Thursday, May 16, 2013

Worthwhile Reads #1

Some links to works making arguments worth considering:

Michael Penn looks hard for the gold amid the dross that is the life and career of Osaka City mayor and Japan Restoration Party leader Hashimoto Toru:

The True Sins of Toru Hashimoto

Call me presumptuous -- but being a sexist, libidinous jerk in your private life attaches a fuse to your career. Being a consumately self-possessed (self-adoring?) individual makes that fuse short.

Stephen Harner reads the An Awkward Embrace: The United States and China in the 21st Century and asks whether in the clamor over a need to confront China a presumption is being overlooked - that the presence of the military of the United States in the region is something the Chinese just have to accept:

Carnegie’s Vision of a Tense China-U.S.-Japan Security Standoff Is Not Inevitable

I salute Harner's opening up the book and reading it. The cover art would have stopped me. That and the opening line of the blog post Elizabeth Economy wrote promoting the study:
One of the most enjoyable aspects of Dan Blumenthal and Phillip Swagel’s new book on U.S.-China relations, An Awkward Embrace, is its lack of nuance.
Whew! Talk about fainting with damn praise. (Link)

An essay that is all nuance is Georgetown Professor Kevin Doak's reasonable and erudite defense of Abe Shinzo's nationalism, available via the Japan Chair at the Center for Security and International Studies:

Shinzo Abe’s Civic Nationalism

Dr. Doak's argument is seductive. I would only ask the reader to tarry for a while on footnote #2, where Dr. Doak's 2007 book A History of Nationalism in Modern Japan: Placing the People is revealed to have been given, in its Japanese version, a somewhat zingier title.

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