Japan, the Never Normal (Asia Unbound)
For some reason we scholars, policy analysts, and journalists seem unable to see Japan as normal. No matter what Japan does, people view it through the lens of extremes.
…Just to be clear: Japan’s “hawks” are leaders who, in any other political setting, would be the most dovish in the room; leaders who advocate a grand strategy slightly to the left of Canada; leaders who responded to Chinese eliminationalist rhetoric by urging for peace and respect for international law.
Japan is not pacifist, but nor is it aggressive and militarist. It is not an economic Godzilla, nor is it a home for the aged. It is a normal middle power.
Those that cast Japan in these extremes are not merely wrong, they lead us to overlook the central role that Japan can play in the East Asian balance of power. With the exception of the United States and possibly China, no other country has a better mix of the building blocks of power and influence that Japan has. For hundreds of years, power has stemmed from economic output (GDP), wealth per person (GDP per capita), total population size, technological base, and political stability. Perhaps democracy should be a modern addition to that list.
Recognizing Japan’s potential—and viewing it as normal—should open our eyes to how useful Japan could be. Viewing Japan as pacifist leads us to overlook the normal role it can play in East Asia; viewing Japan as militarist makes us afraid to trust it as a true partner.
Military-Intelligence Boundaries Grow Ever Fuzzier (Mother Jones)
As the USS Enterprise Is Inactivated, Another Enterprise Will Follow in Her Wake (The Moderate Voice)
Today, as the USS Enterprise (CVN 65), the Navy’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, was inactivated in Norfolk, Va., Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced that the third Gerald R. Ford class aircraft carrier will be named Enterprise in honor of the venerable aircraft carrier that has served sterlingly in peace and in war for more than five decades.