The Widening Gulf: Asian Nationalism and American Policy

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The Widening Gulf: Asian Nationalism and American Policy

By Selig S. Harrison
Free Press, 1978
460 pp. $15.95
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Starting out with a general proposition that few would contest - that the United States has underestimated the force of nationalism - the author goes on to draw some arguable conclusions. To stay in tune with Asian nationalism, the United States should terminate all its bases in Asia, including Japan, end its commitment to Seoul and work to neutralize the Korean peninsula without waiting for the conclusion of a four-power pact, reduce its arms sales to regimes without "bona fide nationalist roots," and, in general, take a more "detached" posture in Asia. By holding out nationalism as the highest goal of all Asian regimes, Harrison fails to take into account a variety of other considerations - national security, balance of power, economic development - which also drive Asian governments and lead many of them to want the United States to take a less, not more, detached attitude toward Asia.