The tragic killing of the two hostages reinforced domestic concerns over Japanese rearmament. If they want to reinforce their (recent) pacifist heritage, so be it. But they should not then expect Washington to protect them. Serious countries defend themselves. They don't turn their futures over to other nations to save a little money.
SEOUL -- With the U.S. economy yet to recover fully from the global economic crisis, and American politics increasingly dysfunctional, there is a global power vacuum that China, with shrewd diplomacy and economic might, hopes to fill -- beginning in Asia. This may not yet mean Asia for only the Asians; but it could mean a reduced regional role for the U.S. -- especially as America turns inward during the presidential election season that starts this year.
However neatly wrapped, self-interest is the underlying theme of foreign policy. India will have to tread with extreme caution on this path of a joint strategic vision for the Asia-Pacific. The U.S. will only walk on this path up to a point. Australia and Japan have not exhibited consistency in their China policy.
TOKYO -- It is unacceptable for a government to be unable to protect its own citizens. That is why Abe is determined to amend, or at least reinterpret, Japan's constitution to allow for the kinds of defense maneuvers that other countries, from Israel to India, employ when their people are threatened. As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson once put it, a constitution is not a suicide pact.
The president of the Philippines, Benigno Aquino, became the second of two close American allies (after Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe) to shake hands with President Xi Jinping of China this week. Xi and Aquino shared promises to constructively manage tensions in the South China Sea, a promising step forward after several years of maritime incursions into territory both countries claim as their own.
Now that Xi and Abe have had their icy handshake, China and Japan need to move forward. Hotlines are necessary, but so is continued leadership: for President Xi, to ensure that anti-Japanese nationalism does not dictate policy towards Tokyo; for Prime Minister Abe, to tamp down tendencies towards historical revisionism.