More on Japan and American 'Democracy'

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at
Wed Jul 15 22:04:47 PDT 1998

Dennis R wrote:
>I'm not arguing that the Americans were nicer to their semipheries than
>the Russians were to theirs; one could draw up a laundry list of the
>positive things the Soviet system brought to Eastern Europe, from
>education and medical care to an ethnic truce to zero unemployment.
>I am arguing that the American Empire cannot be simply equated to its
>Fascist competitors, any more than Fascism can be written off as being
>identical to Communism (that favorite ideolect of the Hayekian Right,
>who then go even further and claim the US Government is Stalinism

American 'democracy' isn't exactly the same as fascism (though toward blacks and illegal aliens, the US government has employed fascist tactics--what are American prisons if not 'concentration camps' for the undesirables?).

However, to repeat, the US government, in its post-WW2 policy, did try to rehabilitate fascists and to purge, repress, and marginalize reds in Japan and Germany. And they succeeded in doing so. This is the part of US history that is often forgotten. The same goes for American policy toward Italy, as Brad and Michael Perelman pointed out.

I think it is misleading to speak of the USA and the Soviet Union (and their respective foreign policies) as mirror images. Both marxism and the world system theory should remind us that there is a specifically _capitalist_ logic--logic of capital accumulation and expansion--underlying American foreign policy, whereas such a logic was absent from the Soviet one, even when we acknowledge its repressive aspects, especially toward its own citizens.

Japan and Germany were to serve as subordinate partners of the post-WW2 US hegemony, both as military outposts and regional centers of capitalist reconstruction. And they have done so, for all practical purposes. That something like 'bourgeois democracy' came to develop in both countries is more like a by-product of the said US hegemonic project--and only to the extent that it does not threaten the ruling class in both countries and its alliance with the USA.


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