Lecture 22 text-only version

Lecture 22 text-only version - History 20 Lecture 22 Asia...

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History 20 Lecture 22 Asia Front and Center I. From Cold War to Globalization In the world we occupy today, the term “Globalization” has come to replace “Cold War” as the principle organizing framework. The term “Globalization” conveys a sense that the world is tied ever tighter together through economic processes and also that it is becoming more homogenized, imitating the economic and political systems of the West. Communism is “dead”; Western-style Capitalism is “on the ascent.” However appealing the simplicity of this idea may be, the primary message of this lecture is to beware of oversimplification of these issues. Globalization is a dense and multifaceted process and the outcomes are still very much evolving. The photo on the right of “haute couture” Japanese style conveys that warning in a subtle sense. Even in Japanese fashion, imitation of the West only goes so far. In fact, there is something quite unique in each and every instance of modernity as it is created by disparate peoples today. While the U.S. remains the world’s capitalist powerhouse for the moment, countries in Asia are also rising to the fore with their own unique blends and brands of globalized, modern economies. And so we come back full circle to East Asia today, where the forces of the New Imperialism were very strong a mere 150 years ago. In contrast, today, serious challengers to achieve the pre-eminent position of leading power in the global economic realm are emerging. This lecture is designed to put away myths about “Globalization” as a Western- led phenomenon and to bring us to a deeper understanding of the trends in both economics and politics that have made Japan and China key players in a newly- emerging world economic system. II. Post-World-War-II Japan In 1945, the U.S. occupied Japan. The Occupation lasted formally until 1952, and informally, the U.S. military presence and strong U.S. influence over politics and ongoing economic development in Japan lasted through the 1970s. Japan developed, therefore, as a strong counterpoint to the evolution of socialist states to its west (North Korea, China). In theory, Japan was to be molded into a staunch defender of Western-style democracy and capitalism in the East Asia region.
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As the Occupation unfolded, Japan received a new constitution. The aim of the document, from the perspective of the American occupation, was to create a Japan much in the mirror image of the U.S. General Douglas MacArthur, one of the American heros of the Pacific War, was appointed by Truman to be the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (SCAP) after World War II, and in this capacity, led the U.S. occupation of Japan. It was MacArthur who steered a new Japanese constitution into certain key
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Lecture 22 text-only version - History 20 Lecture 22 Asia...

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