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69 Foreign Aff. 91 (1989-1991)
Germany and Japan: The New Civilian Powers

handle is hein.journals/fora69 and id is 969 raw text is: Hanns W. Maull

As the postwar international order dissolves, some of
the initial concerns that informed and shaped it are resurfac-
ing. One key objective of this old order was the containment of
Japanese and German military expansionism and its threat to
the international status quo in the Far East and Europe. This
was achieved brilliantly by embracing both countries in an
American-led alliance system directed against a new adversary,
the Soviet Union. This rationale is rapidly fading now, and old
specters once more raise their ugly heads; the power of Japan
and Germany has again become a cause of concern for their
partners in the alliance.
Some observers fear a return of either state (or both) to
traditional temptations of military power politics and suspect
that Japan or Germany may revert to challenging the status
quo, or perhaps even try to replace it with a Pax Nipponica
or Pax Teutonica. Others worry about the implications of a
changing distribution of economic power as a result of Ger-
many's and Japan's single-minded pursuit of economic gain
abroad and tendencies toward parochial and closed societies
and economies at home.
Most fears about Japanese and/or German revanchism turn
less on perceived political strategies by today's leaderships in
Tokyo or Bonn than on the dynamics of ungovernable change.
German unification and its impact on the alliance are seen in
terms of a runaway freight train headed for collision as a
result of sheer momentum and the inability or unwillingness
of the drivers to apply the brakes. And as for Japan, we are
told by a revisionist that nobody really is in charge there.I
The forces of change in the postwar era, which have worked so
I This is the central thesis of Karel van Wolferen's The Enigma ofJapanese Power, New York:
Knopf, 1989.
Hanns W. Maull is Professor of International Relations at the Catholic
University of Eichstatt, Germany, and European Representative of the
Japan Center for International Exchange.

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