Remembering Pearl Harbor
Today is the anniversary of one of the most devastating sneak attacks ever launched against the United States. National Geographic has a site dedicated to the memory of Pearl Harbor, featuring stories from survivors and relatives:
UPDATE at 12/7/08 11:18:03 am:
Meanwhile, at the Grauniad, we find a ludicrous article blaming the US for the Pearl Harbor sneak attack, because the Japanese were “humiliated” by our policies: The Pearl Harbor attack illustrates the importance of diplomacy.
There were legitimate historical reasons for Japan to feel humiliated on the eve of war. The gunboat diplomacy that resulted in the opening of Japan and unequal treaties in the mid-19th century was but a beginning. More immediately, the Great Depression and the subsequent compartmentalisation of the world into economic blocs also worked to the advantage of the already powerful. Coupled with the economic hardship of the interwar years were instances of racial prejudice in the US that aimed at preventing Japanese immigration. United by this long-simmering and humiliating sense of exclusion, Japanese policymakers, whatever their differences, stumbled toward the December 1 decision to go to war.
With almost 70 years of hindsight, Pearl Harbor should offer some lessons for US foreign policy today. Despite obvious differences between Pearl Harbor and recent Islamist terrorist tactics, they show the common desire of self-proclaimed Davids to topple their Goliaths in a clearly lop-sided battle. These Davids depend on western technologies to overcome imbalances of power, and are driven by a sense of real or imagined humiliation.