Why aren't we working with Japan and India?
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in India for a strategic dialogue that will focus on how China’s ascendance is transforming Asia. At her next stop, Indonesia, she is to hold trilateral consultations — U.S.-Japan-Korea and U.S.-Japan-Australia — on the margins of a broader regional forum. The Obama administration understands that Japan and India are critical bookends of a regional strategy aimed at peaceful cooperation with a rising China. Both Japan and India are moving closer to the United States precisely because of their concerns about China’s direction. Yet something is adrift.
The alliance with Japan, a pillar of America’s forward presence in the Pacific for nearly six decades, has been buffeted by electoral change and natural disasters. The Obama administration weathered the victory of the populist Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) in 2009 — a transition after nearly a half-century of one-party rule — then won kudos across the Japanese political spectrum for its massive humanitarian response to the March earthquake and tsunami. Yet Japan’s deadlocked political system has produced only disappointment on Tokyo’s earlier pledges to realign U.S. bases on Okinawa and to join trade liberalization talks through the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Senior Obama administration officials pepper talks about Japan with eye-rolling and expressions of exasperation.
For the full article see The Washington Post.
Photo by Keith Kissel.