February 4, 2020

Since the early 1950s, the postwar Asia-Pacific security order and system of bilateral alliances centered on the United States have been a core determinant of Japan’s security and foreign policy trajectory. Though the region has seen its share of conflict, the relative absence of direct great power war since 1945 facilitated Japan’s rapid development and remarkably self-restrained security posture as it rebuilt from the ashes of World War II. Japan transformed from a militarist, imperialist power to a mature, peaceful democracy and economic superpower that, owing in significant part to U.S. security guarantees, chose to shun traditional great power politics, an indigenous nuclear deterrent, robust offensive weapons or power projection capabilities, and an international security role remotely close to its potential. In addition to mitigating regional military competition, the U.S. alliance-centered security order that took shape in those early years also facilitated newly democratized Japan’s eventual enmeshment in international institutions and an open international trading system defined primarily by close economic and political ties with the United States and its allies. Yet today, more than seventy years after Japan’s postwar rebirth and a quarter-century after the Cold War’s end, major geopolitical and geo...



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I am an assistant professor in Indiana University's Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies (East Asian Languages & Cultures Department). I research and teach on East Asian international relations, politics, and diplomacy—with a particular focus on Japan, China, the United States, and Asia-Pacific security. My other professional affiliations include Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Associate-in-Research at Harvard University's Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies and Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies.

E-mail: "aliff" at indiana.edu

Twitter: @AdamPLiff
Google Scholar: Adam P. Liff