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7:44AM

The inevitable counter-reaction to China's aggressive behavior in Asia

The easiest call of the last half-century:  push Japan around enough and you'll get an end to its constitutionally-mandated pacifism.

Unlike Germany, which self-flagelated to the point of altering its social persona, Japan did no such thing.  It simply buried the past, which it can now dig up with enough incentives from Beijing, which seems to have counted on the notion that it could push Tokyo around indefinitely.

No, this doesn't change my attitude on the "pivot" or AirSea Battle.  In both cases, it proves how unnecessary they are as over-the-top reactions (yes, I understand the "show of force" part; I just worry that such things tend to be forgotten fairly quickly inside the Pentagon and thus today's feint equals tomorrow's "unshakeable national security interest").

The US enabled Asia's peaceful rise by playing Leviathan and thus obviating anyone's need to "arms race" with anyone else inside the region.  The result being, for the first time in history, India, China, Korea and Japan all "risen" without any wars.  

Beijing seems to have seen some historic advantage in this situation, which now disappears - inevitably.  Thus, now is NOT the time for the US to "pour it on" but to play the honest-broker all the more.

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Reader Comments (3)

During the 80s and 90s the Taiwan issue was the most importnat source of discontent in the sinoamerican relations.After Ma Yingjiu became president, things changed. Now the island chains in the East and South Chinese Sea have replaced this.The Diao Yutai/Senkaku issue will be the main source of sino Japanese tensions in the future.Here the USA should be the honest broker.As long as China and Japan claim that these resourceful three islands are integral part of their territory nothing will change.If Japan wanted to build infrastructure for expoiting the underwater resources, set up the first oil rig, the red line would be crossed in the view of Beijing and an armed conflict could become possible.This means: Japan cannot exploit the resources in the future. Here the USA should step in und try to bring Japan and China in some sort of compromise which allows both nations to exploit the minerals, the oil and gas.Professor Guo Rongxin from the Beijing University wrote a blueprint for such a compromise for the Brookings Institution.It offers possible soultions for a joint sinojapanese exloitation of the Senkaku resources. (It could also offer a vision towards an Eastasian Union, comparable with the monatn union between France an Gemrnay which gave way to the European Community) .This paper should be used by the US goverment as a guideline for a sino-Japanese compromise.On the other side the USA should put pressure on Japan to come in terms with its own past. Unlike Germany Japan didn´t critizise its own imperial history and the visit of the Yakusuni shrines which hosts war criminals by Japanes primeminsters and other high officials don´t make compromises and relation to the other Asian nations easier.

April 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRalf Ostner

I agree, AirSeaBattle is a dangerous position. I still believe it's primarily a scare tactic and not much more. But as the US heads to a wait-and-see mode in the Asia-Pacific region, we don't, like you pointed out, see one power rising above the rest, but several rising peers at the same time. The US needs to be ready to play offshore balancer against any of these powers. Personally, I'm most fearful of a United Korea rising. Massive cheap labor pool & resource base, combined with already substantial economy, alongside the indoctrinated populace from the North that isn't going anywhere post-unity, leads to a nationalist rising power with a beef with both of its Asian neighbors.

April 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergeosapien

"The military’s own shift to a somewhat more assertive force was on display last month at Camp Pendleton, a Marine base near San Diego and San Clemente Island. This year, 280 Japanese soldiers participated in the war games, 100 more than last year’s Iron Fist, which started eight years ago with just a dozen Japanese soldiers." 280 soldiers are the "Iron Fist" and military spending increases by 0.8% in Japan--wow--China will be scared to death--how frightening!!!

April 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRalf Ostner

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