Tokyo has by turns been seen as a promising newcomer, an evil enemy, a dedicated junior partner, a serious economic and technological threat, and now a strategic disappointment. This attitude is detrimental to Washington and Tokyo alike.
Counterinsurgency is not a cure-all. Local allegiances will always trump the might of the invader. Washington’s insistence that the troops turn Kabul into a functioning democracy will only erode the military's fighting spirit.
Western society tends to see disaster all around, from climate change to terrorism. But we live in a time of unbridled prosperity. Our age has nowhere near as great a measure of crisis as the age of total war.