Regarding the May 4 opinion piece “Think the U.S.-China row is bad now? You ain’t seen nothing yet,” some observers say that 21st century Japanese nationalism, especially that espoused by Prime Minister Abe, is “parasitic nationalism.” While before 1945, Japan’s militaristic nationalism was dependent only on its own resources and those of the territories it conquered, at present parasitic nationalism cannot flourish (except perhaps in the world of computer games) without the alliance with the United States. Thus, Abe signs on enthusiastically to Trump’s anti-China rhetoric and some Japanese officials espouse a new Cold War with the Middle Kingdom.

Especially under Xi Jinping, China’s behavior isn’t faultless by any means. It will take statesmen in both Washington and Tokyo who are far-sighted and intelligent to have peaceful, though sometimes competitive, relations with Beijing. That won’t happen if Brad Glosserman’s advice is followed by Japan’s political caste.

Japan doesn’t have to be a tributary state of either the U.S. or China. But protecting the country’s independence requires an intelligence that is clearly missing today.

Donald M. Seekins

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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