Abe, Reagan, and the Three Arrows

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There has been lots of talk about the “three arrows” of Abe’s economic policy. It turns out the term is something of an American import.

A few weeks ago I heard Prime Minister Abe give a speech on foreign policy at the Hudson Institute in New York.  He mentioned something surprising in passing: he had borrowed the term from a speech he heard Ronald Reagan deliver to the Diet in 1983.  Here is the text of the speech:

http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/speeches/1983/111183a.htm

But guess what? Reagan was talking not about economic issues, but about national security.  What Reagan said, was the following:

These threats to peace and freedom underscore the importance of closer cooperation among all nations. You have an old proverb that says, “A single arrow is easily broken, but not three in a bunch.” The stronger the dedication of Japan, the United States, and our allies to peace through strength, the greater our contributions to building a more secure future will be. The U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security must continue to serve us as the bedrock of our security relationship. Japan will not have to bear the burden of defending freedom alone. America is your partner. We will bear that burden together.

So maybe economic issues and national security issues have an even deeper connection than we might think.

One Comment

  1. I am not sure we can say anything definitive about security and economy based on the pronouncements of conservative politicians. “Security” is often a trope for repression and, historically, colonialism. Given that what I think you refer to as “economy” is the nearly 70 year tripartite “alliance” between the U.S., Japan, and Western Europe after WWII, which has been coercively enforced throughout the third world, we can say yes, security and economy are deeply entangled, but with an awful legacy.

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