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[ 38 ] asia policy The New Nationalism and the Strategic Architecture of Northeast Asia Francis Fukuyama While Northeast Asia has been a relatively peaceful and prosperous part of the world for the last two generations, there are developments unfolding in the region that can have destabilizing consequences. This should forceU.S.policymakerstothinkaboutwhetherthelegacysecurityarchitecture for the region, inherited from the Cold War, is adequate to meet new needs arising from these developments. The most troubling development is not North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons—a serious problem about which much has been written— but the upsurge of nationalism in the three main countries of the region: China, South Korea, and Japan. This new nationalism is likely to exacerbate in a very concrete way tensions now simmering beneath the surface, making an issue like North Korean nuclear weapons much more dangerous and difficult to handle. This author is not offering any particular insights about the nature of the newnationalisminChinaandSouthKoreaexcepttonotethatinbothcountries the upsurge in nationalism appears to be associated with generational change. That is, those who have been the most assertive in pushing a nationalist agenda (e.g., the campaign that collected some 22 million signatures in China to keep Japan out of the UN Security Council, or those opposing U.S. forces on the Korean peninsula and promoting an accommodation with North Korea) tend to be younger people who did not directly experience either the Pacific War or the Korean War. Both better educated and more prosperous, this generation can take the peace and prosperity they have enjoyed more for granted than can their parents. The passage of time thus has not softened nationalist attitudes but hardened them. This author has much greater direct knowledge of the nature of new nationalism in Japan. Perhaps the most important point to note is that nationalism is not new: the problem in Japan is not that there has never been a full and open debate in that country that appropriately assigned blame for the debacle of the Pacific War. The real significance of former prime minister Francis Fukuyama is Bernard L. Schwartz Professor of International Political Economy at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of Johns Hopkins University, and Director of SAIS’ International Development program. He is also Chairman of the editorial board of a new magazine, The American Interest. His latest book is America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy (2006). He is available at . [ 39 ] roundtable • pursuing security in a dynamic northeast asia Koizumi’s visits to the shrine lies not in the symbolism of the twelve class-A war criminals buried there but rather in the Yushukan military museum next to the shrine. Yushukan presents the standard nationalist narrative about the war, which maintains that Japan not only was more a victim than a victimizer but also was liberating Asia from European domination and that Japan’s behavior was not different from that of any other colonial great power. If the one point of view on the war presented by Yushukan museum were just one among many, it might be defensible as an unfortunate but aberrant point of view in an otherwise pluralistic society. The problem is that the Yushukan is the only museum in contemporary Japan dealing with Japan’s twentieth century history and that successive governments have hidden behind the fact that it is run by a religious foundation to protect the museum’s status. Unlike the Germans, the Japanese were never able to break decisively with the prewar narrative, and until the Japanese do so their neighbors will continue to have suspicions of Japanese intentions. Why is this longstanding nationalist narrative making a comeback now? There are two structural reasons for the timing. The first has to do with the collapse of the left in Japanese politics. The Japan Socialist Party was always an obstacle to constitutional revision of Article 9—or a shift to more nationalistic policies—but its collapse in the 1990s has encouraged a broad shift to the right. Second, the long-term trend line of Chinese power is clear to Japan: while the Japanese economy is still several times the size of China’s, relative power positions will change in...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2960
Print ISSN
1559-0968
Pages
pp. 38-41
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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