In the short run, these appointments should make the Japanese foreign policy establishment happy. Nye has been paired with Republican Richard Armitage—remember the Armitage-Nye Report*—and Campbell with Republican Michael Green, so we’re talking about the importance of the Alliance and bipartisanship and continuity as far as the United States’ relations with Japan is concerned.
On the other hand, we’re not getting a Mansfield or Mondale or even a Foley—statesmen at the end of their political careers, symbols of the unchanging, highly asymmetrical bilateral relationship, Japan’s security blankets if you will. And Nye is certainly not one of those super-fundraisers who are assigned to countries where, short of turning into a serial murderer, an ambassador could do little harm to U.S. interests.
The global infrastructure needs repair, and the United States is not in a position to go it alone. And Obama is less inclined to want to try to do so. Most of all, this will put under severe stress the fantasy of a foreign and national security policy that the Ozawa DPJ
And to think that the Japanese establishment had overwhelmingly favored a McCain administration and that the DPJ had been reaching out to the Democrats.
ADD: * Should we now call it the Nye Report?