I most certainly don't pretend to have any knowledge on international politics. For that matter, I have less than a clue on domestic politics. But regardless of these deficiencies, I fancy myself a casual observer of the political arena and, as such, I found some irony in statements from Washington this week.
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz is an extremely powerful and connected man in international politics. In an address Monday during the U.S.-Japan Business Conference, Wolfowitz called Japan "a close and trusted friend." For starters, I think most Americans generally agree with that assessment of Japan. But can you imagine that just 60 short years ago, Japan was the evil Satan of the world?
I find it fascinating how time changes all things. My parents' generation fought the war with Japan and Germany and many of that generation remain today. I can only imagine their thoughts on hearing the ringing endorsement of Japan. It makes you wonder how much issues can change in such a short time.
At the same time Wolfowitz also voiced support for efforts to rekindle the Japanese economy. Now that too is ironic because just a few short years ago the Japanese economy was the envy of the world. And yet in short order, that too has changed drastically.
Japan and Germany - both bitter enemies just a generation ago - are now our staunch allies in the war on terrorism. The Japanese have committed one-third of their transport fleet for the war on terrorism effort. They were commended for that on Monday.
Today's enemies may well become tomorrow's friends and allies. Had you told a group of GIs of this development 60 years ago, they would have bet the farm you were nuts. But that apparently is the nature of international politics. I can accept it but I will never fully understand it.