Clinton Was Conceited Enough to Believe that the U.S. Could Dominate the World
An Interview with Kan Ito




Clinton Was Conceited Enough to Believe that the U.S. Could Dominate the World

Kan Ito

Born in 1953, Kan Ito analyzes international politics. He graduated from the Faculty of Economics at the University of Tokyo and studied American political history and international relations at Cornell University before working as an analyst of international politics and finance at a business consultancy firm. His works include Chugoku no Kakusenryoku ni Nihon ha Kuppuku suru [Japan’s Submission to China’s Nuclear Capability], published by Shogakukan, and Jimetsu suru Amerika Teikoku [The Self-destruction of the American Empire], published by Bunshun Shinsho.

Q: What mistakes did the Clinton administration make?

Ito: The biggest mistake the Clinton administration made was to attempt to create a new international system, that is, a mono-polar world centered around the United States. The U.S. won the Cold War and tried to recreate the world to suit itself in terms of the economic system, its military hegemony, and political ideology.

For example, Congress passed a resolution to remove President Saddam Hussein from the political power in Iraq (a regime change) in 1998. Clinton supported this hard-line policy and intended to control Iraq to the advantage of the U.S. He aimed to build a huge U.S. military base there, attain supremacy in the Middle East by intimidating its neighboring countries such as Iran and Syria, and take hold of oil concessions. The second President Bush started a war with Iraq in 2003, but the bill to overthrow Saddam Hussein’s regime had already been passed during the Clinton administration.

Moreover, Clinton pressed Japan and Russia to reform their financial markets for the benefit of the U.S. financial institutions and the Hedge Fund industry, strengthening its hold on the Japanese and Russian economies.

Q: Could America have achieved its ambition for world domination?

Ito: If you look at the current situations in the Middle East, South West Asia, and North Africa, you will find complete failures. The U.S. has continued to fail in its diplomacy over the past 22 years.

The U.S.-Russian relationship has only been getting worse, too. The U.S. is now criticizing the Russian government for annexing Crimea, which had been a Russian territory for about 250 years, into Russia again. However, it is the U.S. that caused the souring of bilateral relations in the first place because it violated the deals that it had made with Russia at the end of the Cold War not to expand NATO (note3) into Eastern Europe.

At the end of the Cold War, President Bush gave clear commitments that NATO would not expand eastward if Russia agreed to German reunification. But Clinton broke the promises and let Poland and Hungary join NATO, building a coalition against Russia. The U.S.-Russian relationship had already begun to worsen during the Clinton administration.

Q: Clinton showed a permissive attitude toward China.

Ito: It was not only Clinton who was soft on China. The U.S. government has been lenient toward China for the last hundred years.

For example, several months after the Tiananmen massacre, President Bush had Scowcroft secretly visit China where he firmly promised to maintain the relationship between the U.S. and China. The second President Bush, whom many Japanese considered to be an anti-China person, met with Chinese President Jiang Zemin in 2002 when he agreed that even if North Korea were to possess nuclear missiles, Japan would never be allowed to acquire nuclear arms.

It was not until last year that the U.S. came to realize that its lax policy toward China was a big mistake.

Q: Why did the U.S. adopt a lenient attitude toward China?

Ito: The U.S. government was conceited enough to believe that it could control China. Clinton and the two Bush presidents thought that Japan constituted the greatest threat to the U.S. in East Asia.

Moreover, two Treasury Secretaries from the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations were former chairmen of Goldman Sachs (GS), the biggest investment-banking firm in the U.S. GS has been making huge investments in China. It has also been making enormous political contributions to both the Democratic and Republican Parties, so it has considerable influence in shaping U.S. policy toward China.

In and after 1972, China took advantage of the American false confidence in its country and successfully increased its economic and military strength by leaps and bounds. China won the game.

Japan is now discussing whether to approve the use of the right to collective self-defense, and in my opinion, the Japanese defense policy that depends on the U.S. and does not allow the nation to use its own defense capabilities will fail soon.

Note 3: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is an international military alliance formed among the U.S., Canada, and European nations.
Clinton Was Conceited Enough to Believe that the U.S. Could Dominate the World
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