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Reviewed by:
  • Alliance in Anxiety: Détente and the Sino-American-Japanese Triangle, and: Japan's Security Relations with China since 1989: From Balancing to Band-wagoning?
  • Ellis S. Krauss (bio)
Alliance in Anxiety: Détente and the Sino-American-Japanese Triangle. By Go Ito. Routledge, New York, 2003. xvii, 162 pages. $70.00.
Japan's Security Relations with China since 1989: From Balancing to Band-wagoning? By Reinhard Drifte. Nissan Institute/RoutledgeCurzon, London, 2003. xvi, 245 pages. £60.00.

Other than the interaction of the United States with China and Japan, no other countries or relations will influence the future of the bulk of humanity and this century's global and Asian regional economic progress more than the Japan-China relationship. It is therefore surprising that until recently there has been a relative dearth of good, systematic works on Japan-China relations and the Japan-China-U.S. "triangle" that apply international relations theory. Ito's and Drifte's works, both published in 2003, are welcome additions to the sparse literature in this field. [End Page 554]

While both books relate to Japan-China relations in the postwar period, they are different in orientation and coverage. The Ito volume is the detailed application of particular, formal theoretical concepts and models to a specific historical turning point, the Nixon-Kissinger rapprochement with China and détente with the Soviet Union, and its consequences for U.S.- Japan and Japan-China relations during the 1969-73 period with lessons for today. The Drifte book has a more diffuse theoretical approach and a broader, more longitudinal mission—analyze Japan-China relations in the post-cold war period (with some historical background), especially Japanese perceptions of security related to China in the context of inadequate and mutually exclusive liberalist and realist theories of international relations.

Nixon's rapprochement and visit to China in the early 1970s produced profound shifts in relations among the three countries. Along with the winding down and ending of the cold war with the Soviet Union, this period must rank as one of the most significant individual turning points in Asia-Pacific international relations. To understand the motivations, process, and consequences of this historical crossroads in the region's security, economic, and foreign policies, Ito combines and applies two theoretical constructs in international relations. The first is the well-known "alliance dilemma" developed by Glen Snyder: "once an alliance is formed, 'the allies will be exposed to the risks of being abandoned or entrapped by the [other] allies'" (p. 9).1 Thus, with changes in the international system or in the foreign policy of an alliance partner, a country may be faced with greater or lesser risk of one of these horns of the "alliance dilemma." Because this concept has been applied primarily to bilateral, not trilateral relations, Ito combines it with four models of triangular relations developed originally to analyze U.S.-USSR-China relations: positive relations among all three nations (the "ménage à trois" model); one pivotal nation has positive relations with two partners that have negative relations (the "romantic triangle" model); a positive relationship between two of the partners, each of which has a negative relationship with the third (the "stable marriage" model); and negative relationships among all three countries (the "unit-veto triangle" model) (pp. 11-14).

Ito applies the triangle models to show how relations among these nations shifted to different models after the Nixon-Kissinger Sino-American détente of the early 1970s, how these created new alliance dilemmas for Japan, and how Japan responded. Chapter three details how the Nixon-Kissinger strategy and initially secret opening to China converted U.S.- Japan relations from a "stable marriage" to a "romantic triangle" in which the United States had good relations with both but enmity continued between Japan and China. The U.S.-Japan textile trade issue remained unresolved, [End Page 555] but the reversion of Okinawa was agreed upon once Japan conceded to U.S. demands to a secret agreement allowing readmittance of nuclear weapons onto American bases in Okinawa during a crisis and some linkage to the textile issue.

In the next chapter, Ito discusses Japan's immediate response to the double...


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