Unnerved by the Obama Administration’s limp response over Crimea, Japanese leaders are asking for reassurances: “Are your promises to us worth no more than your promises to Ukraine?” The New York Times:
“The Crimea is a game-changer,” said Kunihiko Miyake, a former adviser to Mr. Abe who is now research director at the Canon Institute for Global Studies in Tokyo. “This is not fire on a distant shore for us. What is happening is another attempt by a rising power to change the status quo.” As an example, he pointed to China’s challenge to Japanese control of the Senkaku Islands, the uninhabited rocks in the East China Sea that Beijing claims under the name Diaoyu Islands.
One Japanese official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity, “We are just looking for a commitment from the American side.”
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel who was in Japan over the weekend, spent his time meeting with Japanese officials reassuring them of America’s commitment—but reportedly without promising that the United States would intervene on Japan’s behalf in the Senkaku/Diayou Islands dispute with China.
Striking the right balance in Asia was never going to be easy, but Putin has rattled the post-Cold War order in a way that has made everything harder in every theater of operations around the world.