# Posted 1:03 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
JAPAN AND IRAQ COMPARED: John Dower
, the foremost Western historian of Japan and U.S.-Japanese relations, has an in-depth column in today's NYT
comparing the US occupation of Japan to a potential US occupation of Iraq. In short, he does not believe that a potential occupation of Iraq would be anywhere near as successful as the occupation of Japan was. However, he explicity rejects the idea that Arab or Islamic culture
would prevent the democratization of Iraq. While Dower presents numerous arguments to support his point, it is clear that his pessimism rests on one central foundation: a refusal to believe that the Bush administration will be committed enough to democratization to make it work.
For those with a serious interest in the American occupation of Japan, I cannot recommend Dower's recent book on that subject, Embracing Defeat
, highly enough. It is already classic, winning a well-deserved Pulitzer Prize as well as the National Book Award and numerous other honors. His other works
are well-worth reading as well.
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