Over on the EAIA blog I mentioned and summarized an article in International Security on the US-Japan alliance. I brought it up as a kind of controversial Realist article. Sayaka took the bait and bit a chunk out of the essay in a response she wrote in the next posting. She makes several excellent points about the article, which completely dismisses Constructivist approaches to Japanese security policy in favor of a clean “Passing the Buck” Realist interpretation. Sayaka accuses the author of oversimplifying the opposition with a straw man argument.
It is wrong to assume that Constructivists only look at notions and ideas even if Realists only look at power and the structure of international society.
Third, related to the previous point, the attempt to answer the question “Is [Japan’s policy really about] Pacifism?” by looking at the size of the military is off the point. The questions should be, “Why do[es Japan] not exercise normal military power even though it has acquired a huge military capability?”