US Opinion and Commentary

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Lessons from Pearl Harbor, 75 Years Later

Posted December 7th, 2016 at 5:11 pm (UTC-5)
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“Remember Pearl Harbor” is a battle cry that resonates a bit less each year. America’s “Greatest Generation” that won World War II is giving way to a millennial generation that witnessed its own “day of infamy.”

Stung by the huge death toll from World War I, many Americans at the time were wary of getting involved in World War II. An “America First” movement that advocated neutrality gained popularity. Japan’s surprise attack left the United States with no option other than to enter the war. Winning catapulted the U.S. into the leadership role it maintains today.

75 years later, it’s worthwhile to consider the lessons from Pearl Harbor and assess what still applies after what many consider to be a paradigm changing election.

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Japan’s Shinzo Abe First to Call on Donald Trump

Posted November 17th, 2016 at 4:38 pm (UTC-5)
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Donald Trump’s first meeting as president-elect with a head of state will be closely scrutinized for both style and substance.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took the initiative to be the first to meet with Trump for practical reasons. During the election campaign, Trump criticized Japan for its trade practices and for how much it was paying the U.S. for its defense. Abe wants to understand the level of Trump’s commitment to defend Japan. He wants to, in his words, “build trust” with incoming U.S. president and highlight the importance of strong relations between the countries.

Trump needs to get used to seeing Abe. New rules will allow Abe to run for a third term, which means he will likely lead Japan throughout Trump’s first term. How the two leaders get along will speak volumes about how Trump deals with fellow world leaders — and how they might deal with him.

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The Coming Confrontation with North Korea

Posted September 20th, 2016 at 1:52 pm (UTC-5)
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Absent a major intervention, it is only a matter of time before North Korea increases its nuclear arsenal (now estimated at 8-12 devices) and figures out how to miniaturize its weapons for delivery by missiles of increasing range and accuracy.

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South Korea Must Learn to Defend Itself — Without America

Posted August 1st, 2016 at 12:07 pm (UTC-5)
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It makes no sense to force the American people to defend the South Korean people if the latter aren’t willing to defend themselves. Washington should not treat security guarantees as international welfare.

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The Unwavering Alliance

Posted July 19th, 2016 at 10:57 am (UTC-5)
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[N]o one should ever doubt America’s resolve to continue to strengthen the rules-based-order and architecture of the Asia-Pacific region, or our deep and abiding commitment to our alliance…Any political rhetoric to the contrary…should be taken with than a grain of salt on both sides of the Pacific.

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Obama’s Hiroshima Embrace

Posted May 27th, 2016 at 4:24 pm (UTC-5)
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It was a solemn walk down the promenade for President Barack Obama with Japan’s Prime Minister. With every step, Hiroshima’s Atomic Dome came into focus, the Pond of Peace shimmering brightly thanks to the Eternal Flame licking the sky.
After delicately placing a wreath at the foot of the Memorial Cenotaph, Obama moved to the podium. He took a few extra seconds to begin, to honor the moment: the first President of the United States to visit the city that a predecessor bombed with the deadliest weapon known to man.
Obama acknowledged the magnitude of that decision without apology. He appealed to all nuclear nations, including the United States, “to have the courage to escape the logic of fear and pursue a world without them.”
He mourned the innocent from all of the world’s wars, saying “we have a shared responsibility to look directly into the eye of history and ask what we must do differently to curb such suffering again.”
Hindsight, they say, is 20-20. And the farther away we get from a historical event, the more clarity we seem to gain.

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Obama to Hiroshima: Acknowledge or Apologize?

Posted May 10th, 2016 at 4:10 pm (UTC-5)
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President Obama’s decision to be the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima attracted plenty of chatter even before the final decision was announced.
Once Secretary of State John Kerry paid his respects during an April meeting of G7 foreign ministers in Japan, it seemed inevitable that Obama would do the same during this month’s G7 summit.
The United States remains the only nation to use a nuclear weapon, forcing Japan to surrender, ending World War II. A Smithsonian Institution exhibit to mark the 50th anniversary of the Enola Gay’s mission to drop the first atomic bomb drew widespread criticism for raising questions about the necessity of using such a weapon of mass destruction. President Harry Truman’s decision to do so remains one of the world’s most scrutinized, 71 years later.
Visiting Hiroshima, Obama will have to balance the burden of his predecessor’s decision with acknowledgement of the result — and vision of the future.

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How to Get Tough with China

Posted April 27th, 2016 at 1:43 pm (UTC-5)
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Public anger over corruption is probably what scares the Communist Party of China’s leadership the most….Expose ruling-class corruption—perhaps starting with the top fifty CPC leaders and their families—and trumpet it repeatedly and widely. The United States is aware of part of the problem, but it can uncover much more with proper effort.

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Why Obama Will Almost Certainly Visit Hiroshima

Posted April 19th, 2016 at 4:44 pm (UTC-5)
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It’s a sign that, despite the passage of decades, the American role in unleashing nuclear terror remained a sore subject. Obama’s Hiroshima visit, following so closely the 70th anniversary memorials last August, could provide the context for a less emotional assessment.

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Haunted by Hiroshima

Posted April 11th, 2016 at 3:20 pm (UTC-5)
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For Mr. Kerry, President Barack Obama and anyone else who assumes the mantle of leadership, there should be one overriding goal when it comes to nuclear weapons — to work toward a world free of them entirely. The horror of Hiroshima and Nagasaki should never been unleashed again…

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China’s Self-Defeating Provocations in the South China Sea

Posted March 3rd, 2016 at 11:59 am (UTC-5)
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By its small-scale tactical military deployments on indefensible islands in the South China Sea, China is antagonizing all the other littoral countries, which are … turning to the United States and Japan … to increase military cooperation and to request additional security assistance

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China, Japan and Europe Are Flashing Economic Warning Signs

Posted August 25th, 2015 at 8:48 am (UTC-5)
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Even before the recent plunge in commodity and stock markets, the world economy was weak. But recent data from China, Europe, Japan and other countries suggest that growth is slowing more sharply than many analysts had anticipated.

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