Friday, April 02, 2010

Three Views of the Empire, Faded

Three recently published views of Japan's security situation that together make a passably good read.

From Bruce Klingner of the Heritage Foundation , an outline of the exasperated, post-Alliance Manager era view of Japan which is probably shared by quite a number of important folks in Washington these days.

From Doug Bandow of the ideologically anti-imperialist conservative Cato Institute, a most antiseptic and honest solution to the Futenma crisis: "eliminate the unrealistic expectations engendered by the alliance on both sides" (Gosh, I wish had thought of that line).

Finally, from Terashima Jitsuro, until last year the man widely seen as the leader of Prime Minister Hatoyama Yukio's security policy brain trust, a call for a complete rethink of basis of the Japan-U.S. security alliance. Terashima takes an advocacy stance, not a scholarly one, that is to say his assertions do not stand up to scrutiny. His claim that that U.S. bases cover an area 1.6 times the size of Tokyo City, for example, is at once meaningless and wrong. However, knowing Terashima's views one can get a sense of how some in this blessed land are fumbling (and I mean fumbling) toward a new, more autonomous, yet non-militarized national security policy.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

The first of these is fascinating. A classic example of projecting one's hopes and desires onto another. These desires are, of course, not reciprocated, which leaves the suitor feeling jilted. Japan is, I feel, perfectly happy to be a relatively unimportant (in global terms) middle power that gets on with what it wants to do and is not bothered by others.

Balok said...

Great post and series of articles, thanks for this! But I have to note Klingner's article where he said;

"Left unchecked, Japan risks devolving into a second-tier, middle-power nation."

Has he ever considered that being a second-tier, middle-power nation may actually be a good thing?