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Rising Sun in the New West

By Richard Rosecrance

Considering the rise of China, will Japan join a new West? The answer is likely to be “Yes.”

In the past Japan was a leader in charting new strategic choices for the world. In the late 19th century, Japan emerged from the Industrial Revolution and elected a military course, attacking China and then Russia. Later she expanded geographically into Manchuria and China, and took on the United States of America as well in World War II. In both cases other powers followed in her wake.

After the world economy was reestablished, Japan took the lead in fashioning an opposite strategy: that of the “trading state.” Eschewing militarism, she set a new pathway for the recalcitrant superpowers, Russia and America.

Today the rise of China and Japan’s increasing political and economic success denominate her as a member of the New West. The New West is like the European Union; it is open to new members but not by means of coercion or military pressure. Instead of colonization, the New West is looking for democratic states which have succeeded economically, like those in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

Japan can join because of new developments in her own governance. Partly owing to the triumph of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), but also because of a new course by the LDP, Japan has undertaken broader responsibilities in her military relation with Washington. She has taken military roles in the area surrounding Japan including in 2004 a commitment to fight alongside the United States in a military crisis.

Second, she has begun to reinterpret her obl Continue reading >

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