Thu, Nov 30, 2017 - Page 8 News List

Abe’s win and Japan’s rearmament

By Arthur Waldron

Actions elicit equal and opposite reactions, so Newton said. Clausewitz added that unlike physical reactions, those in conflict, being the product of the human mind, are entirely unpredictable. When it set out on its ill-conceived expansion program, China wrote off both Japan and the US. Now, they are at the heart of the game.

Of course, all of this could go wrong. The possibility of a war worse than any in history erupting in Asia remains with us. However, the developments outlined here render that less and less likely, while a cold and peaceful standoff looks more realistic.

If such should turn out to be the case, we might date its onset from the Japanese election that has brought Abe to complete power. Now, the US’ task is to create an alliance with Japan such as the late Japanese ambassador to the US Hisahiko Okazaki always advocated — as close as with the UK.

So let us celebrate a war that I believe has been averted.

Arthur Waldron is the Lauder Professor of International Relations in the University of Pennsylvania’s history department. This article has previously been published on the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s Web site.

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