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The most famous person you’ve never heard of

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I heard two pieces of sad news last week, one about the passing of a genius in Washington and the other a living dead person in London. The two stories may give Tokyo valuable lessons for doing the right thing at the right time while avoiding unnecessary political fiascos and stalemates in the years to come.

Andrew W. Marshall passed away on March 26 at the age of 97 after serving in the U.S. Department of Defense for 42 years. The next day Theresa May said she would resign as Britain’s prime minister once her Brexit deal was approved. As many had expected, however, it didn’t pass the Parliament for the third time.

Let me start with Marshall. People called him in many ways, such as “the most famous person you’ve never heard of” or “Yoda” who, as the Grand Master of the Jedi Order in the Star Wars, trained Luke Skywalker to fight against the evil Galactic Empire of the dark side, although Marshall himself may not have liked the nickname.

He was not a well-known public figure although many of those who knew or knew of him referred to him with great respect and even awe. Officially, he ran the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment (ONA) since the days of U.S. President Richard Nixon, but few in Tokyo know what he was really doing, probably because most of his writings are still classified.

In Japan, for example, Kyodo News only carried a short article in Japanese about his death that “Dr. Andrew Marshall passed away on........

© The Japan Times