Friday, August 1, 2014
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Global Ground Zero in Asia

NEW YORK – The biggest geopolitical risk of our times is not a conflict between Israel and Iran over nuclear proliferation. Nor is it the risk of chronic disorder in an arc of instability that now runs from the Maghreb all the way to the Hindu Kush. It is not even the risk of Cold War II between Russia and the West over Ukraine.

All of these are serious risks, of course; but none is as serious as the challenge of sustaining the peaceful character of China’s rise. That is why it is particularly disturbing to hear Japanese and Chinese officials and analysts compare the countries’ bilateral relationship to that between Britain and Germany on the eve of World War I.

The disputes between China and several of its neighbors over disputed islands and maritime claims (starting with the conflict with Japan) are just the tip of the iceberg. As China becomes an even greater economic power, it will become increasingly dependent on shipping routes for its imports of energy, other inputs, and goods. This implies the need to develop a blue-water navy to ensure that China’s economy cannot be strangled by a maritime blockade.

But what China considers a defensive imperative could be perceived as aggressive and expansionist by its neighbors and the United States. And what looks like a defensive imperative to the US and its Asian allies – building further military capacity in the region to manage China’s rise – could be perceived by China as an aggressive attempt to contain it.

Historically, whenever a new great power has emerged and faced an existing power, military conflict has ensued. The inability to accommodate Germany’s rise led to two world wars in the twentieth century; Japan’s confrontation with another Pacific power – the US – brought World War II to Asia.

Of course, there are no iron laws of history: China and its interlocutors are not fated to repeat the past. Trade, investment, and diplomacy may defuse rising tensions. But will they?

Europe’s great powers finally tired of slaughtering one another. Facing a shared threat from the Soviet bloc and US prodding, European countries created institutions to promote peace and cooperation, leading to economic and monetary union, now a banking union, and possibly in the future a fiscal and political union.

But no such institutions exist in Asia, where long-standing historical grievances among China, Japan, Korea, India, and other countries remain open wounds. Even two of America’s most important allies – Japan and South Korea – find themselves in a bitter dispute about the Korean “comfort women” forced to work in Japanese military brothels before and during World War II, despite an official apology from Japan 20 years ago.

Why are such tensions among Asia’s great powers becoming more serious, and why now?

For starters, Asia’s powers have recently elected or are poised to elect leaders who are more nationalistic than their predecessors. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Chinese President Xi Jinping, South Korean President Park Geun-hye, and Narendra Modi, who is likely to be India’s next prime minister, all fall into this category.

Second, all of these leaders now face massive challenges stemming from the need for structural reforms to sustain satisfactory growth rates in the face of global economic forces that are disrupting old models. Different types of structural reforms are crucially important in China, Japan, India, Korea, and Indonesia. If leaders in one or more of these countries were to fail on the economic front, they could feel politically constrained to shift the blame onto foreign “enemies.”

Third, many US allies in Asia (and elsewhere) are wondering whether America’s recent strategic “pivot” to Asia is credible. Given the feeble US response to the crises in Syria, Ukraine, and other geopolitical hot spots, the American security blanket in Asia looks increasingly tattered. China is now testing the credibility of US guarantees, raising the prospect that America’s friends and allies – starting with Japan – may have to take more of their security needs into their own hands.

Finally, unlike Europe, where Germany accepted the blame for the horrors of WWII and helped to lead a decades-long effort to construct today’s European Union, no such historical agreement exists among Asian countries. As a result, chauvinist sentiments have been instilled in generations that are far removed from the horrors of past wars, while institutions capable of fostering economic and political cooperation remain in their infancy.

This is a lethal combination of factors that risks eventually leading to military conflict in a key region of the global economy. How can the US credibly pivot to Asia in a way that does not fuel Chinese perceptions of attempted containment or US allies’ perceptions of appeasement of China? How can China build a legitimate defensive military capability that a great power needs and deserves without worrying its neighbors and the US that it aims to seize disputed territory and aspires to strategic hegemony in Asia? And how can Asia’s other powers trust that the US will support their legitimate security concerns, rather than abandon them to effective Finlandization under Chinese domination?

It will take enormous wisdom on the part of leaders in the region – and in the US – to find diplomatic solutions to Asia’s multitude of geopolitical and geo-economic tensions. In the absence of supporting regional institutions, there is little else to ensure that the desire for peace and prosperity prevails over conditions and incentives that tend toward conflict and war.

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  1. CommentedRazak Ahmad

    China is however developing alternatives so that it does not depend on traditional shipping routes.

  2. CommentedJeff GE

    To Yoko Mada

    Nankin Massacre is just a novel.
    Japan is a victim in WWII. The Military tribunal for the Far East is a farce. Wow! Clive Hill below mentioned revisionism. This is total denial of the facts.

    Let me ask you this. Did Japan invade China? Don't tell me that is based on a novel as well. Why US chooses to drop atomic bombs on Japan and not any other country?
    If the lessons of WWII are not learned, those burnt children and women in Japan you mentioned have died in vain.

  3. CommentedClive Hill

    Nouriel Roubini is mealy-mouthed when he says "...long-standing historical grievances among China, Japan, Korea, India, and other countries remain open wounds...". The problem is Japan. It is too late for that problem to go away. Japanese revisionism - at one extreme suggesting a war of anti-imperialism and even at best that Japan did nothing very much worse than any other nation at war- has gone on too long and too far to be reversed. The internet may be the solution but it will take a long, long time and in the meantime relations with China will only get worse.

  4. CommentedFrank O'Callaghan

    The large industrial and post-industrial economies are far too interlinked to have a true military conflict. The only circumstance where such is possible would be where the large majority of a population was about to redistribute wealth to the very many from the very few. In such a case might there be a 'Great War'. Elites have traditionally stirred nationalist hatred among their people to distract from internal problems. Wars are a way of getting the young of the poor to murder each other for the profit of the rich. Is professor Roubini suggesting that there is a part of the world teetering on the brink of revolution and redistribution of wealth?

  5. CommentedYoshimichi Moriyama

    Mr. Arujo,
    Who ought to have been held responsible for the Munich Conference of 1938, King George VI or Prime Minister Chamberlain? Who was responsible for the British intervention in the Suez Canal crisis of 1956, Queen Elizabeth or Prime Minister Eden?

    Prof. Reischauer of Harvard said, when asked by a Japanese newspaper to comment upon the death of Hirohito, that he was probably the greatest emperor in Japanese history. Yes, but he was politically impotent. So was his father. So was his grandfather. His father was mentally enfeebled and he was Regent Prince. The political impotence for three successive generations was not due to the imperial blood; it was the most deliberately intended political result. Hirobumi Ito was the principal architect of the pre-war Japanese consititution of 1889. He and others who cooperated with him in drafting the constitution were fully determined to deprive the emperor of any political privilege or any constitutional rights. It was no difficult job to accomplish, for Japanese emperors were, with a possible exception to first few emperors, traditionally powerless; they were priestly, and Ito and his co-workers only had to put this tradition into phraseology. In the West constitutional monarchy was one phase in the political development from authoritarian despotism to mass democracy, but in Japan political modernization started from the very beginning with constitutional monarchy.

    If you are interested but busy and cannot spare more than thirty seconds, I suggest Edwin O. Reischauer/Chapter 24 The Emperor, The Japanese. If you are bored at the weekend and can have a few hours for this, I suggest Ben-Ami Shillony/The Enigma of The Emperor. If you have still time to kill, I would like you to read by all means my four comments to Alistair Burnett/War Drums in Asia: Back to the European Future?/Yaleglobal Online. You might get some feel of what the 1930s' Japan was like.

      CommentedYoshimichi Moriyama

      Mr. Araujo,
      Thank you very much for your reply.
      You presumed the emperor to be a significant part of Japanese society. You are not mistaken. You are quite right. Though policically impotent, the emperor was an important part in moden Japan.

      Japanese leaders, like Hirobumi Ito, of the Meiji period (1868-1912) felt an urgent need to build a modern nation-state in Japan. Ito studied Europe and found all European states, whether republics, kingdoms, or empires, had a common social and cultural terrain upon which they had been built, namely Christianity. He tried to find out what would fulfil the role of Christianity in Japan. He "argued the emperor's function was not to rule, but to define and preserve by his superior authority the framework within which government worked. This was achieved in Europe by Chirstianity and constitutional theory, he pointed out. In Japan, neither Shinto nor Buddhism could in this sense provide a religious sanction. Nor did Japan have a relevant constitutional tradition of her own. It followed that 'the one intitution which can become the cornerstone of our country is the Imperiral House (W. G. Beasley, The Rise of Modern Japan.)"

      "The actual terms of the constitution, its underlying principles, and its first twenty years of operation all combined to make the emperor function essentially as a symbol. He was head of State; the various ruling entities and factions governed in his name, and his presence was at least a reminder of their final responsibilty to compose their differences and carry out a concerted policy....the throne subsumed, in a way no other institutions could, general feelings about Japan's identity destiny as a nation (R. H. P. Mason and J. G. Caiger, A History of Japan.)"

      The government decided to make war on China in 1894. Mutsuhito, Hirohito's grandfather, was timid and afraid of war with China, and hesitating to give imperial sanction to the decision. So the government started fighting without it. Ten years later, when the government decided to make war on Russia, Mutsuhito was very afraid but since it was his constitutional obligation, he agreed. He said, however, to his intimate aides, "This is not my war."

      Hirohito was 25 years old when he became emperor after his father's death. There were a lot of much older generals and high-ranking officers. Many of them looked down upon him as a green horn lacking in the guts.
      Though not vested with any political power, he tried to restrain the arrogant army by asking questions and making suggestions.
      It is generally thought, mistakenly, that he made the national decision of surrender in August, 1945. This is totally wrong. The government was divided, and what he did was to persuade hesitating and unconvinced leaders to agree to the prime minister, the foreign and navy ministers, etc. who favored accepting the Potsdam Declaration for surrender.

      Where did his persuasiveness come from? From his semi-religious, high moral and moralistic reason and reasonableness. "Japanese ultra-nationalists were loyal to their conception of what the emperor ought to be. To the emperor as he was they were grossly disloyal...(Richard Storry, A History of Modern Japan.)"

      CommentedJose araujo

      Mr. Moriyama,

      I confess my ignorance regarding the Japanese society, I presumed the emperor was the Japanese head of state prior and during WWII.

      I also presumed the emperor to be a significant part of Japanese society, that the Japanese people revered their emperor, or at least that people listened to their emperor.

      I was also led to believe that Japanese troops in WWII fought for the emperor, and that his person was vital on the code of honor that led Japanese troops to battle.

      I confess my ignorance, maybe the name of the emperor was just call on virtuous actions and when the crimes and violations were committed it was the name of the prime-minister that was called …

  6. CommentedJose araujo

    Japan and South Korea – find themselves in a bitter dispute about the Korean “comfort women” forced to work in Japanese military brothels before and during World War II, despite an official apology from Japan 20 years ago.

    So the apology of Japan is enough for the people in Korea to be at peace with Japan.

    Imagine that Hitler sun was the leader in Germany, and no trials were conducted post WWII, would it be enough for Europe to just accept a German apology?

    From an outsider its clear that one of the problems is that no justice was made post WWII in Japan. America won the pacific war and it was avenged by Hiroshima and Nagasaki, after that it was more interested in making Japan an American protectorate then seaking justice for the atrocities Japanese made in asia.

    Fast forward 60 years and there is still the seed of a conflit with Japan... Again if your family and country was made to suffer in WWII in the name of an Emperor would you be in peace seeing the Emperor stilll in power?

  7. CommentedPaul A. Myers

    The analogy with the UK and Germany before World War I is a very poor analogy and should not be used in this context.

    The issue is creating regional security arrangements that meet regional needs and have enforceable credibility.

    In the current globalized world, the US cannot make a multitude of international "red lines" and still have credibility. He who defends everything defends nothing.

    The issues in East Asia require American mediation and assistance, but an alliance against China would be disastrous. Both China and India are probably going to have increased naval presences in the oceans between the Middle East and the Far East for legitimate security reasons.

  8. Commentedotto ruthenberg

    this is a rehash of known arguments mostly twisted towards doom. peddling risk seems good business. for nourini the mere outlying possiblity of doom is enough to warn and make a business of it by extracting from all the scared for his "wisdom". please add more substance.

  9. CommentedDaniele Panzeri

    The international community should help China to build a more equal partnership relation with Burma through which China could access the Bay of Bengal and therefore release pressure on the Pacific Ocean. The relation between China and Burma though should be of real partnership and not a semi-colonization like it is happening now, The international community should help China and Burma doing that.

  10. Commentedj. von Hettlingen

    Mr. Nouriel Roubini describes Asia's Pacific Northeast as the "Global Ground Zero" and the tensions there as the "biggest geopolitical risk of our times". He exaggerates when he thinks the crisis there were even more serious than the Israel and Iran dispute "over nuclear proliferation"; the rise of Islamic extremism "from the Maghreb all the way to the Hindu Kush" and "the risk of Cold War II between Russia and the West over Ukraine".
    Perhaps growth and prosperity of a country can sometimes be more a curse than a blessing, when nationalism becomes the by-product of its economic strength. China overtook Japan as the world's second largest economy in 2010, and the People's Liberation Army in Beijing believes it is time to shift the balance of power and see this century as China's. It has built up a military for the last 20 years and it starts making its presence felt and reclaiming lost territories in the region. Japanese have been seeing sluggish growth and weak leadership in the handling of the Fokushima disaster. Many see in Shinzo Abe a strong leader to lead their country out of quagmire.
    Unfortunately the two of the world's richest countries have also had a troubled past. The "historical grievances" that Japan had inflicted on China and South Korea had never really been addressed. The wounds were torn apart again since Shinzo Abe returned to office in 2012.
    Since China became an economic powerhouse , it has "become increasingly dependent on shipping routes for its imports of energy, other inputs, and goods". The East and South China Seas matter because they are rich fishing grounds, close to important shipping lanes and potential oil and gas reserves. They are also in a strategically significant location, in which the US and China compete for military primacy. The East and South China Seas could be likened to the Caribbean a century ago, when it became America's backyard, allowing it to dominate the Western Hemisphere. The control of the South China Sea would also make China the great military power in the region.
    Yet regional neighbours face "the challenge of sustaining the peaceful character of China’s rise". Beijing sees Japan's desire to rearm and America's pivot to Asia as "an aggressive attempt to contain it". The rivalry between China and Japan has gotten worse in many ways that their leadership hardly speaks to each other.
    It is true that Asia lacks institutions like the European Union or the Council of Europe that set up legal frameworks, which define the patterns of behaviour among member states and rein in unwelcome and unilateral actions that disrupt the order of the community. Unfortunately, "no such historical agreement exists among Asian countries". Leaders capitalise on chauvinist sentiments at will to distract their citizens from domestic woes. In order to address the "security concerns" of the nations embroiled in territorial disputes, the US should support and strengthen "regional institutions". Only with solidarity and empathy can the people in the region build trust and work for peace and stability.

  11. CommentedJohn Shin

    One countervailing and ameliorating force that will prevent a breakout of conflicts in Asia is the pragmatism of these trading partners; China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan collectively buy from and sell to one another so much so that they would always keep aggression at check at the door.

  12. CommentedPaul Daley

    The great counter-example of course is Britain's accomodation of the United States as it rose to power during the nineteenth century. That was facilitated by the fact that the United States was hard to fight (as the British discovered during the Revolution and the War of 1812) and, in any case, held Canada hostage.

    The problem now for China is that Japan is not Canada; As China knows, Japan can and will defend itself. Nor is China so immune from attack now as the United States was during the nineteenth century. In short, the regional balance of power and risk is more even than might first appear. China could miscalculate but it should be cautious in a situation where it could be hit back to back first by Japan and then the United States.

  13. CommentedYoshimichi Moriyama

    America will lead the 21st Asian Century. Its presence in this area is essential as it has been. Why America Will Lead the 'Asian Century' by John Lee/http://www.cis.org.au/publications/foreign-policy-analysis/article/1316-why-america-will-lead-asian-century/ is deeply insightful.

    Why China will not be able to lead the Asian Century is, to borrow a concept of economics, because it lacks good societal fundamentals. And It has hardly anything to offer to its neighbours. let alone to the world.

    A Chinese writer read a Japanese novel and said, "We Chinese are always cantankerous and abusively brawling at each other." The CCP was abusively brawling at the United State in the 1950s and 1960s. It was abusively brawling at the Soviet Union in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980. It is as abusively calling Japan names. The United States and the Sovie Union did not flinch. That is the secret. Some Chinese officials have been confidentially whispering to their intimate Japanese counterparts that they are trying to find out how to get out of the island dispute. The Chinese love to make themselves appear bigger and grander than they really are. The important thing is that we should be militarily prepared and at the same time ready to talk frankly with them.

    Had it not been for the two Sino-Japanese wars, Japan's annexation of Korea, and the issues of the islands and comfort women, the Chinese-Japanese and the Korean-Japanese relatioons would be very much the same as they are.

    Incidentally, first Germany alone should not be blamed for the First World War. Every major country at that time should be equally to blame. Second I felt as if Prof. Robini took Nazi Germany and the 1930s's Japan in the same vein and on the same plane. There was very much difference. For instance, Hitler decided to start war with Russia in August 1940. He boasted that he would finish Russia in three weeks. Japan wanted to avoid war with the United States. It was when Japan received a reply from US Secretay of State Hull, called the Hull note, in November 26, 1941, several days before December 8 that Tojo finally decided to attack. For a little more of this, read my four comments, if interestd, to yaleglobal online/Alistair Burnett/War Drums in Asia: Back to the European Future? www.yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/war-drums-asia-back-future-europe.

      CommentedJeff GE

      I know racial and ethnic preconceptions, misconceptions and stereotypes exist in this world. I thought as a school teacher, you have a responsibility to combat these stereotypes. But instead, you justify your preconceptions about Chinese based on simple logic derived from physics and mathematics. You are digging a hole deeper than you realize.

      If I were to follow your logic, based on what your wrote here, I'd conclude that Japanese are judgmental and are devoid of remorse for their wrongdoings. This type of ethnic stereotype is of course not true as I have quite a few Japanese colleagues who are also wonderful friends.

      I learned that there are Japanese textbooks that provide very one-sided account of what happened in WWII. Perhaps you are from one of those schools that adopted these type of textbooks?

      CommentedYoshimichi Moriyama

      I do not want to be drawn into a philosophycal question, but as I read before, scientists and philosophers once used to say that the earth had been going round the sun for millions of millions of days, so that it woud go round it the next day. But scientists say say something like this today: The earth is within the range of strong gravitation of the sun and is also attracted by gravitation of other stars, so it is caught in the mechanism of going round the sun; it is as if the earth has learned to internalize the solemn duty of going round the sun till the end of solar system.
      "Two apples and three apples makes five apples" does not prove the logic that 2 + 3 = 5. However, it is a useful method to teach the arithmetic logic.

      I do not remember the Chinese writer's name but he had read Yasunari Kawabata's The Snow Country. He said that to a Japanese newspaper. I have had the impression, without the writer's comment, that the Chinese are cantankerous, etc. from what little I read about China.

      Only Germany alone ought not to have been held responsible for the World War I. Germany, like other countries which fought the War, did not intend nor expect the war would turn into a prolonged and devastating great war. All the countries thought initially that the war would be soon over, but the dynasties fell and revolution broke out in Russia and Germany. Russia had Bolshvism and Germany had the incessantly chaotic Weimar Repubiic, to which social anarchic disintegration Hitler put an end.

      CommentedJeff GE

      An unknown Chinese writer read an unknown Japanese novel and made an unsubstantiated negative comment about Chinese and that is enough for you to conclude Chinese being abusively brawling? Wow!

      And for the World War, every major country is equally to blame (and therefore no country is to be blamed). Nice try.

      When you have done something wrong, fess up and apologize. This is something that should have been learned when you are in kindergarten.

  14. CommentedS.Mahmud Ali

    Prof. Roubini points to a number of very worrying trends and processes reshaping the Asia-Pacific. Only one of these relate to the import of Sino-US strategic competition, especially in China's Western Pacific periphery. China's comprehensive national power is growing much more slowly than it has since 1978-79, but even at the slower rate of around 7% per annum, a growing GDP will deliver substantial assets and resources to its authoritarian and unelected government. Does that mean democracies should band together to challenge China's growing capacity to assert its long-standing claims and increasingly robustly voiced interests? Many realists in Japan, India and the West, as well as several ASEAN states, insist balancing against China is the only sensible way of restraining China's apparently revanchist and expansionary muscularity. They may only be partially right, and perhaps only over the short term. Longer-term and sustainable measures to maintain stability in a milieu defined by rapidly changing power dynamics demand deliberate and well-thought out collective efforts to manage the processes and consequences of change.

    Over the medium term, China's growing prowess can not be countered militarily without triggering massive and potentially suicidal violence, given the integrated economic, financial and commercial landscape on which challenges unfold. Does that mean China must be allowed to do whatever it chooses to? Not really. However, for allowing diplomacy to succeed where military "rebalances" are likely to fail, one crucial factor is the congruence (or, as at present, the lack of it) of the sense of justice and victimhood.

    Chinese, Korean and Japanese societies suffer from varying degrees of anger at being victims of historical injustices. The present order seeks to stabilise the dynamics by essentially legitimising a reality which is deeply resented by large segments in all three societies, although interpretations of who the victims were vary widely.

    The system manager's insistence on claiming normative neutrality on disputes while insisting nothing be changed except in a manner suiting its interests is not only internally inconsistent but also, fundamentally, non-stabilising. Clearly, there are no easy solutions, but the general notion that one particular perspective is correct and acceptable and all others are incorrect and unacceptable, cannot be particularly effective in addressing both normative and structural disjunctures. Cakes cannot both be had and eaten. And this applies to all the powers active across the Western Pacific.

  15. Commentedslightly optimistic

    The failure of great powers to sustain satisfactory growth rates will certainly have serious consequences. Internal revolts, the search for distractions such as foreign enemies, and the consequences of huge debt write offs across the world etc.
    Unfortunately the G20 is primarily concerned with economics, not politics.

    In a new book, another US professor argues that financial globalisation needs the US as guarantor of a system that has lifted hundreds of millions out of grinding poverty. How else will security be provided to protect the sea lanes, air corridors, and communications and transportation infrastructure that are essential to the international economic system.

  16. CommentedMarc Sargen

    So WW2 had nothing to do with two countries trying to cover up domestic issues by stoking national pride & attacking any neighbor who interfered with their ultimate supremacy.

      CommentedJames Thomas

      Sure, if you want to look at history through a very small lens. Many wars have been waged as a slight of hand to deflect concern about domestic troubles. But the larger sweep of history is usually necessary to make that tactic salable. It takes a remarkable propaganda machine to create a mortal enemy out of whole cloth.

      China has nursed grievances against the West since well before the Opium Wars. Now, with its economy - and its military - riding a breathtaking upward sweep, danger lurks in the hearts of those who would bring China to its 'proper place' as the Middle Kingdom.

      Besides, the domestic issues facing China at the moment are relatively insignificant.

  17. CommentedJames Long

    A psychopath is a person who wants to control you. A psychopath may want physical, emotional, sexual, financial, or political control, depending on the particular personality of the psychopath, and he may operate on a family, local, transient, regional, national, or world scale. Understanding of psychopathy is advancing rapidly among professional psychologists, but almost no layman outside the FBI and the RCMP is aware of the great progress that has been made; psychopathy is complex and counterintuitive, adding to the confusion.

    A psychopath has a very nasty personality which he disguises in order to perpetrate his frauds and larcenies. Psychopathy is reliably measured by Dr. Robert Hare's "Psychopathy Check List," twenty-one items typical of persons with, primarily, anti-social personality disorder and malignant narcissistic personality disorder. Psychopaths have followers and enablers, but they are useful to the psychopath only to the extent they support the psychopath's own selfish goals. Otherwise, they re gone. Examples -- Ernst Rohm and the Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

    There have been a limited number of modern world-scale psychopaths: Napoleon, Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, and now Putin, Obama, and the leaders of China. There is no need to kill tens of millions of people in order to control a handful of corrupt and destructive characters with the world's worst mental disorder. Identify potential psychopaths early and make sure they never reach positions of responsibility and power.

      CommentedJames Thomas

      I wonder why you characterize Xi and other top Chinese officials as psychopaths. It is a bit early in Xi's reign but my knowledge of him doesn't suggest psychopathy. I believe that what China wants is what it sees as its rightful place at the world table. It imagines that a very big place. But I don't see how that descends to psychopathy.

  18. Commentedslightly optimistic

    'The biggest geopolitical risk of our times is the challenge of sustaining the peaceful character of China’s rise.'

    Today's news is that on ppp terms China is poised to overtake the US as the world's biggest economy, while India has vaulted into third place ahead of Japan - reports Bloomberg.
    Alliances?

  19. CommentedYoko Mada

    I'm Japanese, born and raised here in Japan and the critical aspect of China that I see is that it's a communist country. Your article I think is missing the point of the aim of China's growth. China has the history of swallowing our enormous amount of ODA - no wonder why they are said to have a few hundreds nuclear weapons. Yet their military system is way behind of Japan according to the former Chief of Staff of Air Self Defense Force, meaning they're not a threat considering emergency case for now even though you can see what'd happen looking at Tibet etc if their system was better.
    Also, think of this: See the world map from China towards the direction of America. Japan is in the way of them getting to America, and as you might recall, their leader has talked about dividing the pacific ocean before to President Obama at the conference. Their party definitely is thinking the same as generations back. You also need to keep it in mind that even though China is rising, it's still such a gap-widening society, so you can imagine how CPC can ignore the poor and go for their own goals because that's what's happening.
    Anyways, what I think would be ideal for the solution is America, especially the democratic party, is to not depend on China economically, bond better with Japan economically and militarily, and China won't have a chance of taking insane actions that are old fashioned. It's probably not pleasant to America but America should forget about TPP etc and let Japan grow for now so that Japan can have more control of our nation including JSDF power and constitution revision to improve the situations. China might be big, but they can't win us over alone. What we also need to pay attention to is countries in EU, that are interested in the economy. I sort of wish that Chinese people were religious or educated better on social standards. They just don't have the sense of morality and they don't match into the actual globalism. Oh wait, what CPC wants isn't globalism, the world domination.

      CommentedJeff GE

      To Yoko Mada

      Nankin Massacre is just a novel.
      Japan is a victim in WWII. The Military tribunal for the Far East is a farce. Wow! Clive Hill below mentioned revisionism. This is total denial of the facts.

      Let me ask you this. Did Japan invade China? Don't tell me that is based on a novel as well. Why US chooses to drop atomic bombs on Japan and not any other country?
      If the lessons of WWII are not learned, those burnt children and women in Japan you mentioned have died in vain.

      CommentedYoko Mada

      To Jeff GE,
      What atrocity are you talking about? Please don't start talking about the Nankin Massacre which was based on a novel and other "political propaganda" because I'm going to laugh if you do.
      The atrocity you should be rather talking about is the DAILY firebombs from B-29 and atomic bombs which literally burnt children and women in Japan approximately over 600,000 of them. Has the U.S apologized for that? Or any of their inhuman actions in the past? As for China, why do you think China grew? A lot of it comes from Japanese ODA. Think of why we've given them the massive amount of ODA.
      What you believe in is based on The International Military Tribunal for the Far East, a farce set up by GHQ. Winners write the history. It's been over half a century since the WWII and there are many enough sources today which were hidden back in the day. Don't swallow what you study in school or hear from the media, wake up already and do some research by your own.

      CommentedJeff GE

      The level of maturity displayed in your comments explained why Japan would not fully accept the blames for atrocity they brought to China and other Asian countries during the WWII.

  20. Portrait of Michael Heller

    CommentedMichael Heller

    Nouriel, unfortunately I think you are right. Prideful but complacent Asian nations may be sleepwalking into warlike confrontations. I do wonder, how will Australia react? Will it sleep undisturbed through the Asian noise or be woken by boat people in uniforms? Still, at least the US signed a new defence treaty with the Philippines. That was necessary. The way in which China alienated the Philippines displayed the shocking immaturity of Chinese institutions. As for the Japanese, I stick to my idea that they should bow extremely low, swallow very hard, and transact or gift a small rocky outcrop, as a show of maturity, proof of modernity, while of course strengthening their defences.

    http://michaelgheller.blogspot.com.au/
    Heller Economic History Entertainments

      CommentedJames Thomas

      I think you're probably right. But there are a large handful of other Japanese islands that will become chess pieces as China flexes its muscles. The trick will be giving up the Senkakus without the stink of capitulation. Tough trick.

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