Yellow Periln(Part II)nby William R. HawkinsnThe Coming War with Japannby George Friedmannand Meredith LebardnNew York: St. Martin’s Press;n429 pp., $24.95nDo not be put off by the sensationalistntitle. This is a solid geopoliticalnand economic study of power in thenPacific during the 20th century. Basingntheir prophesy on the record, GeorgenFriedman and Meredith Lebard concludenthat a second U.S.-Japanese warnis highly probable in the eady 21stncentury. The authors do not attempt tonpredict the details of such a war. Instead,nthey concentrate on the permanentnfactors that have put Washingtonnand Tokyo on a collision course andnwrite from the clear, cool perspective ofnrealpolitik. Their book is divided intonthree parts of equal length: a history ofnU.S.-Japanese relations, a survey of thencurrent situation, and a discussion ofnvarious alternative futures.nTo many observers, the Japanesenseem to be unstoppable. However,nFriedman and Lebard argue that thenthreat of war comes not from Japan’snapparent strength but from its fundamentalnweakness. Japan may have thenworld’s second largest economy, butnthat economy is located on anseries of islands too small tonsustain it. If the Japaneseneconomy is to compete withnvast entities such as the UnitednStates and Europe, it mustnsecure markets and resourcesnthat are readily at hand as haventhe other two. Japan has to gonquite a distance before it cannsecure either markets ornresources, and it must do sonthrough waters controlled by thenworld’s greatest economicnpower, Japan’s old andndangerous nemesis, the UnitednStates.nThis is the geostrategic problem thatnhas always faced Japan, which mustneither create an empire or remain anvassal of the United States, subject tonincreasing economic pressure. Thoughnits first bid for empire ended in 1945,nJapan was resurrected from that defeatnby a new war—the Cold War—duringnwhich the United States needed Japannas an ally against the Soviet Union. ThenUnited States paid a high price for thisnalliance, granting Japan an access to itsnmarkets that mined a number of Americanncompanies and undermined thennation’s industrial base. Now that thenCold War is over, there is no reason fornAmerica to continue to pay this price.nFriedman and Lebard repeatedlynmake the point that the appeal of freentrade is gone:nThe end of the Cold War maynwell signal the end of thenfree-trade era and a cyclicalnreturn to segmented markets.nIn such a segmented andnregionalized world, economicnwell-being will rest with thosenwho hold political and militarynpower. . . . The ability to closenoff one’s markets to competitorsnmight well bring great economicnbenefit, or at least social peace.nSince the United States is the only truensuperpower in the wake of economicncollapse and ethnic strife in the SovietnUnion, it is in a position to benefit fromnthe return of “normal” power politicsnand mercantilism:nThe power of the U.S. tonimpose tolls on trade andnpunish traders that cut intonU.S. markets is a starkly realnpower. … It is utterlyninconceivable that the UnitednStates will not use its vast navalnpower to try to gain economicnadvantage.nTokyo must look to the future withntrepidation. Japan imports 99 percent ofnits oil, and in 1988 imported 93 percentnof all the nickel, 57 percent of all thencopper, and 30 percent of all the coalnand iron available on the wodd market.nExports account for 15 percent of Japan’snCNP and half its annual economicngrowth. On average, every merchantnship in the worid must visit Japan 1.3ntimes a year to carry its trade. And thensituation will only get worse.nThe United States has demandednthat Japan shift from exports to domesticndevelopment, but Friedman andnLebard argue that this will not work.nIncreasing domestic demand will notnnnlessen the need for raw material imports,nthus making exports necessary toncover the cost. Japan also has a severenlabor shortage that requires the use ofnforeign workers. And as an economicallynmature nation, Japan is finding thatnits large capital surplus is attracted tonforeign investments. While this moneynis going mainly to buy real estate,nsecurities, and banks in America andnEurope, it is also being used to developnmines, oil fields, farmland, and basicnindustry in Asia and Latin America.nOne-third of Japan’s exports go tonthe United States. As the creator of thenworid’s most open market, Japanesenbusiness has been quick to exploit thisngolden opportunity. But Tokyo knowsnthat these days are numbered as politicalnresentment grows. With Europe movingntowards economic union in 1992nand the United States negotiating anNorth American trading zone, Japan isnseeking its own economic preserve, annew version of the Greater East AsianCo-Prosperity Sphere, only its horizonsnwill extend farther this time.nThree countries loom large in thisnplan: Indonesia, which offers Japan labor,nraw materials (including oil), and ankey to the Malacca Strait; India, whichnhas a large potential market and isnalready a major source of raw materials;nand the Philippines, the cornerstone ofnAmerica’s military establishment innAsia. New Delhi wants to control thenIndian Ocean, and Japanese technologyncould help India build a navy and airnforce to do it. An Indian fleet might be anbetter safeguard for Japanese oil shipmentsnfrom the Persian Gulf than thenU.S. Navy, if the trade war heats up.nAnd if the United States were forcednout of its bases in the Philippines, itnwould be very difficult for Washingtonnto project its power into the westernnPacific in the face of Japanese hostility.nIt can be expected that increasingly Japaneseninfluence in the Philippines willnbe used to support those who favor suchnan American expulsion.nTo protect this maritime empire, Japannwill have to seek naval sirpremacynin the Pacific. Tokyo could not dependnon economic influence alone to controlnsuch a large, varied, and unstable area;nas the authors note, “being rich andnquite weak is normally an invitation forncatastrophe.” Japan has the industrialnand technological means to pursue suchna plan of supremacy.nSEPTEMBER 1991/45n