In a blog on Forbes’s online edition, American analyst Stephen Harner wrote on August 26 that the U.S.-Japan Security Alliance is “obsolete” in the new Asian Order, considering it’s not an important factor in the recent island dispute between China and Japan.
The author thinks that Washington’s strategic focus now should be US-China relations.
According to the article, although U.S. and Japan continue to claim their alliance is the cornerstone of bilateral relationship, it’s not relevant to the whole structure of the U.S.-dominated security system in Asia.
Harner quoted Australian scholar Hugh White’s new book, The China Choice: Why America Should Share Power, to illustrate the trilateral relations between China, the U.S. and Japan.
White pointed out in his book that Asia has lived under and benefited for some sixty years from an unchallenged and unchangeable U.S. strategic military and geopolitical primacy. No other countries, including China, until the opening of the current century, posed any conceivable threat to Washington’s power in the region.
Even if China now sees itself as a great power and has the ability to challenge U.S. hegemony in the region, the situation would remain unchanged in the foreseeable future.
Therefore, if the U.S. is not prepared to share power, rather, if the U.S. remains intent on maintaining unchallengeable and exclusionary primacy in East Asia, then military conflict with China is a distinct danger, if not an inevitability, White argued.
White believes “Japan is the Asian power that will be most willing to support the United States in maintaining its supremacy”, much the way Japan has deep-seated fear about China’s growing power. Japan’s predicament is the stronger China becomes, the weaker its alliance with United States.
Whether Washington chooses to confront or embrace China, it will be a disaster for Japan, the author further commented. For the U.S., maintaining its leading position and defending its key interests in the West Pacific means it has to give more than it gets. The Japan-US alliance has almost been obsolete and inoperable as relations with China would hold the future key.
Stephen Harner, an independent finance consultant, has worked both in China and Japan. In June, he wrote an article voicing support for Japanese expert Yabuki Susumu’s idea to scrap the Japan-US alliance.
Harner echoed Susumu’s view, saying Japan should rid itself from the alliance; otherwise, faced with growing China-U.S. relations, Japan will be caught in a nightmare land.