The end of the F-22 question?

Sharon Weinberger at the Danger Room notes that General Jeffrey Kohler, head of the Defense Cooperation Agency at the Department of Defense, quashed reports that the US is prepared to sell the F-22 to allies like Japan and Israel.

The Chosun Ilbo, of course, reported this immediately.

There may be the occasional report that appears to contradict Kohler’s statement, but I think it’s safe to say that the US will not be permitting the export of the F-22 anytime soon, if ever.

I guess there won’t be any F-22s “emblazoned with the rising sun” after all.

There are a few lessons in this, however.

First, the Bush administration appears to have a lost whatever grip on policy coordination it had remaining. This story was driven by contradictory messages from different administration officials (including Ambassador Thomas Schieffer), until it was finally quashed by the one man who actually had power over arms export decisions.

Two, and more significantly, this was something of a false alarm that illustrates just how sensitive the countries of Northeast Asia are to perceived fluctuations, however small, in the balance of power, especially, not surprisingly, South Korea.

It seems that the old realist rules of the game aren’t quite as obsolete as the heralds of globalization would have us believe; indeed, they remain front and center in the thinking of the region’s powers. So Thomas Barnett’s optimism on China’s military role may be a bit too hopeful. While China may be looking to contribute to global order on the margins, all signs point to its fundamental concern with the balance of power in its own immediate neighborhood. (And so it goes for Japan, the Koreas, the US…)

One thought on “The end of the F-22 question?

  1. It\’s highly unlikely that US will sell F-22 to any nations, including Japan/St Korea/Israel.However, US may get initial pay from Japan as deposit or security pay before the sale. Then Japan have to wait while US plays with $$$ on other things, may be after 10 years US finally deliver to Japan. Then Sth Korea & Israel will get it too. That\’s US policy on military export.Japan should have just wait and go for window shopping in Europe.

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