In 1942, when U.S. marines were engaged in brutal island combat with the Japanese, with no end in sight, Nicholas J. Spykman, a Dutch American strategist who taught at Yale University, foresaw a postwar alliance between the United States and Japan against China, then a critical U.S. wartime ally. Japan, he argued, would be both loyal and useful: It would need the United States to protect the sea lanes so it could import food and oil, while its large population of consumers would form the basis of a strong trade relationship. China, on the other hand, he said, would eventually emerge from the war as a powerful and dangerous continental power, which the United States would need to balance against. Spykman also indicated that Japan would be the equivalent of Great Britain with respect to mainland Asia: a large, offshore ally of the United States.
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