CONSERVATIVES ARE TURNING JAPANESE, I REALLY THINK SO. Perhaps because conservatism in the U.S. is collapsing faster than the Tour de France, Republicans have recently consoled themselves with foreign elections. Most recently they spent a good deal of time crowing about the victory of Nicolas Sarkozy in France (better not tell them about his fondness for national-champion industries), and now they're turning their attention to Japan, where the ruling LDP faces a tough election this weekend.

Not only do they support the conservative, corrupt and generally hidebound LDP, they specifically support Shinzo "Comfort women? What comfort women?" Abe (see this article by Matt Sledge for more on that) because he has the most pro-U.S. and anti-Chinese foreign policy vision. In particular, the good folks at AEI like his plan to "integrating East Asia into a common economic bloc and linking democracies in the region to create an 'arc of freedom and prosperity'" -- a "co-prosperity sphere" you might call it. No, I don't think Abe has evil imperialist designs on East Asia, but I also don't think we should hope for the victory of man whose only foreign policy achievement has been at pointlessly ratcheting up tension in the area. How exactly is continuously goading China by lying about the past supposed to make us safer?

I also enjoyed this segment:

The vote likely will pivot on scandal and mismanagement of the country's enormous pension system. This is a shame. The election really should be about Mr. Abe's vision for a more activist international role for Japan.

Think for a moment about just how arrogant that is. The Japanese should ignore how well their government is, you know, governing and instead make their electoral decisions based on how well their leaders serve what right-wing U.S. pundits think are our interests in the area. Clearly, after all, the most important thing for the average Japanese citizen is how aggressively his country expands it's military.

Things were so much simpler when we paid millions of dollars to get friendly politicians elected in Japan. I'm sure the AEI is drafting a paper on it now...

--Sam Boyd