Charles Krauthammer wrote an interest piece in which he argues that Japan should be allowed to get nukes…..
It’s a very interesting piece since it shows a lot of the blind spots that got us into the Iraq mess. First of all, it neglects to consider how complex the world is. If you do A, it will trigger reaction B, which will cause counterreaction C. There is also this seeming inability to think more than one move ahead.
Yes, Japan is a very close ally to the United States, but much of these alliance is due to the fact that Japan is dependent on the US for military protection. With nuclear weapons, Japan is no longer dependent on the US, and there is no reason to think that Japan and the US would have similar strategic interests.
The other problem is that any sort of strategic calculus has to deal with the fact that you have conflicting goals, and any sort of strategic planning has to include admiting this and trying to figure out how these goals interact. There isn’t that sort of tradeoff thinking present.
There is also the question of what do you do if something goes wrong. What do you do if people act differently than you think they will, or if one of your beliefs turns out to be incorrect. There is nothing in that article that suggests that this has been thought through.