Japan Institute for National Fundamentals

Speaking out

Yoichi Shimada

【#504】Bolton’s Nomination and Japan

Yoichi Shimada / 2018.03.29 (Thu)

March 26, 2018

     John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, will become President Donald Trump’s national security adviser on April 9. I met with him six to seven times. He is easy to get along with and understands humor. He is also sharp and has a strong sense of justice. When I once told him “Reagan conservatives like you…,” Bolton interrupted me and said: “I have been engaged in conservative movements since my high school days, when Reagan was still a Democrat. I have been a conservative longer than Reagan.” I’m sure that Bolton is a genuine conservative.

A hardliner who does not allow Pyongyang’s deception
     “Why do I know North Koreans are lying? Because their lips are moving.” This is a joke Bolton favors. Utterly, we must interpret all North Korea’s promises and declarations as deception. Bolton says a “Libyan method” is the only way to denuclearize North Korea.
     Three days after U.S. troops captured former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in an underground hideout in December 2003, Libyan leader Col. M'uammar al-Gaddafi vowed to dismantle weapons of mass destruction. Then, a team including U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and British MI6 (Military Intelligence 6) agents went to Libya and took nuclear materials, Scud C missiles and massive relevant documents out of the country. Materials for chemical weapons were disposed in Libya in the presence of U.S. and British officials. U.S. sources say Libya accepted any demand for access to suspicious facilities.
     North Korea might have planned to lure the United States into working-level talks toward a bilateral summit and win the relaxation of sanctions in exchange for a “freeze” on the operational deployment of intercontinental ballistic missiles and the production of plutonium and enriched uranium for nuclear weapons while accelerating nuclear missile development behind the scenes. Bolton’s assumption of the national security adviser post might have reduced the possibility of the United States being tricked into such a plan.
     Based on common sense, North Korea is unlikely to accept the denuclearization under the Libyan method. Bolton has reiterated that the United States should invoke a military option to remove threats before North Korea’s operational deployment of nuclear missiles. Any final decision on such option is up to the president. If the U.S.-North Korea summit comes to a rupture or is cancelled, however, military tensions may grow.

Japan should promptly become prepared to face belligerency
     Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono during his U.S. trip this month asked Washington to include the dismantlement of intermediate-range ballistic missiles capable of striking Japan and the resolution of the Japanese abduction issue into conditions for holding a U.S.-North Korea summit, according to Kyodo News. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reportedly plans to make the same request to President Trump when the Japanese leader visits the United States in mid-April.
     This is a right stance. If the United States accepts the Japanese request to make the conditions tougher, however, the proposed Washington-Pyongyang summit may become more likely to be collapsed. Prime Minister Abe has reiterated that he consistently supports President Trump’s policy of putting all options on the table. Abe thus clarified that he supports even a military option. As far as Japan asks the United States to avoid any compromise that would harm Japanese national interests, however, Japan should be responsible for any result. Japan should steadily and promptly become prepared to fight together with the United States.

Yoichi Shimada is Planning Committee Member, Japan Institute for National Fundamentals, and Professor at Fukui Prefectural University.