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"We've Got Your Back"
Hagel Tries to Calm Nervous Japanese Allies

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.

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  • Andrew Allison

    Might I suggest that it is the limp-wristed response to Putin’s action which “has made everything harder in every theater of operations around the world.”

  • Arkeygeezer

    “Putin has rattled the post-Cold War order in a way that has made everything harder in every theater of operations around the world.”

    Or maybe WRM’s blue model is applicable to the post-Cold War Order and it is imploding of its own weight. The post-Cold War Order is a web of organizations like the U.N., E.U., N.A.T.O. and SEATO, the World Court, the World Criminal Court, and a vast array of treaties; none of which can be enforced without involvement by the United States Armed Forces. If the American public is unwilling to support involvement by the U.S. Armed Forces, then the whole post-Cold War Order is just a collection of debating societies.

    After 13 years of trying to impose our form of democracy on the Middle East by force, and the resulting failures, we are not about to go to war over the Ukraine, or a pile of uninhabited rocks in the South China Sea where we have no national interest to protect.

  • Jetman51

    Among the other dozen or so reasons that the U.S. has a national interest to protect in this regard:

    We will rue the day that Japan concluded that it had no option but to re-arm to a level beyond defensive measures. See, e.g.,

    • Corlyss

      I am afraid that all of that is beyond the control of this administration at this point. 3 more years of the current pack of idiots will see allies in the most vulnerable regions setting in motion policies that will not be undone in 4, assuming the voters don’t elect another incompetent like the inexperienced H. Clinton.

  • Fat_Man

    Hagel is a buffoon. He couldn’t calm a 3 year old, let alone a major ally confronted with a much bigger adversary.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    “Asian Pivot” yeah, right, about as much truth there as with “If you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance, period.”. What an incredible wasted opportunity Chinese belligerence is offering America. We could be negotiating large economic concessions from the Asians in return for a military alliance similar to NATO, too which we could sell large amounts of weapons. Instead we have the weakest president ever in Obama, taking a dump on America’s reputation.

    • Corlyss

      Concessions? From allies? Like what?

  • Corlyss

    Words, empty words!

  • Rick Johnson

    Maybe the Japanese, like America’s other allies need to start asking the question, if the US can’t be relied on, maybe it’s time they started being a little more self reliant.

    After all, Ron Paul has made the case for less US involvement and there is a limit to how much US taxpayers should be expected to pay to make non US citizens feel safe.

    • Jetman51

      Oh, the Japanese will become militarily self-reliant, never fear. And when they do . . . well, see my comment below.

      How much should US taxpayers do to, say, protect the east Asian sea lanes for use in trade and commerce?

      It is not the case that the long-term point of US military involvement is to make “non US citizens feel safe.” That is simply a straw man that no thinking person really believes is the point of this discussion.

      Incidentally, I don’t think that citing Ron Paul as an authority on something means to everyone else what you think it means.

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