Today’s New York Times piece (11/29/10) on the re-election of a governor of Okinawa who opposes the U.S. military base there seems to treat the views of the People Who Live There as one thing to maybe think about, and an annoying, in-the-way thing at that, with residents’ resistance described, variously, as a “wrench,” a “thorn” and a “headache”. (Overall, the piece reads a bit like the reaction of the Japanese national government to Hirokazu Nakaima’s re-election as “one manifestation of public opinion.” Yes, elections are that.)
Majority local opposition to the base is noted second, after the Japanese prime minister’s view that the base is “a critical deterrent against regional security threats–a message driven home by North Korea’s deadly artillery strike on a South Korean islet on Tuesday.” Can you “drive home” something that isn’t true? Sounds more like the Times thinks the deterrence capability’s crucialness is a fact, not a “message,” and that the artillery strike just proves it. One could just as easily point out that the U.S. presence there could be part of what keeps North Korea on edge. The fact that South Korea can conduct mock invasions and war games with the assistance of the most powerful military on the planet might not seem like peacekeeping to everyone.
Also, I guess the Okinawan governor’s opponent’s proposal that the base be moved out of Japan altogether is “strident” by definition, since the paper doesn’t point out any way he was particularly loud or shrill about it. He has the wrong opinion; that makes him a screamer.