Wednesday, April 20, 2005


From London's Daily Telegraph:

"The balance of power is changing in favour of mainland China," said Masahi Nishihara, president of the National Defence Academy, Japan's equivalent of Sandhurst. "If there is a conflict between China and the United States over Taiwan, Japan would be almost immediately involved."

Mr Nishihara raised the prospect of a China mounting a Pearl Harbour-style surprise attack on the US military base in Okinawa to stop America coming to the rescue of Taiwan.

Ah, Mr. Nishihara? If any country should know that Pearl Harbor-style surprise attacks don’t work, it’s…Japan.

I think the Chinese understand that an attack on a U.S. base would elicit a powerful American military response. And an attack against Okinawa would lead to war with Japan.

The idea that China would initiate total war with Japan and the United States while China’s forces are bogged down in an invasion of Taiwan appears absurd.

The fact that upper-tier Japanese defense types are retailing this nonsense—and the reliably-plugged-into-the-conservative-network Telegraph is publicizing it without a raised eyebrow—is more serious.

It looks to me like Japan is taking a front line position in shaping a more menacing perception of China: China as a nation that is hostile, aggressive, and possibly irrational.

A danger that must be confronted and contained.

Is Japan marching to its own right-wing drummer as Koizumi tries to reshape Japanese culture and politics with Bush-style us vs. them, Koizumi or the abyss nationalism?

Is Japan acting as public relations proxy for a United States that is as yet unwilling to enter into open confrontation with China?

Or both?

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