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As the United States copes with defending the American “homeland” in the post-9/11 geopolitical environment, an enormous variety of proposals have been offered to Washington to help the Bush administration wage the “war on terrorism” on myriad fronts. This study offers a provocative suggestion about the ways the United States might learn lessons about homeland security from a key U.S. ally—Japan.


Japan’s pursuit of sovereign national defense under American tutelage has been the essence of its national security policy since the post-World War II occupation era. If anything this quest intensified after the occupation ended in 1952. Much of Japan’s explicitly self-defense approach toward national security is the result of U.S. influence upon Japan. Hence it may be time for the American mentors to learn from what the Japanese proteges devised. This study shall assess what lessons the United States taught to Japan about homeland security, how Japan developed its policies toward homeland security, how the U.S.-Japan security relationship evolved over time, and its impact upon the United States’ war on terrorism. Against that background, this study then shall propose specific ways that the United States could adapt the Japanese national defense model to U.S. homeland security, its potential impact on the United States’ roles in global security, and how such changes would affect international security affairs.

Where Japan Should Not Be A Role Model

Prior to addressing those issues, there was another way that Japan’s experiences might have been perceived as a model for the United States’ national security interests vis-a-vis the post-9/11 Iraq conflict, which the Bush administration considers to be linked to the U.S. war on terrorism. As the war in Iraq loomed larger and pundits speculated about what would happen after regime change was accomplished, precedents for U.S. occupations of defeated adversaries were contemplated as possible examples worthy of emulation. There was much discussion about the U.S. postwar occupation of Japan constituting a role model for post-Iraq War efforts to institutionalize regime change in Baghdad. Although U.S. officials working on the issue prior to the war denied using the postwar Japanese occupation as a role model,[1] the tentative outlines leaking from the planning process echoed that experience. As the early postwar experience evolved in Iraq, the legacy of the MacArthur era struck a discordant chord among the United States’ on-going efforts in Iraq.

Superficially this may seem to be a useful paradigm, but for many Japan specialists in the United States, it warranted ridicule. Americans who treat the Japanese occupation era as a role model for what the United States is doing in Iraq would be well advised to read critiques by two prominent Japan scholars. Chalmers Johnson and John Dower correctly pointed out in advance a litany of reasons the circumstances in Japan back then differed fundamentally from the circumstances the United States now confronts in Iraq.[2] Japanese society had a legacy of prior experiences with democracy that could be revived, potential leaders of Japan did not see Westerners with overtones of any type of crusade, and postwar Japan’s regional environment was not overshadowed by any circumstances remotely akin to the Middle East’s Arab-Israeli tensions. Because of these societal, theological, and geopolitical differences the United States had to rethink the applicability of this model. In this setting the notion of learning from this Japanese model was a non-starter.

Japan Could Be Used As A Role Model For Homeland Security

It is entirely different when it comes to Japan’s potential as a role model for U.S. homeland security. The parameters are widely accepted today for what “homeland security” means for Americans in defense of the United States’ sovereign territory—namely a very limited form of anti-terrorist measures undertaken on the home front of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) under the leadership of the still evolving Department of Homeland Security, rather than an assertive redefinition of U.S. national defense.[3] Thus, it is easy to see why Japan has not been perceived as a role model in this environment. However, as indicated by the growing criticism of the soundness of the interventionist paradigm underlying the GWOT (that it is a de facto “empire”),[4] Americans have not reached a consensus about the best way to defend the United States. Clearly there are viable alternatives. Before going too far down the road toward open-ended conflicts in far flung corners of the world on behalf of a global anti-terrorist campaign, the United States would greatly benefit from a national debate about the future of U.S. foreign and security policy embodying both liberal viewpoints and a full range of conservative alternatives. Pointedly, there should be more attention devoted to old school conservative and libertarian perspectives on true national defense, based on non-interventionist traditions, rather than on the ideas of today’s influential neo-conservatives and Cold War vintage conservatives, who still seek to impose the American way on the world.[5] Along those lines, it is worth noting the efforts of a variety of scholars and analysts to engage in a national discussion of the sound policy alternatives available to the United States via the Coalition for a Realistic Foreign Policy.[6]

Much of what the United States has done in the name of the war on terrorism involves reinvigorating and perpetuating an internationalist network of defense relationships, the virtues of which had become questionable after the Cold War ended. The theory behind this effort contends that the United States requires a cadre of allies worldwide to help defend the United States from external terrorist threats. A plausible case can be made for global strategic intelligence cooperation designed to create a multilateral data base about such threats that can be shared by a cluster of countries that feel endangered by potential terrorists. However, such cooperation plausibility does not extend to the United States requiring the great majority of these countries to assist Americans militarily to provide for U.S. territorial security. With the partial exception of border security cooperation from Canada and Mexico, the United States does not require allies to defend U.S. territory. The United States has ample reason to be confident that the U.S. armed forces and the domestic security components of the fledgling Department of Homeland Security, if they are configured properly, can provide totally comprehensive homeland defense. In other words, the United States has the means to be be completely self-reliant if it wants to be. That is what is meant by true national defense.

Japan’s Postwar Paradigm

If the United States genuinely contemplates such strategically independent homeland defense alternatives, Americans could learn much from another Japanese role model. The United States may not benefit from adapting its Japanese occupation era experiences to Iraq, but it could benefit greatly by paying closer attention to some of the results of U.S. guidance for postwar Japan and heed those results as Americans focus on homeland security. The United States largely created postwar Japan’s defense system and provided sound advice. However, the United States does not practice what Americans preached overtly, or by implication, to the Japanese.

It is worthwhile reviewing what caused Japan to accept American strategic advice in the manner it did. The U.S. occupation of postwar Japan has been the focus of many scholarly studies.[7] So, too, has postwar Japan’s development of its armed forces been the subject of numerous academic analyses.[8] There is no need to replicate either aspect of Japan’s modern history here. However it is necessary to examine how the defeated Japanese, who were occupied by victorious Americans, perceived the societal paradigm that was being imposed upon Japan and the nature of that paradigm’s geopolitical characteristics.

Having experienced traumatic damage and horrendous casualties from waging World War II based on imperial era geopolitical principles that were a blend of aggressive interventionism, territorial expansionism, and a national identity that was infused with culturally rooted militarism, many postwar Japanese were shaken severely in ways that predisposed them to examine policies that all of those forms of Japanese national interests spawned. Those Japanese who were familiar with American perceptions of what caused the United States to enter into the Second World War knew that it was Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor that undermined U.S. “isolationist” and “America First” advocates and enabled proponents of interventionist internationalism to prevail.[9] Prior to that major turning point, as Justus Doenecke—a leading specialist on pre-war isolationism—observed, “Until the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, many anti-interventionists stressed that Japan could never threaten the continental United States.”[10] Against that background, postwar Japanese could logically conclude that their own former leaders’ assertive international policies had unleashed a series of events that led to Japan’s defeat and occupation.

As the postwar Japanese adapted to the pressures put upon them by U.S. occupation officials to reassess how their late nineteenth and early twentieth century Japanese predecessors had learned from Western examples about international affairs, the occupation era Japanese elites paid close attention to the revived postwar debate within the United States about the relative merits of activist liberal internationalism versus the brand of traditionally conservative aversion to entangling international commitments articulated by Senator Robert Taft (“Mr. Republican”).[11] Until the Korean War was well under way, that debate meant there was a real possibility that the United States would revert to form and pursue a non-interventionist brand of foreign policy and defense policy. Consequently that prospect became a serious factor influencing those Japanese who paid attention to the issues shaping postwar U.S. policy in the early stages of the Cold War. That reality does not suggest that postwar Japanese decisions to abandon Japan’s formerly aggressive and interventionist strategic paradigm were made solely based on the U.S. occupation’s chaperoning or upon Japanese perceptions of the strategic culture of the chaperone. Those decisions and the adoption of a far more pacifist geopolitical paradigm were primarily shaped by Japanese reconsideration of the flaws in their own strategic traditions, which had led them to pursue policies that produced World War II.[12]

The United States’ internal debate over the most appropriate international policy was strongly influenced by emerging Cold War conditions. Those circumstances enabled the liberal internationalists—whose roots were in the Wilsonian-Stimsonian tradition of proactive interventionism[13]—to prevail over the Taftian conservatives. Although victory unleashed another round of policy debate between the foreign and defense policy establishment and their dissenting critics that continues to the present time, the impact of the original debate was more influential in shaping postwar Japan’s approach to national defense. In part this influence is indicated by the inclusion of Article IX in the Japanese Constitution, which was assembled under the auspices of the U.S. occupation authorities. The Japanese Constitution has many attributes that echo U.S. New Deal era liberal social aspirations, but Article IX most clearly embodies the aspirations of postwar Japanese who were opponents of becoming entangled in international conflicts. Article IX states

Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes

In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air power, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

Based on this pacifist constitutional article—but under pressure from the U.S. occupation authorities who were shifting from the first phase of an occupation that emphasized facilitating the transformation of Japan into a non-threatening state to the second phase that sought to modify the transformation by guiding Japan toward the role of a non-threatening member of a U.S.-led anti-communist coalition—Japan focused on a compromise between pacifism and becoming part of the United States’ diverse strategic coalition. The U.S. occupation authorities coped with the eruption of war in Korea, which posed a threat to Japan because of the way U.S. forces used Japan as a rear area for the war and because of the Japanese archipelago’s importance in U.S. geopolitical perceptions. Thus, the United States pressured Japan to create an indigenous security force that could conform to Article IX but provide domestic security in case pro-North Korean elements in Japan were to pose a threat. This force was called the National Police Reserve and numbered 75,000 when it was created in 1950 as a surrogate to replace the dismantled Imperial Japanese Army. In 1952, the same year as the occupation of Japan was terminated, this force was relabeled the National Safety Force, another euphemism for a nation’s armed forces in a context in which the nation was determined to stick to the principles embodied in Article IX.

In 1954, after Japan had been a restored sovereign state for a couple of years, the Japanese government renamed these forces the Self Defense Forces.[14] They have used this label ever since. Despite the aura surrounding the former Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy, and the emotional bond based on Japan’s militaristic national heritage, the postwar Japanese state has resisted the temptation to reestablish a formal army, navy, or air force to be in a strategic partnership with the armed forces of its U.S. ally. Instead its counterparts are called the Ground, Maritime, and Air Self Defense Forces.[15] Similarly those forces do not come under the purview of a “ministry” of defense within the Japanese government, but are under the Japanese Defense Agency.[16]

All of this is a result of the influence of Prime Minister Yoshida Shigeru, who served during the early occupation (May 1946 - May 1947) and from the late occupation period through the decisive early phase of Japan’s renewed independence (October 1948 - December 1954). Prime Minister Yoshida’s prewar and war time reputation as a leader who was attentive to what the United States stood for in world affairs helped enhance his stature with the U.S. occupation authorities. That stature made his views of Japan as a merchant nation[17] very credible as a paradigm for what postwar Japan should embody in international affairs. This paradigm meshed very well with other Japanese aspirations for a more pacifist model. These ideas enabled Yoshida to resist U.S. pressures upon Japan to create direct counterparts to the U.S. armed forces. They also enabled Yoshida to make arrangements with the United States in which the Japanese ally would have a distinctly limited role in its own national defense even as it cooperated with a U.S. ally that was entangling itself in various Cold War commitments. This Japan-U.S. arrangement evolved under Yoshida’s tenure in office and became known as the “Yoshida Doctrine.” Because these arrangements proved so decisive in shaping both Japanese responses to U.S. pressures and the ways the United States exerted pressures on Japan to pursue policies serving U.S. interests, Prime Minister Yoshida proved to be one of postwar Japan’s most important figures.[18]

Maturation of the Paradigm

Despite the ongoing constraints of Article IX, throughout the Cold War and post-Cold War eras Japan’s Self Defense Forces have evolved militarily into credible armed forces. Even though the United States put pressures upon Japan during the mid-to-late Cold War era to increase its share of the security burden, a succession of administrations in Tokyo conducted a sporadic national debate about changing course but persisted in a very limited form of national defense. Japanese leaders imposed budgetary restraints on defense spending—one percent of Japan’s gross national product—that many observers assumed to be linked to Japan’s peace constitution. But such limits were a way to fine tune the Yoshida Doctrine by giving Japan a rationale to limit its share of the burden in the U.S.-Japan strategic partnership.[19] Similarly, driven in part by Japan’s economic incentives to create a form of interdependence capable of assuring stability and harmony with its trade partners that would simultaneously generate conditions conducive to peaceful threat reduction, several administrations in Tokyo pursued policies reminiscent of prewar Japan’s “co-prosperity sphere,” which the Ohira government in 1980 labeled “comprehensive security.”[20] Such diverse commercial relationships also helped Japan limit its strategic partnership with the United States.[21] One result of these Japanese endeavors, amidst U.S. pressures for enhanced burden-sharing, was criticism of Japan as a free-rider in the bilateral alliance.[22]

In essence what Japan was doing by applying what it learned from the United States’ past experiences was very much in keeping with a non-interventionist model. Of course, Japan is only one of many countries in the world to pursue a non-interventionist foreign policy that focuses on self-defense. Japan’s emphasis on its own national defense, refusal to become part of any collective security system (thereby undermining for the United States any prospect for an Asian version of NATO), and severe inhibitions regarding the mutuality of the U.S.-Japan “Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security” raise significant questions about the reciprocity of each side’s role in the alliance. American officials often consider Japan to be one of the most—if not the most—important ally the United States has worldwide. There is no question that Japan has been, and is, an important country—economically, politically, and militarily. That is true for the Asia-Pacific region, the world at large, and the United States’ stake in both realms. However, there is ample reason to question whether Japan really amounts to an ally—if by the word “ally” one means a strategic partner committed to help the United States defend the United States’ homeland territory. There is no obligation on Japan’s part to defend the United States or any other country. Japan’s sole obligation in terms of the mutual security treaty is to assist the United States in its commitment to defend Japan and Japan’s regional interests. Usually, Japanese officials are intentionally vague about this reality in order to avoid accusations that the U.S.-Japan alliance is a one-way arrangement. But in 2000, the Director of the Japan Defense Agency, Kawara Tsutomu, was unusually candid when he said: “A central tenet of our diplomacy is that our defense is exclusively defensive.” [23] This dimension of the Japanese defense posture is crucial because the Self Defense Forces’ core role remains overwhelmingly Japan-focused.

Japan basically has a “Japan First” version of the United States’ traditional “America First” legacy. Clearly Japan does not pursue an isolationist policy in any literal sense of that phrase because it is broadly engaged in world affairs. Japan’s brand of “Japan First” has distinct echoes of the ways the pre-Second World War “America First” paradigm—its non-interventionist roots reaching back to the U.S. Founding Fathers—was never literally isolationist either. In that sense the Japanese learned their lessons from the United States’ experiences very well indeed. The irony is that the United States’ abandonment of a long standing geopolitical legacy of strategic non-interventionism in favor of Cold War Wilsonian interventionism made possible the pursuit of a “Japan First” brand of national security. A substantial defense subsidy, provided by its alliance with the United States throughout most of the Cold War era, allowed Japan that luxury. Amidst the transition from the Cold War to the post-Cold War international strategic environment, diminishing U.S. willingness to subsidize other countries’ security costs created circumstances in which Americans had reason to explore alternatives with Japan.[24]

As the post-Cold War situation solidified by the mid-1990s, it unleashed a new round of burden-sharing pressures between the United States and Japan . Japan was encouraged, via the Clinton administration’s “Nye initiative,” to become more engaged as a genuine U.S. partner in supporting world peace via strategic means.[25] Most U.S. analysts of U.S.-Japan security relations were relatively supportive of these American efforts,[26] but others dissented.[27] Had the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States not occurred, Japan’s likely approach to reforming its security policy would have meandered along at a gradual pace. Such gradualism would have been similar to previous attempts by Japan to appear to become a more effective U.S. partner, while not really abandoning its brand of nationally focused national defense.[28] But the United States’ worldwide efforts to cope with terrorism by encouraging other countries to become more proactive in a shared anti-terrorist cause had a direct effect on Japan.

Although Japan’s version of armed forces remain the Self Defense Forces that still operate under constitutional and political constraints, that model has evolved on the margins in ways that could lead to major changes in Japan. Before moving on to how the Self Defense Forces model can be applied to U.S. homeland security, it is worthwhile examining these initial changes. At their root is a nationalist desire for Japan to be able to use its national assets to influence external factors—in ways that its pacifist proclivities inhibit—that have an impact on Japanese national interests. In other words some Japanese want Japan to be able to throw its weight around like other countries do. The core of that desire is epitomized by Japanese calls for Japan to become, and behave like, a “normal” country.[29] As Japan confronted post-9/11 U.S. pressures on the terrorism front, as well as the growing issue of North Korean instability and its impact on U.S. options in Korea,[30] Japan explored more assertive options. Foremost was Japan’s decision to dispatch forces to Iraq in support of the U.S.-led coalition. Although Japan had sent Self Defense Force units on previous internationally-backed peace-keeping activities, Iraq was the first instance in the entire post-Second World War period of Japanese forces going into a situation where the conflict was not substantially resolved.[31] These developments raised concerns about the policy’s impact on Japan’s constitution[32] and the pacifism that underpins it.[33]

Time will tell whether Japan persists toward the strategic model of a “normal” country. The current Prime Minister, Koizumi Junichiro, is a major advocate of such a role for Japan. But the uncertainties surrounding the long term prospects for U.S. policy in Iraq and the criticism the policy has spawned[34] could become a significant factor influencing Japan’s strategic future. Koizumi has identified himself as part of the top trio of Western democratic leaders—along with President Bush and Prime Minister Blair.[35] This has led to praise from Howard Baker, the U.S. Ambassador to Japan, “there are three great leaders in the world now—Bush, Blair, and Koizumi.”[36] But it has also led to ridicule from one of the United States’ foremost Japan specialists, Chalmers Johnson: “If British Prime Minister Tony Blair is President Bush’s poodle, then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is his cocker spaniel.”[37] Koizumi has an affinity for following in the geopolitical wake of the Bush Doctrine as he guides Japan toward some variant of a “normal” country model based on a more proactive military role. Therefore critics of Japan’s bushido (the way of the warrior) tradition of militarism could easily heap scorn on Koizumi’s efforts to transform Japan’s armed forces as being inspired by “Bushido “ (the way of Bush). When that liability is added to the numerous uncertainties surrounding the issues that will shape U.S.-Japan security relations in the future, the alliance is likely to confront rough patches in the years ahead.[38]

Learning from Japan

Despite such potential problems with the alliance and despite the ways Japan’s quest to be a “normal” nation could alter Tokyo’s use of the Self Defense Forces, the usefulness of those forces, which have been developed under U.S. auspices, as a role model for U.S. homeland security remains intact.

Before exploring that usefulness, additional background will be provided on the still fledgling Department of Homeland Security and how its interactions with the Department of Defense may make the Japanese paradigm salient. The Department of Homeland Security was assembled by rearranging 170,000 government employees from twenty-two government agencies.[39] Approved by Congress in late 2002, it was launched in January 2003. As such, it was a major example of governmental transformation. However, it was shortly thereafter the subject of widespread skepticism about its merits[40] and effectiveness.[41] That criticism persisted after the Department of Homeland Security passed its first anniversary.[42]

A combination of the Homeland Security Department and the Defense Department are supposed to provide national security for the United States. Although these two departments do not use this jargon, in the abstract, the former is responsible for internal security and the latter for external security. In practice, however, the Homeland Security Department’s mandate is to defend the United States from attacks within the homeland, secure the United States’ borders, and cope with myriad threats to both. Although the Defense Department has created a post-9/11 military command—the Northern Command—that focuses on territorial U.S. defense,[43] and therefore asserts an explicit role in the territorial defense of the United States, the department’s predominant role is to project U.S. armed power abroad in the defense of international stability. In principle and in keeping with its constitutional obligations, the Defense Department obviously is responsible for defending the United States from external attacks, but it pursues that role primarily in terms of international stability. That internationalist function of the Defense Department is a key element in sustaining the ongoing U.S. domestic debate noted above over what constitutes a sound defense policy. A strong case can be made, aside from learning lessons from Japan’s self-defense paradigm, that national defense in the United States should be taken more literally, as Ivan Eland suggested by “putting ‘defense’ back into U.S. defense”[44] and as this author suggested by relabeling the Department of Defense as the Department of National Defense.[45] Making a shift of that sort on its own would greatly benefit U.S. homeland security.[46]

While there are many ways to approach such a basic reform in U.S. defense policy, one option is to learn from what Americans taught the postwar Japanese about national defense—directly or inadvertently—and apply that paradigm to the United States. There were opportunities during the Cold War for the United States to learn some lessons about cost-effective burden-sharing from its Japanese security partner’s approach to the U.S.-Japan alliance, which American leaders largely neglected.[47] Now that the United States is well into the post-Cold War era and coping with the challenges posed by the post-9/11 security environment at home and abroad, the United States should consider learning from its Japanese strategic protege about “self-defense.” The United States’ mid-Cold War interests in enhanced burden-sharing should have provided incentives to learn from Japan’s approach to the problem. Similarly, the United States’ current efforts to devise means to create U.S. armed forces that will be more effective in a long-term war on terrorism, via institutional and organizational “transformation” of the U.S. armed forces,[48] provide a new context in which American leaders can learn from their former Japanese students’ genuinely “national” approach to national defense. The United States’ military transformation process, which is intended to improve U.S. strategic flexibility and mobility in the war on terrorism, is still in its early stages.[49] It is a work in progress that should be amenable to learning from examples set by others.

The following proposals regarding ways the United States might learn from Japan’s Self Defense Forces are sufficiently provocative that they are unlikely to be wholly incorporated within U.S. policy any time soon. Nonetheless, despite their provocative nature, they help illustrate some of the flaws in existing U.S. policy in a manner that can help stimulate the debate over the soundness of that policy. Moreover, some variation of the proposals may be recognized as useful in the transformation process. The United States can—and should—learn from Japan’s Self Defense Forces model and the comprehensive security paradigm it spawned. Precisely how that learning might occur will be indicated on a couple of levels applicable to the U.S. bureaucracy and in the context of overall U.S. security relations worldwide, with special reference to the model’s salience to Asia.

Japan’s Ground, Maritime, and Air Self Defense Forces’ geopolitical mandate is solely to defend Japanese sovereign territory and Japanese national interests only if Japan is attacked or directly threatened. In effect, Japan’s defense forces are strictly defensive with a focus on what Americans now like to call “homeland security.” This is a very sound approach to Japan’s national security.

If Americans learned from what we have encouraged the Japanese to do and adapted the jieitai model to U.S. defense interests, it could lead to a much clearer definition of U.S. homeland defense priorities and greatly reduce—and preferably eliminate—unnecessary foreign entanglements. Also, it might help to create a far more streamlined and efficient cluster of U.S. armed forces. If the United States were to adopt the Japanese defense establishment as a role model, which the Americans helped create, and applied it thoroughly to the transformation of the U.S. armed forces, that model could become the theoretical basis for a far more unified and efficient defensive system. With that paradigm in mind, the United States could create a U.S. Ground Self Defense Force, a U.S. Maritime Self Defense Force, and U.S. Air Self Defense Force instead of what today amounts to multiple ‘armies’ (the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and the National Guard), several ‘navies’ (U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, and the Army’s and Marine Corps’ coastal and amphibious vessels), and a plethora of ‘air forces’ (the U.S. Air Force, Naval Air, Marine Air, Army Air, and Air National Guard). That, coupled with the corresponding streamlining of the supportive logistical, training, and other bureaucratic infrastructure and the consequent economies of scale, almost certainly would help make U.S. national defense more efficient and effective.

In obvious ways, a revamped Department of Defense could greatly benefit from these streamlining efficiencies. But the Defense Department also could transform itself into a bureaucratic role model for the rest of the U.S. Government—most of which sorely needs to engage in comparable reforms. Perhaps most crucial in this regard is the way a more rationally organized Defense Department could more rapidly become an example for the Department of Homeland Security, still a work in progress. There is ample reason to be concerned that the fledgling department’s organizational period could be prolonged and yield ineffective results because of its complexity and because of the difficulty of meshing it with Defense Department’s multiple components. If the Pentagon is able to learn a lesson from the insights the U.S. defense bureaucracy inculcated into Japan’s defense establishment and create a transformed U.S. national defense structure, there is ample reason to expect the Department of Homeland Security to share in this learning process.

This concept may have more overt appeal to critics of the Bush administration who are not convinced about the wisdom of the current vision of the defense transformation process. For more traditional conservatives and libertarians, the Bush Doctrine (of preventative military attacks) and its administrative reforms seem designed to further an excessively Wilsonian brand of strategic interventionism.[50] As much as such critics see this as embodying a peculiar variant of conservatism predicated on neo-conservative values, which are rooted in Cold War liberal internationalism,[51] many progressive / liberals, on the other hand, perceive the Bush Doctrine as unilateralism run amok.[52] Both camps of critics tend to see the current approach to military transformation, which is designed to improve U.S. flexibility and mobility in the global war on terrorism, as having another consequence—namely the extension of U.S. strategic outposts and potential entanglements throughout the world. Whether this is an intentional objective or an inadvertent by-product, this result alarms all those critics of purposeful or de facto hegemony-cum-empire. This result is what led prominent Japan specialist Chalmers Johnson—the President of the Japan Policy Research Institute who became a harsh progressive critic of U.S. policy—to denounce such military outposts as amounting to a militaristic “empire of bases.”[53]

A spectrum of U.S. critics—traditional conservatives and libertarian conservatives who perceive excessive interventionism or progressive liberals who perceive excessive unilateralism—is important in the debate over the soundness of U.S. national security policy. But neither camp exerts sufficient influence over the executive or legislative branches of the U.S. government today to guide it to accept a thoroughgoing overhaul of the U.S. armed forces’ organizational structure of the sort outlined above. In part, this inertia exists because many people in the U.S. defense establishment have long standing ties to and are imbued with fidelity to the legacy of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and National Guard. Coupled with the emotional bonds of various powerful veterans groups to each of the branches of the armed services, there is very little prospect that those who shape U.S. national security policy are likely to drop the current names of the U.S. armed forces instantaneously. This reform likely will not occur, as William Shakespeare observed, “at one fell swoop.”

Modifying the Japanese Model

Although this proposal can be considered as an innovative possibility that may become acceptable in the future, it should be viewed here as hypothetical background for a more utilitarian approach to the Self Defense Forces paradigm that may prove more acceptable in the near term. On a more pragmatic level, it is entirely plausible that the United States could restructure its military reorganization plans so that its armed forces’ functions would be demarcated between continental defense and global defense. In other words, the United States could retain a portion of its Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force under the auspices of a relabeled Department of Global Order, supplanting the Department of Defense, at the same time as it adapts the Japanese Self Defense Forces model for national defense purposes. This could be done by reorganizing everything that is currently committed to the Department of Homeland Security, plus all the components of the existing branches of the U.S. armed forces that are tasked with actually defending the United States’ territory, into a U.S. Department of Homeland Defense as it replaces the Department of Homeland Security. This would mean the creation of a U.S. Ground Self Defense Force drawing on a portion of the Army and Marine Corps; U.S. Maritime Self Defense Force drawing on all of the Coast Guard and parts of Navy, Army, and Marines; and a U.S. Air Self Defense Force drawing on parts of the Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marines. Because these U.S. Self Defense Forces would amount to a unified armed force with three components, it also would benefit from not having the inter-service rivalries that exist within today’s Defense Department. These Self Defense Forces also would include domestic security forces that are not derived from the U.S. military—namely all those security forces that are now part of the Department of Homeland Security as it is incorporated within a Department of Homeland Defense. In other words the U.S. Self Defense Forces would carry out both military national defense, as well as a very broad range of non-military defensive measures that can address all facets of terrorist threats.

While this may sound like radical concept, it actually is not. All it really amounts to is a candid relabeling of the bureaucratic functions that already exist. Much of what the U.S. armed forces do today amounts to the defense of other countries’ “homelands”[54] and the defense of collective security entities that primarily protect other countries. It is difficult to make a persuasive case that the United States requires any of its allies’ armed assistance to help it defend the sovereign territory of the United States. Here, too, there are two lessons to be learned from the United States’ security relations with Japan. The lack of genuine mutuality in the U.S.-Japan mutual security arrangements, which has fostered so much attention on bilateral burden-sharing, should be seen by Americans as a lesson for other U.S. bilateral and multilateral security arrangements. In virtually all these relationships, the other countries do make commitments that the Japanese have not—hence Tokyo’s attention to “normal” nation status—but that does not mean that the United States requires any of these countries’ military assistance to defend the U.S. homeland. In practice, there is not any significant difference between a non-existent commitment by our Japanese ally and what amounts to nominal commitments by many other allies, because the United States will never call on them.

There is a second lesson the United States can learn from Japan’s Self Defense Forces if it chooses to establish U.S. Self Defense Forces as described above. While Japan’s Self Defense Forces still require U.S. military assistance to make Japan’s brand of a “Japan First” national security effective, U.S. Self Defense Forces would be totally capable of providing true national defense for the U.S. homeland. In other words, if the United States were to adapt the Self Defense Forces paradigm to U.S. territorial security, it would be far more capable of being totally self-reliant in its national security than its Japanese protege has ever been.

Based on a transformation process that would yield a Department of Global Order—with an internationally oriented U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force collectively committed to the defense of various allies’ homelands as well as to pursuing the offensive aspects of self defense in keeping with the concept that the best defense is a good offense—and a U.S. Department of Homeland Defense, with unified U.S. Self Defense Forces incorporating Ground, Maritime, and Air components that would never be deployed overseas, the United States would be far better positioned to address its homeland security needs. Although the Department of Global Order’s armed forces could retain their reserve units, the homeland security oriented U.S. Self Defense Forces would retain the state-based National Guard structure, which also would be limited to guarding the nation. Moreover, if the United States were willing to learn an organizational lesson of this sort from its Japanese protege, it could scale back its role as a global policeman and more effectively coordinate the roles of the Department of Global Order and Department of Homeland Defense to protect the United States from external aggressors of all kinds.

If the American electorate wants to select administrations prepared to commit the United States to entangling alliances and other open-ended strategic obligations, the Global Order part of this dual security structure could be used to meet those commitments for as long as the United States is prepared to run the risks and pay the bills. Moreover, the two departments’ ability to carry out these dual strategic roles would be bolstered by more than the cost savings generated by greater bureaucratic efficiency. While those savings are likely to be very significant, they are almost certain to be greatly surpassed by the probable savings that could be generated by sharply reduced costs of funding U.S. force deployments worldwide if the American electorate were to come to its senses and select governments that are both non-interventionist and truly committed to national defense. While it is difficult, if not impossible, to determine the precise costs of U.S. strategic entanglements in far flung corners of the world, there can be no doubt that these costs are enormous. They constitute a very large share of what is supposed to be the U.S. national defense budget—not the U.S. international defense budget. The more these internationalized costs can be reduced or terminated, the more funding there will be for authentic homeland defense and homeland security—including the daunting estimated costs of creating a viable national missile defense system tasked with providing U.S. territorial security.[55] Because of the probability of a scaled back U.S. role in international security, these proposed changes are likely to be far more cost effective for two reasons. First, the United States likely would spend far less on global security. Second, the budget for Homeland Defense would be expended within the United States. Moreover, the more the American electorate is prepared to select administrations committed to non-interventionist policies, the more likely it will be that the proposed Department of Global Order can be downsized significantly in the future as circumstances warrant. One can even envision it being abolished in the future by an administration solely committed to national defense. In short, both strategically and financially, this is a win-win proposition.

These adaptations of the Self Defense Forces paradigm would prove very beneficial in bolstering anti-terrorism capabilities, reinforcing border and port security, and generic domestic security. In short, they would help meet the general goals laid out for the fledgling Department of Homeland Security but do so in a manner that is far more likely to be effective via its replacement Department of Homeland Defense. Providing U.S. territorial defense through U.S. Self Defense Forces, while maintaining portions of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force for a limited role in fostering global order, also will create a de facto wall between these facets of the U.S. armed services that should eliminate concerns about breaching the Posse Comitatus legal restrictions on the domestic use of U.S. armed forces.[56] Since the remaining U.S. military forces which would be tasked with a global order role would be precluded from domestic security functions, they would not be involved in activities that could violate Posse Comitatus restrictions. And because the U.S. Self Defense Forces’ federal role in homeland security would be akin to the functions of state and local police, that should not cause concern among advocates of civil liberties in the United States. To assure that such concerns are not aroused, as the proposed Department of Homeland Defense is created by the Congress and the bureaucracy, civil liberties experts should play a significant role in its creation so that safeguards are assured. Were any concerns to arise because of actions by a Department of Homeland Defense, they could be addressed through the judicial system. As long as the U.S. global military forces and domestic Self Defense Forces are kept separate, and the Department of Homeland Defense is properly structured, Posse Comitatus concerns should not erupt.

Comprehensive Security

While the Japanese Self Defense Forces model developed under U.S. auspices is the most salient for enhancing U.S. homeland security, there is yet another facet of Japan’s security policy that can provide a lesson to Americans—that of “comprehensive security.” If the United States were to develop a U.S. comprehensive security plan comparable to Japan’s, it would be far better positioned to cope with a truly broad spectrum of threats. Even though Japan’s comprehensive security policy was devised largely to deflect U.S. pressures for enhanced military burden-sharing, the approach Tokyo took to emphasize non-military means for inducing interdependent socio-economic stability turned out to be rather innovative. Drawing upon Japan’s prewar geopolitical theories about interdependent co-prosperity that led the Japanese Empire to advocate a Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere as an instrument of Japanese control in the region, Japan’s Cold War policy of comprehensive security was designed to get any country or non-state actor to perceive a set of common interests that would generate sufficient international socio-economic harmony to deter the causes of conflict.

The essence of Japan’s comprehensive security policy is an effort to develop a diverse network of economic, political, cultural, and diplomatic ties with any country or interest group to which the Japanese government or Japanese non-governmental organizations could reach out. This security policy has been a non-military way to help defend Japan from latent, potential, or looming threats. Another way to characterize Japan’s comprehensive security policy is to see it as a preemptive security paradigm that is strikingly different from the Bush Doctrine’s use of the preemptive military strike approach.[57] This is not to suggest that the only preemptive measures the United States currently undertakes to deal with growing dangers is that doctrine’s preemptive military component. It is obvious that the United States already pursues many of the socio-economic-diplomatic objectives that are included in Japan’s comprehensive security paradigm. However, in U.S. security policies, these approaches are largely supplements to the military-focused geopolitical posture rather than being central in themselves. This distinction is increasingly evident as the United States takes steps in its war on terror designed to transform the U.S. armed forces via a more extensive array of outposts, which is commonly portrayed with the “places not bases” metaphor.

The United States would benefit from adapting Japan’s comprehensive security paradigm to U.S. policy. The best way to do this would be to remove any hint that U.S. foreign policy is significantly made or implemented via the defense bureaucracy and restore it entirely to the Department of State. Even a limited version of this approach that Joseph Nye characterizes as “soft power”[58] would be desirable. In essence this is a creative approach to exerting international pressures through diplomatic, economic and other “soft” means that can pursue U.S. national interests with minimal risk of unintended consequences. Given Nye’s background in working with Japan on the “Nye Initiative” and familiarity with Japan’s approach to cultivating international harmony through mutual appreciation of socio-economic interdependence, soft power can be seen as a form of comprehensive security. Others in Asia have also recognized the importance of this approach. For example at a June 2004 major security conference in Singapore, attended by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, a number of regional leaders urged the United States to use soft power in order to become more effective in the war on terrorism.[59] The more thoroughly the United States could pursue comprehensive security by non-military means, the more likely the United States could totally avoid getting entangled in future foreign conflicts and avoid waging wars that can be deemed unnecessary in terms of vital U.S. national interests. In turn, the more the United States can achieve these non-interventionist goals, the better positioned it will be to provide effective national security for the U.S. territorial homeland.

Pragmatic Applications

To underscore the logic of these proposed changes, it is useful to end this section by exploring the ways these paradigms might be applied in pragmatic real world situations. As the world’s sole remaining superpower, the United States has to contend with the diverse views of the numerous countries and non-state actors that cannot claim that geopolitical stature. Those views range from respect, toleration, and envy on the relatively benign end of the spectrum to fear, disdain, and hatred on the more hostile end of the spectrum. When dealing with the former category the United States would have to thoroughly explain how the role of the Self Defense Forces and the global security-oriented armed forces would defend the U.S. superpower’s national interests on the home front and internationally. This explanation should be made in a straightforward manner that would reflect the revised priorities reflected in the proposed changes. Because none of the countries in this category pose a current threat to the United States, explaining the U.S. Self Defense Forces’ role should be simple. In contrast, laying out the options available to the United States internationally would have to be done in a nuanced manner so that none of the countries in this category would have reason to develop a less benign view of the United States.

It is the less friendly countries and non-state actors that warrant closer scrutiny in terms of application of the Self Defense Forces and comprehensive security paradigms. Most of the players in this category are far too intimidated by the United States’ manifest economic and military power to dare pose a direct threat to the U.S. homeland or to U.S. interests overseas for fear of retaliation. This constitutes reliable evidence that U.S. conventional and unconventional deterrence is fully functional and should be maintained indefinitely. Despite the confidence one can have in this regard, the possibility always exists that some players in this category could act in a rash manner that has caused them to be labeled “rogues.”[60] Even more salient in the post-9/11 era are the threats posed by any international players that can be labeled terrorists. As the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon clearly demonstrated, the United States—despite being the world’s sole superpower with its enormous deterrence capabilities—is not immune from such dangers. The United States’ vulnerabilities were made clear by both the 9/11 attacks and by the United States’ reaction to that trauma.

In that context the U.S. Self Defense Forces operating under a Department of Homeland Defense would be tasked with both deterring and combating any form of attacks upon U.S. sovereign territory. While that would include the extremely unlikely prospect of non-terrorist attacks, in the form of conventionally armed invasions and unconventionally armed incursions, it also would include the truly major responsibility of national anti-missile defense.[61] Of course the latter would be reinforced by the power projection capabilities of the globally focused U.S. armed forces, which would represent a significant aspect of U.S. deterrence for as long as circumstances warrant some reliance on this form of deterrence. As important as the latter is, and would remain under this proposal, the prospect of a missile attack upon the U.S. homeland is relatively slim in the post-Cold War era. Clearly the U.S. Self Defense Forces most visible responsibility would be to cope with a broad range of terrorist threats—primarily from non-state actors, but possibly from rogue states. The U.S. Self Defense Forces would be tasked with providing or assisting other branches of the proposed Homeland Defense Department in undertaking essential anti-terrorist measures.

A large part of that mission would involve controlling terrorists’ access to the United States using human and technological means along the U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico, the entire Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coast lines, and throughout all contiguous air space. This would entail tighter monitoring of human traffic, as well as airborne and sea borne cargo shipments at all U.S. air ports and sea and river ports. Carrying out these tasks under a unified entity like the U.S. Self Defense Forces promises to be far more effective than the more disjointed measures that now exist. The U.S. Self Defense Forces also would be tasked with providing protection against any terrorists who may manage to penetrate the United States despite these best efforts. This would entail protecting domestic railways, roads, bridges, tunnels, and other sensitive sites, such as dams, power plants, and nuclear facilities as conditions warrant. Obviously these tasks would be coordinated with local and state police, as well as the National Guard at the state level. The U.S. Self Defense Forces also would be available to help cope with natural disasters (floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.) that might endanger the institutional preparedness for homeland security. The U.S. Self Defense Forces would be able to carry out a diverse range of domestic functions that today’s U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force are prohibited from doing. As the 9/11 attacks demonstrated, there also is an ongoing need to provide airspace security in the event of additional attempts to use hijacked aircraft to attack locations within the United States. Also, there is a manifest need to prepare improved civil defense on the national, state, and local levels, well beyond the “duct tape” metaphor to cope with terrorist use of a variety of weapons of mass destruction—nuclear, radiological, chemical, and biological.

This list of terrorist-linked security concerns is already well known to the existing Department of Homeland Security. But if it is transformed into a Department of Homeland Defense with a sizable component of today’s U.S. armed forces morphing into the proposed U.S. Self Defense Forces, its potential for being effective is likely to be much improved. This would be likely not only because of the shifting focus of U.S. armed services to explicitly territorial defense, but also because it would heighten the American public’s consciousness of the enhanced priority assigned to genuine national defense. This transformation would reinforce the vigilance of Americans about their national security and the threats posed by terrorism.

While these activities would be the most obvious outcome of applying the Self Defense Forces paradigm to U.S. national security, the American public also would see the attendant comprehensive security framework mitigating the potential for terrorists to pose a threat to the United States’ societal infrastructure and the global socio-economic network to which it is connected. For this to be effective, U.S. society would have to become more engaged in and supportive of U.S. government efforts to reach out to all those who either could pose a threat to the United States or who have influence over sources of potential threats. This is not something that can be done effectively solely by U.S. federal officials. It would require active participation by officials on the state and local levels and by individuals and non-governmental organizations. Because this milieu would be laden with complexity, pursuing truly effective policies predicated on the comprehensive security paradigm would require Americans to learn yet another lesson from Japan. One of the hallmarks of Japanese society is its reliance on consensus building, with its roots in the Confucian tradition Japan shares with its East Asian neighbors.[62] Although the United States is many things, it is not part of that socio-cultural tradition. Nonetheless, Americans are fully capable of creating a national consensus through a process of civic debate. Given the likelihood that the creation of the proposed U.S. Self Defense Forces and the transformation of other U.S. armed forces into a global security entity will precipitate a debate over how much of each is most desirable, it is reasonable to visualize that debate generating an evolving consensus about how best to cope with possible terrorists via socio-economic measures intended to dissuade them.

Against that background, one can expect U.S. society to become more engaged in, and sensitive to, the ways that the United States can best persuade those who might pose threats to the U.S. homeland that they have significant reasons—that is their own interests—not to consider such options. This would require the United States to engage in governmental and non-governmental outreach programs to establish diverse dialogues with those who do, or may, pose threats to the United States. These dialogues would be centered on confidence-building and fostering a sense of peaceful harmony calculated to preempt the causal factors behind terrorists’ enmity toward the United States. While not going down the appeasement road, the United States still can create incentives capable of generating harmonious interdependence between the United States and the rest of the world—including those who may pose terrorist threats. Today, that change in policy would most obviously focus on the Middle East and North Korea, which will warrant special attention for the foreseeable future. However, other regions—notably Latin America and Southeast Asia—also deserve attention. Given the uncertainties in all other regions of the world, the United States would benefit from adapting Japan’s comprehensive security derivative of the Self Defense Forces paradigm to U.S. homeland and global security needs.

All these applications of a reorganized U.S. defense structure would, in turn, have major implications for the prospects of U.S. military engagements overseas.

Policy Implications

If the United States were to modify its national security structure in the manner described here, drawing on the lessons Japan learned from its U.S. mentor, this would have consequences worldwide, especially in Asia. Three themes shall be examined: the impact of a complete homeland focus within overall U.S. international policy, the options likely to be considered by the United States in that geopolitical context, and how Japan and its neighbors may respond to such changes in U.S. policy.

If the United States were to overtly focus far more than it now does on national self defense, Americans would become much more attentive to U.S. national interests that fall within the homeland category versus the global sphere. Therefore Americans would be far more likely than they are today, and have been since World War II, to differentiate between the national and international components of U.S. “national” interests in ways that would induce them to favor the former over the latter. Assuming that a decision to emphasize homeland security by developing a U.S. Self Defense Forces structure would succeed in thoroughly protecting the U.S. territorial homeland, one major result would be to enhance the ability of Americans and their leaders to pick and choose if and when it is useful to intervene elsewhere in the world. Presumably, the United States would be far more reluctant to intervene militarily in far flung corners of the world unless the decision to intervene was predicated on an unequivocally demonstrable threat to the U.S. homeland. That reluctance does not mean that the United States could never carry out such interventions for other reasons. Nor does it mean that the United States would lack the military means to intervene on occasions of its choice. But it does mean that the United States would be far more prudent about making any such decisions and would tend to pursue sound alternative options.

This would be feasible because the U.S. Self Defense Forces’ sole mission would be defense of the territorial homeland. In effect that strategic mission would constitute an America First—and only—agenda. However, the remaining U.S. armed forces in the Department of Global Order would provide alternative options. These alternatives would include full abstention in terms of peacetime commitments, very limited standby intervention in the form of what is insightfully referred to as “offshore balancing”[63] (which would not automatically entangle the United States in foreign conflicts), and continuation of existing forms of bilateral and multilateral security alliance relationships. It would be made explicitly clear that none of these allies is expected to help the United States defend its homeland, thereby conveying a signal to them that the American public’s resolve to keep alliance commitments could be called into question in certain circumstances. Given these options for U.S. global security forces, it should become much easier for Americans to pick and choose where and how to be involved in conflicts that do not seriously effect U.S. homeland security. Since the United States may well decide to play a less activist role in international security, the United States might want to help develop the means for the United Nations to fulfill a more activist international security role and encourage any American citizens who want to participate as individual volunteers to do so on the understanding that their voluntary participation would not obligate the U.S. government in any manner.[64]

If the United States ever pursues a mixture of national Self Defense Forces and U.S. global security forces that may well operate under profound domestic constraints, it should be prepared to cope with the likely impact those policy shifts will have in Asia. That U.S. policy shift will especially affect Japan—because of the Japanese linkages. It is plausible that Japan might embrace or oppose the changes in U.S. policy. If Japan were to praise such a U.S. approach because it amounted to a geopolitical compliment to Japan, the United States should welcome Tokyo’s reaction and encourage Japan to transform its national defenses in response to the U.S. adaptation of Japan’s paradigm. While one can hope that Japan would respond positively over the long run, it is more likely in the relatively near term that Tokyo would react less favorably.

Japan might well try to prove that its jieitai model is inappropriate for the United States because the U.S. Constitution has no equivalent of the Japanese Constitution’s anti-war Article IX, which the United States guided Japan to create. Japan probably would also try to emphasize the ways it now contemplates becoming a “normal country” in international affairs by transforming its Self Defense Forces into the sort of armed forces that most countries possess—and show Japan is still learning from the United States in such matters. Some in Japan would object to the United States altering the definition of national normality. These prospective Japanese responses clearly have some merit in terms of Japan’s evolving interests. The American public and U.S. leaders would need to ponder the merits of such Japanese counter arguments. As they do so, they should bear in mind the self-serving reasons that Japan has for wanting to perpetuate indefinitely the United States’ role as a generous strategic benefactor in its part of the world. Any such Japanese response can be disregarded as unconvincing compared to the logic behind U.S. adaptation of the Self Defense Forces paradigm to serve U.S. national security interests on the homeland front.

To compensate for any anxiety that such a change in U.S. policy might arouse in Japan and among its Asian neighbors, the United States should consider encouraging an alternative security paradigm in various regions of the world including East Asia. On the assumption that each of the suggested U.S. reforms can be integrated successfully into U.S. foreign and national security policies, the United States should help a broad range of current allies arrange multilateral security systems that will function as a surrogate for what the United States has provided for decades. This would necessarily vary from region to region. In Japan’s case, the surrogate for the existing U.S. role should be a long overdue multilateral security institution combining the Northeast Asian and Southeast Asian states into a regional counterpart to the European Union’s efforts to create a continental defense paradigm that may permit the United States to significantly scale back its role in NATO. Clearly the same approach can be used in Asia and vis-a-vis Japan—especially as Japan seeks to become a “normal country” that is more responsible for its own national defense. In various regions of the world, there are viable alternatives to the activist American role in international security affairs to which U.S. allies have become accustomed. Precisely how much the United States would be involved in this Asian security organization, as well as others elsewhere, would be up to the American electorate as they select leaders prepared to cope with the evolving global circumstances juxtaposed with enhanced U.S. homeland security.

Pursuing the U.S. Self Defense Forces paradigm can be advantageous as the United States seeks to provide effective homeland security. U.S. national self defense has to be America’s top strategic priority. Unlike the postwar experiences of Japan, the United States does not require a global benefactor to subsidize its security. If it accomplishes these strategic reforms, the United States can actually do what Japan’s jieitai system supposedly does for Japan. Beyond that, in theory the United States can continue to play as activist a role in global security as the American people are willing to tolerate, but the United States and Japan must recognize that the more the American people accept the wisdom of focusing on genuine homeland national defense and avoiding interventionist internationalism, the more likely it is that sound U.S. realism will guide the United States toward a significantly reduced global security role. Learning these lessons from U.S. experiences with Japan could enable the United States to be overtly self-reliant in homeland defense, while retaining as many global strategic capabilities as it chooses to and as circumstances warrant. Therefore, blending these two approaches would allow the United States to be simultaneously self-reliant and non-interventionist, while deflecting accusations that it was becoming “isolationist.” This result would allow a very productive combination of security policies.


[1] Kevin Whitelaw, “After the Fall,” US News & World Report, December 2, 2002.

[2] Chalmers Johnson, “Rebuilding Iraq: Japan is No Model,” Los Angeles Times, October 17, 2002, p. B19; and John Dower, “Lessons From Japan About War’s Aftermath,” New York Times, October 27, 2002, p. A13.

[3] For background on the creation and missions of the Department of Homeland Security, see: Michael E. O’Hanlon, Peter R. Orszag, and Ivo Daalder, Protecting the American Homeland: One Year On (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 2003); Marcus Ranum, The Myth of Homeland Security ( New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2003); and James D. Torr, ed., Homeland Security (San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2004). See also: for the Department’s statement on “DHS Organization, History.”

[4] For prominent examples of such critiques, see: Andrew J. Bacevich, American Empire; The Realities & Consequences of U.S. Diplomacy (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002); and Chalmers Johnson, The Sorrows of Empire; Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (New York: Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Company, 2004). For a major early example of such criticism, see: Raymond Aron, The Imperial Republic, The United States and the World 1945-73 (Cambridge, MA: Winthrop Publishers, 1974).

[5] For solid examples of these more traditional perspectives, see: Ted Galen Carpenter, A Search for Enemies, America’s Alliances after the Cold War (Washington, DC: The Cato Institute, 1992); Eric A. Nordlinger, Isolationism Reconfigured: American Foreign Policy for a New Century (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995); and Patrick J. Buchanan, A Republic, Not an Empire: Reclaiming America’s Destiny (Washington, DC: Regnery, 1999). See, also, the author’s U.S. National Defense for the Twenty-First Century, The Grand Exit Strategy (London: Frank Cass, 2002). For an influential early example of that argument, see: Robert W. Tucker, A New Isolationism, Threat or Promise? (New York: Universe Books, 1972).

[6] For the Coalition’s activities, see:

[7] For a mainstream cross-section of those analyses of the occupation period, see: Hugh Borton, Japan’s Modern Century (New York: The Ronald Press, 1955); Kazuo Kawai, Japan’s American Interlude (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960); Howard B. Schonberger, Aftermath of War: Americans & The Remaking of Japan, 1945-1952 (Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1989); Edwin O. Reischauer, Japan, The Story of a Nation (New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing Co., 1990); W. G. Beasley, The Rise of Modern Japan (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1995); and John W. Dower, Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II (New York: Norton/New Press, 2000).

[8] For a cross-section of those analyses of Japan’s armed forces, see: James H. Buck, ed., The Modern Japanese Military System (Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, 1975); Martin Weinstein, Japan’s Postwar Defense Policy, 1947-1968 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1972); Malcolm McIntosh, Japan Re-armed (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1986); and Richard J. Samuels, “Rich Nation, Strong Army”, National Security and the Technological Transformation of Japan (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1994). See, also, the author’s assessment of Japan’s strategic development from the occupation era through the mid-1980s: U.S.-Japan Strategic Reciprocity (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1985) and, in translation, Bei-nichi boei keizai rinku ron [U.S.-Japan Defense Economic Link Theory] (Tokyo: Jichosha, 1990).

[9] For assessments of Pearl Harbor’s impact on “isolationist” America First arguments, see: John Toland, But Not In Shame, The Six Months After Pearl Harbor, (New York: Random House, 1961); William L. Neumann, America Encounter’s Japan, From Perry to MacArthur (New York: Harper & Row, 1965); Dorothy Borg and Shumpei Okamoto, eds., Pearl Harbor as History (New York: Columbia University Press, 1973); and Gordon W. Prange, At Dawn We Slept, The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor (New York: Penguin Books, 1982).

[10] Justus D. Doenecke, Storm on the Horizon; The Challenge to American Intervention, 1939-1941, (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2003).

[11] For assessments of the latter group and their legacy, see: Selig Adler, The Isolationist Impulse, Its Twentieth-Century Reaction (London: Abelard-Schuman, Ltd., 1957); James T. Patterson, Mr. Republican (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1972); Justus D. Doenecke, Not to the Swift: The Old Isolationists in the Cold War Era (Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 1979); and Michael T. Hayes, “The Republican Road Not Taken, The Foreign-Policy Vision of Robert E. Taft,” The Independent Review, Spring 2004, pp. 509-525. For an alternative perspective on a prominent advocate of what conservatism should mean, see: Robert E. Herzstein, Henry R. Luce: A Political Portrait of the Man Who Created the American Century (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1994).

[12] For an insightful analysis of that reconsideration process, see: Meirion and Susie Harries, Sheathing The Sword, The Demilitarization of Postwar Japan (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1987); Peter J. Katzenstein, Cultural Norms and National Security: Police and Military in Postwar Japan (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1996); and Thomas U. Berger, Culture of Antimilitarism: National Security in Germany and Japan (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998). For an alternative perception of what transpired in postwar Japan, see: Edwin P. Hoyt, The Militarists, The Rise of Japanese Militarism Since WW II (New York: Donald I. Fine, 1985).

[13] For assessments of that legacy, see: Lloyd E. Ambrosius, Woodrow Wilson and the American Diplomatic Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990); and Godfrey Hodgson, The Colonel: The Life and Wars of Henry Stimson, 1867-1950 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1990).

[14] Called the jieitai in Japanese.

[15] Called the rikujo jieitai, kaijo jieitai, and kuko jieitai respectively in Japanese.

[16] Called the boeicho in Japanese.

[17] Called the shonin kokka in Japanese.

[18] For background on his role, see: Yoshida Shigeru, The Yoshida Memoirs (London: Heinemann, 1961); and John W. Dower, Empire and Aftermath: Yoshida Shigeru and the Japanese Experience, 1878-1954 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1979).

[19] The U.S.-Japan security alliance has been the focus of many serious analyses. For recent examples, see: Mike M. Mochizuki, ed., Toward A True Alliance, Restructuring U.S.-Japan Security Relations (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 1997); Michael J. Green and Patrick M. Cronin, eds., The U.S.-Japan Alliance; Past, Present, and Future (New York: Council on Foreign Relations Press, 1999); Yoichi Funabashi, Alliance Adrift (New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 1999); Ted Osius, The U.S.-Japan Security Alliance, Why It Matters and How to Strengthen It (Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies - Washington Papers, No. 181, 2003); and John G. Ikenberry and Takashi Inoguchi, eds., Reinventing the Alliance: U.S.-Japan Security Partnership in an Era of Change (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003).

[20] For analysis of that concept and its context, see: Robert W. Barnett, Beyond War: Japan’s Conception of National Security (McLean, VA: Pergamon-Brassey, 1984).

[21] For analyses of these constraining developments over time, see: John K. Emmerson and Leonard A. Humphreys, Will Japan Rearm? (Washington, DC & Stanford: AEI-Hoover Policy Studies, No. 9, 1973); Tetsuya Kataoka, Waiting For A Pearl Harbor, Japan Debates Defense (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1980); Harrison M. Holland, Managing Defense: Japan’s Dilemma (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1988); and John H. Makin and Donald C. Hellmann, eds., Sharing World Leadership? A New Era for America & Japan (Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute, 1989).

[22] The author contributed to that criticism for Japanese consumption in his “ ‘Chiipu raida’ e no fuman ” (Criticism of a “cheap rider”) in Chuo Koron , December 1985 and “Hokuto ajia ni okeru nichi-bei no boei buntan ” (U.S.-Japan defense burdensharing in Northeast Asia) in Gendai no anzen hosho (Contemporary National Security), February 1989.

[23] Interview in “One on One, Tsutomu Kawara,” Defense News, February 28, 2000, p. 62.

[24] The author explored those reasons in greater detail in: “U.S.-Japan Security Relations: The Case for a Strategic Fairness Doctrine” in Ted Galen Carpenter, ed., Collective Defense or Strategic Independence?, Alternative Strategies for the Future (Lexington, MA: Lexington Books and The Cato Institute, 1989); and “A Northeast Asian Peace Dividend,” Strategic Review,” Summer 1998, pp. 17-23.

[25] For a succinct overview of that plan, see: Daniel Williams, “Rebuilding Military Ties To Tokyo, ‘Nye Initiative’ Launched to Address Post-Cold War Concerns,” Washington Post, February 19, 1995, p. 48, and Peter Ennis, “The Nye Initiative: Can It Save the U.S.-Japan Alliance?”, Tokyo Business Today, June 1995, pp. 38-41. See, also, Assistant Secretary of Defense Joseph Nye’s assessment in his “As U.S. Defends Japan, Who’s Being Served?,” Christian Science Monitor, April 17, 1996, p. 19.

[26] See Mochizuki, Green and Cronin, and Osius. See, also, the earlier analyses in Gerald L. Curtis, ed., The United States, Japan, and Asia, Challenges for U.S. Policy (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1994).

[27] Prime examples include: Chalmers Johnson and E.B. Keehn, “The Pentagon’s Ossified Strategy,” Foreign Affairs, July-August 1995, pp. 103-114; and Ted Galen Carpenter, “Smoke and Mirrors: The Clinton-Hashimoto Summit,” Foreign Policy Briefing, No. 41, The Cato Institute, May 16, 1996. The author contributed to that dissent for a Japanese audience in his “Anpo joyaku wa mo iranai ” (“Security treaty is not needed anymore”), Shokun, April 1993; and “Sonzai riyu no kieta nichi-bei anpo ” (The U.S.-Japan security [relationship] that is losing its reason for existence), Shokun, March 1995.

[28] For a sense of what Japan was doing in that regard after the Nye Initiative, see the analyses in Warren Hunsberger, ed., Japan’s Quest; The Search for International Role, Recognition, and Respect (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1997).

[29] The origins of that advocacy are found in Ozawa Ichiro, Blueprint for a New Japan: Rethinking of a Nation (Tokyo: Kodansha, 1994) translated from his Nihon kaizo keikaku (Japan Reconstruction Plan), (Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993). For an overview of the impact of Japan’s quest for normal national status, see: Eric Heginbotham and Richard J. Samuels, “Japan,” in Richard J. Ellings and Aaron L. Friedberg, eds., Strategic Asia 2002-03, Asian Aftershocks (Seattle: National Bureau of Asian Research, 2002).

[30] The author examined the Korean-U.S. issue and its significance for Japan in greater detail in his Toward Normalizing U.S.-Korea Relations: In Due Course? (Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2002) and in its translation: Hanmi kwangae ui sae jipyung (New Horizons of U.S.-Korea Relations), (Seoul: Ingansarang Publishers, 2003).

[31] For coverage of the decision to commit Japanese forces, see: “Japan Votes to Send Troops for Rebuilding Iraq,” Los Angeles Times, July 4, 2003, p. A4; “Japan’s Armed Forces, Into Harm’s Way,” Economist, July 26, 2003, p. 39; and Sebastian Moffett, “Tokyo Approves Plan to Deploy Troops to Iraq,” Wall Street Journal, July 28, 2003, p. A9. For coverage of the dispatch of Japanese forces, see: Sebastian Moffett, Martin Fackler, Gordon Fairclough, and Charles Hutzler, “Marching On To A New Role,” Far Eastern Economic Review, January 15, 2004, p. 18; and Bennett Richardson, “Japan redefines ‘self-defense’,” Christian Science Monitor, February, 6, 2004, p. 6.

[32] For an assessment of that concern, see: David Pilling, “Japanese Role In Iraq Raises Questions Over Constitution,” London Financial Times, February 10, 2004, p. 6.

[33] For analyses of that impact, see: “Rebuild Iraq, Redefine Japan; Some Odd-looking Pacifists En-route to Mesopotamia,” Economist, January 31, 2004, p. 36; and Sebastian Moffett, Phred Dvorak, and Greg Hitt, “Japan’s Pacifism Tested by Iraq Role,” Wall Street Journal, April 12, 2004, p. A16.

[34] For prime examples of criticism of the militarization of U.S. policy, see: Dana Priest, The Mission: Waging War and Keeping Peace with America’s Military (New York: W.W. Norton, 2003); and Chalmers Johnson, The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic New York: Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Company, 2004).

[35] Takashi Oka, “Bush’s Second-best Friend?”, Christian Science Monitor, October 15, 2003, p. 9.

[36] Quoted in: Doug Struck, “In Interview, Koizumi Defends Support for War,” Washington Post, April 2, 2003, p. 27.

[37] Chalmers Johnson, “Tokyo Let’s Loose Lapdogs of War,” Los Angeles Times, February 18, 2004, p. B13.

[38] For an insightful analysis of such prospects, see: William E. Rapp, Paths Diverging? The Next Decade in the U.S.-Japan Security Alliance (Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, 2004).

[39] Helen Dewar, “Senate Passes Homeland Security Bill,” Washington Post, November 20, 2002, p. 1; and “The new Department of Homeland Security, Washington’s mega-merger,” Economist, November 23, 2002, p. 25.

[40] For example, see: Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), “The Homeland Security Monstrosity,”, November 19, 2002 and John Mintz and Christopher Lee, “The Homeland Security Wish List,” Washington Post (Weekly), February 3-9, 2003, p. 31.

[41] “Homeland security; Safer, but how safe?”, Economist, April 12, 2003, p. 32.

[42] For example, see: Benjamin Friedman, “Leap Before You Look: The Failure of Homeland Security,” Breakthroughs (MIT, Security Studies Program), Spring 2004, pp. 29-40; and Sari Horowitz, “Homeland Security’s Nervous Center,” Washington Post (Weekly), May 24-30, 2004, p. 29.

[43] For background on the Northern Command’s creation and activities, see: Ann Scott Tyson, “For the First Time, Military Has a U.S. Command,” Christian Science Monitor, April 18, 2002, p. 4. For details on the Command’s activities, see its web site:

[44] Ivan Eland, Putting “Defense” Back into U.S. Defense Policy, Rethinking U.S. Security in the Post-Cold War World (Westport, CN: Praeger, 2001).

[45] Edward A. Olsen, U.S. National Defense for the Twenty-First Century, The Grand Exit Strategy (London: Frank Cass, 2002).

[46] The author explored the philosophy behind that shift in his “Homeland Security, Defending America First,” Chronicles, December 2003, pp. 22-24.

[47] The author explored those Cold War opportunities in his “Amerika mo nihon no boei seisaku ni manabo “ (America, too, let’s learn from Japan’s defense policy), Shokun, August 1982.

[48] As part of these efforts, President Bush recently announced that 60,000-70,000 U.S. forces would be withdrawn to the United States from Europe and Asia to provide more flexibility in fighting terrorism. What has been left unclear is the extent to which those new U.S.-based forces will deploy temporarily to bases in the Middle East, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe. See: Elisabeth Bumuller, “Bush Tells Veterans of Plan to Redeploy G.I.’s Worldwide,” New York Times, August 17, 2004, p. A6.

[49] For a survey of this issue, see: Hans Binnendijk, ed., Transforming America’s Military (Washington, DC: National Defense University Press, 2002). For descriptions of this “transformation” project, see: “Military transformation, The Janus-faced war,” Economist, April 26, 2003, p. 24; Donald H. Rumsfeld, “Defense for the 21st Century,” Washington Post, May 22, 2003, p. 35; and Bradley Graham, “A U.S. Plan for Military Realignment,” Washington Post (Weekly), March 29 - April 4, 2004, p. 15.

[50] President Bush’s credentials in that regard were underscored by a prominent defender in Max Boot, “George W. Bush: The ‘W’ Stands for Woodrow,” Wall Street Journal, July 1, 2002, p. A14. See, also, an editorial, “Does ‘W’ Stand For Wilson?”, in the Christian Science Monitor, November 10, 2003, p. 8.

[51] For a prominent libertarian dissenter’s critique, see: Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), “What Happened to Conservatives?”,, July 15, 2003.

[52] For a major example by a critic with significant background in Japanese affairs, see: Clyde Prestowitz, Rogue Nation, American Unilateralism and the Failure of Good Intentions (New York: Basic Books, 2003).

[53] Johnson, The Sorrows of Empire, pp. 151-181.

[54] For an example of the flawed logic behind such commitments, the 9/11 Commision stated: “9/11 has taught us that terrorism against American interests ‘over there’ should be regarded just as we regard terrorism against America ‘over here.’ In this same sense, the American homeland is the planet.” 9/11 Commision Report, Chapter 12, “What To Do? A Global Strategy,’ p. 362.

[55] For insights into that issue, see: Ivan Eland, “Let’s Make National Missile Defense Truly ‘National’,” Foreign Policy Briefing, No., 58, Cato Institute, June 27, 2000.

[56] For useful analyses of this sometimes controversial legal tradition, see: Craig T. Trebilcock, “The Myth of Posse Comitatus,” Journal of Homeland Security, October 2000; and John R. Brinkerhoff, “The Posse Comitatus Act and Homeland Security,” Journal of Homeland Security, February 2002, at the Anser Institute of Homeland Security (

[57] For coverage of that approach, see: Thomas E. Ricks and Vernon Loeb, “Preemption as a Defense,” Washington Post (Weekly), June 17-23, 2002, p. 29; and “American Foreign Policy, Pre-empting Threats, Threatening Pre-emption,” Economist, September 28, 2002, p. 12.

[58] Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics (New York: Public Affairs, 2004).

[59] Murray Hiebert and Barry Wain, “Same Planet, Different World,” Far Eastern Economic Review, June 17, 2004, p. 26.

[60] For an analysis of this group of states, see: Robert S. Litwak, Rogue States and U.S. Foreign Policy: Containment After the Cold War (Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2000).

[61] For useful background on that issue, see: James H. Anderson, America at Risk: The Citizens Guide to Missile Defense (Washington, DC: The Heritage Foundation, 1999); Charles V. Pena and Barbara Conry, “National Missile Defense: Examining the Options,” Policy Analysis, No. 37, The Cato Institute, 1999; and Ivan Eland, Putting “Defense” Back Into U.S. Defense Policy (Westport: Praeger, 2001).

[62] For insights into Japan’s political use of consensus-building, see: Gerald L. Curtis, The Japanese Way of Politics (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988); and Chalmers Johnson, Japan: Who Governs, The Rise of the Developmental State (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1995).

[63] For the views of the leading advocate of this option, see: Christopher Layne, “From Preponderance to Offshore Balancing: America’s Future Grand Strategy,” International Security, Summer 1997, pp. 86-124.

[64] Edward A. Olsen, U.S. National Defense for the Twenty-First Century, pp. 82-84.