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…

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