Japan commemorates the 70th anniversary of its enduring alliance with the United States today. The timing could not be more poignant, as Afghanistan’s recent implosion has categorically shattered the post-Cold War euphoria of the American unipolar moment. Signed on September 8, 1951, the Security Treaty Between the United States and Japan laid the foundation for what has increasingly come to be Washington’s single most important alliance in today’s simmering geopolitical rivalry with Beijing. Meanwhile, the Japan-U.S. alliance harbors many of its Cold War-era shibboleths, hindering Japan from taking a proactive role in a newfound security environment that is constantly under threat from China’s inexorable challenges. The alliance urgently needs a reboot lest it risk a system failure in advancing the common vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Although originally devised as an anti-Soviet expedient in the 1950s, the Japan-U.S….