Japan is Critical to U.S. National Security

A new article by Leslie Gelb in The Daily Beast states the following:

Europe Plus, i.e., Europe along with Japan, Australia, Canada, and Israel, should—on the merits—remain the rock of U.S. national-security strategy. To me, it is plain common sense to see that Europe Plus (the bulk of G8 and NATO members) is the group of nations that most closely share U.S. values and interests.

It doesn’t take a genius to see that these values and interests are not widely shared elsewhere—or at least that other nations are not nearly as ready as the Europe Plus group to act on those interests and values.  If the United States were to be in trouble or require help, it is unimaginable that India, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Turkey, or whatever country would actively back Washington with money and arms.  The U.S. can count on only the Europe Plus group.  When America needs military help abroad, it comes essentially from European NATO countries, Canada, and Australia.  When it comes to providing economic aid to poor and needy nations, Europeans and Japan almost always are our principal partners.

Never to be forgotten: the great bulk of U.S. trade and investments comes to and from Europe and Canada, to say nothing of Japan.  For all the economic difficulties of Europe and Japan, America’s economic fate over the next decade and beyond is still tied more with these nations than to China or the other emerging powers like India, Brazil, and Turkey.

Gelb is past president of the Council on Foreign Relations, a former New York Times columnist and senior government official, and author of Power Rules: How Common Sense Can Rescue American Foreign Policy (HarperCollins, 2009).

Do you agree with Leslie Gelb that Europe Plus, i.e., Europe along with Japan, Australia, Canada, and Israel, should remain the rock of U.S. national-security strategy?  What economic and political leadership role do you see Japan taking in the future?  Could Japan take leadership on global anti-poverty or environmental measures?

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G8 leaders, from front to back: European Council President Herman van Rompuy, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, US President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiro Noda, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso arrive to pose for a photo during the G8 summit at Camp David. (Nicholas Kamm / AFP-Getty Images)

6 thoughts on “Japan is Critical to U.S. National Security

  1. I do agree with the writer, and do believe US is not just sitting on the throne of superpower all by itself. Without the economical support and back-up of EU Plus and Japan, the US’s economy wouldn’t have recovered until this point. It is vice versa with Japan as well. Without the help of US and other allied nations, the damages of the Great Tohoku Earthquake could have been larger.

    Because the restoration of the victimized areas and people is not in a smooth progress, I don’t think Japan will try to take leadership on global anti-poverty and environmental measures until current problems in Japan get in control.

  2. Japan should remain as the rock of U.S. national-security strategy if they want to keep the “friendship” between the US. Gelb sounds like he is saying that the US is dependent on other countries just like others, but the US probably has much more power than any other country in the world, in many fields. To me, Japan seems like an obedient follower of the US ever since the World War II, and even though the article may indicate that Japan is an essential partner to the US, I think the American military bases in Japan are telling something.

    It is unlikely that Japan can take leadership on global anti-poverty or environmental measures because those problems are not yet solved in Japan. Japan will first need to stabilize the government to get public support. Focusing on foreign countries at this point can be criticized due to the unsolved problems of the Tohoku Earthquake. If the government is successful in recovering the country within acceptable amount of time by the public, there could be possibilities for Japan to lead the world in the future.

  3. I think U.S.national security strategy brings merits and demerits to Japan. Nations in Europe Plus can cooperate in economic matters as a countermeasure to BRIC is the merit, although at the same time, their economies always get affected by each other. On the other hand, the gap between Europe Plus and emerging powers may grow. For Japan, Japan’s economy is closer to China’s than Europe Plus. Also there is another demerit for Japan. It seems that how cooperative they are to the U.S. decides the position of the nation in Europe Plus, and Japan cannot support in military matters, which would makes it difficult for Japan to take the leadership in the group.

  4. Japan does not have military power to use outside of Japan, and economic power is unstable now, so I think Japan should try to get leadership for poverty or environmental problem to show its existence on international stage.
    Since the great earthquake, we realized how special our daily lives are. So far as we remember this fact, we can be more dedicated to solve poverty or environmental issues. It’s true that Japan is now going through a hard time,
    but I think we cannot avoid taking care of outside of Japan.

  5. Japan is not suited for leader in the world so the US is our good partner. In addition, it is important for the US to be a partner with Japan, for we have a deep allegiance to someone or a country that has ever helped us.

  6. I thing it is fine the way it is. Before considering who is is the world leader, I tend to value world peace more. In other words, if a country were to become more powerful than the United States, it will cause chaos. That’s one of the reasons why I worry about the emerging power of China.

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