollars a year on them. But life in the camps in Turkey is hard, so they are moving on to seek asylum in richer countries with better facilities. There is no obligation for Europe to take them all, and the Schengen treaty will die if it does. But the EU itself will soldier on without it, at least until and unless the euro currency collapses when the next recession hits."

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"Warnings emerge of Islamic State in Philippines, latest nation in region to face threat"

Der "Islamische Staat" habe offenbar auch im Süden der Philippinen Anhänger gefunden, berichtet Alastair Wanklyn. "It fits a pattern of increased alarm in other parts of Southeast Asia, where analysts say poverty and the manipulation of Islam for politics or profit are leaven for the jihadi movement. 'They are trying to create a mini-Islamic State in Southeast Asia, all the way from [northern Indonesia’s] Aceh to the southern Philippines, and that will take in Malaysia as well,' said James Chin, director of the Asia Institute at the University of Tasmania in Australia."

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"Security policy set the wrong way"

Der japanischen Regierung ist es gelungen, ihr umstrittenes Gesetz über künftige Auslandseinsätze des japanischen Militärs durch das Oberhaus zu bringen. Die Japan Times kritisiert in ihrem Leitartikel vor allem die Art und Weise des Vorgehens der Regierung, die die "legale Stabilität" des Landes in Frage gestellt habe. "The way the legislation has been rammed through the Upper House, however, leads one to wonder if a security policy with so little political consensus and public support will really work in its implementation, especially with so many questions raised by experts — and no convincing answers from the government — about its legal foundation under the Constitution. (...) The prime minister said the reinterpretation is justified by the fundamental changes in security circumstances surrounding Japan. But his act of reinterpreting the nation’s supreme law to suit the government’s policy needs threatens the nation’s legal stability. A majority of constitutional scholars who spoke out have described the legislation as unconstitutional, as have former chiefs of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau."

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"Gadhafi’s fate only hardened Kim’s resolve"

Eine diplomatische Lösung des Atomkonflikts mit Nordkorea nach iranischem Vorbild sei durch den vom Westen unterstützten Sturz des libyschen Gaddafi-Regimes langfristig unmöglich geworden, schreibt Doug Bandow vom Cato Institute. "The North Koreans took immediate note. The Foreign Ministry observed: 'Libya’s nuclear dismantlement much touted by the U.S. in the past turned out to be a mode of aggression whereby the latter coaxed the former with such sweet words as 'guarantee of security' and 'improvement of relations' to disarm and then swallowed it up by force.' The ministry insisted that events demonstrated how the North’s military first policy was 'proper in a thousand ways.' (...) It never was likely that the North would yield up its nuclear weapons. But the Western alliance’s Libyan misadventure makes that prospect even less likely. The U.S. and Europe may rue this precedent for years to come."

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"Thousands protest Abe, security bills at Diet rally"

In ganz Japan ist es zu Demonstrationen gegen die geplanten Sicherheitsgesetze der Abe-Regierung gekommen. In Tokio seien bis zu 120.000 Menschen auf die Straße gegangen, um gegen eine mögliche Beteiligung Japans an künftigen Kriegen zu protestieren, berichtet Tomohiro Osaki. "On Sunday, a sense of immediacy appeared to pervade the raucous rally with the bills, currently under deliberation in the Upper House, expected to be enacted mid-September. The security legislation will greatly expand the scope of Japan’s logistical support for any U.N.-authorized force and allow the country to exercise the right to collective self-defense with an ally, likely the United States, if an event critically threatens Japan’s national security. Protesters maintain the move, long banned under the postwar Constitution, is unconstitutional and that the bills could eventually drag Japan into an unwanted war."

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"Islamic State group’s top command dominated by ex-officers in Saddam’s army"

Neue Aussagen irakischer Offiziere bestätigen diesem Bericht von Hamza Hendawi zufolge, dass die militärische Führung des "Islamischen Staates" durch ehemalige Offiziere des Regimes von Saddam Hussein dominiert werde. "The experience they bring is a major reason for the group’s victories in overrunning large parts of Iraq and Syria. The officers gave the Islamic State group the organization and discipline it needed to weld together jihadi fighters drawn from across the globe, integrating terrorist tactics like suicide bombings with military operations. They have been put in charge of intelligence-gathering, spying on the Iraqi forces as well as maintaining and upgrading weapons and trying to develop a chemical weapons program."

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"The Abe administration’s arrogance of power moment"

Das japanische Unterhaus hat einige umstrittene Gesetze beschlossen, die künftige japanische Auslandskampfeinsätze ermöglichen sollen. Nach Überzeugung von Koichi Nakano und Nancy Snow ist dies eine Verletzung der japanischen Verfassung. Premierminister Abe habe kein Mandat für seine Politik und stelle sich offen gegen den Willen einer Bevölkerungsmehrheit. "In reality, only one in four voters actively voted for Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party. The prime minister has, nevertheless, said that within 20 to 30 years he will be vindicated; thus, public opinion, which he seems to view with disdain, is dismissed. We believe that the Japanese people deserve more credit and respect than what they are being shown by their government. (...) By turning a blind eye on Abe’s arrogance of power moment, the U.S. risks not only aggravating the regional tension and rivalry in Asia-Pacific, but also antagonizing the Japanese public, who came to embrace the postwar values of constitutionalism, democracy and peace."

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"At last, Japan stands up"

Die japanische Regierung plant diesem Beitrag der früheren Verteidigungsministerin Yuriko Koike zufolge, bis zum September dieses Jahres eine Reihe von sicherheitspolitischen Gesetzen durchzusetzen, die die internationale Rolle Japans grundlegend verändern könnten. "Abe’s interventions at the G-7, and his determination to create a legal framework for a more proactive security strategy, are proof that Japan, at long last, is constructing a foreign policy — a Weltpolitik — that reflects not only the global weight of its economy, but also the impact of faraway events on its national security. This foreign-policy assertiveness is as revolutionary for Japan’s diplomacy as 'Abenomics' has been for its economic policy. It marks a stark contrast with the seven decades following Japan’s defeat in 1945 in the Pacific War, when successive governments mostly outsourced foreign policy to the United States."

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"Beijing is getting a bad rap in South China Sea disputes"

Der frühere australische Diplomat Gregory Clark hält die Kritik an Chinas Expansionsdrang im Südchinesischen Meer für überzogen und erläutert einige Begründungen chinesischer Gebietsansprüche. Die US-Regierung kritisiere Peking zudem für Verhaltensweisen, die sie bei den japanischen Verbündeten großzügig übersehe. China wäre trotzdem gut beraten, in territorialen Streitfällen über Kompromisse zu verhandeln. "(...) it would cost China little to be more compromising. While it often has history on its side, others can claim geography. Toward the Philippines over the Spratlys and toward Vietnam over the Paracels, it could have recognized that they are much closer than is China and they have some rights also. Toward the Philippines especially, Beijing has lost a possible friend in the area by its abrasive criticisms and confrontations. A situation where Beijing continued to claim and develop areas of interest but allowed others to do likewise in other areas would hardly harm China’s security."

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"War in the South China Sea?"

Die USA haben die chinesische Expansion im Südchinesischen Meer in den vergangenen Tagen und Wochen mit deutlichen Worten kritisiert. Die chinesische Parteizeitung Global Times hat daraufhin in der vergangenen Woche vor einem offenen Krieg zwischen beiden Ländern gewarnt. Gwynne Dyer hält die chinesischen Ansprüche im Südchinesischen Meer für "erstaunlich unverschämt" und meint, dass andere Länder in der Region mit der Drohung eingeschüchtert werden sollen. "It’s been going on for years, but it’s getting much more intense as the Chinese project for building military bases all over the South China Sea (it denies that that’s what they are, of course) nears completion. So now the rhetoric steps up to actual warning of a China-U.S. war. The Global Times is right, whether its writers know it or not. If China keeps acting as if its claims were universally accepted and unilaterally expanding the reefs to create large bases with airstrips and ports, and the U.S. and local powers go on challenging China’s claims, then there really could be a war. Later, not now, and not necessarily ever, but it could happen."

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"IS hostage crisis"

Eine der beiden japanischen Geiseln der Terrormiliz Islamischer Staat ist offenbar ermordet worden. Die Japan Times hat ein Dossier mit Beiträgen und Hintergrundinformationen zum Thema eingerichtet.

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"Obama is getting 'trolled' by the Islamic State"

Der Islamische Staat habe mit seinen Videos von Hinrichtungen westlicher Geiseln sein Ziel erreicht und den Westen erneut zu einer "Überreaktion" verleitet, schreibt Ted Rall. "The genius of 9/11 was to provoke the United States and its allies into behaving exactly like the monsters al-Qaida and other jihadist groups had long argued they were. The invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, brazenly embracing torture, mass kidnappings and opening a gulag archipelago of secret prisons everywhere from Eastern Europe to Guantanamo to jail ships floating in the Indian Ocean, as well as the brazen disregard for innocent civilians demonstrated by Bush and Obama’s willy-nilly drone program, convinced countless fence sitters and former moderates to join the militants, cut them a check, or at least look the other way. By the end of the Bush years, the U.S. was wildly unpopular, viewed as 'violent' and 'selfish' throughout the Muslim world. We got trolled. The tactics Obama plans to use against the Islamic State are more of the same."

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"China, U.S. moving closer to viewing war as inevitable"

Sicherheitsexperten in den USA und in China hätten die wachsende Sorge, dass die Regierungen in Washington und Peking einen künftigen Krieg zwischen beiden Ländern bald als unausweichlich betrachten könnten, schreibt Mark J. Valencia vom National Institute for South China Sea Studies im chinesischen Hainan. China strebe eine ebenso "außergewöhnliche" Rolle im internationalen System an wie die USA, für die Amerikaner käme eine Aufgabe ihrer aktuellen Vorrangstellung jedoch nicht in Frage. "If the U.S. wants to avoid direct conflict or at least postpone it — and it is not obvious that the U.S. wants to do either — it has to accommodate to some degree China’s international interests and aspirations by sharing power: when, on what issues, how, and how much are challenges for U.S. government deep thinkers to ponder and negotiate with China. For its part, China needs to prove by its actions that it will not threaten or use force to settle its disputes. Such strategic 'flexibility' by both parties will be necessary to avoid the worst scenario. The two have fundamental differences and conflicting 'national interests.' It does not seem likely that the U.S. will 'give' and China will 'accept' what it will take to make this new relationship a reality."

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"Japan’s Russian dilemma"

Die frühere japanische Verteidigungsministerin Yuriko Koike schreibt, dass die russische Übernahme der Krim als Rückkehr zum "normalen Paradigma der russischen Geschichte" betrachtetet werden könne. Der Expansionsdrang Moskaus betreffe auch japanische Sicherheitsinteressen, da es zwischen Russland und Japan Territorialstreitigkeiten um die sogenannten "Nordgebiete" gebe, die sich seit 1945 unter russischer Kontrolle befänden. "In a strange historical twist, given the Crimean annexation, after the Japanese citizens native to the Northern Territories were killed or expelled, many Ukrainians were brought to the islands during the Soviet years, and still live there. If an independence referendum were to be held on Etorofu Island, where some 60 percent of the inhabitants have roots in Ukraine, I wonder whether Putin would accept the result as readily as he did the ballot in Crimea, undertaken at the barrel of a gun?"

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"China gains from U.S.-Russia face-off"

Brahma Chellaney schreibt, dass China zu den großen Nutznießern eines neuen "Kalten Krieges" zwischen den USA und Russland gehören würde. "A new U.S.-Russian cold war will leave greater space for China to advance its territorial creep in Asia. (...) U.S. President Barack Obama’s repeated warnings to Moscow over Crimea, including holding out the threat to isolate Russia politically, diplomatically and economically, contrasts starkly with his silence on China’s aggression, including its seizure of the Scarborough Shoal and the Second Thomas Shoal, and its establishment of an air-defense zone extending to territories it covets but does not control. Obama has not said a word on these Chinese actions, even though they targeted U.S. allies, the Philippines and Japan. Unlike Ukraine, these are countries with which the United States has mutual defense treaties. Obama’s 'pivot' to Asia - rebranded as 'rebalancing' - remains more rhetorical than real."

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"Inside Obama’s secret effort to salvage U.S.-Russian ties"

Hinter den Kulissen bemüht sich das Weiße Haus Josh Rogin zufolge seit einiger Zeit darum, die stetige Verschlechterung der Beziehungen zu Russland zumindest aufzuhalten. "'I don’t think that anybody at this point is under the impression that a wholesale reset of our relationship is possible at this time, but we might as well test out what they are actually willing to do,' a senior administration official told me. 'Our theory of this all along has been, let’s see what’s there. Regardless of the likelihood of success.' (...) 'We are willing to isolate the issues of Donetsk and Luhansk from the issue of Crimea,' another senior administration official told me, naming two regions in Eastern Ukraine under separatist control. 'If there was a settlement on Donetsk and Luhansk, there could be a removal of some sanctions while maintaining sanctions with regard to Crimea. That represents a way forward for Putin.'"

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