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Old Feb 11, 2013, 08:31 AM   #1
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"Is Asia Sleep-Walking Into War?"

So, to break up the monotony of monotony, I found a quick, nice article on CNN about some of the recent tension and near-misses in Asia, particularly between Japan and China.

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe this week condemned China's "unnecessary escalation" of tensions between the two nations over disputed islets known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan.

He was referring to two incidents in January when Chinese frigates reportedly locked weapons radar onto a Japanese vessel and a helicopter, a claim China denies. Once fire-control radar is locked on, a missile can be fired at the designated target, generating obvious risks of miscalculation.

At best this is a militarized game of tag but one that could, at its worst, spark wider hostilities. When Japan indicated that its jets might fire tracer bullets to warn off Chinese aircraft, a Chinese general responded that Japan should refrain from doing so, as this would be taken as an act of war. In this context, there is good reason to be concerned that Asia is sleepwalking its way towards war.
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Is Asia heading toward war just as Europe did a century ago? There are also parallels with Japan's withdrawal from the League of Nations 80 years ago in February 1933 over censure of its occupation of Manchuria and subsequent aggression throughout Asia until its defeat in 1945.

China suffered more than any other country from this rampage. Like China today, Japan felt that the international status quo was biased and denying what it deemed its legitimate aspirations. It decided to modify that status quo by force of arms. History doesn't repeat itself, but Mark Twain reminds us that it sometimes rhymes. In 1913 and 1933, there was a rational expectation that cooler heads would prevail and governments would come to their senses. Asia in 2013 may not be sliding towards war and China and Japan understand how mutually beneficial relations have been, and how much they risk losing, but we also know the folly of assuming risk away.
What do you guys think? Are China and Japan just stirring the pot for political gain at home? Could this lead to an actual conflict? Maybe not a full-scale war, but a skirmish at least?

What are your feelings on this situation?
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 11:53 AM   #2
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The islands that Japan and PRC are fighting over are also claimed by Taiwan (something nobody seems to discuss); the two Korea's seem to be farther apart than ever; and the PRC, Vietnam and the Philippines have had local disputes over islands. If North Korea creates a viable nuclear weapon that can be delivered by a missile, then an arc of contiguous countries from Russia to Pakistan will all be so armed (and of course perhaps also Iran). All in all, I do wonder if Asia is headed for war. It doesn't look good.
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 01:35 PM   #3
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Unlikely, but I wouldn't rule it out. The area surrounding the islands has huge oil and natural gas deposits, likely 4-5 times more than the Gulf of Mexico. That's pretty attractive for either country's economy now that we have the technology to drill deep enough.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/n...a-sea-dispute/
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 01:36 PM   #4
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Unlikely, but I wouldn't rule it out. The area surrounding the islands has huge oil and natural gas deposits, likely 4-5 times more than the Gulf of Mexico. That's pretty attractive for either country's economy now that we have the technology to drill deep enough.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/n...a-sea-dispute/
Interesting, I wasn't aware of that. I think it's unlikely, but again, it appears to be something to be monitored. Because wars can whip up in a quick fashion.
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 02:57 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by eric/ View Post

What do you guys think? Are China and Japan just stirring the pot for political gain at home? Could this lead to an actual conflict? Maybe not a full-scale war, but a skirmish at least?

What are your feelings on this situation?
[ based only on what I read on the internet , probably all wrong , not intended to offend , gross generalisations abound ]

It is an interesting dynamic. It seems everyone in South East/East Asia dislikes Japan and fears China. Then you throw in the US trying to build a modern day wall of China around China to keep it down. And Russia up north. And everyone one else with their fingers crossed because every second thing you use seems to be made in China.
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 03:17 PM   #6
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It is an interesting dynamic. It seems everyone in South East/East Asia dislikes Japan and fears China.
Yeah I think that sums it up. Fundamentally the Japanese haven't really apologised properly for their appalling behaviour during world war 2.

On the other side the Chinese foreign policy is usually pretty ham-fisted, and they also haven't fully accepted that the Europeans essentially invented international law and that you have to just go with it - even if it means accepting less territory than was claimed but not really fully controlled by Imperial China.
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 10:49 PM   #7
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BBC is reporting sesmic activity at 4.9 in North Korea in an area where it seems oddly out of place, which means, yeah, you know
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 11:17 PM   #8
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It is an interesting dynamic. It seems everyone in South East/East Asia dislikes Japan and fears China.
It may be true for the older generation. Those people involved in WW2 are now more than 70 years old. Most of the current young/middle age people in SE Asia or in my country do not view Japan negatively at all. On the other hand, there are still some people who keep holding on to old grudges and refuse to move on.
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 11:42 PM   #9
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Yeah I think that sums it up. Fundamentally the Japanese haven't really apologised properly for their appalling behaviour during world war 2.

On the other side the Chinese foreign policy is usually pretty ham-fisted, and they also haven't fully accepted that the Europeans essentially invented international law and that you have to just go with it - even if it means accepting less territory than was claimed but not really fully controlled by Imperial China.
I heard it was because they didn't want the repercussions of their ancestors' actions to have a negative impact on the current generation. This may also be the reason why most of the information regarding their role in the war has been omitted from their history textbooks.
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 07:19 AM   #10
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BBC is reporting sesmic activity at 4.9 in North Korea in an area where it seems oddly out of place, which means, yeah, you know
Yep. As I said above, worrisome. It seems like many countries in Asia are choosing escalation rather than stability. And the US isn't exactly being conciliatory....
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 07:31 AM   #11
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And of course Japan and South Korea are going to want to continue to bolster their militaries in response to these tests and threats. Just wish the US would develop a legit missile defense system to put a stop to this madness.
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 08:00 AM   #12
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And of course Japan and South Korea are going to want to continue to bolster their militaries in response to these tests and threats. Just wish the US would develop a legit missile defense system to put a stop to this madness.
Agreed.
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 08:22 AM   #13
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I heard it was because they didn't want the repercussions of their ancestors' actions to have a negative impact on the current generation. This may also be the reason why most of the information regarding their role in the war has been omitted from their history textbooks.
Even if they aren't as open as the Germans with the Holocaust or the Chinese with the cultural revolution the Japanese could at least manage to act like they are embarrassed about their World War 2 past.
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 10:50 AM   #14
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Yep. As I said above, worrisome. It seems like many countries in Asia are choosing escalation rather than stability. And the US isn't exactly being conciliatory....
Conceding to North Korea's antics is no different than caving to a belligerent child... All it does is reinforce the idea that threating neighbors with missle launches and nuclear weapon tests gets NK the food and supplies it wants (not that it shares any of that with its population, of course). What would you propose the US do?

Honestly, I think China needs to step up and smack its obnoxious neighbor in the mouth. China has long supported NK but I think the escalation is even starting to frustrate the Chinese government. Given that China won't let the rest of the world do anything to help the NK people, it should shoulder the responsibility for getting these belligerent acts reined in. Besides, I doubt China really wants South Korea and the US at its doorstep should things degrade further.
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 10:58 PM   #15
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Even if they aren't as open as the Germans with the Holocaust or the Chinese with the cultural revolution the Japanese could at least manage to act like they are embarrassed about their World War 2 past.
But they don't think about things in the same way as you or I.

Read some anthropology (The Chrysanthemum and the Sword is a very apposite text). Their assumptions regarding an individual's place in society are fundamentally different to ours - and that pervades their thinking from surrendering in war to the treatment of POWs.

On the subject of the nuclear strikes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they hold the opinion that they were unnecessary 'live experiments' carried out by the US. I don't share the opinion that they were unnecessary, but I do appreciate that such a violent act isn't going to be welcomed by any recipient nation. As they say... 'history books are written by the victor'; it's interesting that we're still putting up statues to Bomber Harris, while a statue of Herman Goring being erected in Germany wouldn't be quite so welcome.

I won't wish to be apologetic for the Japanese, but it's an error to read their stance across the board as arrogant/unembarrassed by assuming they're seeing the world through the lenses of your cultural assumptions.
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Old Feb 13, 2013, 12:58 AM   #16
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I highly doubt Asia will go into full scale war, Japan the US are just to strong for the Chinese to deal with, I doubt they would start a war over something trivial.
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Old Feb 13, 2013, 03:38 AM   #17
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I highly doubt Asia will go into full scale war, Japan the US are just to strong for the Chinese to deal with, I doubt they would start a war over something trivial.
Japan vs China would probably end in a draw. Japan didn't do that well in the 1930's when China was very weak.
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Old Feb 13, 2013, 07:09 AM   #18
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Conceding to North Korea's antics is no different than caving to a belligerent child... All it does is reinforce the idea that threating neighbors with missle launches and nuclear weapon tests gets NK the food and supplies it wants (not that it shares any of that with its population, of course). What would you propose the US do?

Honestly, I think China needs to step up and smack its obnoxious neighbor in the mouth. China has long supported NK but I think the escalation is even starting to frustrate the Chinese government. Given that China won't let the rest of the world do anything to help the NK people, it should shoulder the responsibility for getting these belligerent acts reined in. Besides, I doubt China really wants South Korea and the US at its doorstep should things degrade further.
I agree about PRC smacking down NK. In this regard, I think the PRC will rue the day the decided to use NK as a proxy.

However, I worry that recent moves by the to strengthen ties with countries around the PRC will be perceived by the PRC as encirclement. I am not anti-US, but we need to proceed carefully. People in the PRC still have a sense of grievance from the occupation of their country by the West, followed by the Japanese Empire. As far as I can tell, the average person in the PRC is not trying to dominate the world, but instead they believe they are acting to protect their own back yard. As for the government of the PRC, who knows? I must say I do not trust that regime.
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Old Feb 13, 2013, 07:17 AM   #19
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I agree about PRC smacking down NK. In this regard, I think the PRC will rue the day the decided to use NK as a proxy.

However, I worry that recent moves by the to strengthen ties with countries around the PRC will be perceived by the PRC as encirclement. I am not anti-US, but we need to proceed carefully. People in the PRC still have a sense of grievance from the occupation of their country by the West, followed by the Japanese Empire. As far as I can tell, the average person in the PRC is not trying to dominate the world, but instead they believe they are acting to protect their own back yard. As for the government of the PRC, who knows? I must say I do not trust that regime.
I must say this is how I read the situation. You notice how China is only heard in the UN when the subject is about interfering in another countries internal affairs. This is now a golden rule, China through out the late 19th and early 20th centuries was subject to European humiliation, it will not be allowed to happen again.
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Old Feb 13, 2013, 09:29 AM   #20
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Japan vs China would probably end in a draw. Japan didn't do that well in the 1930's when China was very weak.
The kind of Island hoping warfare that you would end up seeing would give Japan the win, they would also have the US Navy on their side. China might have numbers, but their military technology is rather primitive, and they lack power projection.
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Old Feb 13, 2013, 10:11 AM   #21
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The kind of Island hoping warfare that you would end up seeing would give Japan the win, they would also have the US Navy on their side. China might have numbers, but their military technology is rather primitive, and they lack power projection.
In which case the Chinese wouldn't lose any territory so I'm not clear how they'd lose such a conflict.

You're also assuming the US would join in - their record isn't exactly amazing.
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Old Feb 13, 2013, 10:15 AM   #22
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In which case the Chinese wouldn't lose any territory so I'm not clear how they'd lose such a conflict.

You're also assuming the US would join in - their record isn't exactly amazing.
The US has a defense treaty with Japan. If we honored it, which I'd say is likely, than the US would step right in.

What record are you talking about, btw?
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Old Feb 13, 2013, 10:21 AM   #23
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what record are you talking about, btw?
ww1, ww2
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Old Feb 13, 2013, 10:23 AM   #24
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ww1, ww2
Ok so we're going to gauge the US's record of involvement and probability of involvement with an ally the US has to defend by the US not initially participating in World War 1 or 2?.
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Old Feb 13, 2013, 10:31 AM   #25
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ww1, ww2
That I don't understand.
WWI was nothing to do with them it was a wholly European Problem and war. Until the sinking of a passenger liner in 1917 the US was not directly involved.

WW II again this started as a purely European war Germany allied themselves with Japan and in 1941 Japan attacked the US.

You can't have it both ways, either you are against America ever intervening, or America always has the right to interven in any war. (or is it only when it benefits the UK that it isOK.)?
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