Thinking Citizen Blog — “Global Tensions Spur a Sea Change in Japan” (Walter Russell Mead)

Thinking Citizen Blog — Monday is Foreign Policy Day

Today’s Topic: “Global Tensions Spur a Sea Change in Japan” (Walter Russell Mead)

Does Japan matter? How much? What role might it play in preventing a Chinese takeover of Taiwan? How much should a thinking citizen know about evolving Japanese military policy? Today a few excerpts from a recent article in the Wall Street Journal on the topic. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

60% SUPPORT HIGHER MILITARY SPENDING — latest polls

1. “China’s support of Russia’s invasion stunned Japanese observers and drove home the danger that China could launch an attack on Taiwan.”

2. “Japan is on course to double defense spending, embrace “counterstrike” weapons that would give Japan-based missiles the ability to strike targets on mainland Asia, develop a world-class arms industry based on cutting-edge technology, and upgrade its self-defense forces into one of the world’s most powerful militaries.”

3.“Officials who previously sought to avoid characterizing China as a threat now speak candidly about the need to counter China and, if necessary, defend Taiwan. Diplomats and military analysts agree that Chinese control of Taiwan and the surrounding waters would seriously damage Japan’s global position.”

PRIME MINISTER FUMIO KISHIDA HAS A LESS BRASH STYLE THAN SHINZO ABE BUT MAY BE MORE EFFECTIVE

1. “Many expected Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who represents Hiroshima in the Diet, to embrace a less activist course than his predecessor, Shinzo Abe.”

2. “But in part because of his previous reputation as a dove, Mr. Kishida has so far pushed the envelope further while encountering less resistance than Abe’s sometimes brash approaches.”

3. “Even traditional pacifists like longtime Liberal Democratic Party coalition partner Komeito have softened their opposition to a stronger military.

“JAPAN IS AMERICA’S SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT ALLY”

1. “The strategic bond between the two powers is the foundation of America’s position in the Indo-Pacific.”

2. “Japan’s decision to double down on its American alliance while building up its own capabilities is a major setback for China’s effort to reshape East Asia.”

3. “In the Philippines and Southeast Asia, Japanese investment and trade help counter China’s economic power.”

NB: “Japanese diplomacy, less hectoring and more culturally sensitive than America’s abrasive preaching on issues like human rights, is often more effective in Asian capitals. The steady development of closer Japanese relations with India and Australia has been a major factor behind the rapid evolution of the Quad (US-India-Australia-Japan).” (See third link below for details on “the Quad”)

Opinion | Global Tensions Spur a Sea Change in Japan

Fumio Kishida — Wikipedia

Quadrilateral Security Dialogue — Wikipedia

China–Japan relations — Wikipedia

QUOTE OF THE MONTH

“You’ve got to continue to grow, or you’re just like last night’s corn bread — stale and dry.” - Loretta Lynn

ATTACHMENTS BELOW:

#1 A graphic guide to justice (9 metaphors on one page).

#2 “39 Songs, Prayers, and Poems: the Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People” — Adams House Senior Common Room Presentation, 11/17/20

Here is a link to the last four years of posts organized by theme: (including the book on foreign policy)

PDF with headlines — Google Drive

YOUR TURN

Please share the coolest or most important thing you learned in the last week, month, or year related to foreign policy. Or, even better, the coolest or most important thing you learned in our life related to foreign policy.

This is your chance to make someone else’s day. And to consolidate in your memory something important you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something dear to your heart. Continuity is the key to depth of thought. The prospect of imminent publication, like hanging and final exams, concentrates the mind. A useful life long habit.

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Passionate about education, thinking citizenship, art, and passing bits on of wisdom of a long lifetime.

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John Muresianu

Passionate about education, thinking citizenship, art, and passing bits on of wisdom of a long lifetime.