Making Japan a centerpiece of the U.S. drive to contain China is a seductive idea—but one to which Washington should not succumb. Containment may or may not be the right policy for dealing with China, but even hawks should realize that pushing the most emotive buttons of a potential adversary amounts to cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face.
At first blush it may seem wise to draw upon Japan for support. As Fred Hiatt of The Washington Post put it, “Abe’s legacy is of little concern to most Americans. But as the United States seeks to contend—on a limited budget—with a rising China, the ability of its most important Asian ally to contribute…matters a great deal.” Getting Japan involved is a form of burden-sharing. Moreover, Japan hardly needs to be pushed; it is raring to go. It feels both threatened and aggrieved by China, and is shedding the pacifist plumes it acquired after World War II.Read more at the National Interest.