Japan turns its guns from the Bear toward the Dragon

December 23, 2010

The New York Times recently published an intriguing piece on Japan’s strategic focus: having directed their self-defense forces toward the USSR/Russia since being allowed to rearm after World War II, they are now turning their  attention towards a growing threat – China:

In what would be a sweeping overhaul of its cold war-era defense strategy, Japan is about to release new military guidelines that would reduce its heavy armored and artillery forces pointed north toward Russia in favor of creating more mobile units that could respond to China’s growing presence near its southernmost islands, Japanese newspapers reported Sunday.

The realignment comes as the United States is making new calls for Japan to increase its military role in eastern Asia in response to recent provocations by North Korea as well as China’s more assertive stance in the region.

The new defense strategy, likely to be released this week, will call for greater integration of Japan’s armed forces with the United States military, the reports said. The reports did not give a source, but the fact that major newspapers carried the same information suggested they were based on a background briefing by government officials.

The new guidelines also call for acquiring new submarines and fighter jets, the reports said, and creating ground units that can be moved quickly by air in order to defend the southern islands, including disputed islands in the East China Sea that are also claimed by China and Taiwan. These disputed islands are known as the Senkakus in Japanese and the Diaoyu in Chinese.

Read the whole thing, not only for general interest, but for a good glimpse  of the evolving strategic game in East Asia. Don’t let the mention of Taiwan claiming the Senkakus distract you; Taiwan is not what Japan worries about, not when Taiwan will need the help of Japan’s patron, the US, in any confrontation with China. (And Tokyo’s, too, even if just diplomatic and political.)

China, a rising, potentially hypernationalistic power with global ambitions and an increasingly offensively oriented military, poses much more of a strategic threat to Japan than declining Russia. Small wonder than that, faced with China’s growing challenge to the 65-years old total dominance of the Pacific by the US Navy, America is encouraging Japan to rearm and expand its strategic mission.

And it’s not just China Japan is worried about: Beijing’s obstreperous protege North Korea has repeatedly caused jitters in Tokyo, with its recent nuclear tests and violent acts against South Korea. While the history between Japan and Korea (both of them) is difficult to say the least (colonization, sex slavery, and kidnapping tend to spoil even the best of relationships), the US has been working to encourage a greater strategic cooperation between the two, and there are some signs of early efforts to reach an understanding.

All things considered, this represents a significant change in Japanese policy with important strategic implications  for the region and America. Japan may be on the verge of a serious demographic decline, but it is a technological powerhouse of the first order and has in the past shown an amazing ability to adapt to new circumstances. (Its one failure to adapt, during its war with the US, lead to Japan’s only defeat. Don’t think they haven’t learned that lesson.) Should the Japanese feel threatened enough by China, where anti-Japanese feelings frequently erupt, or the mountain bandits in Pyongyang, I have no doubt they would find the will to quickly amend their constitution to allow for a larger, more active military. And if they felt the need to go nuclear? Regardless of the memories of the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they could do it within month, folks. Within months.

While the Jihadi War is our immediate concern, our strategic competition with China is a long-term crucial issue. Japan is one player to keep a very close eye on.

And to keep on our side.

via DaveedGR on Twitter

RELATED: Like Japan and Russia, China is facing its own demographic decline. Like Imperial Germany prior to World War I, this may lead China to feel the need to strike for domination before its position weakens.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


What China really thinks of anthropogenic global warming

August 13, 2010

It looks like the forthcoming world superpower has a much more realistic view of climate change than the EU or the Obama Administration.

I wonder if this will cause Tom Friedman a crisis of faith?

Nah. He’s too much of a true believer.

China’s growing amphibious force

May 22, 2010

Here’s an article that should prove worrisome to anyone concerned with China’s role in international affairs. The growth and modernization of the Chinese PLA’s amphibious forces seems to indicate ambitions beyond a possible invasion and conquest of Taiwan, to a projection of Chinese military power into Southeast Asia and beyond:

There has been significant soul-searching over the past year in the U.S. Defense Department about the viability of the Marine Corps’ amphibious assault mission, tied to the controversy over the troubled General Dynamics Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) program. No such doubts about amphibious operations exist in China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Since the early 1990s, the PLA has developed and deployed two generations of amphibious armored assault vehicles, and more recently developed a range of specialized amphibious assault and support systems. While this effort is largely focused on preparing for a possible invasion of Taiwan, it will also help the PLA undertake long-distance amphibious assault operations as the PLA Navy (PLAN) builds a number of large amphibious transport ships later this decade.

The remainder details recent Chinese developments in weapons and transportation systems, which, given the growth of the PLA Navy and its increasingly long-distance missions, point to an almost inevitable challenge to US naval dominance in the western Pacific and even the Indian Ocean. American planners have to bear these future possible challenges in mind while dealing with the current (and likely to last for decades) challenge from jihadist Islam. It’s by no means certain that China and the US will come into violent conflict, but we need be honest and admit that China is a strategic competitor, not a friend. With Chinese hyper-nationalism on the rise and the US Navy shrinking thanks to the need to feed President Obama’s domestic programs, it’s not inconceivable that Beijing could could consider using intimidation or even force to achieve its objectives, just as Japan used the humiliation of Russia to claim its place among the powers of the Earth. Rather than reducing our navy, we should be enlarging it both to project our own confidence and to send a message to the Chinese leadership. Not to give them pause, but to tell them “Don’t even think about it.”

Given the administration’s ideological preference for American meekness, however, I don’t have much hope for change until at least 2013.

(via reader Lance)

Quote of the day, insane moral equivalence edition

May 18, 2010

Via Power Line:

To compare in any way the lawful and democratic act of the government of the state of Arizona with the arbitrary abuses of the unelected Chinese Communist Party is inappropriate and offensive.


An insult and a humiliation

May 16, 2010

You have got to be kidding me. While discussing human rights in China with the Chinese government, the American negotiators denounced Arizona:

The United States and China reported no major breakthroughs Friday after only their second round of talks about human rights since 2002.

The Obama administration wants to push Beijing to treat its citizens better, but it also needs Chinese support on Iranian and North Korean nuclear standoffs, climate change and other difficult issues.


[Michael] Posner said in addition to talks on freedom of religion and expression, labor rights and rule of law, officials also discussed Chinese complaints about problems with U.S. human rights, which have included crime, poverty, homelessness and racial discrimination.

He said U.S. officials did not whitewash the American record and in fact raised on its own a new immigration law in Arizona that requires police to ask about a person’s immigration status if there is suspicion the person is in the country illegally.

I’m flabbergasted. To hold up the Arizona law as an example of American human rights violations as part of some public breast-beating is ludicrous. For one, Arizona SB 1070 (PDF) mirrors federal law on the subject and merely makes what was already a federal offense a state crime, too. It contains even stricter protections against ethnic profiling than the corresponding federal law. To use it as an example of a “human rights violation” is just plain ignorant and stupid. Has anyone in DC bothered to read the bill?

It’s also a tremendous insult to Arizonans, who are rightly concerned about the problems caused in their state by illegal immigration, and a humiliation of the United States.  China’s record of human rights violations since the Communists took power in 1949 is long and grotesque; to mention in passing just Tibet, Tiananmen Square, and the state-induced famine that killed tens of millions, would barely scratch the surface. And it continues to this day.

What kind of idiots do we have representing us? Putting a law that the vast majority of Americans approve of on the same level as the actions of the butchers of Beijing is nonsensical at best, and to criticize an American state to a foreign government is absolutely unacceptable.

I realize the Obama administration looks down on the country it governs; we’ve known that from before his election. But do they have to slap us in the face to ingratiate themselves with bloody-handed dictators, too?

(via Power Line)

China sells anti-riot armored vehicles to Iran

January 1, 2010

Why not? Iran is their client, a thorn in the side of Beijing’s strategic rival (that’s us), and the Chinese have great experience in crushing pro-democracy demonstrations. It’s a win-win! (If you’re a fascist, that is.)

The armoured anti-riot vehicles have a capacity of 10,000 liters to shoot cold and hot water, and three 100 liter tanks to shoot burning chemical liquids. The water is mixed with paint or tear gas that cannot be washed away. Each vehicle has two guns for shooting liquid up to a distance of 70 meters- it is controlled from inside the cabin. The price tag for each unit is 650,000 dollars. Also, a lot of extra burning liquid, paint, and tear gas was purchased.

It took four months for the delivery of the armoured vehicles, and since the Iranian regime was in a hurry, they had them delivered from China’s army organization- this is rare!  China’s government was in as much of a hurry to get these to Iran.

China ought to be careful: the reign of the mullahs is in a very fragile state (and, we hope, soon to crumble) and, when a new regime comes to power, it isn’t going to be very friendly toward those who tried to keep their tormentors in power.

(via The Jawa Report)

Yet another WTF moment

September 29, 2009

The Chinese Communist government is responsible for the deaths of roughly 50-60 million of its own people, thanks to its brutal rule and economic incompetence. (For example, the so-called Great Leap Forward of 1958-61 was officially estimated to have killed 14 million.) This is also a regime that wickedly cracked down on pro-democracy demonstrators in the Tiananmen massacre of 1989. (An event approved of by President Obama’s first nominee to head the National Intelligence Council.)

So, naturally, New York is set to honor the 60th anniversary of this monstrous dictatorship by bathing the Empire State Building in red and yellow light, the national colors of China:

New York’s iconic Empire State Building will light up red and yellow Wednesday in honor of the 60th anniversary of communist China.

The Chinese consul, Peng Keyu, and other officials will take part in the lighting ceremony which will bathe the skyscraper in the colors of the People’s Republic until Thursday, Empire State Building representatives said in a statement.

I realize they do this for all sorts of occasions, but, guys, this is just indecent. They may hold massive amounts of our debt, but let’s not hold a party on the graves of their victims, shall we?

(Source: The Weekly Standard)