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Critical Diplomatic EventsHave you ever wonder, dear reader, what is sooooo terribly important that Primer Ministers or Presidents or the head politicians du-jour do regarding their relations with other people? Why is that their diplomatic schedule is always soooooo terribly full that they can't do anything else? Why is that only they can do whatever is that they "must" do and nobody else can do?

ABE

Well, wonder no longer (at least for Japan). A few weeks back The Japan News published an article titled "Abe faces critical year for diplomacy", Abe being the current Japanese Prime Minister. It would seem that 2015 is going to be oh-so-terribly-important for Japanese diplomacy that we just had to take a look. Fortunately enough, that very same article provided a list of the oh-so-critical diplomatic events Abe will face in 2015, which makes our task simple. Below you will find those "critical" tasks and our translation.

Month

Event

Translation

Jan

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to visit Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Palestinian autonomous region (Jan. 16-21)

Vacation.

Feb

Japan to hold vice ministerial-level talks with Russia

Abe's minions' work. He is not involved.

Mar

German Chancellor Angela Merkel to visit Japan

Angela's vacation.

Mar

U.N. World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction to be held in Sendai (March 14-18)

Vacation.

Apr

G-7 foreign ministerial meeting to be held in Germany (April 14-15)

Vacation. Abe's minions' work. He is not involved.

May

Russian ceremony to mark 70th anniversary of its victory over Germany in WWII to be held on May 9

Non-event. Abe is not involved.

May

Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting to be held in Iwaki, Fukushima Pref. (May 22-23)

Leader's vacations.

Jun

G-7 summit to be held in Germany (June 7-8). Host of 2016 G-7 summit in Japan to be announced

Public Relations (i.e. propaganda). Abe's minions' work. He is not involved.

Jun

50th anniversary of signing of Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and South Korea (June 22)

Non-event. Abe is not involved.

Jul

One year since resumption of North Korea's investigation into Japanese nationals abducted by (Pyongyang (July 4)

Non-event. Abe is not involved.

Jul

Mekong-Japan Summit Meeting to be held in Tokyo

Bureaucrats' vacations.

Aug

70 years since U.S. atomic bombings of Japan (Aug. 6 and 9)

History. Abe is not involved.

Aug

70th anniversary of end of WWII (Aug. 15)

History. Abe is not involved.

Sep

Chinese anniversary to mark victory in war against Japan (Sept. 3)

History. Abe is not involved.

Sep

Abe to attend U.N. General Assembly late in the month

Vacation.

Oct

U.N. Security Council election for non-permanent seats to be held. Japan has announced its candidacy

Abe's minions' work. He is not involved.

Nov

G-20 summit to be held in Turkey (Nov. 15 and 16)

Public Relations. Abe's minions' work. He is not involved.

Nov

APEC summit to be held in the Philippines (Nov. 17 and 18)

Public Relations. Abe's minions' work. He is not involved.

Nov

ASEAN-related summit talks to be held in Malaysia (Nov. 19 through 21)

Public Relations. Abe's minions' work. He is not involved.

Dec

Chinese day of national mourning over Nanjing Incident (Dec. 13)

History. Abe is not involved.

 Let's do the math and plot the results as a percentage. We get:

Abe's Critical Diplomatic Events 2015

As you can see there are exactly ZERO critical diplomatic events. So much for a "critical" diplomatic year.

ANALYSIS

If you take the time to find and read over the article, you will notice that there are a few recurrent themes that are pathetically ludicrous but for some strange reason they seem to be "critical". They are:

Saving face

It would seem that many Abe's critical diplomatic events had to do with countries "deploying campaigns to damage any trust [in Japan] by calling up an image of the Japan from more than 70 years ago". Basically, there are countries out there that could not seek revenge for the tings Japan did in WWII up until now. And this would be bad… why exactly? Japan did the things it did. That's old history. So what? Will people stop trading with Japan because of a smear campaign? Of course not. Money always talks loudly than politics. Will people stop doing what they are normally doing with Japan because of that? Of course not. Then what's the big issue? That Japan (read Abe) will lose faith. So the whole "criticality" of these events boils down to a politician looking like what they all are: selfish jerks. And for this reason the whole of the diplomatic muscle will be stretched… at Japanese taxpayer's cost. Yes. This is indeed a most worthy endeavour deserving our full support…not!

Trading

Many of the events have to do with trading. Pacific Island Leaders, Mekong-Japan, APEC, ASEAN and so forth. They are "critical" because they impact trading flows right? Well…no. They don't affect trading flows. What they affect are the barriers to trading flows. It so happens that free trade is…well…free! People naturally and freely tend to trade. Anything against such a flow is artificial by definition! And who has the power to impose artificial barriers? Governments. So those trade talks are not about trading but about politicians trying to outdo each other in staying power through the selective control of trade flows (see The Trillion USD Per Year Waste Machine, The Black Market To The Rescue, Customs Union - Do As We Say But Not As We Do and many others). Therefore the inescapable conclusion is that the "criticality" of this issue lays on the "critical" impact that it may have on Abe's political future and nothing else. But there is more. These "talks" operate mostly on automatic. Apparatchiks from "partner" countries do all the work spending countless "expense accounts" arguing about what it should, in essence, be nothing: free trade. In reality, Abe is not even involved in such "talks". So much for "criticality".

Gossiping with friends

The third element of "criticality" in almost all the events are "high level meetings"… which makes us wonder… how high is the level? 1000 mt? 2000 mt? We would recommend oxygen supplementation because most of the time what comes out of such meetings is doom and misery (not necessarily in that order). One plausible explanation of so much stupidity is oxygen deprivation. We would recommend that from now on these talks be conducted at sea level... but we digress.

All the "agendas" in such meetings are carefully scripted to achieve two things: make all political "heads" (as if they would actually think) look good and to get the nod or rubber stamping on whatever is that their apparatchiks agreed beforehand. And so the real reason for those meetings is simply to gossip among peers. To discuss the current state of affairs between countries. You know. Who allied with whom, who got a divorce, whose cousin country is sleeping with whom, which country is being unfaithful with whom and so on. The usual "critical" information that is absolutely necessary to politicians to stay in power conduct the "business of governments" for "the greater good". Yeah… that sounds better.

CONCLUSION

As with almost anything that governments do, diplomatic "efforts" are a gigantic waste of time, resources and ultimately your wealth. People make real decision as to engage or not with other people. These personal decisions are the ones that are actually valid. What governments do, what politicians do is just posturing and "photo ops"; nothing else. The reality is that there are no "critical" diplomatic issues, only "critical" diplomatic meetings…critical for politicians, not for the rest of the people who are doing just fine without the need for politicians or governments.

This is, unless you believe that diplomacy is of critical importance. But if it is so, why don't you establish diplomatic relations with your neighbour instead of just stopping by and saying hello?

Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.

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