TED Talks: Gordon Brown: Wiring a web for global good
Gordon Brown is the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Labour Party. According to Wikipedia, "Brown has a PhD in history from the University of Edinburgh and spent his early career working as a television journalist". This speech given by him does not really contain anything special. The content itself is rather mediocre and totally predicable judging by his socialistic tendencies. Yet I admire that he can express his thoughts clearly with humor in front of the large audience. At least, he has a set of coherent political ideas. He sticks to his beliefs and his policies are by and large implemented based on them. Easy to understand.
Take a look at Japanese prime ministers in the past. Very few Japanese prime ministers managed to convey their political beliefs effectively to the Japanese public. (Perhaps, one of a few exceptions was Junichiro Koizumi) Japanese political processes are very hard to understand to outsiders, even to the Japanese public. Japanese politicians have been accused of its lack of political philosophy. There are neither long-term goals nor strategies to achieve those goals.
Japan still has the world's second largest economy. Japan has been donating a large sum of money to the world's poorer countries in the last few decades. However, Japan has yet received sufficient respect from the international communities in proportion to its vital role in the global economy. Why?
I think it's because Japanese politicians don't have clear political philosophy. When certain important values such as human rights are threatened, British politicians like Gordon Brown are determined to object to such a move. They don't hesitate to speak up against other countries that violate such fundamental values on humanitarian basis. Their attitude is consistent and predicable. On the contrary, nobody knows what the Japanese government values the most. They look just inconsistent and opportunistic.
Japanese politicians should define what are the most important for them, prioritize the goals and take actions strategically to achieve them. The goals must serve the good of both Japan and the rest of the world. Only when do they succeed in doing so, Japan will be respected by the international communities.