There’s an article in the Stanford Review on the Japan – Australia logistics deal. Key point:

Japan and Australia are taking steps to hedge against U.S. decline. Leaders in Japan, Australia, China and around the world are asking themselves whether or not the U.S. will have the economic and military power to maintain its security guarantees in East Asia. No one can know for certain the answer. As a result, Japan and Australia are taking moderate steps towards protecting themselves should the worst occur.

This blog disagrees. Australian – Japanese cooperation military cooperation has been on the rise for years. Japan and Australia were members of the Quadrilateral Initiative and participate in joint exercises such as RIMPAC and Malabar. Japanese and Australian troops worked together in Iraq, where Australian troops provided force protection for Japanese military engineers on a daily basis. Japan and Australia would also work together in any future humanitarian disaster relief mission in the Pacific Rim, which by definition would be a no-warning contingency operation conducted on a logistical shoestring. A logistics sharing deal between the two countries makes sense on those grounds alone.

There is little indication to either Japan or Australia that America’s security guarantee has in any way been weakened. America’s dogged insistence that the air base in Futenma not be moved outside of Japan is a clear sign of that. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been to Japan twice, and President Obama once (a second trip was delayed due to the health care bill). Speculation on force cuts by U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has been merely that–speculation–and there has been no indication that any cuts would impact America’s forces in East Asia. America has been pushing forces into East Asia–a four month deployment of F-22 Raptors to Kadena AFB in Okinawa was just announced last week.

As for the recent encounter between the MSDF and the Chinese PLAN…a week later the MSDF and the U.S. Navy conducted a passing exercise in roughly the same location. The PASSEX was no coincidence. And it’s important to keep in mind that a single U.S. Navy destroyer in the American contingent is more useful and packs as much (if not more) firepower than the entire Chinese task force from the week before.

But this blog’s advice to Australians still stands: stay away from the natto, boys.

Natto: fermented soybeans. Photo via Makezine.

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A contributor and editor at the blog War Is Boring, Kyle Mizokami started Japan Security Watch in 2010 to further understand Japan's defenses and security policy.
Kyle Mizokami has 596 post(s) on Japan Security Watch