Global Economics Monthly: The United States and Japan: From Unnatural Intimacy to Natural Allies
February 26, 2016
For much of the postwar period, the U.S.-Japan relationship has been one of “unnatural intimacy,” George Kennan’s description of a partnership of two former enemies divided by enormous cultural,
historical, and geographic differences. Nonetheless, the partnership has endured, anchoring peace and stability in the Asia Pacific. Today, the alliance is at its strongest in decades, rooted in shared values and converging strategic interests. But with the Obama administration in its final year, the recent momentum could prove difficult to sustain. Article II of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty calls for both countries to “contribute to the further development of peaceful and friendly international relations…eliminate conflict in their international economic policies…[and] encourage economic collaboration between them.” To fulfill this mandate, Washington and Tokyo should build on recent progress in the bilateral relationship and look outward for new opportunities to advance shared values and mutual strategic interests through coordinated economic statecraft in the Asia Pacific...