irritation

Before Sunrise

When President Obama arrives in Tokyo on Friday, he will confront a country that seeks to be an ally of the United States. For Japan has never been an American ally. It was first a rival, then an enemy, and finally, after it lost the war it foolishly started with the U.S., it became a protectorate, not an ally.   The distinction matters. An alliance is an institution negotiated between two sovereign governments in which each agrees to a series of reciprocal obligations that have the force of law.

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I am heartened that Martha Nussbaum judges my Vindication of Love "provocative and useful," its author a "very sensible person," and its effect upon readers probably "emboldening."  I am less happy that she excludes men from these readers--as though love and failure, love and art, love and wisdom were issues that could interest only women.

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