Thursday, September 17, 2009

Toward An Unmanageable Relationship

I was thinking about writing about how the Democratic Party of Japan's foreign policy platform -- even the much-maligned essay by party president Hatoyama Yukio -- reflects a more realistic view of Japan's new strategic position than the views of the usual suspects we have seen opining in the op-ed pages and on television.

The inimitable Peter Tasker has beaten me to it -- to everyone's benefit -- outlining his contrarian view with erudition and clarity.

Tasker is largely alone in viewing the DPJ's more autonomous policy line as representing a positive turning of the wheel. Tobias Harris endorses the DPJ's program, but more out of a contempt for the pusillanimity of the past (in colloquial terms, "What is so great about a succession of symbolic gestures of alliance solidarity? Why not actual alliance solidarity?") than in agreement with an ineluctably more Asia-centric vision of Japan's geostrategic position.

Me? I believe that threat to life on the planet posed by anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions trumps all other struggles ideological, political or economic. The possession of nuclear weapons by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, which the international community disgraced itself in failing to prevent, represents an existential threat to this blessed land. Mitigations of these two threats will depend on China's cooperation; we must be ready to sacrifice much in order to win it.

Japan's special relationship with the United States, the hothouse plant shielded and nurtured by a couple dozen caregivers for three generations, will almost certainly have to be one of the sacrifices borne.

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