Commentary Sep 3, 2011

Safe choice, but wrong choice?

Former Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda is the new prime minister of Japan. Noda is something of an anomaly: one of those self-deprecating politicians — he likens himself to a "loach," a scavenger that is kin to the catfish — who commands respect for having ...

Commentary Apr 10, 2010

A reality check in Asia

The hearts of Asia-Pacific strategists are all aflutter. The desire of Japan's new government to "rebalance" its foreign policy between East and West and the subsequent tensions between Tokyo and Washington are seen as portents of a shift in the regional balance of power. ...

Commentary / World Nov 11, 2009

A good time to remember the ANZUS alliance's fate

HONOLULU — The headlines associated with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates' recent visit to Japan notwithstanding, relations between Washington and Tokyo are not as strained as they may appear . . . at least not yet. But there is no question that improper handling ...

Commentary Oct 1, 2009

Washington should not forget its Asian allies

The United States has scaled back plans to deploy a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe. While that decision reflects a new assessment of the Iranian threat to Europe, most attention is being paid to its impact on relations with Russia. But the decision ...

Commentary Sep 16, 2009

Back to Earth with the DPJ

The wave of hysteria that greeted the victory of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) in parliamentary elections last month has receded. The win doesn't signal the end of the U.S.-Japan alliance, nor does it necessarily imply a rough patch for bilateral ties. In ...

Commentary Jul 10, 2009

Wisdom of an Asia rising

SEOUL — According to conventional wisdom, the global economic crisis is accelerating the transfer of power and influence from the West to Asia. The United States has been particularly hard hit by the downturn and America's loss is China's gain. The Group of Eight industrialized ...

Commentary / World Jun 30, 2009

Older, smaller population to impact Japan's choices

HONOLULU — The next few months will be crucial for Japan's defense and security policies. The National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG), which outline the framework for national security policy, are due by yearend. This in turn provides the foundation for the Mid-Term Defense Program, ...

Commentary Feb 12, 2009

Secretary Clinton's No. 1 mission is to reassure allies

HONOLULU — We welcome the news that Hillary Clinton's first overseas trip as U.S. secretary of state will be to Japan, Korea, Indonesia and China. While her visit to Beijing will likely garner the lion's share of attention and her visit to Indonesia will ...

Commentary / World Oct 29, 2008

Bush's nuclear deal with India: bigger consequences to consider

HONOLULU/STOCKHOLM — The U.S.-India civilian nuclear agreement was signed into law this month after two years of negotiations and bitter debates. The final deal sharply divides arms control and nonproliferation specialists. The focus of an often-emotional debate revolves around a simple question: Is the ...

Commentary Sep 6, 2008

It's deja vu, all over again

Here we go again. Less than a year after Shinzo Abe stunned supporters with a sudden resignation from office, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda has decided to do the same. Fukuda blamed a divided Diet, plummeting approval ratings, and a desire to avoid a ...