by Jerald Cumbus (JCMach1)
Japan has never been a good place for the Bushes. Nearly
shot down by one of their fighters and later vomiting in the
lap of the Prime Minister made the country one of those places
George Bush, Sr. would rather forget. Like his father before
him, George W. comes to Japan at a crossroads in his political
life. Having ridden the popularity of a war of revenge against
terror he has seamlessly reached the heights of Presidential
power, yet his power wanes at the hands of a sagging economy
and the nagging specter of Enron.
With this as the backdrop, the challenge W. faces in Japan
will be daunting and perhaps even greater than the challenges
brought to the fore by the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Japan's
banking system stands on the precipice of a total
"If the Asian imbroglio does spread, it could lead to
a world recession as severe as that of the early '80s - the
last time when world trade actually declined. It could spark
currency crises in Brazil and other developing countries that
could imperil banks in the United States and in Europe. It
could also inspire governments to adopt the kind of monetary
autarky and trade protection that prolonged and deepened the
Great Depression of the 1930s." These words from the
New Republic in 1998 sound almost prophetic today.
Over the past few months the world has seen the collapse of
the Argentine banking system and a new crisis in Venezuela.
We are mired in a recession that is partially the hangover
of the Asian Crisis combined with America's crisis in leadership.
Despite America lowering interest rates, Japan's economic
Currently, Japan is debating what measures to take to combat
deflation and a 1.0% GDP contration for the year ending in
March. The only real solution is for the Japanese government
to take on public debt. However, this hardly seems an option
debt is already 130% of GDP. PM Koizumi's latest
plan also includes measures to prevent a rush on banks
by nervous savers when the Government caps an unlimited guarantee
on deposits at ¥10 million ($147,600) from April.
If George W. Bush fails to help guarantee the liquidity of
Japanese banks, the resulting failure may bring about a 1929
style global depression. A failure to act dooms the U.S. economy,
at the very best, to the kind of long-term stagnation that
Japan itself is experiencing. No doubt there will be many
platitudes exchanged and the word 'reform' mentioned.
However, nothing will happen. Besides, reform in the Bush
lexicon means an unconditional surrender to American Corporate
Imperialism. Instead, expect another fine foreign policy failure:
simply another one from the setting son.
Jerald Cumbus teaches Government and Politics in Florida.
He is a Democratic Party activist, writer, poet, and will
never get over it.