Who is missing from this group?

In Abe's Magical Democracy tour, there was lots of talk about cooperation between Japan, India, the US, and Australia — glorious Pacific-spanning cooperation among democracies.But what about South Korea, which last time I checked was a vibrant democracy whose people struggled to achieve it after decades of authoritarian rule?It seems that any organization of democracies …

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For Abe, it’s still February 2003

Gordan Chang, the anti-China polemicist writing at Commentary's Contentions blog, has a very different take than I on Mr. Abe's dangerously irresponsible community of Asian democracies.Abe's proposal, Chang thinks, is simply grand: "Is Tokyo becoming the leading proponent of a free world? Since July of last year, Japan, among the democracies ringing the Pacific Ocean, …

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Mr. Abe’s half-baked scheme

As expected, Mr. Abe went to Indian Parliament on Wednesday and called for "a 'broader Asia' partnership of democracies that would include India, the United States and Australia but leave out the region's superpower, China." (Reuters)At an earlier point in my intellectual development, I might have praised Japan's pushing for an organization of Asian democracies, …

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What does Abe’s trip mean for Japan and Asia?

Much is being made of Prime Minister Abe's trip to India, where he is scheduled to address India's parliament today.The trip will likely feature lots of talk of the values shared by Japan and India, naturally to contrast both Asian powers with China.I remain less than convinced that Japan and India will be able to …

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Thinking about Japanese democracy

With the Upper House elections now a week away, it is worthwhile to step back and think about Japan's political system. At least that's what I did recently, reading Bradley Richardson's Japanese Democracy: Power, Coordination, and Performance — this month's recommended book.Published in 1997, Richardson's book is obviously not the place to go for analysis …

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UN tells Japan to tend its own garden

That's the message one could conclude from criticism of Japan by the UN Committee Against Torture, calling attention to Japan's justice and prison system, and even criticized Japan for dismissing comfort women cases on the grounds that the statute of limitations had expired.As the FT's David Turner writes:The report comes at an embarrassing time for …

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Idealism, realism, and US China policy

Over at Foreign Policy, China scholar David Lampton and journalist James Mann debate the argument presented in Mann's new book, The China Fantasy: How Our Leaders Explain Away Chinese Repression. (The subtitle really says it all.) (Hat tip: China Digital Times)There is no love lost between Lampton and Mann in this debate, and its implications …

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