Russia and Japan: An Unresolved Dilemma between Distant Neighbors

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Russia and Japan: An Unresolved Dilemma between Distant Neighbors

Edited by Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, Jonathan Haslam and Andrew C. K
University of California/International and Area Studies, 1993
456 pp. $26.50
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This is a collection of essays by American, Japanese and Russian academics on Russian-Japanese relations. The quality is erratic. Especially informative is Mike Mochizuki's essay on Japanese thinking about post-Soviet Russia. He divides Japanese thinkers into three groups: geopoliticians, nationalists and arms controllers. The Japanese geopoliticians see a persisting Russian naval threat and argue for strengthening the U.S.-Japan alliance and modernizing Japanese forces. The nationalists argue that Japan must develop an autonomous defense policy so that it could opt out of any Russian-U.S. military conflict. The arms controllers stress the possibility of naval arms-control agreements now that the Cold War is over.

Another informative essay by two Russian academics, Goncharov and Kuchins, notes several competing strains in Russian foreign-policy thinking. On the right is a fundamentalist view which advocates an imperial foreign policy to maintain the balance of power on the Eurasian continent and contain "American imperialism." There are also isolationists whose highest priority is to protect the country from economic dependence and spiritual pollution from the West. Finally, there are pro-Western democrats, now in control, who wish to build a democratic Russia and to align Russia with Western states that share democratic values.

Since 1991, the authors say that a split has emerged in the democratic camp between "Atlanticists" and "Eurasianists." The former believe that Russia's first priority should be integration with the West. The latter speak about a special role for Russia, either as a land bridge between Europe and Asia or as a stabilizing force in Central Asia and the Caucasus.

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