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Hacked By AdGhosT

Hacked By AdGhosT & Tayeb TN & bo hmid

 

 

 

 

 

close your eyes and listen Elfen Lied <3

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Diaoyu Islands » The Peking Duck

Diaoyu Islands

I’ve been avoiding this topic because a.) it’s being covered all over the place, and b.) I see it as one of those hopeless messes that cannot be resolved, as I see many foreign policy issues around the world. But this recent Global Times editorial popped out at me for its war mongering and hostility.

Japan’s increasingly radical approach over the island disputes is pushing the Diaoyu issue toward a military confrontation. The Japanese government is dangerously fanning the flames in East Asia.

Both China and Japan should be cautious in mentioning military clashes. Creating a war scenario should be a taboo for officials. Japan has to be clear that the hatred of Japan’s invasion is still buried in the Chinese consciousness. A rising China will by no means allow military humiliation by Japan to happen again.

World War II is long over for Chinese. But Japan repeatedly reminds us of that history. Tokyo has never honestly faced that war. No sincere remorse can be felt in its attitude toward China. On the contrary, it tries to make up for defeat in the past with new sources of conflict with its neighbor.

If a new war breaks out between China and Japan, it may well take on an aspect of revenge. Let it be said, however, that China has no plan to square up with Japan. Hatred toward Japan has been a topic of restraint in Chinese media and in remarks by officials. In the Diaoyu issue, Japan has repeatedly mentioned the deployment of Self-Defense Forces.

Japan mustn’t go too far in provoking China. Japanese officials should think twice before uttering provocative words. In modern history, all the conflicts between China and Japan were caused by Japanese invasion. Japan has no right to attack China bitterly as it does today. The Chinese public has boundless antipathy toward Japan.

At least it’s honest. We all know the disputed territory is claimed by China mainly because of its appearance on Ming Dynasty maps as part of the country, and that no one cared about it until the 1970s when the area was found to have valuable natural resources like oil and gas. The seas around them also harbore valuable fish. By that time, the islands had been handed over to Japan by the US which took control of them after WWII. Japan had claimed them since 1895. (You can read a good overview of how this situation evolved over here.) China would almost certainly not care a fig about them — or at least not to the point of threatening war over them — if they weren’t rich in resources.

This has become much more than a clash over territory. It has awakened all the old anti-Japanese sentiment (not that it had ever abated) and this editorial says as much. It is an admission that the wound China feels over Japan for not apologizing sufficiently for their brutality and war crimes of WWII still fester as if new, and that the dispute is largely fueled by “boundless antipathy toward Japan.” In such a hate-filled atmosphere there is no room for rational discussion. China is so prickly on the topic that a diplomatic solution seems impossible. You can’t reason with people blinded by rage. And we saw in recent weeks, with angry demonstrations in some Chinese cities, that this issue touches an exposed nerve. I have to admire the CCP’s knack for fanning the flames of anti-Japanese sentiment with propaganda such as editorials like this.

I am no authority on this issue, and maybe there are other historical factors I’m unaware of that legitimize China’s claim. I know they have fished off the islands for centuries, and that Taiwan also supports China’s territorial claims. All I’m commenting on is China’s bellicose reaction and the swiftness with which it turns a territorial dispute into one of virulent nationalism and hatred of Japan. Just look at the headline of the editorial: Staying calm could be seen as a sign of weakness. Time to not be calm, i.e., time to get furious, and, based on the first sentence I cite, violent.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 78 Comments

“It would be as if Great Britain and Canada were still rivals to the US in North America, and GB/Canada based lots of naval vessels mere hundreds of miles away from New York and Washington.”

Your comparison flaunts how little connection you have with reality when speaking on Japan. Perhaps you should ask yourself why the US and Britain have not been rivals for nearly 200 years, despite the fact that there was a severe force disparity between them for roughly two thirds of that time. Perhaps the “tragedy” you refer to is one of your own making, wherein you can see no better relationship with Japan than one of vulnerability or subjugation.

“they’re trying to ensure that a repeat of the 19th century never can happen to China again, and if that means creating and leading an Asian security order, then so be it.”

And if they can’t lead because no one wants to follow, then what? Co-prosperity II?

“Of course Japan wants the US around; it’s the only way they can remain relevant in East Asia.”

It’s this type of dismissiveness that leads to your impasse. You can’t fathom that the US’s relationship with Japan has evolved into more than an economic/military one; indeed, it is increasingly an institutional and cultural relationship. Also, you can’t admit that Japan will remain relevant for its economic clout, size, and technological capacity, regardless of whether the US is there or not.

“As for Korea, this is only because North Korea is retarded.”

Sir, step away from the Asian-American community. Your knowledge of the US’s relationship with Asian nations is being severly hampered. Since 2007 polls in South Korea have indicated a wider acceptance of US military presence in South Korea (70% of Koreans stating they do not want the US military to leave). The same polls have also indicated that the primary reason was NOT North Korea, as only a decided minority felt threatened by potential North Korean aggression.

Events of the past 3 years determine that US cultural and political influence will increase in Korea while China’s once-growing clout will decrease. China’s abuse of South Korean reporters, its culpability in the torture of North Korean refugees, its netizens’ persistent hostility toward South Koreans on internet sites, its protection of North Korea after the Cheonan incident, its weapons sales–all these have severly impacted its reputation in South Korea. After a generation of of anti-American influence from leftist professors (who have since lost their models), the US is once again winning the hearts and minds of Korea’s youth. And with patently manipulative attitudes such as the one you just gave voice to, I’m afraid China simply can’t help itself.

Perhaps you’ve heard, when typhoon Bolaven hit South Korea recently, many were upset that the highest number of casualties in South Korea were Chinese. No, not because it was regarded a tragedy. The Chinese were illegally fishing off of Jeju island, you see, when the storm capsized their boats.

September 2, 2012 @ 4:30 pm | Comment

t_co

“China could become more reasonable (but I doubt they will), and America’s relations with other East and South-East Asian nations will need to transform into a partnership, rather than into hegemony.”

Agreed. And I think that process is underway.

September 2, 2012 @ 4:34 pm | Comment

I wonder how differently the western media coverage would be if the current scuffle had been between the governments of Taiwan and Japan, instead of China and Japan. On paper at least, the nationalist government in Taiwan had never recognized the inclusion of Diaoyutai with the Ryukyu Islands during the US/Japan handover in 1972, and continues its claims to the islands. Civilian protests have also never ceased since 1972, with periodic flare ups.

The key to resolution of the Diaoyutai/Senkaku dispute is interpretation of historical/geographical status as part of the Ryukyu Islands, or part of Taiwan.

September 2, 2012 @ 10:24 pm | Comment

[…] Global Times (English ed.), Aug 27, 2012 H/t to Peking Duck […]

September 2, 2012 @ 11:26 pm | Pingback

I wonder how differently the western media coverage would be if the current scuffle had been between the governments of Taiwan and Japan, instead of China and Japan.

A Taiwanese government spokesman welcomed the use of an ROC flag by Hong Kong activists last month(it was planted there along with a PRC flag). He said something like the flag had been in an adequate place, if I remember correctly what I overheard on Taiwanese radio. Just as a recent statement from Taipei concerning Japanese insults of Taiwanese “comfort women”, the statement about the flag was a businesslike statement. One can disagree with it, but one can’t say that it was a stupid statement, given that Taiwan maintains those claims. That’s quite different from the Global Times article quoted in the post above.

September 2, 2012 @ 11:35 pm | Comment

This is exactly what West Germany did to get trust from its neighbors, and exactly what Japan should do.

No one wants to keep Japan down; the point is to make sure Japan can never threaten any other East Asian country militarily, again.

First, I would observe that any limits on the German military are German in origin. Its neighbours have no problems with it having a military and indeed would like it to be a bit more proactive. When on any military operation, the Germans love to throw restrictions in that mean they can’t actually pull their weight.

Second, Japan’s military was suppressed and under Allied control for a long time, much like Germany’s was. Indeed, West Germany was allowed to re-establish its military quite quickly after WWII, even if its assets were limited.

Third, Japan continues to have self-imposed limits on its military. For example, they have no ballistic or cruise missiles, despite the fact that China, North Korea, Russia and even South have or are developing such weapons.

Fourth, although West Germany had little choice in the matter, there was at least trust that France, the UK and others wouldn’t stab it in the back. The threat of the Soviet Union meant that efforts within NATO were focused outward, rather than inward.

On the other hand, Japan has no East Asia wide defence organisation to join and no mutual threat that would mean its neighbours wouldn’t try to take advantage of its new vulnerability. Indeed, given many Chinese and Korean nationalists talk with glee of their desire to sow Japan’s fields with salt at the first opportunity, I’m not sure it’s realistic to ask Japan to disarm to try to gain their favour.

But if China really, really, really would like to see Japan boot out American forces and spend even less than 1% of GDP on defence, maybe it could force Pyongyang to disarm. E.g. threaten to turn the lights off. Anything else is a case of trying to have your cake and eat it.

September 3, 2012 @ 2:33 am | Comment

There’s a comment by a certain xsc further up which deserves some attention, I believe. It seems it was only freed from the spam queue a while ago.

Raj, the trouble with German self-restraint lies in our constitution (basically the same as in 1949). Even the military tasks Germany has taken in places like former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan or the Horn of Africa, while permissible according to the Constitutional Court, would be less contested if “out-of-area” deployment had been the “founding fathers'” intention. The best thing – if more German military abroad is really desirable – would be amendments to the German constitution.

If other European countries really have no objections (I’m not so sure about countries like Greece, the Netherlands, or Poland as I’m about Britain or France as far as that’s concerned), there might be good reasons to “throw” in less restrictions. But besides global matters, feelings within Europe matter, too. They are probably not as clear-cut as people in Britain or France – two big countries on a European scale – might think.

September 3, 2012 @ 5:02 am | Comment

@Handler

My apologies, I should have said the richest. You do realize from the PLAN’s perspective (and their strategy to “break out”) this is all about Taiwan first and foremost, upon which they hope to later build outward.
That is the only “province” in danger in the Western Pacific, the only province one could reasonably say was held hostage by any nation, assuming we accept that nation is the PRC. The rest of what you offer here is mindless (even if you are articulating someone else’s POV) nationalist rhetoric, calling up a threat where there is none.

Actually, it’s not about Taiwan, it’s about the mainland strip. China doesn’t *want* Taiwan for its wealth, its natural beauty, or whatever resources are on the island. Taiwan matters insofar as it is a hostile launching pad for aircraft and missiles within range of 50% of China’s GDP and nearly all of China’s seaborne energy lanes. Basically, if Taiwan and China had the same history (splitting apart in 1949) but was as far out as Australia, the PRC wouldn’t care at all.

The vital lesson here is that China is fundamentally a wealthy coastal country melded to a third world interior. The interior provides resources and labor; the coast provides capital, brainpower, good infrastructure, and an internal market. Without security on both flanks, China can’t prosper. With any other country in control of either flank, China is not sovereign. China knows this, and it also knows that the last time it engaged in a long spree of economic revitalization (in the 1920s and 30s under the KMT) Japan and its colonies ended up invading it from the coast. China’s mission is to ensure something like that doesn’t happen this time around and that in both zones it is the undisputed master.

Events of the past 3 years determine that US cultural and political influence will increase in Korea while China’s once-growing clout will decrease. China’s abuse of South Korean reporters, its culpability in the torture of North Korean refugees, its netizens’ persistent hostility toward South Koreans on internet sites, its protection of North Korea after the Cheonan incident, its weapons sales–all these have severly impacted its reputation in South Korea. After a generation of of anti-American influence from leftist professors (who have since lost their models), the US is once again winning the hearts and minds of Korea’s youth. And with patently manipulative attitudes such as the one you just gave voice to, I’m afraid China simply can’t help itself.

I could cite a litany of anecdotes caused by the US military presence and how South Korean protestors still burn the American flag on a quarterly basis, but those are just that–anecdotes. The long-term fundamentals boil down to this: China’s size and proximity means that South Korea either hardens up against it on an active basis, or gets dragged into China’s orbit. Hardening up against a giant neighbor is costly from a long-term PoV. As China gets wealthier and more powerful, it gets more and more costly. Eventually the cost to the South Korean institutions–the chaebol and ministries that actually run the country–gets so big that they have no choice but to accede. And since China is the only nation which can make or break Korean unification, and South Korea is not large enough to force China’s hand on that issue, South Korea has no choice but to participate in a Chinese strategic vision rather than an American one.And therein lies the rub: international relations is fundamentally all about having your caking and eating it too. Normatively, there is no moral standard by which nations should give and take power between each other. All I have been explaining here is what China’s *interests* are; that they are in conflict with the interests of some other nations is no surprise and should be no cause to *vilify* China. It simply

September 3, 2012 @ 6:17 am | Comment

Woops, the last few sentences were part of the next comment:

@Raj:

But if China really, really, really would like to see Japan boot out American forces and spend even less than 1% of GDP on defence, maybe it could force Pyongyang to disarm. E.g. threaten to turn the lights off. Anything else is a case of trying to have your cake and eat it.

And therein lies the rub: international relations is fundamentally all about having your caking and eating it too. Normatively, there is no moral standard by which nations should give and take power between each other. All I have been explaining here is what China’s *interests* are; that they are in conflict with the interests of some other nations is no surprise and should be no cause to *vilify* China.

And that is why Japan’s current posture is troubling. Japan wants to make life better for its citizens; ergo unless it has the werewithal to be the undisputed master of the Western Pacific and project force so far into the Chinese hinterland as to completely erase any Chinese capability to project force, then it should not be in the security business in the Western Pacific, because it should realize that projecting force halfway and retaining the ability to disrupt and damage without the ability to annihilate is no formula for peace at all.

Only China has the ability to create a secure order in the Western Pacific. As the time marches onward, that trend will grow more and more certain. Trying to slow that trend down only will cause instability, because a China not in command of the Western Pacific is a China not in command of its coast, which is a China with neither sovereignty or security. Short of having a credible ability to completely annihilate Chinese strength, the only other course of action that leads to peace is accepting regional hegemony from Beijing.

September 3, 2012 @ 6:23 am | Comment

On the other hand, Japan has no East Asia wide defence organisation to join and no mutual threat that would mean its neighbours wouldn’t try to take advantage of its new vulnerability. Indeed, given many Chinese and Korean nationalists talk with glee of their desire to sow Japan’s fields with salt at the first opportunity, I’m not sure it’s realistic to ask Japan to disarm to try to gain their favour.

See the above. It’s not about disarming to gain favor: it’s about tying China’s, Japan’s, and Korea’s security together into a joint framework. The primary hurdle to this, like you said, is those same fenqing that you vilify and ridicule. But if China can look past short-sighted nationalism and play a Bismarckian long game, then it can and will pull this off.

September 3, 2012 @ 6:26 am | Comment

Your comparison flaunts how little connection you have with reality when speaking on Japan. Perhaps you should ask yourself why the US and Britain have not been rivals for nearly 200 years, despite the fact that there was a severe force disparity between them for roughly two thirds of that time. Perhaps the “tragedy” you refer to is one of your own making, wherein you can see no better relationship with Japan than one of vulnerability or subjugation.

I’m sorry? The US and Britain were rivals in North America up until the end of the US Civil War. It was only after the Union demonstrated a willingness to take on over 640,000 casualties that Britain realized it would be a losing battle to try and hold on to any pretense of commanding North America. Indeed, look no further than the views of Britain’s own Prime Minister at the time, Lord Palmerston, to see this PoV:

Palmerston’s sympathies in the American Civil War (1861-5) were with the secessionist Southern Confederacy. Although a professed opponent of the slave trade and slavery, he also had a deep lifelong hostility towards the United States and believed that a dissolution of the Union would weaken the United States (and therefore enhance British power) and that the Southern Confederacy “would afford a valuable and extensive market for British manufactures”

The American assault on Ireland under the name of Fenianism may be now held to have failed, but the snake is only scotched and not killed. It is far from impossible that the American conspirators may try and obtain in our North American provinces compensation for their defeat in Ireland

The relationship between British Canada, Britain, and the United States is surprisingly similar to the situation between Asia littoral, the United States, and China. Indeed, it was not until intra-European rivalries dragged down Britain (World War I) that they became US allies.

September 3, 2012 @ 6:43 am | Comment

Basically, GB and the US were rivals up until 1865; coexisted until 1914; and allies thereafter.

September 3, 2012 @ 6:44 am | Comment

“Actually, it’s not about Taiwan, it’s about the mainland strip.”

If you are talking about holding provinces hostage in any realistic way, it is exclusively about Taiwan. Again, China has accepted the US led security network in the Western Pacific for decades without any threat to its security. Have China’s richest provinces suddenly moved to the coast? Have they been threatened in any way?

“Taiwan matters insofar as it is a hostile launching pad for aircraft and missiles within range of 50% of China’s GDP and nearly all of China’s seaborne energy lanes.”

The hoary Taiwan is a “dagger” aimed at the PRC’s belly argument. So, although this could only come about due to PRC aggression, the PRC must view Taiwan as a potential threat. It’s like a game of squash…in a room of padded walls. And some call this reason.

“Basically, if Taiwan and China had the same history (splitting apart in 1949) but was as far out as Australia, the PRC wouldn’t care at all.”

You have perfected the PRC spokesperson art of saying something you know to be untrue. None of China’s claims to other nations territories are solely predicated on security issues. Proof of this is easily discerned in how PRC spokespersons speak of those claims.

“With any other country in control of either flank, China is not sovereign. China knows this, and it also knows that the last time it engaged in a long spree of economic revitalization (in the 1920s and 30s under the KMT) Japan and its colonies ended up invading it from the coast. ”

China hasn’t been sovereign for decades? This argument is an unsubtle variation of Lebensraum. Moreover, your arbitrary reading of history and what China “knows” verges on the absurd. Not only is such a scenario impossible today, and not only do you completely ignore 30 years of peace and growth which have established far better relations between nations, but in China the standard narrative is that Japan invaded China largely because, despite its growth, China was still a basket case. That’s why (along with potential resources–and conflict with Russia) Japan’s first target was the Northeast, where the Republic had marginal influence, and not the centers of economic activity in China.

“And since China is the only nation which can make or break Korean unification, and South Korea is not large enough to force China’s hand on that issue, South Korea has no choice but to participate in a Chinese strategic vision rather than an American one.”

I suppose hubris like this will be very rewarding. China is clearly not the only nation capable of breaking Korean unification. There are four such nations. And it is certainly not capable of making it. No nation can. The only truth your statement really reflects, once again, is China’s complete disregard for other nations as self-determined actors. North Korea is no less aware of this than South Korea, and its overtures to the United States have included offers of key information relating to PLA positioning and plans. No analysis of China’s relations with North Korea over the past 20 years can determine which of the following two conclusions is accurate: China is willfully engaging in nuclear proliferation with a stable government intent upon carrying out nuclear threats on its behalf; China has–through military insurrection, ideology, outright betrayal, or corruption–let nuclear secrets fall into the hands of a severely unstable government with a long history of belligerent acts and terrorism.

The key thing is: while one of these conclusions is almost certainly true, neither argument, nor any admixture of the two, is good geopolitically for China.

Perhaps you should stop living in the future where everything is inevitably positive for China.

“Normatively, there is no moral standard by which nations should give and take power between each other.”

Perhaps, but we are still responsible for making moral judgments. Your line of argument appears to consider such responsibility nugatory. In this I think you do a fine job representing PRC policymakers’ views.

September 3, 2012 @ 11:23 am | Comment

“The US and Britain were rivals in North America up until the end of the US Civil War. It was only after the Union demonstrated a willingness to take on over 640,000 casualties that Britain realized it would be a losing battle to try and hold on to any pretense of commanding North America.”

This position suggests a limited and overly schematic understanding of history, largely based on an epochal view of the rise and fall of empires. A few years after The War of 1812, the US and Britain agreed upon the US/Canada border, allowing for the joint control of Oregon. While various small boundary disputes did occur between that time and the Civil War, they involved no military engagement and were always immediately resolved by treaties. Additionally, the Monroe Doctrine, which some Sino-apologists have taken as a guiding light for Chinese expansion (by the way, Latin America largely supported it), was actually enforced by the British after they had proposed a joint doctrine to the US. The US was far more concerned with its southern flank during this period than it was with Britain.

One might say this more succinctly: the notion that this constituted a “rivalry” in the same sense China and Japan are rivals is clearly refuted by looking into the magnificent history of Fort Blunder.

True, the US and Britain did have sources of friction, and Britain’s support for the Confederacy (deepened inadvertantly by US seizure of the RMS Trent, did sting, but the two exercised diplomacy admirably, showed restraint and respect, and avoided letting disputes fester.

“The relationship between British Canada, Britain, and the United States is surprisingly similar to the situation between Asia littoral, the United States, and China.”

Clearly not.

September 3, 2012 @ 12:03 pm | Comment

it’s about tying China’s, Japan’s, and Korea’s security together into a joint framework

Folks, are you aware that you are debating a delusional concept? Even if America shouldn’t be able to transform its hegemonial relationship with China’s neighbors into a sustainable partnership, these neighbors have good reasons to play one hegemon off against the other, as long as it can last. The aim to maintain one’s own nation’s sovereignty is a natural and a legitimate one.

These are decisions the stakeholders will have to make – America, China, and every country in the region. But the “advice” that China’s neighbors should simply hand their levers of sovereignty over to China – that’s what that the tie-together would amount to – is only in Beijing’s interest, t_co – if in anyone’s. If China’s attitude remains the same, and if its neighbors get weakened (in themselves, or by an American withdrawal), they may be coerced into that kind of structure, formally or informally. (Beijing would probably prefer a more informal structure.)

If China’s neighbors have better choices, that won’t happen. In my view, it shouldn’t happen.

I’ll try to keep my contributions shorter, and less frequent from here, because I’m getting the impression that all of us are getting distracted by a concept which is actually unattractrive. That’s a waste of energy, and I think we shouldn’t get used to taking unreasonable demands too seriously. There’s no need to do that.

September 3, 2012 @ 3:25 pm | Comment

“Basically, GB and the US were rivals up until 1865; coexisted until 1914; and allies thereafter.”

Disagree – a simple glance at the historical record makes it plain that 1865 was no inflection point in the US-UK relationship.

There was a degree of rivalry over the Canadian border, but by the time of the US civil war this had been settled. Disputes elsewhere in the Americas continued until long after the US civil war (see the dispute over the Venezuelan border). The civil war did not impress people as to the strength of the United States any more than long-running internal conflicts normally impress people. The Fenian raids from the US into Canada (which are what Palmerston was referring to) continued for years after end of the civil war, and were eventually ended by the joint efforts of both sides. The one effect that the civil war did have was to end slavery, and thus remove one of the main sources of friction between Britain and the US. Naval rivalry between the two countries continued until as late as the 1920’s.

Basically this statement appears to stem from the idea that all a country need do is show that it is ‘strong’ and other countries (which are always portrayed as mischief-makers) will cease to to ‘interfere’ in whatever it considers to be in its ‘interests’. Instead this ‘strength’ may well actually be a massive display of weakness (e.g., the only reason the US had such a large army in 1865 was because it was in the process of putting itself back together after tearing itself apart). National governments will continue to persue the interests of their country to the extent possible – hence US support for Japan, Vietnam, and the Phillipines is going no-where.

The idea that ensuring China’s sovereignty requires the infringement of other countries’ sovereignty is quite simply balderdash. None of China’s neighbours will accept that situation permanently.

September 3, 2012 @ 4:26 pm | Comment

ergo unless it has the werewithal to be the undisputed master of the Western Pacific and project force so far into the Chinese hinterland as to completely erase any Chinese capability to project force, then it should not be in the security business in the Western Pacific

Japan looks to defend its interests and itself, largely from North Korea. That is not an unreasonable position.

Only China has the ability to create a secure order in the Western Pacific…the only other course of action that leads to peace is accepting regional hegemony from Beijing.

The western Pacific doesn’t need anyone to impose security on it. It’s generally a safe place, except for North Korea. And that’s a problem that China is not going to resolve by military force. There’s no widespread piracy or external threat that needs to be opposed.

Although I don’t want to cast China as the equivalent of pre-war Germany or the Soviet Union, it certainly is a large contributor to the security threat in East Asia, e.g. its attitude towards Taiwan. If China agreed to resolve all of its sovereign/territorial disputes through peaceful means only, rescind the Anti-Succession “Law”, etc tension in the region would immediately drop several levels. It would be perverse to ask China to deal with security problems it has had a hand in creating. It would be like paying your lunch money to the schoolyard bully so he stops threatening to beat you up.

September 3, 2012 @ 4:31 pm | Comment

Why is everyone narrowly focusing on China? The truth is power dynamics and security concerns change. Otherwise, much of Eurasia would still be bolstering their walled defenses against nomadic hordes. Just because imposed peace via a US-centric security mechanism was successful for decades doesn’t mean it would always be so.

Yes. China is expanding; but only trivially so. If nothing else, a growing economy will inevitably increase global presence. As its economic security is literally tied up in oilfields in the Middle East, mines in Africa and sea lanes beyond its southern shores, it has few choices but to “expand.” (Remember the Libyan evacuation, the PLAN surveillance in the Gulf of Aden, the riots in PNG, Solomon Islands, etc.) Sure, it can rely on American protection, but even if it has no suspicions of potential US sabotage, there is no reason why the US would be willing to foot the bill. When shit hits the fan, as they often do in these parts of the world, what can China do to secure its assets? All this simply because China’s growing. To question the morality of this is to question the morality of lifting hundreds of millions of peasants out of abject poverty. Sure, a substantial percentage of that growth contributed to woeful pollution and exploitative policies both at home and abroad. But the world collectively has yet to come up with a better growth model as even modern Western nations that have moved beyond their colonial past still largely run on a rigged financial system and oil, protected by military hardware.

What about Taiwan? It’s not as if the PRC suddenly decided to claim Taiwan after it gained sufficient confidence. Major nations’ attitudes toward Taiwan sovereignty are nebulous at best. Throughout much of the Cold War, open hostilities between the two sides were not uncommon. China does indeed have missiles pointed toward the island, but Taiwan almost certainly reciprocates such gestures. The ROC constitution probably still claims the whole of China. What’s changed now is that the northern side is becoming more and more capable of defending its claim while the other side is slipping the other way. To characterize this as a pure unadulterated aggression is downright disingenuous.

And there are these little islets and rocks. Well, it takes two to tango. Economic rise is disorienting; relative decline is demoralizing. Neither is conducive to rational behavior. The reemphasized claims by the PRC is no less unreasonable than the US pivot to Asia. And that’s at the root of all this. Neither side believes that it’s acting irrationally, being faithful students of Thuycidides.

The temptation is always there to focus on “it’s your fault first” arguments as it helps score political points domestically, but I truly hope all sides can stop appealing to moralizing and victimhood.

September 3, 2012 @ 6:50 pm | Comment

“The ROC constitution probably still claims the whole of China . . . To characterize this as a pure unadulterated aggression is downright disingenuous.”

You know, if we’re going to discuss this, you need to do a lot better than ‘probably’. The ROC has abandoned the idea that unification can be acheived through military means, but the PRC has not – this is the difference.

“The reemphasized claims by the PRC is no less unreasonable than the US pivot to Asia.”

The US pivot is being carried out with the agreement of the countries which it involves, but no-one has consented to China’s claims in the South and East China seas. Intimating that force will be considered as a solution when in fact it is unlikely to be and would be disproportionate to any benefit acheived is unreasonable.

“I truly hope all sides can stop appealing to moralizing and victimhood.”

So do I.

September 3, 2012 @ 7:12 pm | Comment

@xsc

I should apologize for missing your question in post 46 above. What I mean is that among the Asian-American community there are certain especially enchanting misconceptions due to the collective character of the community’s social and political existence. One is the misconception that the US has failed spectacularly in Asia, when in fact the US has pulled off one of the more remarkable acts of laconic diplomacy in history in a region with which it was insufficiently familiar, among states prone to revanchism and possessed of considerable animosity for each other. While the Asian-American community is aware of the on-going animosity, many lose sight of its (continually developing) sources and seriousness since their own limited political weight in the US requires them to put aside such issues and be more supportive of each other regardless of ethnicity. Thus, similarity of circumstance in the US prompts misleading emphasis on affliation and concourse in Asia, and statistics such as the number of Chinese loan words in Korean are speciously trotted out as proof of the two nations’ affinity while the ROK Marines’ service in Vietnam, the spread of Christianity in Korea, and current US cultural influence is either ignored or disparaged. Simultaneously, in accordance with the collective political character of the Asian-American community, one group’s grievances, both real and imagined, are often echoed by the others, reinforcing a more foundational misconception that the US just doesn’t, as it is sometimes colloquially put, “get Asia”. In essence, the political situation in which Asian-Americans find themselves striving for respect and embracing their distinctiveness is too often falsely projected onto an “Asia” that doesn’t adequately reflect their experience and is not cut from a single cloth.

I speculate that this is the source for t_co’s assertion that the US is “forever tainted” in Asia. While this may hold in a US-based echo chamber of grievance, it would appear the citizens of democratic countries in the Western Pacific would not concur.

Also, I wanted to discourage you from simply conflating China’s economic growth and foreign policy. The disputes it has with its neighbors are not “simply because China’s growing” and are not exclusively related to the economy; rather, they are a contingent constellation of military objectives, diplomatic missteps, and economic concerns.

Also, many is the time I’ve seen Chinese tangoing without a partner to peculiar music in a large regimented group in the park near my home. Make of that what you will.

September 4, 2012 @ 2:33 am | Comment

@Handler, thanks for the explanation.

Indeed, I didn’t mean to imply that economic growth necessarily leads to diplomatic skirmishes. But it certainly sets the conditions for seemingly more “expansionist” policy choices on the part of China. With growing global interests come growing security concerns. As I alluded to earlier, a large country like China would find security reliance on the United States unpalatable. Furthermore, it’s even less likely that the US would have either the means or the will to accommodate a growing China’s security needs. Thus, with growing security concerns come bigger sticks and increased suspicions from the incumbent hegemon and regional stakeholders. Now, are economic growth and security dilemma destined for each other? No. But is there a complex mechanism triggered by economic rise that makes disputes more likely? Definitely.

All this is saying is that despite the rhetoric of “restoring the Chinese Nation’s glory,” developments in East Asia follow familiar patterns of the wax and wane of relative national strengths, rather than, as a priori assumptions would suggest, an aggressive grudge held by the CCP. Deft management of the situation requires better responses from all parties. And China isn’t the only one to blame. Of course, the pivot to Asia has the consent of the nations it involves; but it also involves China, who feels that its interests are being held hostage and isn’t terribly excited by this move. Even the most vociferously anti-China media acknowledge the South China Sea as a region embroiled in disputes, rather than as a united front against Chinese aggression. To view China’s claims to the various rocks and islands as but a first step to some grander territorial ambitions is an unwarranted leap of logic. After all, other states in the region have claims against China and against one another; but the US is already quietly taking sides. From China’s perspective, given Clinton’s targeted rhetoric in Africa (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/01/hillary-clinton-africa-china), the South Pacific (http://news.yahoo.com/clinton-south-pacific-china-focus-054737234.html), even Mongolia (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/10/world/asia/in-mongolia-clinton-offers-message-to-china.html), it’s not hard to guess where it stands in the South China Sea.

And are Chinese claims automatically illegitimate? Let’s take the Scarborough Shoal as an example, as it’s often seen as bullying against a much weaker state. First, claims from both sides are longstanding: China’s claim dates back to the 1930s (ROC) and the Philippines started oceanographic surveys around the area in the 1950s. Many would argue that China’s refusal to refer the case to UNCLOS tribunal reveals its claim is baseless. But this refusal is consistent with its position when it ratified UNCLOS in 1996. “The Government of the People’s Republic of China does not accept any of the procedures provided for in Section 2 of Part XV of the Convention with respect to all the categories of disputes referred to in paragraph 1 (a) (b) and (c) of Article 298 of the Convention.” (http://www.un.org/depts/los/convention_agreements/convention_declarations.htm#China Upon ratification). Furthermore, even the Philippines removed the question of sovereignty from areas where the treaty would apply when it ratified the convention. “Such signing shall not in any manner impair or prejudice the sovereignty of the Republic of the Philippines over any territory over which it exercises sovereign authority, such as the Kalayaan Islands, and the waters appurtenant thereto.” In other words, neither country recognizes the authority of UNCLOS in this dispute. The fact of the matter is, even the standoff that took place in April was between Chinese surveillance vessels and a Philippine warship. One can argue that the reef is 127 miles from the Philippines and more than 400 miles removed from any Chinese landmass and therefore China’s claim is comical. Well, if we follow the same logic, then Diaoyu Island, being 120 miles off the coast of Taiwan and 200 miles removed from Japan, certainly doesn’t belong to the latter.

Billed as bolstering regional defense, the pivot has seemed to only fan the flames from a Chinese perspective. One needs to recognize that even states with regimes whose legitimacy is questioned have legitimate national interests.

But of course it’s always the other person’s fault coz they started it. I guess in my long rant, I was only imploring people to step back from caricaturizing a complex situation, and that instead of seeking justice in the wrong place, we should probably seek solutions.

September 4, 2012 @ 11:38 am | Comment

“And are Chinese claims automatically illegitimate? ………….. First, claims from both sides are longstanding: China’s claim dates back to the 1930s (ROC)”

Not sure this is a good basis for claims to bits of land. The UK has a claim to Ireland based on about 800 years of rule….

September 4, 2012 @ 12:00 pm | Comment

“Not sure this is a good basis for claims to bits of land. The UK has a claim to Ireland based on about 800 years of rule….”

Not saying it is. In many of these disputes, it’s your ancient map against mine. You can’t vote on it as many of these places are uninhabitable. The basis may be shoddy but it’s no worse than many other claimants’

September 4, 2012 @ 12:10 pm | Comment

” and exclude the other side from an area which right now both sides have access to.”

I am under the impression that is not the case, more than a few Taiwanese and Chinese fishing boats have been arrested in the past few years (and those are just onces I have heard). Taiwan has long asked for at least fishing rights negotiation that seem to have gone nowhere either.

It is of course, problematic as both Japan and China (and many other country as well) applies complete double standards for the various island disputes. if we look from an actual control POV, then Japan does control the islands, but the problem is that they don’t control two of their other disputed islands.

Historic perspective wise, if we’re going to take Japan’s administrative division prior to 1945 as a general rule of thumb, then the amusing thing is that they had divided pretty much all of the South China sea islands according to the current China / Taiwan claim … aka all of it belonged to Taiwan’s governing district. should we horse trade and give Japan 1 island for a whole sea then? since from that logic as Taiwan was given back to the ROC, then all the islands in the ROC’s governing district at that point belongs to the ROC…. which doesnt’ included Diayutai yes but it included all the Spartly isles.

September 4, 2012 @ 7:11 pm | Comment

I don’t believe Chinese claims are automatically illegitimate – that would be a totally foolish position – but I also don’t see how they automatically trump those of her neighbours. What I do think is that these matters are totally unimportant compared to the relations between the countries, and not worth the life of a single serviceman.

September 5, 2012 @ 1:14 am | Comment

Ownership of bits of land is a diplomatic thing, not a historical claim thing. The fact that historically one owned bits of land is interesting but neither here nor there. Alaska was Russian, Vietnam was Chinese, China was Mongolian but no one is bringing that up. One signs treaties, agrees to frontiers and borders, that sort of thing. This pre-19th century imperialism one would have though was a thing of the past….but if it is indicative to the new way of doing things then I guess it’s time Europe reclaimed North Africa as its own again….

September 5, 2012 @ 5:46 am | Comment

Ultimately, my guess is that these islands and spits will be developed collaboratively so that the players involved can actually benefit from whatever might be pulled from the sea floor, rather than endless bickering about ownership on the basis of historical fishing patterns that is unenforceable and will never enjoy international recognition. China would do well in such an arrangement, since she has an interest in multiple areas as opposed tomost of the other claimants. Her problem wil actually be internal – after fanning the flames among the nationalist hothead homeboys, how is she going to sell them a climb-down?

September 5, 2012 @ 8:52 am | Comment

Just imagine if ASEAN acted like the EU – cooperating instead of fighting (I know, I know, the EU member states bicker and point fingers too – but generally it gets sorted in the end)….

September 5, 2012 @ 8:57 am | Comment

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