| Aug 9, 2014

Prelude to WWII: Japan's Nomonhan debacle

There has been considerable media hoopla about the centennial of the outbreak of World War I. The subsequent slaughter of 16 million people was prompted by the assassination of an Austrian archduke and duchess, which activated the system of interlocking alliances intrinsic to the ...

| Aug 2, 2014

Watergate: Forty years since Nixon's resignation

U.S. President Richard Nixon submitted his letter of resignation on Aug. 9, 1974 in order to save himself from the humiliation of being impeached and thrown out of office. Only two other presidents, Andrew Johnson (1867) and Bill Clinton (1998), faced impeachment, but both ...

| Jul 26, 2014

Japan's brand is floundering under Abe

Attending the Association of Asian Studies conference in Singapore last week, I realized that Japan’s global image is not what it might be. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says Japan is back, but doubts are spreading about the version of Japan he is promoting. It ...

| Jul 19, 2014

Modi's upcoming Japan visit signals closer ties

India’s newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi is coming to Tokyo in August to meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, signaling closer bilateral ties infused by personal chemistry and shared values. The Namo-Shinzo show will be an elaborately choreographed red-carpet extravaganza to highlight the ...

Battle of Saipan: beginning of the end

Jul 5, 2014

Battle of Saipan: beginning of the end

Seventy years ago, the Imperial Japanese Army lost a pivotal battle over the Pacific island of Saipan, a defeat that put Tokyo within range of high-altitude U.S. B-29 bombing raids that could evade Japan's inadequate air defenses.

| Jun 28, 2014

Abe's nuclear renaissance ignores stiff opposition

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s nuclear renaissance involves downplaying risks, restarting reactors, building new ones, and exporting reactor technology and equipment. A number of hurdles remain before he can rev up the reactors, but the summer of 2014 will probably be Japan’s last nuclear-free one ...

| Jun 21, 2014

Abe hijacks democracy, undermines Constitution

By short-circuiting the democratic process, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is abusing the trust put in him by the people. His initiative to reinterpret Article 9 of the Constitution to lift constraints on the Japanese military and permit collective self-defense is the most recent example ...