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Home > Debates Last Updated: 14:31 03/09/2007
Debate: Comment

Joint Effort Necessary to Promote Economic and Democratic Stability

James Schoff (U.S.-Japan Foundation)

During the Gulf War, Japan pledged roughly $13bn to the allied effort to reverse the invasion of Kuwait, weaken Iraq and protect the future of the international oil market. This effort, along with the effort of all the allies, was important for stabilizing global security and the economy and sowing seeds for future growth (economically and in terms of democracy around the world).

In the space of a week or two, the US will pledge roughly $54bn to help repair the damage caused by this one attack and protect the future of the US aviation industry. We have not even begun talking about what it will cost in the future to control terrorism. This effort, though immediately focused on the domestic situation, has important implications for the global economy. But the US cannot satisfactorily respond alone.

As Japanese banks get ready to "mark to market", the impact this attack has on Japanese share prices is not insignificant. There are other serious economic effects. Many nations have a common interest in responding to this challenge.

That doesn't mean that the response has to be carpet bombing, ground invasions or other draconian military actions. And it does not mean that other nations need to follow the US response blindly.. I hope we're smarter than that. But we cannot rule out forceful measures in certain circumstances. And I don't think that nations like Japan can comfort themselves that because this is not an attack by another nation per se, then the alliance principles do not apply.

I would say to Japan, "don't just follow us, join us...because it is in all of our interests to resist radical violence and promote justice and stability. If you thought $13bn was a lot...look at what this cost us in a week!" So far, Japan and other allies seem to be thinking this way (now we need the US to listen to our friends instead of just giving orders).

This is going to be a big challenge for the US and Japan to work out, along with many other nations. I just hope it does not pull us apart.

(originally posted on NBR’s JAPANFORUM: 9/20 /2001; See

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