20 May 2016
In the baseball film, “The Natural,” there is a scene in which the hero, an aging rookie ballplayer by the name of Roy Hobbs, gets his first at-bat in a major league game; to his surprise, he quickly takes two strikes, at which point a sportscaster mockingly pronounces, “welcome to the big leagues, Mr. Hobbs.”
Japan’s defense industry got a similar humbling a few weeks ago when Australia announced it would sign a $38.7 billion deal with France for 12 new submarines. Almost everyone assumed that the sale was a lock for Tokyo. Japan had a great product – the 4000-ton Sōryū-class sub – and Prime Minister Abe’s close relationship with former Australian premier Tony Abbot appeared to seal the deal. Instead, Japan learned a valuable if bitter lesson that overseas arms sales are, in most cases, anything but certain.
… Richard A. Bitzinger is a Senior Fellow and Coordinator of the Military Transformations Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. The opinions expressed here are his own.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 23/05/2016