Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Japan's Disaster

The Japanese have suffered a lot--an earthquake that shifted their whole country by 8 feet (making either the Sea of Japan or the Pacific just that much easier to cross), followed by a tsunami and now what may be anywhere from a minor nuclear reactor leak to a major disaster. What is amazing is that considering the severity of what they're going through, they have been containing the damage and helping their victims out at a top notch level.

Consider for a minute if this happened in some failed state, like the Congo or Soviet Union--a major earthquake, tsunami and nuclear reactor problem would have led to death tolls in the millions and a major refugee problem swamping entire regions. Soon, American Marines would have to land to restore order, and hey, what's this, you guys got oil? Might just stay a while...

But Japan is another story--a modern, advanced country with the wealth and sophistication that comes with it. Consider what we did to them in the Second World War--mass firebombings of their capital, atom bombs devastating two large cities, and encounters with the aforementioned Marines that sent their young men into a meatgrinder on Guadacanal and Tarawa and Iwo Jima. Yet, within decades this country became a major trading partner with an economy that grew to the world's second largest. Any country that went up against the U.S. military would confirm that it doesn't end well for them. While this current crisis is certainly tragic, I have full confidence in the Japanese to persevere and rebuild.

Also, it turns out that raunchy comedian Gilbert Gottfried got into some hot water making tasteless jokes about the Japanese disaster on his Twitter page. Gottfried, you see, is the voice of the AFLAC insurance duck, and AFLAC does the majority of its business in Japan. Oops, someone got fired! While I'm sure the tasteless humor was the comedian's way of coping with the magnitude of the disaster, it makes perfect sense for AFLAC to can him over it. If the Japanese react to slights the way we Americans do, they'd have been facing boycotts and Al Sharptons causing all sorts of trouble.

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