Move a Little Closer

President Bush has caused the United States has become so isolated in the world that

Japan was expected to align itself more closely Saturday with U.S. concerns that China’s military buildup across from Taiwan is a risk to stability in the region, a U.S. official said.

The joint statement expected after Japan’s defense and foreign ministers meet with their U.S. counterparts in Washington reflects heightened worries in the region over China’s growing military.

Unlike the United States, which has sworn to defend Taiwan, Japan was not expected to offer military or logistical aid if China attacks the island it regards as a renegade province.

But Japan’s public statement expressing concern the China-Taiwan tensions be resolved peacefully would be unusual for a country whose constitution restricts its role in international security issues, the State Department official said on condition of anonymity.

“It’s diplomatically significant. Militarily and politically nothing changes. But the fact that Japan, which does not like to talk about security issues beyond its borders, is part of the statement reflects our concern and the concern in the region that China-Taiwan is a hot-button issue,” the official said.

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Isolation, Schmisolation. Nations act in their own interests. Germany and France and Russia currently think it’s in their interest to try to stymie us in Iraq. Japan thinks it’s their interest to cooperate more closely on Taiwan.

Neither stance has much to do with who sits in the Oval Office.

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