Op-Ed Contributor - A New Japan, a New Asia - NYTimes.com: "In the same way that Europeans built a self-sustaining regional peace, Japan should capitalize on the stability afforded by its alliance with the U.S. to make a push for Sino-Japanese reconciliation and regional integration."
With its present growth rate China is positioned to overtake Japan this year for the number two economy of the world. G. John Ikenberry sees the Japanese independence from US as something positive. And why not, if the UK and Germany can be friends, why couldn't Japan and China. However, the governing systems in Europe are more similar than those of Japan and China and I could see problems with a sudden love affair between the two countries. However, Japan is exporting a lot to China these days. Geopolitically the UK is in an equal position to the EU as Japan is to China but China has not matured, or stabilized, as a nation yet.
Its the 50th year anniversary of the US-Japan Alliance this week. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's new government under the guidance of the Democratic Party of Japan is more set to liberate Japan from the foreign policy of the US. Young Japanese are apparently, as Europeans, currently not wishing to share the foreign policy of the US to the same extent as did the Liberal Democratic Party.
Ikenberry points out that a certain schizophrenia exists in the response of the US to Japan in that the military side, ie, Robert Gates has problem with US bases whereas civil US, ie, Obama wants to see the Japanese as "equals". As a European is obviously see the Japanese as equals but what would be interesting to know is whether Japanese identify more with the Western civilization or with the Chinese? Perhaps they are just fine in the middle.
Siesmic changes are taking place currently in Asia. China might overtake the US economy already 2020 and India might then push Japan down to fourth place in 2030. Will it be possible to take part in this clash of civilizations situated around China or will Europe more watch this phenomenon occur? Focusing on Green development is probably a smart way to position itself. It is going to be a battle of life style changes as a mean of adaptation.
Fredrik Reinfeldt said in his Christmas speech that we need to learn more about China because they seem to have learned a lot about us. I have lived and worked in the US for ten years and I spent some time learning about Japanese culture. I learned European history of science and philosophy and American political history. In other words I have concentrated on the democratic West and its origins. China will have to wait until it becomes interesting. One Chinese said that "he doesn't have anything against learning from the West but he doesn't want any of the double moral". I wonder what he meant by this?