Thursday, June 28, 2007

A cure for Japan's fear of Democrats

While Asia has been largely absent from debates among Republican and Democratic candidates for their respective parties' presidential nominations — much to my chagrin — the Washington Post reports that John Hamre of CSIS organized a dinner for Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo to meet with the foreign policy advisers of a number of leading presidential candidates, in response to Chinese interest in such a discussion.

This is a remarkably sound idea. Rather than waiting for the next administration to roll into the White House — and with it the inevitable "new course" in Sino-US relations — China has insinuated itself into the discussion, ensuring that its concerns have been laid on the table before candidates are even nominated. Hopefully this will forestall the appearance of a straw-man China (or a scapegoat China) in campaign debates.

One wonders why Japan hasn't tried to do this, instead of sitting in Tokyo shaking in fear that — gasp! — a Democrat might win the election and immediately begin bashing and/or passing Japan. What an idea, actually talking to candidates...


Oscar said...

Is there any foundation at all to your assumption that Tokyo is NOT talking to any of the candidates?

Japan Observer said...

There's a difference between "any of the candidates" and sitting down with a bipartisan group of the foreign policy advisers of the leading candidates.

Undoubtedly Japan's friends in Washington will be sure that Japan gets a hearing from the Republican nominee, but what about the Democrat?

I guess my point is akin to that made by Robert Dujarric: