Get PJ Media on your Apple

VodkaPundit

The Silk Road to War Part II

December 31st, 2013 - 1:30 pm

StrategyPage:

Given the growing Chinese aggression in the Western Pacific, Japan has raised defense spending 2.8 percent for 2014 (to $46.8 billion) and, just in time for Christmas, released a list of priorities for the new, improved and larger defense budget. The Chinese were not pleased with this list as it emphasized dealing with the Chinese threat and saying so publically is considered bad manners in East Asia.

The Japanese plans involve improving reconnaissance around disputed (between China and Japan) islands and ocean areas that China is claiming control over. The Japanese also speak of improving their ability to move air, land and naval forces quickly to counter any Chinese surprises. The Japanese planning document goes into some detail about how civilian and military resources would be mobilized for this, along with help from allied nations.

This is all very upsetting for the Chinese who hate the Japanese for eighty years of humiliation inflicted on China until 1945.

A couple things I’d like to add.

If China is upset, tough. Japan was quite happy under the US defense umbrella, but China is getting more aggressive as the US is getting more confused and passive — which is exactly what Beijing wanted. They don’t like the results? That’s their problem.

The other problem is Article 9 of Japan’s constitution, which reads:

Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. (2) To accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

Japan has always skirted A9 by calling their armed forces “Self-Defense Forces.” While it’s difficult to square A9 with any kind of armed forces, it’s impossible to square it with their navy’s — ahem, Maritime Self-Defense Force — new baby aircraft carrier, not to mention facing off against China in disputed territory.

I wonder if the first half of 1914 felt anything like this.

Comments are closed.

All Comments   (8)
All Comments   (8)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Notably, in the first half of 1914, the US had a feckless professor as president.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
The first half of 1914 wasn't like this, at all. Other than the Balkans, it was pretty quiet. I'd put the situation at more 1900 (or 1910) and 1937 than 1914. In fact, Germany's problem wasn't a maritime one, but a land-army one. They finally enacted needed reforms to the Army in 1913 (which were half-hearted, btw), and was the first shot in a long-term (German) strategy to counter French and Russian belligerency. The "Naval Arms Race" was long over by that point. France and Russia basically "got lucky" that the Austrian Archduke was assassinated in 1914. Had things come to a head in, let's say 1920, Germany would have completed their Army reforms and Russia likely would have faced new waves of internal disorder. And Britain and Germany would have patched up their relationships (especially with Lloyd George out of power). Historians are revisiting this timeframe- and they're coming to the conclusion that France and Russia wanted the status quo (i.e.; We're allowed empires/trade and you're not) while Germany and Austria wanted political change (economic trade union for Europe).

China's problem is that they have a window of opportunity to bully the Pacific Rim while Obama dithers with domestic policy and his own lame duck status. One, Obama will eventually figure out that "Hey, America bipartisanly likes military geopolitical strength. I can salvage some of my lost credibility with this." China works very well as a political and military "bad guy" for American military strategy. It's an easy sell, even for Obama. Two, Obama will eventually be out of office and China will then have to contend with an America which is energy independent and has light-years better technology and resources than they do. Three, America's economy is only artificially hamstrung (coughObamacarecough), while China's is a Potemkin village of industrial building and statistical oversampling. I mean, China's happy to spend 30 years getting to the Apollo Program, while if the US really, really, really wanted to, we could go back to the moon in a year. And also build SHIELD Helicarriers.

Yes, they can aim for a short and victorious war, but we all know where that leads.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Any war between the US and China is going to be short. But it isn't going to be victorious for anybody. Except maybe the Russians.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
More a combination of Japans first forays into international military adventurism. i.e. The first Sino-Japanese War and the first Russo-Japanese War.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
I would like to agree with this, except I actually take Japan's side in the Russo-Japanese War. Imperial Russia was basically trying to muscle "lesser powers" in Asia and ran into a modern one. And lost. Badly.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Japan is building a Gator Navy. So far, China hasn't. That's what scares them.

And yes, reading Article 9 I can hear Doug orating it. It's their Constitution, let them amend it as they see fit. When the inevitable happens, if I were Seventh Fleet I'd be very happy to know that my right flank is not only secure, but part of the offensive force.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've been re-reading Winston Churchill's "The Gathering Storm", the first volume in his history of World War II. The parallels between 1936 and 2013 are scary and eerie.

And Steve, remember this; the Japanese didn't write that Constitution; Douglas MacArthur did. I understand there have been at least some rumblings in the Abe government to amend and neuter Article 9.

But then, our own government hasn't obeyed OUR Constitution, especially Article I Section 8, so maybe we don't have a whole lot of room to talk.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
More like the early 1890's...
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
View All