Days like today just confirm my decision that the “Public Service” is not for me. Serving the public per se is not the problem- that part I enjoy, and depending on the topic the intellectual policy analysis process itself can be satisfying. However, the constrained ability for committed and not-stupid people to actually apply themselves due to pathetic personal politics just will not gel with my character. I also fear if I hang around long enough I may become one of those people whose own eccentricities get in the way of the “public service”.
The one saving grace is that my new boss who is excellent has given me a nice, meaty, intellectual single project to round out my time, a project which will also involve some practical learning.
In regards to the reason why this blog was set up, all I can say from my point of view I am secretly enjoying seeing the US Japan “managers”, to borrow a term from here, flap around in disbelief and engage in rather derisive discourse around the Futenma and other issues – its like the Japanese are actually able to think through and articulate a foreign policy position for themselves – even more shocking that they should want to do this!! One might even suggest that the Japanese have the capacity to be….”normal”?
Anyway, in practical terms I believe it would very important to change the tone very soon least an important Asian actor lose the will to continue to push for the US inclusion in any official East Asia community initiative. As this article suggests, while Hatoyama has been making overtures in this area, there are members of the party (potential next PMs if the current scandal becomes more of an issue) who perhaps may not be quite as concerned about the mutual Japan-US interest. There is of course a debate as to whether official inclusion or more so, exclusion of the US from any regional construct would radically change geopolitics in the short-term – such a construct is not going to be an EU. But I do get the impression right now that a couple of english speaking countries in the Asia Pacific area are coming across in the Japanese media as rather arrogant – and if the Japanese citizenry did not vote for realignment in the international relations domain at the last election, they may feel compelled to in future ones.
On the other hand, these conflicts are valuable fodder for my own PhD topic – long may they continue! (mostly, but not completely being facetious here)