The elections, Libya, Syria, Iran, are the big news items right now in the States. But I keep my eye on the latest spat between China and Japan. Taiwan is in there, somehow, but I think this is an offshoot.
Most Americans don’t know that there were two wars between Japan and China, both started by Japan, in the last century. We know Pearl Harbor, but only East Asia college courses get into the first and second Sino-Japanese wars.
The stench from those wars still lingers in the air between China and Japan.
What prevented a third Sino-Japanese war was the introduction of America as a Pacific power beginning in 1942. The US military keeps the Pacific calm, and bottles up China to its own land interests on the Asian continent. At some point in the future, China will want to “share” the Pacific with the American-led Pacific alliance.
But before that happens, it looks more and more like China will menace Japan. Have petty fights about which uninhabited island belongs to whom.
It really isn’t just about the islands; it’s about the history.
You can either live in the 21st century, or live in some other time. Not everyone sees the world like that, though.
I have some concern that the US is so gung ho about standing with Japan on this island dispute. There are a list of bilateral domestic concerns that Japan has not addressed with us. As I’ve mentioned: equal protection of the law while Americans are in Japan, labor and contract, civil rights concerns; the fact that Japan has not ratified Hague with regard to children of divorced couples. I feel there is, maybe, 5% of Japan who are recidivists about our victory in the last war, and they have been spiting us with these sorts of things. I’m not comfortable with us going gangbusters in an alliance where that 5% is making fools of us, since they are the same kind of people who irritate China with their attitudes. We look like the fool because, to some, we are standing with the bully of Asia, all the while, in fact, we try to keep a clean and more wholesome image about our integrity worldwide.
(If you need an example of recidivist, I am obviously thinking about Toshio Tamogami and the kind of people who supported him within the LDP.)
If there ever is a third Sino, of course we would have to stand with Japan. I’d just be concerned that it gets sold as a US-China war, when in fact it was more of the same old historical fight between two Asian rivals.