"History is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind." ~ Edward Gibbon
Entangling Alliances That You Can Never Escape From, Cont'd.
The history books tell us that World War II ended officially when Japan surrendered to the Allied Powers on 15 August 1945 . Japan was officially restored to sovereign nation status a few years later.
Relations between Japan and the US have been pretty good ever since. Good enough anyway, so that problems about market encroachment, the dumping of products, and their buying of America 's debt are handled by diplomatic means.
So then why, some 60 years after the state of war between the two societies is the US still maintaining a huge garrison of US Marines on the outlying Japanese home islands? I dunno. The Japanese want them gone, and it costs America a lot of money to maintain them there. And yet there they are nonetheless. Go figger, eh, you foreign policy types?
Occupation of a foreign nation usually ends when a peace treaty is signed and sufficient time has passed that the defeated regime has been thoroughly eliminated by execution, imprisonment, exile, or political rehabilitation. At least that was the model established by the US in post-WWII Italy and Germany .
The Japanese who live on or near US military bases are very much in favor of the US Marines and Navy weighing anchor and heading back to California or Hawaii ASAP. But they don't. The US government has 'interests' in the Far East that require a warmaking capability. So the Marines and naval forces gotta stay. And stay and stay, and . . . well, you get the idea.
I subscribe to the idea that Thomas Jefferson put forth in a letter that he wrote to his friend James Madison from Paris on 6 September 1789 ; '['that] the earth belongs in usufruct to the living.' This means that the treaties, laws, customs, traditions and arrangements made by and for previous generations over time become habits and traditions without useful purpose or binding moral legitimacy to the current one and so they should be examined and retained or undone as the current generation sees fit.
The generation that prosecuted WWII is long gone. Roosevelt, Truman, Acheson, Marshall, and all the rest of the diplomats and generals are either long dead or in senescence. Yet their diplomatic and legal constructs are still in place generations later. Why?
When (then) Secretary of State Dean Acheson (the principal architect of post-WWII American foreign policy), set up a framework of military and political alliances and treaties in 1948, the world was a very different place. The world has indeed changed since then, but the treaties, alliances and military bases have all stayed in place. Again, why?
America has no business meddling unilaterally with nations and societies outside North America with which it has no natural border. Europe , Japan , Korea , Israel , and all the rest of the hotspots where troops and bases are still maintained have long since become mature, industrialized, liberal democracies that are able to decide themselves what their best interests are and who are fully capable of defending their territory. Charity cases like Taiwan and Israel are simply none of America 's business, period.
At the end of WWII, America took on the role of 'world policeman,' mainly (and to give it the benefit of the doubt) because it was the only one that could. Britain was broke, the Soviet Union , France , Japan , Germany , and China were still in rubble, so who else was there? Okay fine, but 60 years have passed. It's way past time for the troops to come home and be demobilized and the excess US fleet to be mothballed, and for the subsequent 'peace dividend' to be returned to the American people.
Like middle-aged parents who finally kick their 27 year-old sons out of the basement often say, 'Enough already! I love you but it's time for you to be on your own.' And so should the American people say to the foreign policy types in Washington , D.C. and the rest of the world's capitols and foreign ministries.