« 自民党大会 慢心せず「決められる」政治を | トップページ | 南海トラフ地震 最大級の危機にどう備えるか »

2013年3月20日 (水)

イラク戦争10年 「北」の脅威対処に教訓生かせ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 20, 2013)
Iraq War anniversary a chance to reflect on North Korea's threat
イラク戦争10年 「北」の脅威対処に教訓生かせ(3月19日付・読売社説)

Wednesday marks the 10th anniversary of the start of the controversial Iraq War. There are problems still left unsolved, and Japan today has a particular reason to calmly reassess the lessons of the war.

The Iraq War began under the administration of former U.S. President George W. Bush, and it ended in December 2011 with the full withdrawal of U.S. troops.

The war taught the United States a bitter lesson. U.S. rule of the occupied land was blundering, the lives of nearly 4,500 U.S. soldiers were lost, and huge expenditures on the war ballooned the nation's fiscal deficit. The United States launched the war based on a claim that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, but such weapons were never found, undermining the U.S. authority.

There is ceaseless criticism that the costs of the war were out of all proportion to its gains.

In addition, the international community was unable to reach an agreement on the issue, as countries such as France, Germany and Russia opposed the use of force by the United States and Britain. The final verdict on the Iraq War will not be rendered anytime soon.


A question remains unanswered

However, we must keep in mind that one fundamental problem that drove the United States to launch the war remains unsolved.

The problem is this: What actions should the international community take, if a country that develops weapons of mass destruction, such as nuclear weapons, ignores U.N. Security Council resolutions demanding that it scrap such weapons?

A case in point now is North Korea, a nation hell-bent on building a nuclear arsenal. The nation has conducted three nuclear tests, ignoring the Security Council's resolutions.

In addition to the direct threat posed by North Korea, Japan also has to cope with the unabated military and economic expansion of China.

Japan was divided over the U.S. decision to launch the Iraq War. Then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi supported the use of force from the standpoint of prioritizing the Japan-U.S. alliance, but the Democratic Party of Japan and other opposition parties opposed the war, saying it had no justification.

However, the necessity for Japan to firmly maintain its alliance with the United States remains unchanged over the past 10 years, or has even become stronger.


What Japan needs to do

The United States and Britain overestimated the danger of Iraq's programs on weapons of mass destruction. But it will be dangerous if the aftereffects of that overestimate led the international community to underestimate the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea. If the United States becomes overly reluctant to use force against North Korea, there will be fewer options for responding to Pyongyang's threat.

Our nation must not be complacent regarding its current relationship with the United States. Japan must take concrete measures to reinforce the Japan-U.S. alliance, such as enabling itself to exercise the right to collective self-defense.

Iraq's democratization is making progress, as can be seen from events such as its conducting elections. Oil production is recovering, bringing prosperity to the nation's oil-producing northern and southern areas. Such results would have been difficult to achieve under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein.

However, Iraq's political situation remains unstable. Sectarian strife and terrorist attacks show no signs of abating in Baghdad and other key cities. Despite myriad problems, the administration of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is slowly heading toward reconstruction of the country. We hope Iraq will succeed in restoring security, which will help it set a steady course toward reconstruction.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 19, 2013)
(2013年3月19日01時19分  読売新聞)


« 自民党大会 慢心せず「決められる」政治を | トップページ | 南海トラフ地震 最大級の危機にどう備えるか »





« 自民党大会 慢心せず「決められる」政治を | トップページ | 南海トラフ地震 最大級の危機にどう備えるか »