Ending a Feud Between Allies – NYTimes.com

The stakes are high for an alliance in Asia among a trio that needs to pull together, according to two Asia watchers.

Should these tensions continue, and deepen, they could undermine President Obama’s “pivot” to Asia. Without defense cooperation between South Korea and Japan, the United States cannot respond effectively to North Korea’s nuclear and missile provocations.

While the trilateral alliance does not seek to contain China, the absence of cooperation among the three like-minded allies on everything from cybersecurity to missile defense inhibits America’s capacity to shape China’s rise in constructive ways.

And the United States cannot work as effectively on a host of global issues, including climate change, international development, nuclear security and free trade without the cooperation of these two major economies.

via Ending a Feud Between Allies – NYTimes.com.


5 thoughts on “Ending a Feud Between Allies – NYTimes.com”

  1. So is it just me, or should the second paragraph quoted above should be roughly translated as: “The trilateral alliance seeks to contain China”?

    It sounds like this whole article is loaded with Orwellian doublespeak. Later the authors comment that “In the past, Washington forged cooperation by more or less forcing the countries to do its bidding”, but then you keep reading and they don’t actually say that this is a problem, just that the orders Washington is giving should change.

    I find this attitude concerning. I believe that people should spend more time worrying about what is good, and less time worrying about what leads to “further expansion of American power in the region”.

  2. I agree with the above post; I do not necessarily think that we need to worry about expanded American power in the region. The United States is declining as a superpower- most scholars agree with that- so perhaps we should be okay with moving from a unilateral system to a multilateral one. If we can avoid all the messy entanglements that caused World War I, a multilateral system can actually be quite stable.

    At the same time, however, I understand the importance of Asia to U.S. interests. It is important to not that cooperation between South Korea and Japan helps the United States to contain China, but perhaps even more important, it helps the United States deal with North Korea. That is not something to be taken lightly, and perhaps we should make moves to smooth over the situation between these two economic powers for the sake of global security before we seek to strength our own power in the region.

  3. If the United States can successfully ease the tensions between South Korea and Japan, it will earn a lot of respect from the international community and, at least temporarily, boost its standing as a global leader. After all, the feud between the two allies has lasted over half a century and, speaking from my limited personal experience, the Chinese/South Korean public still holds a certain bitterness towards the Japanese.

    The author makes an important suggestion that, unfortunately, I don’t think Mr. Abe will follow: to publicly acknowledge and apologize for the war crimes committed by the Japanese government. As difficult (or impossible) as this may be for Mr. Abe, it has been a terrible sticking point to the other Asian countries and would likely be graciously received by them.

    1. But from a political standpoint admitting the war crimes and apologizing would be career suicide. Abe would lose face in front of his people and would never have a place in politics again. From my understanding, as long as they don’t admit it, then to the Japanese, it never happened. I know that countries all over east and southeast Asia still have massive antagonism for Japan (fully justified), and I don’t think that’s going to go away anytime soon. But if you asked Americans 60 years after the Revolutionary war how they felt about the British, you would probably get similar responses. The only way to get rid of these emotions is to wait until the generations who experienced Japanese colonialism first-hand are no longer a part of society. It’s going to take a lot of time that we don’t have, but I think that the passing of time will mend rifts much better than forcing the Japanese to stand in the limelight and be publicly humiliated by smug leaders of the rest of Asia.

  4. I served my mission in Korea and experienced first hand the utter hatred felt towards the Japanese for the atrocities they committed during WWII. One day, a college student stopped me in the street and asked me to participate in a documentary she was working on. She explained that it was for the women, who during WWII, were sexually taken advantage of by soldiers in the Japanese military. The women, now in their later years, still feel bitterness and total resentment towards Japan for what happened to them. I still remember the frustration that student showed when I told her I was not aloud to participate in projects of that nature. My second companion was a native Korean and would always tell me about the “evils of Japan”. His attitude was passed down to him from his father. Speaking for Korea, and according to my understanding Asia as a whole, Asians are a very emotionally driven people. Tradition and honor play a huge role in their society. A public apology from Japan could really alleviate some of the animosity felt by China and South Korea. It may be humiliating but of course that is what the other countries want to see. Such an apology may be what it takes for other leaders to start working with Japan.

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