Calder makes a good case that the U.S.-Japanese alliance is in trouble. Due to changing conditions -- among them, the end of the Cold War, the rise of China, and intensified competition for Middle Eastern oil -- the alliance is out of balance. Although the defense-cooperation component remains robust, the trade relationship has become less important to both sides, and their political and cultural ties have fallen into disrepair. Reviewing the history of the alliance with the insight of a close observer and sometime participant, Calder acknowledges that this is not the first time the relationship has been troubled. But he shows that the partnership remains crucial to U.S. and Japanese security and to Asian stability. As frustrating to the reader as, one senses, to the author is the fact that although the causes of the problems are strategic, most of the proposed fixes, such as rebuilding cultural-exchange institutions, are Band-Aids.
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