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Foreword Readers of NBR Analysis are fortunate to have here the considered reflections on the developing politics of Northeast Asia of two of the wisest diplomat-scholars in the region. Gathering their thoughts for addresses to a November 17–18, 2006 NBR conference to mark the new Pyle Center for Northeast Asian Studies, Ambassadors Armacost and Satoh write from the perspective of decades of experience. As the U.S.Japan alliance enters a new phase, they discuss the problems that the two allies must face singly and together. Ambassador Armacost’s views are noteworthy for their concern over the distractions of American attention from Asia. The Middle Eastern conflict has diverted U.S. attention from the dynamics of East Asia, both in the region’s political and its economic dimensions. He worries not only over the need for a settled policy on the North Korean problem but over U.S. inattentiveness to new multilateral formations in the region from which the United States may be shut out. If present trends continue, he concludes, American influence in Northeast Asia may ebb, less from strategic calculus than from inattention. Ambassador Satoh discusses the new challenges Japan faces in the light of a rapidly changing power balance in the region. He stresses both Japan’s growing sense of insecurity and its commitment to strengthening of the alliance. In the face of rising North Korean belligerence and Chinese military power, defining a new role for the SelfDefense Forces represents a daunting challenge for Japan. The ambassador observes that the strategic triangle among China, Japan, and the United States will be central to regional politics and concludes by cautioning the two allies to work closely in dealing with these challenges. Kenneth B. Pyle NBR Founding President [This page intentionally left blank.] ...


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