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28 – A Tale of Two Countries (26 Nov 09)

A Tale of Two Countries – Obama’s Failure and Minshuto’s Success (I gave this talk yesterday before the Ozaki Foundation in Tokyo) You perhaps think the subtitle of this talk – Obama’s Failure, Minshuto’s Success – to be a mischievous and overly hasty conclusion. But I think it is already a reality staring us in the face. Summing it up right away: Obama has missed the one rare opportunity for initiating the momentous reform policies he was expected to deliver, and such opportunity will not come again. The Minshuto, on the other hand, has moved fast to change Japan’s political reality beyond a point where it can revert to where things were until September, and where they had been for decades of indecision. Both the United States and Japan are in the middle of developments that are bound to have a great effect on the wider world, quite aside from them changing their domestic circumstances. I can imagine that you have greater trouble believing that about Japan than about the United States, but that may be because of an ingrained habit, widespread in the world, of identifying the United States with leadership and vigor and Japan as a...

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