Is Obama ready for a stare-down with China?
China’s provocation of Japan over the Senkaku Islands shows a need for Obama to be ready for a crisis in Asia. He must buck up Japan and send a clear signal to Bejing.
The Senkakus Confrontation
The Chinese persist in following atavistic political principles inconsistent with the status as an emerging power. It demands apologies and reparations for incidents that many observers judge were deliberately ordered by some Chinese authorities to provoke an incident with Japan. This is how North Korea behaves.
Japan poured oil on troubled waters
Emboldened by the US’s “return to Asia”, hawkish factions in Japan overreacted to the Chinese fishing boat incident off the Diaoyutai/Senkaku Islands, hoping to draw Southeast Asian nations into a broader front over disputes in the South China Sea. While China’s heated response may push Vietnam and others further into the arms of the US, the powerful diplomatic and economic pressure Beijing was able to bring to bear will deter others from similarly testing the waters.
Alliance Formation and Asian Security
Assuming China continues to grow economically (which seems like a fairly safe bet), how will this trend affect strategic alignments in Asia? I’ve posted on this topic before (see here), but I’ve been thinking about it again in light of some recent developments and after reading some recent scholarship on the topic.
NATO Document Addresses Nuclear Disarmament
Two months before what could be the most important NATO summit meeting in more than a decade, the 28 member states of the alliance have received a draft of its new strategic concept, which for the first time, at the insistence of Germany and other countries, includes calls for nuclear disarmament.
The War over the War
Thirty years after the end of the war with Iraq the leadership of the Islamic Republic faces many of the same challenges that it faced during the war with Iraq, but this time, not even Ayatollah Rafsanjani may be capable of defending the regime against its own mismanagement.
Chris van Avery is an Asia-Pacific FAO and Military Professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, and blogs on a variety of topics at The Yankee Sage.
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