I begin my rejoinder to Timothy Brook and Michael Shin by reiterating the important question with which Brook ends his piece. “[W]hen Hamid Karzai's government falls in Afghanistan, or Nouri al-Maliki's does in Iraq, who then will be the nation's heroes and who the collaborators?” Questions such as this and other present-day conundrums (including the choices I make living in a national security state) were certainly on my mind when I began thinking about collaboration during the Second World War and particularly within the Japanese empire. The line between then and now is direct and short for me. Timothy Brook himself has been the target of an internet smear campaign assailing his work on Chinese collaboration for purportedly preparing an alibi for American mischief in Iraq and Afghanistan. Paramount among my own thoughts was always: what would I do, were I faced with the choices a Yi Kwang-su, a Liang Hongzhi or a Wang Jingwei was? It seems an irresistible reflex to me that we place ourselves in the position of those in the past who wagered and lost, and rehearse their calculations as our own: judgment of their decisions is as inevitable as it is necessary. The question is not if we will judge—to refuse risks our claims to moral agency—it is how. Timothy Brook, whether he once declined or now hesitates, indeed does make ethical judgments (he is on the record, for example, against advocating “collaboration as a morally positive or politically advisable course” [2008]), and indeed he should. That we have not come to similar conclusions only points to our missing consensus on a moral calculus, and not to the lack of an imperative to possess one.

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