Foreign Policy Blogs

Madsen and Samuels on Japan

Richard Samuels and Robert Madsen have a thoughtful piece on US-Japan relations in The National Interest, in which they push for a “limited liability partnership”: “a cooperative scheme in which Tokyo’s military role is scaled back significantly and the U.S. presence in Japan is rendered less onerous.”

The strength of the article lies in its broad strokes. It nicely describes the twists and turns of the “bar-none alliance” from its conception in the early post-war period up to the tumult of the present day.

In a time when coverage of the US-Japan alliance has become increasingly myopic in its focus on the Futenma fiasco, Samuels and Madsen offer up a powerful assessment of the dynamism of the alliance – as is apparent in the past, and latent in the present. As both authors remind us, perhaps inadvertently, commentators on US-Japan relations would be apt to pick up their history books, for we’ve been down this bumpy road before.



David Fedman

David Fedman is a PhD student in the History Department of Stanford University where he focuses on modern Japanese and Korean history. He lives in San Francisco, California.