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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Nippon Bomb

Sol Sanders, one of Talleyrand’s all-time journalistic heroes, has just posted a first-rate piece about Japan and nuclear weapons. He is quite right. It makes good sense for Japan to have these weapons, and it’s only a matter of time before they cast off the nuclear taboo. Unlike other would-be nuclear powers (Iran, for example), this is not a simple case of overblown prestige or imperialism (Japan has been there, done that). Japan genuinely is vulnerable and is finding its US protector less & less reliable. Its geography and interests demand a strong deterrent. But most of all, the Japanese—and the world—have changed. Not too long ago on a trip to Japan, a young man took Talleyrand aside and said, “stop listening to these old guys, My generation doesn’t share their taboos. Don’t forget it.” If anything is certain about the Japanese, this is it: they tend to mean what they say.

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