Originally published 08/08/2013
Shihoko Goto is the Northeast Asia associate at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars’ Asia Program based in Washington D.C. Praising Nazi Germany’s achievements is hardly a smart move for a public figure in any country. But when a senior Japanese politician lauds Hitler’s efforts to change the constitution to empower himself, it’s hardly surprising that the world would howl with fury. Yet there have been far too many ridiculous comments from too many Japanese leaders at a time when the country’s relations with its neighbors show no signs of improving. As the sixty-eighth anniversary of the end of World War II in the Pacific theatre approaches, the burning question is the extent to which there is political will, if there is any at all, to bridge the gap between East Asian nations....
Originally published 07/18/2013
Leon Hadar, senior analyst at Wikistrat, a geostrategic consulting group, is the author of Sandstorm: Policy Failure in the Middle East.This month Americans marked the 150-year anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, an event seen by many historians as a decisive victory for the Union and a turning point in the Civil War.Indeed, hope among the leaders of the Confederacy for diplomatic recognition by Britain and other Europeans powers dissipated after the Union victory at the battle. While Great Britain remained neutral during the U.S. Civil War, Confederate leaders planned to secure independence through a strategy of drawing Britain (and France) to their side through diplomatic support and military intervention....In a way, any British effort to end the Civil War before Gettysburg would have changed the course of that war, and, by extension, American history. In such a counterfactual scenario, there wouldn’t have been a United States. And the historical narrative of the nation (or two nations) would have been quite different from the one being taught in American schools today, which is based on the notion that the Civil War amounted to a birth of the nation and that the abolition of slavery was necessary, if not inevitable.
Originally published 05/07/2013
Andrei Lankov is a professor of history at Kookmin University in Seoul. His most recent book is The Real North Korea: Life and Politics in the Failed Stalinist Utopia. Park Geun-hye, the newly elected president of South Korea, has embarked on her first official overseas trip. Predictably enough, her destination is Washington.Of the many issues which are likely to be discussed at President Park’s first summit with President Obama, questions related to North Korea are of special significance. If rumors are to be believed, President Park is going to brief her counterparts in Washington about her new approach to North Korea.
Originally published 04/01/2013
Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. He is a former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan and the author of several books, including Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.A decade ago President George W. Bush invaded Iraq. U.S. forces quickly triumphed. But that counted for little when Secretary of State John Kerry visited Baghdad last weekend seeking Iraqi assistance against Syria’s Bashar Assad. What Washington thinks doesn’t matter much in Baghdad these days.Most Americans recognize that blame for the Iraq debacle lies with the Bush administration. It was a foolish, unnecessary war followed by a myopic, bungled occupation. No wonder Washington is finding benefits from its policy of being illusive at best.Yet the leading cheerleaders for the war remain undaunted.
Originally published 03/21/2013
James Joyner is managing editor of the Atlantic Council.As we approach the tenth anniversary of the American invasion of Iraq on March 20, it's worth reflecting on the fact that it has been nearly seventy years since America's last successful major war.On August 15, 1945, known as Victory Over Japan Day or V-J Day, the Japanese unconditionally surrendered, marking the end of the Second World War and establishing the United States as a superpower. Since that day, the United States has lost three major wars—Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq—and is counting down the months until its loss in Afghanistan.To be sure, we won the Cold War, which was surely more important than those four combined. But that was fundamentally a contest of political systems and economies. We wouldn't have prevailed without a powerful military and a great military alliance with NATO. But it wasn't a war in a literal sense—and we lost the two major wars (Korea and Vietnam) waged as part of it....
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