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The Ally of My Ally

Asia’s divided democracies.

Jan 21, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 18 • By JOSEPH A. BOSCO
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Given those real and present dangers, countries in the region no longer have the luxury of relitigating dead history. Asia’s democracies would do well to match America’s rebalancing to Asia by their own pivot away from narrow nationalism to their broader Asian security interests. Americans, Filipinos, and other Southeast Asians have left the bitter past safely behind them. Other countries in the region need to do the same.

The Philippines’ foreign minister recently called on Japan to bolster its military capabilities to counter China’s aggressive rise. He knows the difference between Imperial Japan, democratic Japan, and the People’s Republic of China—and which poses the real, present threat to regional peace and stability.

Despite the recriminatory tone of the recent elections in South Korea and Japan, both countries chose leaders who welcome strong security ties with the United States. Wise and persistent U.S. leadership can help Asia’s democracies accept the strategic logic that says the ally of my ally is also my ally.


Joseph A. Bosco is a national security consultant. He was China desk officer in the office of the secretary of defense
from 2005 to 2006.

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