A recent essay by Robert Ross characterized the Obama administration's "pivot" to Asia as a hostile, knee-jerk response to Chinese aggression. But the shift was not aimed at any one country; it was an acknowledgment that the United States had underinvested in a strategically significant region.
Japan is undergoing profound changes that are empowering its political leadership at the expense of its bureaucracy. But rather than bringing about a clean transfer of institutional authority, the reforms have created gridlock. The U.S.-Japanese alliance isn’t dead, but it is getting more complicated.