Vice President Joe Biden had a great plan the other day when he was stumping for Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania. Biden planned to use the myth of his foreign policy expertise (a notion that has become part of DC conventional wisdom and has gone unchallenged despite clear and convincing evidence to the contrary) to paint Donald Trump as stupid and dangerous on national security issues.
So there he was, riffing off prompter, and he laid this one on the adoring crowd in Scranton:
“He talks cavalierly about encouraging other nations, as Hillary pointed out, to develop nuclear weapons. As if nuclear war was some trivial affair. Does he not understand we wrote Japan’s constitution to say they could not be a nuclear power? Where was he when… in school?”
It should be noted that Clinton, sitting on her trademark stool with pillow, nodded along in agreement with this statement and joined the audience in derisive laughter at the ignorant Trump depicted by the Vice President.
Needless to say, our ally Japan is not very pleased with Biden’s depiction of their government’s founding document. And Biden’s attempt to paint Trump as stupid and dangerous has no turned into a pretty stupid and potentially dangerous moment for Biden. (AP)
A popular front-page column in the national Asahi newspaper said this week that the comment “was unprecedented in its insensitivity” and “could even be considered arrogant.” …
The timing of Biden’s remark makes it insensitive, said journalist and author Hiro Aida, coming as the ruling party under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe starts a push to try to revise the constitution, despite considerable public misgiving.
“We thought only Trump was an insensitive guy,” said Aida, who recently published a book in Japan on the Trump phenomenon. Biden “kind of misspoke. This is not something he should talk openly about in public.”
— 勝見貴弘 #He4She (@tkatsumi06j) August 16, 2016
By saying U.S. "wrote Japan's constitution," Biden inadvertently gives Abe reform plans a big push. (Japan needs its own constitution!)
— Hiroko Tabuchi (@HirokoTabuchi) August 17, 2016
"Insensitive" and also wrong https://t.co/LSMID2gIiQ
— Jennifer Lind (@profLind) August 17, 2016
As the AP points out, it’s not entirely accurate to state “we wrote Japan’s constitution” as it was actually revised and voted on by Japan’s elected representatives. However, it is wholly inaccurate to suggest there is a prohibition on Japan possessing nuclear weapons in the constitution. It isn’t there.
The 1947 constitution doesn’t mention nuclear weapons, though it does “renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation.”
But, then again, there’s no right to kill an unborn baby in the US constitution, but Biden and Clinton think it’s in there so…