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    The curse of living (abroad) in interesting times

    CNN’s Atika Schubert is now doing a feature on Democrats Abroad Japan, which appears to be making big-time recruiting efforts among us resident US citizens here. I guess no one told me because I’m already a registered Democrat from a swing state…although, come to think of it, you’d imagine that would make them pretty eager for me to get an absentee ballot and actually vote on party lines. Not that I‘m eager for anyone to come after me, or anything.

    Anyway, Terry McMillan (to whom I know I, like you I’m sure, turn for expert political and moral authority whenever feasible) is here and espousing people power. Some upwardly mobile-looking guy says Bush is going down. Not surprising at a recruiting session for Democrats.

    But all this makes me wonder what the distribution of political affiliations among expats here really is. And then there’s the question of what the Japanese think of the War on Terrorism. My acquaintances are not a scientific sample of the population, and I don’t necessarily see every poll, but I do know that the Japanese I know are divided over the morality of the war in Iraq and, especially, over whether Japan should have sent SDF troops even in a non-combat capacity. However, “divided” means “divided,” not “uniformly outraged at America’s blatant and hubristical empire-building.” In the days after 9/11, I got dozens of messages from Japanese friends expressing deep, formal sympathy for America and saying things like, “You must be ready to kill! I hope your government takes revenge quickly.” Many of those same people are now skeptical of whether the US government is managing the occupation well and preventing abuses of authority in its own ranks. But I know of very few (except some with degrees from major American universities) who take the full-on “America has squandered the goodwill of the world” line.

    In the meantime, the GOP is also, according to CNN, going to be stepping up its recruitment efforts. Wonder which best-selling novelist they‘ll bring to rouse interest!

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