One of the common complaints one hears regarding the current Japan-U.S. alliance is that the United States is insensitive and brusque, so wrapped up in its own global strategic planning and timetables that it fails to honor or even appreciate the feelings of the Japanese people. This sense of Japan's being misunderstood is not a right-wing or left-wing issue: one hears it from both ends of the political spectrum. That the Americans do not understand is of course a major reason behind the current parlous level of communication between the two governments.
The problem with trope is that Americans, at least American academics, do get it. I would challenge any one reading Kenneth Pyle's essay "Troubled Alliance" -- the first of a collection of essays from the National Bureau of Asian Research available for free downloading here until July 31 -- to say that he or the other authors in the collection do not understand Japanese or even Democratic Party of Japan feelings. Pyle, the dean of American scholars on Japan's security policy, outlines very clearly the deep yet thwarted desire for jiei and jison that spans the ages and crosses political lines.
Pyle's views and the views expressed by the other authors are not government views. Still they are authoritative views regarding the Alliance. While members of the DPJ, members of the commentariat and a goodly portion of the public may believe that they have few friends in and enjoy little sympathy from Washington, they are possibly being too hasty in arriving at their conclusions.
Either that, or they are looking to the wrong Washington for understanding.
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