Rising sun, setting sun: Japan, the US, and the new security laws
The passage of the collective self defense bills– enabling Japanese participation in military activities beyond its home territory under restrictions that appear to be rather elastic—
The Japanese people as a whole appear to be more at home with these aspirations—which they grew up with—than the Abe ambition to restore Japan as a regional security player despite the risk it poses to Japanese lives, treasure, and honor.
Abe has always wanted his “normalized” “remilitarized” “no more apologies” Japan and he got it…with an assist from the United States.
US Asian-natsec strategists are, I believe, delusional.
I predict we’re not going to get Japan as our “UK in the Pacific” i.e. a slavishly obedient ally that has decided, as a fundamental national principle, to join itself to the hip to the United States in security policy.
Japan, the linchpin of the US pivot strategy — and a source of orgasmic pleasure to US China hawks when it revised its defense guidelines to permit joint military operations in East Asia with the United States — already plays its own hand in Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Myanmar, as well as the Philippines.
Historically inclined readers might note 1) these are all countries that Japan invaded and/or occupied as a matter of national interest in World War II and 2) Japan is run by the spiritual heirs—or in the case of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the direct heirs — of people who ran Japan back then and implemented that policy until the United States defeated them …
(T)he pivot to Asia is, in my mind, fundamentally flawed because it is built upon the premise of US leadership in Asian security, and ‘US leadership’ looks to be a wasting asset.
It’s not just the PRC. Everybody’s getting bigger, and the US’s relative share is shrinking.
PricewaterhouseCoopers took the IMF’s 2014 GDP numbers and worked the spreadsheet magic using projected growth rates.
In 2050, here’s how they see the GDP horserace playing out, in trillions: China 61; India 42; USA 41; Indonesia 12; Brazil 9; Mexico 8; Japan 7.9; Russia 7.5; Nigeria 7.3 and Germany 6.3. Poodlicious Euro-allies UK, Italy, and France will be out of the top ten in 2050. Australia drops from 19th place to 28th.
Put it another way, the US will have 14 percent of the world’s GDP and Asia, the region we’re purporting to lead, will have 50 percent …
America’s Pacific Century…is not going to be pushing around overmatched, grateful, and anxious allies like the UK, Poland, and Germany while trampling on small borderline failed states in the Middle East. It’s going to be contending with half a dozen rising Asian nations, all with experiences of empire and aspirations to at least local hegemony…and on top of them, there’s China.