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Descripción de editorial
The United States is in a war. This war is not fought with missiles and bullets, but with dollars, yen, and deutsche marks. This is a war for dominance in the global marketplace, a war for economic supremacy. The United States is losing this war. Year after year, tens of billions of dollars flow from American bank accounts to Japanese pockets—the stark meaning of the oft-cited "merchandise trade deficit"—half a trillion dollars worth in the last decade. The United States is not losing because the Japanese are devious, or mercenary, or "unfair traders." We are losing because of our own greed, myopia, and arrogance. The Keys to the Kingdom, a masterful account of bureaucratic ineptitude, political bloodshed, high-level intrigue, and sometimes breathtaking stupidity, chronicles the first major battle in this war. Aerospace and aviation products are America's most lucrative exports, bringing in billions of dollars and providing millions of high-wage jobs. The Japanese, having developed world-class auto, steel, and electronics industries (in the process devastating large segments of the American economy), make no secret of the fact that aviation and aerospace are their next targets. Despite these high stakes, the government of the United States, incredibly, agreed to give the Japanese some of the most sensitive, state-of-the-art aviation technology and design information America possesses—to build a plane called the FS-X. How this astonishing event transpired is the subject of The Keys to the Kingdom.
The already rancorous U.S.-Japan trade relationship was exacerbated in the late '70s, when research entrepreneur Ryozo Tsutsui launched a campaign to revive his country's once-great aircraft industry through an experimental fighter called the FS-X. Shear's well-researched study reports on the advocacies of and oppositions to codevelopment of the plane both in Tokyo and Washington, punctuated by Tsutsui's blunt declaration that Japan could build a better fighter faster and more cheaply alone. American officials began to understand that the Japanese were threatening to surpass the U.S. in aircraft manufacture, one of the last areas of American high-tech dominance. Yet the U.S. handed over to Japan massive amounts of sophisticated aircraft technology. Freelance journalist Shear recounts in detail the complex, appalling story of why and how this was allowed to happen.