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Germany and Japan: The New Civilian Powers

Courtesy Reuters

As the postwar international order dissolves, some of the initial concerns that informed and shaped it are resurfacing. One key objective of this old order was the containment of Japanese and German military expansionism and its threat to the international status quo in the Far East and Europe. This was achieved brilliantly by embracing both countries in an American-led alliance system directed against a new adversary, the Soviet Union. This rationale is rapidly fading now, and old specters once more raise their ugly heads; the power of Japan and Germany has again become a cause of concern for their partners in the alliance.

Some observers fear a return of either state (or both) to traditional temptations of military power politics and suspect that Japan or Germany may revert to challenging the status quo, or perhaps even try to replace it with a "Pax Nipponica" or "Pax Teutonica." Others worry about

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