George Friedman and Meredith LeBard

This book came into my possession in late April at a bag sale at a library book sale. So it cost a dime or perhaps eight cents. It was new and unread. It has a naval ship on the cover that looks of World War Two vintage. I was overjoyed. A book written in the 1930s about the American War with Japan. In a red banner across the top of the cover read in white letters: The #1 Bestseller in Japan. Wow, I was truly amazed at my luck. A book about World War Two written before that war and read by both sides.

NOPE. The book was published in 1993. The Coming War between Japan and the United States will have to wait, forever. What can be said about the hackers, George Friedman and Meredith LeBard. Like Richard Nixon, they’re selling used cars. Would you buy a used War from these tricks? Don’t bother buying a used book. On Amazon there are a few hundred at a penny a piece. These authors are emblematic of the 1990s – speculative, fantasy laced makers of drug ridden nightmares, and liars: “I did not have sex with that woman…” If Monica is coming back because she needs to be paid again, bringing back The Coming War is justified.

Note the book’s comments on the back:

Tight logic, superb research, clear writing. Friedman& LeBard don’t bask in the warmth this side of the cold war; they look ahead to the chilling possibilities that can follow [including Martian invasions and galactic explosions]. Lt. General Anthony Lukeman,, Executive Director, Marine Corp Association.

“…demonstrates with surprising thoroughness why their interests with diverge more and more…the underlying analysis of why Japan and America will change from their current partnership to more and more open rivalry may well seem prescient [for people who are maxed out on drugs]. James Fallows, The New York Review of Books.

“Friedman & LeBard make a persuasive case for the startling proposition that the U.S. and Japan are on a collision course leading to war within a generation. In an exegesis all the more chilling for its understated scholarship and wide angle perspectives, they predict an honest to goodness shootout…A thoughtful and thought-provoking what-if audit of the price of domination.” Kirkus Reviews. As always Kirkus says the most and says nothing. Kirkus Reviews uses big words – exegesis. What is a “what-if” audit. What-if the Yellowstone volcano erupted? Kirkus would be toast.

While President Bush prepares his series of high-flown speeches on the new world order…his advisers are reading a more down to earth analysis on the chances for world peace…The Coming War With Japan…” Peter Stothard, The Times of London. I know that President Bush was more low-down with the Japanese. Didn’t he toss his cookies into the lap of the Japanese President?

“…one of the most thorough and systematic analyses in recent years of the diverging interests of these two Pacific Basic superpowers. Peter Wiley, San Francisco Chronicle. This may be the most intelligent sentence the Chronicle has ever printed.

In one impressively researched section, they detail the ways in which the air, sea and land forces of Japan have been shrewdly and carefully built up, exploiting ambiguities in the country’s anti-war constitution. Christopher Hitchens, Newsday. Let’s hope Christopher Hitchens is correct.

There is a new book with the ominous title, The Coming War with Japan. It’s thesis is that Japan and the United States are victims today of the same historical forces that were at work in the 1930s and that another military clash is unavoidable. Lee Iaccoca, Chairman Chrysler Corporation, Los Angeles Times. In his imperious position at Chrysler, Iaccoca ignorantly misunderstands that totalitarian Japan of the 1930s differs greatly from the democracy there in 1990, and flourishing today.

Note the appalling quality of criticism. In this country criticism – this is wrong, that is correct – is not the point of the blurbs of any book. Instead the American public is delivered highfaluting, overstuffed phrases from names who likely have not read the book. Non-fiction criticism should be direct. It is not. It suffers from the same inept, poorly read, ignorance that is frequently found in the books themselves. Write a review, attach your name. Then, the next sloppy book by that set of reviewers will be favorably reviewed.