JPRI Working Paper No. 16: February 1996
The Okinawan Rape Incident and the End of the Cold War in East Asia
by Chalmers Johnson

The Cold War in Europe ended in 1989 when the people of Berlin defied their overlords and began to dismantle the wall that divided their city. I believe that the Cold War in East Asia began to end six years later, on September 4, 1995, when three American servicemen abducted and raped a twelve-year-old schoolgirl in Okinawa. The reaction to that rape throughout Japan and also in South Korea mobilized otherwise inattentive people to the persistence of Cold War-type relationships in East Asia-particularly to the presence of 100,000 American troops-and started to end the artificial distinction between economics and security in relations between the United States and its trading partners in East Asia. It also caused some Japanese to begin to see Okinawa not simply as Japan's poorest prefecture but also as a Japanese version of the American base at Guantanamo in Cuba.

The end of the Cold War in East Asia differs from Europe in that the USSR acquiesced to its loss of 'superpower' status, whereas the United States has chosen to go against the trend of events. It seems to be doing this primarily through inadvertence, in accordance with its persistent Eurocentrism and its long-standing inattention to the only two powers that could conceivably threaten its future national security-namely, China and Japan. Although the Okinawan rape brought home to the Japanese the anachronisms in their relations with the United States, the same could not be said for the United States. Here the rape was seen as an isolated unfortunate incident, for which the president, the ambassador, and the secretary of defense profusely apologized and that will blow over with the passage of time. But I believe-and predict-matters will move in a quite different direction.

The United States and Japan interact with each other on a vast array of different fronts. The two most important are what Japan specialists often abbreviate as "T&D"-trade and defense. Despite decades during which the Japanese and American governments have pretended that there was no relationship between T&D and did everything in their power to maintain the primacy of the security relationship over the economic one, the end of the Cold War has eliminated any rationale for continuing to do so.

During the Cold War, fearing that Japan might be tempted toward neutralism and wanting to use Japan as a model of development to counter the appeal of Chinese communism in Asia, the United States allowed Japan to rig its domestic market in ways that it permitted no other ally. The U.S. also encouraged Japan to export to the American market, and it facilitated transfer to Japan of a vast array of American technologies, even though Japan refused to allow the American owners of these technologies to invest in Japan or sell their products directly to Japanese consumers. In return for supporting and tolerating Japanese mercantilism, the United States was given basing rights; there are still close to 50,000 American troops stationed in Japan fifty years after the end of World War II and another 37,000 in South Korea. Japan also passively supported American foreign policy in East Asia, even when it disagreed with the United States (as it did over China and Vietnam).

With the end of the Cold War, the main irritant for the United States has become its defense of a nation with which it has a $60 billion annual trade deficit and to which it is going deeply into debt. The main irritant for Japan is its now anomalous status as a protectorate of the United States while simultaneously paying for and living with foreign troops stationed in its country.

Trade and defense have always been linked in the Japanese-American relationship, even if the State Department and the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs want to pretend otherwise. Today we desperately need a new, post-Cold War policy in Asia if we are to avoid a serious rupture in our relations with Japan and potential disasters in China, Korea, or elsewhere. The most important element in such a new policy is a thorough revision of the Japanese-American Security Treaty (last modified in 1960).

When the United States signed its first postwar security treaty with Japan in 1951, Japan still had a devastated economy and was in the last stages of American military occupation. Two years earlier Communists had swept to power in China, the Korean War was in full swing, and the yen was 360 to the dollar. When the Security Treaty was revised in 1960 amidst serious anti-American rioting and President Eisenhower had to abandon his proposed trip to Japan for his own safety, the American GNP was still eleven and a half times larger than Japan's. By 1993 that difference had shrunk to 1.3 times.

Today Japan has the most modern industrial structure in the world, it has not run a trade deficit with the United States for almost three decades, the dollar has lost nearly 80 percent of its original postwar value against the yen, and Japan faces no known military threat. The U. S. troops based in Japan cannot afford a bowl of noodles if they leave their bases, given the current yen-dollar exchange rate. It does not take a Thucydides to see that such a relationship is unstable.

Rather than attempting to alleviate these conditions by returning the troops to their own country, in February 1995 the Department of Defense committed the United States to the continued forward deployment of some 100,000 troops in Japan and South Korea until the year 2015. The author of this new policy is Joseph Nye, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs until December 1995, when he returned to Harvard. He is a professor of international relations and the author of the textbook Understanding International Conflicts: An Introduction to Theory and History (1993). His so-called "Nye Report" was enthusiastically welcomed in Japan when it was issued, since it perpetuated Japan's freedom from paying for its own security, and it played an important role in stiffening the position of Japan's negotiators in the auto trade talks of the summer of 1995. Thanks to Nye, they knew that the United States had unilaterally given up its most important source of leverage-namely, its treaty commitment to defend Japan.

Because of these events, I have gained some slight appreciation of what went through Cassandra's mind during the siege of Troy. You will recall that she warned her fellow Trojans to beware of Greeks bearing gifts and then discovered that she had been tragically right-there were Greeks hiding inside that horse. Last summer, in the July-August (1995) issue of Foreign Affairs, my colleague Barry Keehn and I warned that the Nye Report and the policy it enunciated were misconceived. We wrote that the attempt to freeze the Pacific in a Cold War framework amounted among other things to the most profound expression of American lack of trust in Japan since the end of the war.

In response to this article, we were attacked by the American establishment as "isolationists" (even though it is isolationism in reaction to the end of the Cold War that we were trying to head off) and by the Japanese establishment as "Japan bashers" (even though we are more ready to see Japan emerge as a normal country than some spokesmen of its Ministry of Foreign Affairs). Our intent was to put on the agenda for discussion American trade and security policies toward the Asia-Pacific region, subjects that had been neglected for too long. We also hoped to prevent what actually happened-namely, an emotional incident intervening and taking matters out of the hands of policy specialists-although we did not predict that the festering grievances of the Okinawans would be the source of the incident. In retrospect, we might also have guessed that.

American ignorance about Okinawa is pervasive and inexcusable. It is testimony to just how deeply the Cold War has distorted our vision. When the New York Times editorializes that "The United States has an obligation to protect the rights of accused Americans [meaning the indicted rapists in Okinawa] in countries where civil liberties may not be adequately protected," we know that its editors are completely ignorant of both the legal system in Japan and the fact that since 1972, when the United States ended its formal occupation of Okinawa, U.S. forces have committed better than a crime a day on the island (see New York Times, October 29, 1995; Pacific Stars and Stripes, September 27, 1995). Before the trial of the three Americans had even begun, the commander of American forces in the Pacific, Admiral Richard C. Macke, seriously worsened the situation by commenting that "For the price they [the confessed rapists under his command] paid to rent the car, they could have had a girl [i.e., a prostitute]." He was forced to resign for this remark, but it nonetheless signalled to the Japanese that the problems lay not just with lowly enlisted men but also with their commanders. And a week after Macke's blunder the Okinawan police were once again asking for American military help in identifying yet another American who had raped a Japanese woman at knifepoint near a Marine Corps base.

In 1992, in connection with the 20th anniversary of the reversion of Okinawa to Japanese rule, public opinion polls revealed that 85 percent of the people of Okinawa wanted the Americans to go home (Asian Survey, September 1994, pp. 828-840). Today that percentage is around ninety percent in all of Japan and close to unanimous in Okinawa (FBIS, East Asia, November 16, 1995, p. 17). In the words of the governor of Okinawa prefecture, Masahide Ota, "The trigger (hikigane) of the anti-Security Treaty protests in Japan today was not the rape of the schoolgirl but the Nye Report itself" (Asahi Shimbun, November 5, 1995). The people of Okinawa have waited fifty years in vain for some improvement in their conditions and now have nothing further to lose.

Okinawa measures some 454 square miles, almost exactly the size of Los Angeles. It was the scene of the last great battle of World War II, which was also the last time the United States used military force victoriously in East Asia. Some 14,005 Americans and 234,000 Japanese soldiers and civilians were killed in that battle, which was so bloody it became the main American justification for the subsequent atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Americans claimed that using atomic weapons to end the war prevented more Okinawan-type carnage in an invasion of Japan's main islands. At the time of the Battle of Okinawa, Governor Ota was a high school student who was pressed into service, and he was wounded. The monument he helped sponsor in Naha to the war dead, recently unveiled on the 50th anniversary of the end of the war, is thought to be the only war memorial on earth that lists the names of all the people killed on both sides of the battle.

From 1945 to 1972 U.S. armed forces occupied and governed Okinawa. It was the price Americans extracted from Japan for an early peace treaty. Many Okinawans believe that Hirohito sacrificed them in 1945 in a meaningless battle while trying to get better surrender terms from the Allies, and that Tokyo sacrificed them again in 1952 so that Japan could regain its independence and begin enjoying economic prosperity. In this view, Japan has lived comfortably with the Security Treaty because it got rid of most of the unwelcome American military bases by consigning them to a small southern island where they and the problems that come with them could be ignored by the majority of Japanese. Between 1953 and 1956 the U.S. military, using armed troops and often at the point of a bayonet, removed Okinawan farmers from their homes and then bulldozed the land to make way for runways for B-52 bombers-the same airplanes that flew countless missions to Haiphong, Cambodia, and the Ho Chi Minh Trail during the Vietnam War. A similar extension of the runways at Tachikawa air base on the outskirts of Tokyo led to the Security Treaty riots of 1960, but since Okinawa was still under American military rule its protest demonstrations were firmly suppressed.

Okinawa was also not a location where the cream of the American military was stationed or wanted to be sent; it was not NATO, to say the least. As Frank Gibney wrote in Time in 1949 "For the past four years, poor, typhoon-swept Okinawa has dangled at what bitter Army men call 'the logistical end of the line,' and some of its commanders have been lax and inefficient. More than 15,000 U.S. troops, whose morale and discipline have probably been worse than that of any U.S. force in the world, have policed 600,000 natives who live in hopeless poverty. . . . In the six months ending last September, U.S. soldiers committed an appalling number of crimes-29 murders, 18 rapes, 16 robberies, 33 assaults" (November 20, 1949, pp. 24-25). Only in 1972, thanks to the initiatives of former American Ambassador E. O. Reischauer and President Nixon, the United States returned Okinawa to Japan-but with the American bases intact.

Today these bases occupy some 20 percent of the main island of Okinawa, or about 10.5 percent of all of Okinawa Prefecture. Some 75 percent of all American facilities in Japan are located in Okinawa. In 1972, just before reversion, the United States controlled more than 130 Okinawan villages and over 14 percent of the prefecture. Okinawans are convinced that this military presence explains why Okinawa is Japan's poorest prefecture, with a per capita income only 70 percent of the national average. They have also been repeatedly deceived by the national government in Tokyo and the American Embassy about plans to return some of the land confiscated for military purposes. Twenty-three year ago the U.S. and Japan signed an agreement to return the port of Naha to Okinawan administration, but to this day nothing has been done. The Okinawans expect that Secretary of Defense Perry's promises to create a new committee to look into the matter will turn out to have the same result.

In 1990, the Okinawans elected retired university professor Masahide Ota as governor on a platform of getting the bases back from the Americans. Ota was partly educated in the United States and has published many books on Japanese and American discrimination against Okinawa. He has emerged as the only Japanese politician in living memory who has both paid attention to what the people elected him to do and who did not betray them when faced with bureaucratic resistance. On November 4, 1995, after a very high profile five-hour confrontation with Prime Minister Murayama, Governor Ota refused to sign documents that would force unwilling landowners to renew leases on key parcels of land now used by the American bases. The first leases expire in March 1996 and this tactic offers the prospect of endless legal battles for the Japanese and American governments as they struggle to keep the Security Treaty unchanged for another twenty years.

What is the American rationale for clinging so tenaciously to a treaty that seems to have outlived its Cold War relevance? Where did the Nye Report come from and why has it not been more widely discussed in both the United States and Japan? These are critically important questions but the answers are not easy to come by. The United States has been anything but candid on the subject. Some answers clearly belong to the Japanese category of tatemae (public pretense), whereas others seem to bring us closer to what the Japanese call the honne (or the true motives) of the matter. The fundamental reason for obfuscation seems to be nervousness about change on the part of both governments.

On September 4, 1995, the same day that two Marines and a sailor in Okinawa were abducting and raping a Japanese schoolgirl on her way home from shopping, Assistant Secretary of Defense Nye was speaking to the Foreign Correspondents' Club in Tokyo, where among other things he said, "This [so-called Nye Initiative] puts a halt to the planned reductions of the early 1990s, and reflects our assessment of the realities of the region." What are these realities? Primarily Korea and China, he said. During his visit to Japan in November, just before the APEC summit, Nye said to the press that 100,000 troops were needed in Northeast Asia because of the "clear and present danger" posed by North Korea (Japan Digest, 11/28/95). And his boss, Secretary of Defense William Perry, in an interview with the Nihon Keizai Shimbun on November 13, said "The Japan-U.S. security alliance is most important for deterring the PRC's military expansion." These, then, are the two most important tatemae reasons for keeping the Security Treaty essentially as it is.

In addition to mentioning China and Korea, Nye at the Foreign Correspondents' Club gave two further reasons for the forward deployment of 100,000 Americans. He said, "Alliances can be adapted for a post-Cold War era, not against a particular enemy but as a guarantor of security. . . . The U.S.-Japan alliance is not against a particular adversary but against a situation where countries in the region might feel pushed to arm themselves against each other and against uncertainty, were it not for a stabilizing and reassuring U.S. presence." To make such an open-ended commitment more attractive to the American taxpayer, he added that, "It costs us less to station troops in Japan than it would to keep them at home." In the Nye Report itself, he also claimed that American troops helped to keep Asian markets open, thus implying that if we did not have troops there our annual $100 billion deficit in trade with Asia might be even larger!

These are the tatemae, or formal, reasons for the new policy. None of them should be taken seriously except the issue of China, and it is so serious as to make the stated policy look ridiculous. Let me turn to it first. Since the United States has no real, well-thought-out policy toward China, it actually has innumerable policies reflecting many diverse interests in the United States. Some Americans continually harangue the Chinese to keep their hands off Taiwan, respect Tibet, continue non-Communist norms in Hong Kong and Macau after their reversion to mainland control, and negotiate over the Spratly islands, even though China has claims to all of these places that are older than the United States' existence as a country. Other Americans criticize China for its dictatorial government, its building of a dam on the Yangtze, its contribution to global warming because of rapid development and coal-burning, its arms shipments to countries we disapprove of, its human rights record, and its insensitivity (by Western standards) to the U.N.-sponsored Conference on Women. We also acknowledge that China is, like us, a thermonuclear superpower and entitled to create some international norms on its own, although in practice we seem to forget this.

It seems to me clear that we need some priorities in dealing with China. My first priority would be to bring our trading relations with China under control and not to allow China into the World Trade Organization on its current terms. If we allow China to pursue Japanese-style mercantilist trade with us for much longer, it will not only bankrupt us financially but have grave consequences for our work force.

But we are certainly not going to deter China militarily by keeping an understrength Marine division in Okinawa, one that former Defense Secretaries Carlucci and Aspen had scheduled for demobilization until Nye intervened. Moreover, the so-called Weinberger Doctrine stills exists as American military policy. It says that the United States will not use force in international relations without specifying the endgame and how we get out of the engagement. In dealing with the world's largest social system, the Weinberger Doctrine essentially means that we are never going to use ground forces against China. The only credible military force that might deter China is the carrier task forces of the Seventh Fleet. A logical policy would be to withdraw all ground forces from East Asia, which are both a source of instability in relations with the host nations (as the Okinawan rape has demonstrated) and a provocation to the Chinese, while strengthening American sea power in the Pacific. The United States is the only Pacific nation with the capacity to project power across great distances; that is our defining competence and we should preserve and rely on it. It should not be endangered by inappropriate deployments of American troops, which could in any case be easily transported from Hawaii or Guam or the U.S. mainland in times of crisis.

North Korea poses a lesser and very different problem. The United States, South Korea, and Japan have an agreement with Pyongyang to replace its plutonium producing capacity with safe reactors. This agreement opens the way towards a peaceful defusing of the recent Korean confrontation. But whatever transpires, the situation on the Korean peninsula today is totally unlike that of 45 years ago. South Korea currently has a 650,000-man army of its own that can handle any threat from the North other than one in which China or Russia joins or a nuclear threat. South Korea is twice as populous and has sixteen times the per capita income of the North. In November, 1995, President Jiang Zemin of China made a state visit to Seoul, thereby offering much greater security to the South than the presence of token U.S. forces. More seriously, North Korea is an isolated and failing communist country. In June 1994, well before the Nye Report, the Japanese military analyst Shunji Taoka concluded that North Korea was producing only 60 percent of the grain it needed and that there was a high probability it would collapse within three to five years. He believes that the troops of the Third Marine Expeditionary Force in Okinawa, the 54 F-15s of the 18th Tactical Fighter Wing at Kadena Air Force Base also in Okinawa, and the amphibious vessels at Sasebo, which are all explicitly deployed to meet an emergency in Korea, are no longer needed. North Korea today is being demonized as a "rogue regime" primarily in order to justify these American military deployments.

In thinking about the alleged American military contribution to stability in East Asia, it is necessary to ask what the sources of instability are in the region, whether military force is an appropriate response to any of them, and whether American ground forces are an appropriate military response. Needless to say, none of this type of analysis has been done by the Pentagon. Most of the threats to stability in the region are non-military, ranging from uneven growth to potentially uncontrolled population movements, the exploitation of cheap labor, and ethnic tensions. "Stability" is in any case too nebulous a concept to form the basis of military strategy or as an explanation to the American people for our defense of a very rich and populous region.

To the extent that there is stability in the region, it has been caused by high-speed economic growth on the pattern pioneered by Japan. Nye argues that this economic growth was made possible by the American security umbrella (or, in his favorite phrase, "security is like oxygen; you never miss it until it is gone"). This may have been partly true during the early postwar years, when the main security problems in East Asia were revolutionary wars against colonialism, often under Communist leadership, in China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaya, and the Philippines. Whether or not the United States should ever have gotten involved in any of these wars, they are now over and only a few embers still smoulder: the unification of Korea and the status of Hong Kong and Taiwan. The situations that remain no longer have any relevance to the Cold War struggle between communism and democracy and are today at worst potential civil wars.

Perry and Nye also argue that it is cheaper to keep American forces in Asia than in the United States, something they must know to be false. The actual costs of America's East Asian security commitments vary from just under $40 billion, in the estimate of the Cato Institute, to William Tow's calculation that "U.S. forces in Asia presently account for US$43 billion, or about 15 percent of the overall US defense budget" (Contemporary Security Policy, August 1994, p. 15).

Tokyo contributes a mere $4.4 billion (¥453 billion) toward the upkeep of American forces in Japan, in what the Japanese government loves to call its omoiyari yosan, or "sympathy budget." The total cost of the Japanese bases is said to be $6.2 billion; hence this is what Perry and Nye are referring to when they repeatedly say, as Secretary Perry did at the annual banquet of the New York Japan Society in September, "The most tangible measure of this support is Japan's commitment to provide 70 percent of the cost of keeping our troops on its soil." The problem with this figure is that the Japanese funds actually go for the salaries of 23,055 Japanese employees of the Americans (including translators of Japanese magazines and newspapers hired by the CIA), local construction costs, utilities, and rents for confiscated land. None of the Japanese funds ever goes into an American account. I suspect that basing 50,000 soldiers in the U.S. would save a great deal more than $6.2 billion and would also contribute to economies of states that have suffered from base closures.

Let me now turn to the honne, or real but seldom stated reasons, for the Nye Report. These are primarily a desire on the part of the American government to keep an eye on Japan, thus preventing it from undertaking international initiatives without consulting Washington, and reassuring the rest of Asia that Japan will not rearm on its own. Given that an American general once embarrassed Washington by saying all too plainly that his forces in Japan were the "cork in the bottle" to keep a rearmed Japan from jumping out, the Americans do not feel they can be forthright about this intention. But the Japanese understand it very well. The late Etsusaburo Shiina, one of the stalwarts of the conservative party, always referred to the American forces as go-banken-sama ("Mr. Watchdog"); and Tadakazu Kimura, an Asahi correspondent in Washington, wrote for his newspaper shortly after the Nye report was released, "The Pentagon is worried that with the Cold War over, the mutual security pact is considered in Japan less essential or even unnecessary, and that this mood may encourage a drift away from the U.S." (Asahi Shimbun, February 28, 1995).

Since the Nye Report affects them more than anyone else, the Japanese have naturally devoted more attention than the American press to investigating its intellectual genesis and finding out who were its actual authors. Two of the more important Japanese studies are by the investigative journalist Takao Toshikawa, writing in his Tokyo Insideline (April 30, 1995), before the rape; and the distinguished defense intellectual, Tadae Takubo, writing in the October issue of Seiron, after the rape. Both agree that the ideas behind the Nye Report derive from a paper by Patrick Cronin and Michael Green, two young staff members of the National Defense University, a subcontractor to the Pentagon. In this paper Cronin and Green react to a Japanese report of August 12, 1994, delivered to the Boei Mondai Kondankai (Defense Problems Deliberation Council), which is a private advisory body to the prime minister. Known as the "Higuchi Report" after its chairman Kotaro Higuchi, this document rather hesitantly advocates that Japan be more aggressive in making international contributions other than just the monetary kind. In his September speech to the Foreign Corespondents' Club, Nye himself refered to the Higuchi Report in a favorable light. But according to Takubo and Toshikawa, Cronin and Green wildly overreacted to it, concluding that Japan was about to slip the leash. They in turn influenced their young (37-year-old) friend Kurt Campbell, Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia, and he then sold their story to Joseph Nye and his adviser on Japan, Ezra Vogel. The story they bought was that Japan was just about to step forth on its own, although the only evidence of this was Japan's decision to continue trading with Iran despite the American boycott.

According to Toshikawa, the State Department demurred and argued that Cronin and Green were exaggerating threats to the alliance. Toshikawa concludes, "Policy was hijacked by a bunch of dilettantes." Takubo is also scathing on the subject. He writes that although many Asian leaders claim to fear Japanese rearmament, they also know that Japan could not even agree to send medical personnel during the Gulf War and that its troops in the Cambodian peacekeeping operation broke and ran when confronted with any form of hardship. In his view, there is no evidence whatsoever of a Japanese impulse toward aggression or militarism, and the aim of the Nye Report is simply to prevent Japan from competing with the United States in the international security arena.

This is an idea on which I would like to expand a bit. I do not know the true intentions behind the Nye Report, but my suspicions of it are fueled by Jeff Shear's important but neglected book The Keys to the Kingdom: The FS-X Deal and the Selling of America's Future to Japan (Doubleday, 1994). Shear's book concerns the Pentagon in one of its lesser known roles-namely that of lucrative trade agency. The United States is far and away the biggest munitions merchant in the world today, with total annual sales of just under $12 billion. Its closest competitor is Germany with $4 billion; the "rogue state" of North Korea hardly even figures in this league, with $40 million. Japan is one of America's biggest customers for weapons. The United States is in the process of selling to the Japanese Self-Defense Forces Airborne Warning and Control Systems (so-called AWACS aircraft), AEGIS missile systems for destroyers, and Patriot air defense batteries. It is also trying to interest the Japanese in the Theatre Missile Defense system, a spin-off from the Star Wars program. Judging by the evidence Shear offers, I believe there are people at the Pentagon who have ample incentive to want to perpetuate the Japanese-American security relationship unchanged for as long as possible.

Meanwhile, despite the serious and sustained efforts of Perry, Nye, and Vogel to think of good reasons to keep ground forces in Japan, the Japanese government has decided to cut its own forces. The new National Defense Program Outline, adopted by the Murayama government in November 1995, replacing the old one dating from 1976, cuts Japan's overall troop levels by 20,000 men, demobilizes four army divisions, eliminates 300 tanks from authorized armor strength, and takes ten surface ships from the navy. It also abandons any claim to repel a "limited and small-scale invasion," which the 1976 Outline had as an objective. In the future, the Japanese government merely proposes to "cooperate" with the United States if an invasion of its own country should occur! It should be noted that public opinion polls reveal that few Japanese actually believe the U.S. would come to their defense if the nation were threatened.

In my opinion, a new and more appropriate American defense policy toward East Asia would stress access to the area rather than fixed bases. This is what Bush arranged with Singapore after the Philippine Senate closed Subic Bay. We would emphasize sophisticated seaborne weapons systems and would systematically but slowly withdraw the ground forces with ample notice to South Korea and Japan. We would balance any and all projects to develop nuclear weapons by nations in the area and would closely monitor nuclear power generating facilities, including those of Japan. We would recognize that there is no possibility ever of a quick victory over Chinese forces comparable to that achieved against Iraq in the Persian Gulf War, but would attempt to deter China from using force in areas of international concern (primarily the Taiwan Straits and the South China Sea) by advanced nonnuclear technological means. We would acknowledge that the United States is neither qualified nor capable of responding to all sources of "instability" in East Asia and that the military means available to us would in most cases be inappropriate. We would also explicitly tie America's contributions to maintaining the balance of power in East Asia to much greater American participation in the economic prosperity of the region. All this would serve America's interests and return American forces to places where bases have been closed, such as Hawaii and California. And it would gain the support of the American public because it is a policy toward East Asia that is fiscally and morally defensible.

CHALMERS JOHNSON is president of the Japan Policy Research Institute and author of Japan: Who Governs? (W. W. Norton, 1995).

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