November 13, 2009

Japan: From Protectorate to Ally?

R. Taggart Murphy, The New Republic

AP Photo

When President Obama arrives in Tokyo on Friday, he will confront a country that seeks to be an ally of the United States. For Japan has never been an American ally. It was first a rival, then an enemy, and finally, after it lost the war it foolishly started with the U.S., it became a protectorate, not an ally.  

The distinction matters. An alliance is an institution negotiated between two sovereign governments in which each agrees to a series of reciprocal obligations that have the force of law. A protectorate arrangement, by contrast, sees the protectorate retaining a degree of control of its internal affairs, but surrendering authority to manage external relations--most crucially, in the area of military decision-making. In return for the protectorate's ceding of this key...

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TAGGED: United States, Japan, Obama, Tokyo, President

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