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Winds of War Blowing over Northern Pacific Islands?

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained here. [1] (The flash dri­ve includes the anti-fas­cist books avail­able on this site.)

COMMENT: Fol­low­ing on the heels of Shin­zo Abe’s suc­cess­ful elec­tion cam­paign and return as Prime Min­is­ter, there has been a sig­nif­i­cant uptick in real or alleged mil­i­tary con­fronta­tions over dis­put­ed Islands in the North Pacif­ic.

Con­ser­v­a­tive com­men­ta­tor Ambrose Evans-Pritchard has not­ed the pos­si­ble drift toward war between Japan and Chi­na over the unin­hib­it­ed and dis­put­ed Islands (Diay­ou to the Chi­nese, Senkaku to the Japan­ese). Pre­dictably (per­haps), Evans-Pritchard places much of the blame on Chi­nese nation­al­ism, a potent force in its own right.

Although he notes a 23% increase in Japan­ese appro­pri­a­tions for war­ships and air­craft, Evans-Pritchard appears to attribute a recent con­fronta­tion between Japan­ese and Chi­nese mil­i­tary forces over the islands to Chi­nese bel­liger­ence. 

Not tak­en into account is a recent [alleged] Russ­ian-Japan­ese con­fronta­tion over the long-dis­put­ed Kurile Islands north of Japan–a focal point of con­tro­ver­sy dat­ing back to the Sec­ond World War. In that inci­dent last Feb­ru­ary, the Japan­ese have charged that Russ­ian mil­i­tary air­craft pen­e­trat­ed Japan­ese air­space. 

Rus­sia has denied the charge, as the Chi­nese have denied lock­ing-on fire con­trol radar dur­ing their con­fronta­tion with Japan­ese forces. (We are in no posi­tion to make an objec­tive deter­mi­na­tion on the verac­i­ty of these con­flict­ing claims.)

Worth not­ing in this con­text is the fact that Shin­zo Abe is the grand­son of anoth­er Jape­nese Prime Minister–Nobosuke Kishi.

In an ear­li­er polit­i­cal incar­na­tion, Kishi was a Japan­ese war crim­i­nal, whose Lib­er­al Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty became a repos­i­to­ry for unre­con­struct­ed forces of Japan­ese fas­cism. (Abe is also from the LDP.)

In addi­tion to his laud­able efforts at imple­ment­ing “stim­u­lus” eco­nom­ics, Abe has also struck a reac­tionary chord, endors­ing revi­sion­ist his­tor­i­cal and polit­i­cal analy­sis of Japan’s involve­ment in World War II, as well as imple­ment­ing height­ened militarism/nationalism.

One is com­pelled to con­sid­er the pos­si­bil­i­ty that it is height­ened Japan­ese mil­i­tarism and nation­al­ism that is stir­ring the “Pacif­ic pot,” at the moment.

[2]With Japan hav­ing endured a “lost decade” eco­nom­i­cal­ly and the Japan­ese peo­ple still reel­ing from the Fukushi­ma dis­as­ter, Abe’s revisionism/nationalism/militarism may be aimed at chan­nel­ing social dis­sat­is­fac­tion into an expan­sion­ist, chau­vin­is­tic agen­da.

It is worth not­ing that the last inci­dent between the Rus­sians and Japan­ese over the Kurile Islands took place in 2008, short­ly after Abe was elect­ed to an ear­li­er term as Prime Min­is­ter.

Short­ly after Abe’s reelec­tion, there was anoth­er [alleged] inci­dent with Rus­sia over the Kuriles. 

The tim­ing of the Russian/Japanese con­fronta­tions sug­gests the pos­si­bil­i­ty that the grow­ing hos­til­i­ties in that part of the world may well be due to increased Japan­ese militarism/nationalism.

For con­ve­nience, we present (below) part of the descrip­tion for FTR #581 [3]. Note some of the sim­i­lar­i­ties with the sit­u­a­tion today–increased North Kore­an nuclear bel­liger­ence among them. 

In eval­u­at­ing the depress­ing devel­op­ments in the Pacif­ic, one should bear in mind the deep pol­i­tics under­ly­ing the evo­lu­tion of Japan­ese fas­cism [4].

[5]At the foun­da­tion of that analy­sis, we find maneu­ver­ing by pow­er­ful, transna­tion­al cor­po­rate forces [6], espe­cial­ly those asso­ci­at­ed with U.S.-based transna­tion­als [7].

Of fun­da­men­tal impor­tance in under­stand­ing these dynam­ics are the works of Ster­ling and Peg­gy Sea­grave [8], their opus Gold War­riors [9], in par­tic­u­lar.

IF the con­fronta­tions in the North Pacif­ic esca­late into war, it will not be good for this coun­try.

“The Dan­ger­ous Drift towards World War in Asia” by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard; The Tele­graph [UK]; 3/25/20‘13. [10]

EXCERPT: . . . . Japan’s nation­al ide­ol­o­gy is paci­fist, and this is writ­ten into Arti­cle 9 of its con­sti­tu­tion, which states that “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.”

This peace com­plex adds a strange twist to events. It inhibits Japan as a mus­cu­lar Chi­na press­es its claim on the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands — a clus­ter of unin­hab­it­ed rocks near Tai­wan — and as Chi­nese war­ships push deep into Japan­ese waters.

Yet there is no doubt that Japan will fight.

“We sim­ply can­not tol­er­ate any chal­lenge now, or in the future. No nation should under­es­ti­mate the firm­ness of our resolve,” said Shin­zo Abe, the hawk­ish pre­mier bent on nation­al revival.

After talk­ing to Japan­ese offi­cials in Tokyo over the last few days, I have the strong impres­sion not only that they are ready to fight, but also that they expect to win, and fur­ther­more that con­flict may come at any moment.

“They are send­ing ships and even air­craft into our ter­ri­to­ry every day. It is intense provo­ca­tion. We’re mak­ing every effort not to be pro­voked but they are using fire-con­trol radar. This is one step away from con­flict and we are very wor­ried,” said a top gov­ern­ment offi­cial.

Noth­ing has changed since out­go­ing US Defence Sec­re­tary Leon Panet­ta said Chi­na and Japan were drift­ing towards war, except for the Japan­ese defence bud­get. Spend­ing on war­ships and air­craft will jump by 23% this year.

Inter­nal Japan­ese doc­u­ments say the sit­u­a­tion has become “extreme­ly dan­ger­ous” since the Chi­nese locked their weapons-guid­ing fire-con­trol radar on a Japan­ese heli­copter and then a destroy­er in Jan­u­ary, a dra­mat­ic esca­la­tion. The claim is denied by Bei­jing.

It was the risk of such inci­dents spin­ning out of con­trol dur­ing the Cold War that led to the cre­ation of the red-tele­phone “Hot­line” between the US and the Sovi­et Union. No such hot­line exists between Tokyo and Bei­jing.

Over at the revamped Defence Min­istry — no longer the meek Self-Defence Force — a top mil­i­tary plan­ner showed me maps detail­ing the move­ment of Chi­nese DDG war­ships and Yuan-class sub­marines through Japan­ese waters. The pres­sure point is Oki­nawa, a fresh source of con­tro­ver­sy as Chi­nese aca­d­e­mics start lay­ing claim to that island as well. “If they can build a radar site in the Senkakus, it would be major strate­gic asset,” he said. . . .

“Japan Scram­bles Fight­ers after Russ­ian Jets Approach Island”; CNN; 2/7/2013. [11]

EXCERPT: Japan’s mil­i­tary scram­bled fight­ers Thurs­day after two Russ­ian SU-27 jets entered Japan­ese air­space off Rishiri Island near the tip of Japan’s north­ern­most Hokkai­do Island, accord­ing to the coun­try’s Defense Min­istry.

The Russ­ian jets left Japan­ese air­space with­out inci­dent after a lit­tle more than a minute, the min­istry said.
The inci­dent occurred near ter­ri­to­ry dis­put­ed by Japan and Rus­sia since the end of World War II.

Japan­ese offi­cials lodged an offi­cial protest with Rus­sia over the inci­dent, Japan’s Kyo­do news ser­vice report­ed. . . .

For The Record #581: Update on Japan­ese Fas­cism [3]

High­light­ing recent trends toward reviv­ing the ultra-nation­al­ism and his­tor­i­cal revi­sion­ism of Japan’s fas­cist past, this pro­gram sets forth the polit­i­cal agen­da being pushed by Shin­zo Abe, the new­ly elect­ed Prime Min­is­ter. The grand­son of Japan­ese War Crim­i­nal Nobo­suke Kishi, Abe has suc­ceeded his grand­fa­ther as head of the LDP—itself a vehi­cle for the per­pet­u­a­tion of Japan’s World War II polit­i­cal and eco­nomic pow­er struc­ture.

With the Japan­ese peo­ple expe­ri­enc­ing height­ened stress and alien­ation because of eco­nomic pres­sures, the pos­si­bil­ity of that social unrest express­ing itself as mil­i­taris­tic nation­al­ism and fas­cism is one pos­si­ble result of the right-wing agen­da being imple­mented by Abe.

In addi­tion to autho­riz­ing a mil­i­tary buildup and mov­ing to ease restric­tions on the Japan­ese mil­i­tary, Abe has imple­mented a school cur­ricu­lum that insti­tu­tion­al­izes right-wing (“patri­otic”) pro­pa­ganda as a manda­tory ele­ment of Japan­ese pub­lic edu­ca­tion. It may well be that the recent North Kore­an atom­ic test will aid Abe’s agen­da and push for rear­ma­ment.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: The view of the Japan­ese right-wing that Amer­i­can Pres­i­dent Franklin Delano Roo­sevelt was respon­si­ble for World War II; Nobo­suke Kishi’s activ­i­ties in wartime Japan, includ­ing his sign­ing of Japan’s dec­la­ra­tion of war against the Unit­ed States; the Uni­fi­ca­tion Church of Sun Myung Moon’s finan­cial aid to North Korea; review of the Uni­fi­ca­tion Church’s role as an exten­sion of the Japan­ese patri­otic soci­eties that brought fas­cism to Japan in the 1930’s; the pos­si­bil­ity that Moon’s aid to North Korea may have been intend­ed to aid that country’s nuclear buildup, thus pro­vid­ing an excuse for Japan­ese rear­ma­ment.