Real Reciprocity: Balancing U.S. Economic and Security Policies in the Pacific Basin
By David B. H. Denoon
Council on Foreign Relations Press, 1993, 100 pp
American Power, the New World Order, and the Japanese Challenge
By William R. Nester
St. Martin's Press, 1993, 492 pp
The huge and chronic U.S. trade deficit with Japan has given rise to a cottage industry of books on U.S.-Japan relations. Denoon's contribution to the discussion is important because he lays out the connections between U.S. security and economic policy in Asia in a fashion that has rarely been attempted before. The author, a former government official and an academic, argues that the United States will endanger its future if it continues its past largesse toward the Pacific--that is, taxing itself to support a major defense establishment in Japan, South Korea and elsewhere while allowing current trade imbalances to persist. He is particularly disturbed at the trend of rising imbalances with East Asia while the United States has managed to accumulate a trade surplus with the rest of the world.
But Denoon does not favor withdrawal from the Pacific. He argues the case for what he calls "real reciprocity." This means being tougher in demanding the resolution of current trade imbalances; protecting the U.S. lead in high-technology industries, getting a more equitable sharing of defense burdens from U.S. allies in the Pacific; be-ginning the long, slow process of forming a regional security organization that will re-duce the perceived need for high-visibility U.S. security protection; and having U.S. firms gain access to Asian, particularly Japanese, technology on a much larger scale than heretofore.
Nester's volume, on the other hand, is much too long and lacks originality. Some of his "solutions" to the problem are draconian, such as, imposing a 100 percent tariff on Japanese products unless the trade deficit declines annually by $10 billion.