Sunday, February 24, 2013

Not Just Negative Vibes

Lest I be accused of just dumping on the weakly argued or the incoherent, a few articles or opinion pieces worth one's time:

Gerry Curtis - "Japan's Cautious Hawks" - Foreign Affairs

The master. My only quibble is the one I have already highlighted: the suggestion that the Government of Japan give up its current position that no dispute exists as regards the sovereignty of the Senkakus.

Christian Caryl - "Handle with Care" - Foreign Policy

Newsweek's former Japan bureau chief does not offer any challenging concepts but hits all the right buttons.

Fred Hiatt - "Shinzo Abe’s new agenda: Better ties with U.S." - The Washington Post

Credit where credit is due. In the transcript of the Washington Post interview Abe wriggles like a salamander. Hiatt, in his distillation and framing of the interview, pins the salamander down.

Peter Drysdale - "Settling China–Japan territorial problems" - East Asia Forum

Professor Drysdale is correct in pointing out that the depth and volume of Sino-Japanese economic ties mitigate against direct Japan-China conflict, or at least provide a strong argument for the two countries coming together in discussions of a way out of the current standoff over the Senkakus.

Nevertheless, the behavior of Japanese companies and politicians as regards Japanese investment the ASEAN region after the 1997 Asia Currency Crisis indicates the existence of a surprising capacity to pull out of a region, given incentives to do so.

Mark Valencia - "How to prevent a China-Japan clash" -- CNN Global Public Square

Though I normally gag at anything connected to Davos Man, Valencia provides a detailed look at a potential Sino-Japanese incidents-at-sea (INCSEA) agreement. A great idea, except, as I noted in my unkind response to Sourabh Gupta's most recent essay for the East Asia Forum, negotiating and signing agreements are just the beginning. Implementing and sticking to the agreements, in both form and substance -- there are the shoals upon which the ship of entente may founder.

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