Skip to main content
 

The Sun and The Eagle: Addressing The Possibility of American Abandonment

4 min read

Written from the Japanese Perspective for US Foreign Policy (USU POLS 3400)

In recent history, we have enjoyed the protection of the Great American Eagle. The position of the US State Department is clear, “The U.S.-Japan Alliance is the cornerstone of U.S. security interests in Asia and is fundamental to regional stability and prosperity”.1 Since the great war, our former opponents have deigned to take us under their great wings.

But there can be no mistake- the American Eagle finds its burden heavy. While we can still expect academic and private partnerships to continue to flourish, the great bird will be expected to fly slower when called to our aid.2 Their current President continues to clamor for less involvement in the outside world. Even his critics acknowledge the reasoning and precedence that inform the reluctant protector,

“There is some reason in Trump’s frustration with America’s allies. We have allowed the United States to accrue a disproportionate responsibility for others’ security outcomes...Trump’s reason rhymes with the Obama administration’s “leading from behind” in that both foist onto others primary responsibility for outcomes”.3

So despite deep-seated, historical, and stated intentions, the Emperor across the seas may have revealed unsustainable assumptions that our foreign policy has over-relied on.

This hasn’t been for a lack of trying on the part of those under him, “Yet for two years, largely thanks to the initiative of Congress and the Pentagon, day-to-day relations with NATO remained relatively steady… This progress, however, was largely dependent on the presence of committed, pro-NATO officials in the American bureaucracy. Those officials are becoming scarcer by the day”.4 Yet while the wings of the American Eagle pull at different directions the distance between our two nations still grows. This disconnect between the head of the state and its apparatuses would vindicate previously unvoiced concerns that American support would not ultimately be limitless or unconditional. Nonetheless, such contradictory interests (even if temporary) necessitate a fuller reprioritization of our national resources. The framework has already been laid out but through both radical and disturbingly familiar means.

Just as Eagle questions its loads, we too are left to ask what has Japan gained by embracing its occupiers. We have paid the debt of ancient aggressions twice over. Deferring all honor we have silently stood behind America in the international community, contributing the second most to their United Nations even supporting their abominable nuclear policy.5 We had no business but we were there in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Gulf of Aden.6 And all we have gained in return is 50,000 troops; their troops, that they expect us to harbor and pay for.7

And now as generations have become accustomed and expectant of its protection, the American Eagle sets to turn its back on us. Fortunately, America provides both the problem and the solution. We must take our place as the regional leader amongst the allies. Korea, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and even Australia, the collaborators gained under America’s heavy hand will look to our leadership in its absence.8 Amidst the power vacuum left by the Eagle, only the Rising Sun can disperse the shadow cast by the mighty China giant.9

This why we have been pushing for the reintroduction of the Imperial Rescript on Education to our children, for JSDF Propaganda Anime.10 Remain calm. It's all part of the plan.

Notes


  1. “Japan.” U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of State, 17 July 2018, www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/4142.htm. 
  2. Ibid. 
  3. Schake, Kori. “Donald Trump, Barbarian Emperor.” Foreign Policy, Foreign Policy, 4 Mar. 2016, foreignpolicy.com/2016/03/04/donald-trump-barbarian-emperor-japan-china-defense/. 
  4. Brands, Hal. “Can U.S. Alliances Withstand Trump's Venom?” The Japan Times, 30 Jan. 2019, www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2019/01/30/commentary/world-commentary/can-u-s-alliances-withstand-trumps-venom/#.XFzxplxKhPY. 
  5. “Japan.” U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of State, 17 July 2018, www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/4142.htm. 
  6. Schake, Kori. “Donald Trump, Barbarian Emperor.” Foreign Policy, Foreign Policy, 4 Mar. 2016, foreignpolicy.com/2016/03/04/donald-trump-barbarian-emperor-japan-china-defense/. 
  7. Ibid. 
  8. “Japan.” U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of State, 17 July 2018, www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/4142.htm; Schake, Kori. “Donald Trump, Barbarian Emperor.” Foreign Policy, Foreign Policy, 4 Mar. 2016, foreignpolicy.com/2016/03/04/donald-trump-barbarian-emperor-japan-china-defense/. 
  9. Schake, Kori. “Donald Trump, Barbarian Emperor.” Foreign Policy, Foreign Policy, 4 Mar. 2016, foreignpolicy.com/2016/03/04/donald-trump-barbarian-emperor-japan-china-defense/. 
  10. Osaki, Tomohiro. “Imperial Rescript on Education Making Slow, Contentious Comeback.” The Japan Times, www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/04/11/national/imperial-rescript-education-making-slow-contentious-comeback/#.XFzywVxKhPY; Baseel, Casey. “Anime-Themed Japan Self-Defense Forces Recruitment Campaign Makes Odd Poster Boy Choice.” Japan Today, 10 Sept. 2017, japantoday.com/category/features/lifestyle/anime-themed-japan-self-defense-forces-recruitment-campaign-makes-odd-poster-boy-choice.