Ambassador Schieffer Addresses Asian Affairs Research Council

March 17, 2006

AMBASSADOR SCHIEFFER: Thank you very much. It is a great honor to be here, and I have looked forward to this for some time. The Asian Affairs Research Council is an important contributor to the public dialogue between Japan and the United States. This forum gives all of us who are concerned about the future of Asia an opportunity to meet and exchange views. I am honored that you would ask me to share some thoughts with you on where I think the Japanese-American relationship will go in the years ahead.

If we are to understand where we are going, I think it is important to know where we have been. The Japanese-American alliance was first conceived as a bulwark against the spread of communism. It was one of many alliances that the United States made around the world in response to the Cold War. The goal was to contain Soviet expansionism.

Before coming to Japan, I served as the American Ambassador to Australia. And while I was there the fiftieth anniversary of the ANZUS Treaty, another one of those Cold War alliances, was celebrated. In doing some research for a speech on the origins of ANZUS, I was struck by the assessment made by many Australians on the future of Japan. It was much more pessimistic than America's view.

John Foster Dulles, the American charged with negotiating the treaties, who later became Secretary of State, originally advocated an alliance that would encompass most of Asia. He proposed that Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Japan join the United States in an overarching alliance similar to NATO that would be a counterweight in Asia to both the Soviet Union and what we then called Communist China.

For various reasons the idea was stillborn. In Australia, for instance, it was feared that Japan might still "go communist" and drag Australia into another war. It was not a fear that was totally without basis. Mao Zedong had recently prevailed in China, the war in Korea had ended with an armistice not a peace treaty, and communists and left-wing movements in Japan were very active with large popular followings. In such an environment, it would not have been inconceivable to imagine a communist Japan. Percy Spender, the Australian foreign minister at the time, preferred to tie his country's future security directly to the United States and Australia's neighbor New Zealand. He worried that Japan would be lost to the free world anyway and would just complicate the matter of Australian security. As it turned out, others had the same kinds of apprehension. As a result, the United States abandoned the idea of a grand alliance and opted for more bilateral and smaller multilateral agreements in the Pacific. Over the years, the United States entered into bilateral alliances with Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore and South Vietnam. We had a trilateral alliance with Australia and New Zealand - the ANZUS Treaty - and a multilateral alliance - SEATO - with many of the countries of Southeast Asia. With the exception of the tragedy that occurred in Vietnam, these alliances largely worked in Asia to keep the peace and promote the spread of democracy, free markets, and the rule of law.

Achievement did not come easily, however. When it came time to renew what had initially been a five-year security treaty with Japan, there was great controversy among the Japanese people. Many thousands of students and others took to the streets to oppose renewal. Riots broke out that became so severe that President Eisenhower had to cancel a planned trip to Japan. A trip, by the way, that would have been the first time a serving American President set foot on Japanese soil. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed, and Prime Minister Kishi led the ratification of the new Japanese-American security treaty. It was a watershed event in our relationship.

Sometimes we have a tendency to think that policies that turn out right were inevitable, that they would have succeeded regardless of who was involved. That certainly was not the case in the history of the Japanese-American security treaty. It could easily have gone the other way. It did not because men and women of vision in both Japan and the United States had the courage to see that it was in our mutual interest to be linked together. They understood that some risk had to be taken if the potential of our relationship was to be realized. Thank goodness they had that vision and courage, because I shudder to think of what the history of this part of the world would have looked like had we chosen to go our separate ways.

Today, Japan and the United States have built the two largest economies in the world. We have come to share in the universal beliefs that democracy, freedom, and tolerance are the building blocks of a just and prosperous society. We look to the future with hope and confidence.

On the other hand, much in the world that we feared has changed. The Soviet Union - the threat we perceived to both our futures - is no more. The communist China that existed in those early years is very different than the China we deal with today. Now, both of us - the United States and Japan - are heavily engaged in trade with a China that recognizes the values of a market-based economy. Neither of us would have predicted such a situation fifty or even thirty years ago. I would argue that the success of the Japanese-American relationship and alliance has made a powerful contribution to the peace and stability of this region. That, in turn, has encouraged China to follow a more moderate and less confrontational foreign policy.

The mutual security treaty that the United States and Japan signed in 1960 has evolved into a full-blown alliance. Together, we do more, share more, and plan more than ever before. The Japanese American alliance has become the linchpin of both our foreign policies in this part of the world. Would-be aggressors long ago understood that a thrust against Japan would be met with the full power and effect of a United States response. The promise of the United States to come to the aid of Japan has been good for more than fifty years and it is as strong today as it has ever been in our history.

Now it is time for us to look to the future, to determine what we want that alliance to be in the twenty-first century. The first thing you should know as influential opinion leaders in Japan is that the United States wants this relationship to be an equal partnership. We do not seek to have a senior-junior relationship. We want Japan to feel comfortable with us and we with them. We recognize that we will not always see the world in exactly the same way - different peoples with different cultures will sometimes react to events in different ways. But when those differences occur, good allies and good friends resolve them as good partners do. Each decides that it is in their own interest to resolve their differences so that the alliance relationship can be strengthened and enhanced.

A few weeks ago, we on the United States side were heartened by the comments made by Prime Minister Koizumi when he said that the deployment of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to Japan was important to the security of Japan. In the past, some Japanese politicians may have argued to the Japanese public that certain issues had to be resolved because the "Americans made us do it," or they may have asked rhetorically, "What choice did we have?"

To us, Prime Minister Koizumi's remarks were a refreshing reminder that we have come a long way in our relationship. They reflect, in our judgment, the true nature of our alliance. We do things together because each of us has determined that it is in our own interest to do them. Neither partner forces the other to maintain our friendship. The United States gets a lot out of it. Japan gets a lot out of it. And that is as it should be in a partnership of equals.

An equal partnership does not mean that each partner must do the same thing or bring the same assets to the table. The United States recognizes that it must play a leading role around the world and not just in Asia. We know that means we are likely to have to do more and spend more than others, but we would also like for others to consider doing more themselves.

Right now, the United States spends almost 4% of its gross domestic product on national defense. In real dollars America spends ten times as much as Japan. In the years ahead, the United States hopes that Japan will recognize this disparity and move to reduce it.

Modern weapons systems are very effective, but they are also very expensive. It is sometimes difficult for Americans to understand how Japan will fund programs like missile defense if it continues to adhere to the de facto constraints of a 1% cap on defense spending.

Japanese lawmakers and the media sometimes refer to dollars paid to the United States for the defense of Japan as the "sympathy budget." We understand political humor and the desire to identify complicated issues with simple slogans, but we are really not looking for sympathy dollars. We do not build multi-billion dollar aircraft carriers out of sympathy. Nor do we station thousands of young Americans around the world to give or create sympathy. We do those things because a very dangerous world requires us to do them. We recognize that the world would look very different and be much more prone to conflict if the American taxpayer were not willing to bear the burden of our defense budget. We understand that those dollars are seen by many as being spent primarily for the defense of America, but we also hope that the Japanese and others understand that those dollars help pay for the security of Japan and the stability of the international order.

War and conflict are in no one's interest. A stable, peaceful world where freedom and democracy can grow and trade can flourish under the rule of law is in everyone's interest. But ultimately everyone must pay their fair share to make that happen.

The world is a very different place now than it was sixty years ago. The threat of Soviet expansionism has gone away. Yet the traditional threats of state-to-state conflict are still with us. Our alliance is in the process of changing to meet the needs of the twenty-first century. We must still have a deterrent capability that will keep potential enemies at bay. We must also have the ability to defeat transnational threats like terrorism. To do these things, we will need creativity and ingenuity. Threats like terrorism will require unprecedented cooperation between the nations of the world. Together we must work to defeat the terrorists by exposing their hideouts, drying up their finances, and running down their operatives. In this we have no choice. Either we will find the terrorists, or the terrorists will find us.

As we look down the road of the twenty-first century, we want to transform and modernize the Japanese-American alliance. We would like it to be responsive both to national and transnational threats. We look upon issues like the Defense Posture Review Initiative as an opportunity to do so. We want the Japanese-American alliance to be a global alliance that will contribute to the peace and stability of the international community as it has contributed to the peace and stability of Asia.

When I look out on Asia, it is very difficult for me to see a place where America's interests and Japan's interests will diverge greatly in the future. We both believe that we would benefit from the eradication of terrorism. We both believe in the power of democracy to transform societies. We both believe in the power of free markets to empower and enrich the many as opposed to just the few. We both believe in tolerance and the security that flows from the rule of law. So where would we take different paths? Frankly, no place that I can see.

When Japanese and Americans are united, we are a powerful force for good in the world, and that is a powerful reason to grow and enhance this alliance. We also believe that this alliance can extend beyond its security dimensions.

The United States believes that a more integrated economic approach between our two countries can work to the benefit of both of us. Today, our economies represent 40% of the world's gross domestic product. If we invested more in each other, if we worked to remove regulatory roadblocks, if we recognized that the intellectual and working capital that each of us possesses is enormous, then we think the future holds tremendous promise for both of us.

On the other hand, if we pass up the opportunity to do more together economically, then we miss the chance to create more growth and more jobs for our respective citizens. The United States and Japan have nothing to fear from a globalized world. In fact, we can lead a globalized world. Each of us can compete as we are, but if we integrated our economies more, we could compete even better. Now is the time to try.

Our alliance began out of a fear of a common enemy. It has grown far beyond that now. We understand that we need have no common enemy to share common interests. Shared values and shared interests give us an opportunity for shared success.

America and Japan remain on the right side of history. We have built an alliance and friendship second to none. In the future we will need to make the same kind of wise decisions that successful policy makers had to make in the past. They will not be made without risk. They cannot be made without vision or courage. But if we get it right and those decisions are made with respect and in the name of mutual interest, then we will ultimately leave to the next generation a better, stronger alliance than we have today. And that is not a bad legacy for anyone - Japanese or American.