Under the Rising Sun
What is the meaning for us of the “Pacific Century” and the “Asian Resurgence”? It may be that we are on the verge of a mutually reinforcing golden age of economic prosperity and intercultural efflorescence. But it is also conceivable that there will be persistent conflict and perhaps even a violent breakdown. We have had, after all, three wars in the last half-century involving, in one way or another, both China and Japan, and even in periods of comparative calm we have felt—in the best Asian fashion—inchoate anxiety and unsettling disquiet.
We have also had to develop the ability to evaluate predictions about future threats from Asia. Some have been vague, like the “yellow peril”; others more precise, like forecasts as far back as the 1920′s and 1930′s about a coming Japanese-American showdown. We later conducted extensive public debate about the danger of a Communist regime in China, about China’s possession of nuclear weapons, about the backing it gave to anti-American “wars of national liberation,” about its relationship to the Soviet Union and to Soviet imperial ambitions in Asia. We were concerned also with the lesser states, as we still are with North Korea and its putative nuclear arsenal. It is as if new emanations appear even as the older ones are retreating into the shadows.
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