In an NHK TV program on Japan’s pacifist constitution, broadcasted on August 15, forum attendants discussed US foreign policy and US-Japanese relations. This is an important issue to reconsider the pacifist constitution, because changes in global security environment provoke this debate. Also, it is the United States that hopes to change the pacifist constitution, in order to step up the alliance with Japan.
While we were talking about this issue, both rightists and leftists criticized US foreign policy harshly. They say Americans are excessively power dependent, and worry America’s hyper puissance endangers Japan’s independent decision making. Leftist attendants led by Sayoko Yoneda, a women’s rights and peace activist, even claimed that it serves right for America being attacked by terrorists. Had she known the theory of hegemonic stability which is a basic theory of international political economy, she would have never remarked such a stupid comment. Robert Kagan would have refuted them, by using his allegory of sheriff and saloon master.
It is my regret that NHK announcer Tamio Miyake, the moderator of this forum, did not provide sufficient opportunity for pro-American participants to argue against such a Sturm und Drang (Storm and Stress) of rampant anti-Americanism. Therefore, I am writing this post to refute the Sturm und Drang at the forum.
Some nationalist attendants, such as Kazuhiko Hosokawa, a leader of conservative organization, and Junko Amou, also a conservative cyberspace activist, insisted on strengthening Japan’s tie with the United States from a realist perspective. They say that Japan needs a close relationship with the United States simply because it is Japan’s national interest. When necessary, Japan must be ready to say “no” to America, they say. Certainly, both Japan and the United States are sovereign states. But I must advocate that the US-Japanese alliance is beyond that sort of petty realism. For further discussion, I would like to talk about the nature of the American world order and Japan’s national foundation as a modern state.
First, it is very important to understand the nature of the American world order. I have mentioned this in a previous post, entitled “Philosophical Understanding of Pax Britannica and Pax Americana” on February 27. In this post I talk about the theory of hegemonic stability. Britain and America has been providing the public goods of liberal political and economic order. This is my primary focus as a graduate student at the London School of Economics. For detail, please see the link to this post. When a rogue intrudes on the bar, it is the sheriff who faces the danger, not the saloon master. The hegemonic state assumes the burden of sheriff for global security. Leftists who said it served right for America being attacked by terrorists, must feel ashamed of their ignorant remark. It seemed that Sayoko Yoneda, Yumiko Akimoto, and a couple of leftwing activists uttered such a comment.
OK, I ask a question to these leftists. Are you with whom? Are you with our free world, or with terrorists and rogue states? Are you friends or enemies to our society? It is all right whether they are rightists or leftists, whether they are pro-American or anti-American. But I must remind them that their utterance in public is a complete insult to Japan’s most reliable ally. I would advise them to apologize for their misguided comment on TV on the next occasion.
Also, I have to mention Japan’s position in the world. It is vital to point out that freedom allies respect Japan because of its close relationship with the United States. Prewar Japan was one of Western Great Powers, and postwar Japan has been a member of leading Western Democracy Club. Europeans embrace Japan, because it is a key ally to the United States. A Dutch historian Jeroen Lamers who is the author of “Japonius Tyrannus”, a research on 16th century ruler Oda Nobunaga, comments that a staunch US-Japanese alliance is considerably advantageous to Dutch-Japanese relations, and ultimately to Euro-Japanese relations. One of Japan’s leading pro-American political commentator, Hidemi Nagao also makes similar cases in his book, entitled “Eternal Japan-US Alliance”, saying that freedom allies from Europe to Australia regard Japan as an important partner, because Japan and free nations pursue common policy agendas with the United States.
It is also important to mention world security environment in the post Cold War era. Currently, NATO is exploring global operation, and considering new strategic partnership with Japan, Australia, and even South Korea. Also, Japan is trying to develop new Asia-Pacific security framework with India and Australia. The common bond between Japan and above nations is the alliance with the United States. In other words, a stronger relationship with America enables Japan to develop stronger ties with respectable democracies I mention here.
To my regret, six eminent persons who appeared in this program failed to discuss this point. It is important to take this into consideration when we discuss collective security. They are the following people.
Setsuzo Kosaka: Ex-Chairman of the Constitution Reform Committee, Japan Association of Corporate Executives
Osamu Watanabe: Professor, Hitotsubashi University (Japan’s MIT or LSE)
Setsu Kobayashi: Professor, Keio University (One of Japan’s Ivy League colleges)
Yoshinori Kobayashi: Political Cartoonist
Kenji Isezaki: Professor, Tokyo University of Foreign Affairs
Takao Saito: Journalist
Such renowned experts, but missed to talk about this crucial point: a closer relationship with America means a closer relationship with respectable democracies. This is a waste of their reputation.
Moreover, I would like to give an “English lesson” to those who are wary of advancing further US-Japanese alliance. Britain maintains extremely close partnership to mange the world with the United States. I have talked of key points in the Anglo-American special relationship in a previous post, “Britain and Japan as America's ally: Review of Woodrow Wilson Event” to explore how to upgrade Japan’s relation with the United States. There are four key points in the Anglo-America special relationship.
(1) Be distinguished from other nations
The special relationship will make Britain a distinguished ally to the United States. As people often say, Britain plays a role of Greece to America’s Rome.
(2) Make use of US power
With close ties with America, Britain can strengthen its position in Europe and the globe.
(3) Influence on US policy
As an Athenian to America’s Rome, Britain should be a consultant for the United States to manage the world.
(4) Interpret between Europe and America
Britain should be a representative of Europe to the United States. Also, Britain should bridge policy gaps between Europe and America.
No. (1) is the most important for Japan to explore more leverage in the world. Remember how miserable it was when Jacques Chirac, Dominique de Villepain, and Gerhard Schröder flatly rejected US request for support in the Iraq War. They had no influence, and simply stepped down from their positions quickly. Despite severe criticism, Tony Blair had an influence on US policymakers. Never miss this point!
Finally, I would like to talk of Japan’s spiritual foundation as a modern state. Spiritual base of modern Japan is Datsua Nyuou (getting out of backward Asia, and join civilized West). Nobody doubts that this has lead Japan to spectacular success road. The US-Japanese alliance is beyond security deal, but guarantee of Japan’s status as a leading Western democracy. Remember that US senators John McCain and Joseph Lieberman cast doubt on Russian qualification to chair the St. Petersburg Summit, because of authoritarian Putin administration, while none of respectable policymakers in both America and Europe did so on Japan’s qualification for the elite club membership from the beginning. A real patriot Japanese must take pride in it.
In previous posts, “New Year Question 2: The Legacy of Queen Victoria in East Asian History” and “A Radical Agenda for Japanese People”, I argued that modern Japan started when Queen Victoria destroyed the Chinese Asian order with gunfire. The Japanese understood the meaning of the Western Impact, while Asians were still indulged in the Dark Age. Japanese people decided unrepentant farewell to the Dark Age, and dashed toward modernization and enlightenment with “Protestantism” diligence and ethics. Japanese people decided to accept the Victorian world order of Lockean and Smithian values, while Asians made virtually no effort to learn Western civilization.
As a result, Japan had become entirely distinguished from dormant Asians who were in a daydream of outdated Chinese world order. In the postwar period, Japanese people learned American invented management methods, such as William Edwards Deming’s total quality management, quicker than Americans with “Protestantism” diligence. In other words, Japan achieved the economic miracle, because Japanese became more American than Americans. Dutch historian Joroen Lamers made a similar comment in an interview with the Nagano Chambers of Commerce.
Rapid Westernization, unrepentant enlightenment, and Lokean and Smithian values are deeply embedded in the heart of Japanese people. There is no wonder that Japan’s best friends have been Anglo Saxon global empires. Without solid alliance with the United States, Japan would fall into a miserable archipelago offshore the Chinese Dragon. Apparently, the Japanese prefer enlightened West to Confucian Asia.
A staunch US-Japanese alliance is vital to maintain a liberal world order, and to guarantee Japan’s identity as a leading Western democracy.