A Faraway Island About Which We Know Little

When I see a headline which says, “Why Outrage Over Islands Full of Goats Is Crazy,” there’s no doubt I’m going to read the story. I should have known it was about the latest dispute between China and Japan:


It is easy to envision a couple of Japanese businessmen being dragged from their corporate offices in Shanghai and beaten, or even killed, by an angry mob. Things could get out of hand very quickly, which explains why Panasonic Corp. (6752) and Canon Inc. are shutting Chinese plants. That goes, too, for naval ships near the disputed islands. Miscalculations, collisions and gunfire that lead to broader armed conflict aren’t hard to imagine.

Japan and China should end this foolish row now. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and Chinese President Hu Jintao should be talking at this very moment to hash out a truce. Even better, commit to a meeting, perhaps on the very islands that their respective governments hold so dear. Or at the White House, where President Barack Obama’s team might help broker a deal.

President Empty Chair can’t be bothered to lead on the Middle East Embassy Burning Extravaganza. What makes anyone think he can be bothered with the Goat Crap Islands Conundrum?


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