The Silk Road to War Part II
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.
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