Wednesday, June 1, 2011

History Ends Here

Right before the no-confidence vote, in an effort to convince Japan to do the right thing, I posted the following article on Blogging for a New World Order.
“The rise of China is something we have been eagerly waiting for.”
Taro Aso

On February 17, Yao Jian, the spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, said China began its rise when Deng Xiaoping visited Japan on October 22, 1978. According to Yao, Deng asked Japan to provide China with its technological and financial resources. Deng believed China would need those for his modernization program. Yao also said that during the trip, Deng rode the bullet trains in Japan.

“The Shinkansen is so fast,” said Deng. “It was as if it was urging us to dash.”

For the past three decades, Japan has helped China modernize its economy. But things could have turned out differently. After the Tiananmen Square protests, the West imposed sanctions on China. The West often instigates riots in other countries in an effort to provoke their government into killing the protesters. Once that happens, the West will place sanctions on those countries. This procedure is an effective way to hurt a country.

Had the sanctions against China been left in place, China would have turned out differently, and not for the better. It would probably look more like Burma. But the sanctions were lifted, thanks in large part to the efforts of Japan. Japan pressed for the removal of the sanctions at the G7 meeting that took place on July 9, 1990. At that meeting, Japan pressed the other countries to resume their aid programs to China. On the other hand, at the very same meeting, Japan said it opposed providing aid to Russia because Russia continued to maintain its hold on the Northern Territories, which Russia took from Japan at the end of World War II.

Both China and Russia needed help to develop their economies after the end of the Cold War. While Japan helped China, Japan largely stayed away from Russia. Instead, America and Europe took the lead on helping Russia develop. That didn’t work out well at all. Instead of helping Russia, the West sent its economy into a collapse worse than the Great Depression in America.

Despite all the controversies over history, despite all the territorial disputes between its neighbors, despite all the collisions between Japanese ships and the ships from its neighboring countries, Japan has continued to help its neighbors develop. On the surface, the political relations between Japan and China appear troubled. But in reality, both countries are working together. On the surface, the Japanese political system seems indecisive, stagnant, and dysfunctional. Actually, in reality, the Japanese political system has been indecisive, stagnant, and dysfunctional but it has been indecisive, stagnant, and dysfunctional for a reason – Japan did not want to change.

“When it comes to Japan’s movement toward a new Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, I believe that Japan may know exactly what it is doing, that its bureaucrats are quite capable of guiding the nation in this direction, and that its seeming indecision merely reflects a delicate sense of timing and excellent camouflage for its long-range intentions,” said Chalmers Johnson.

Japan has a policy called seikei bunri – the division between economics and politics. According to this policy, Japan will pursue economic relations with its neighbors regardless of how bad the political relations with its neighbors are.

In fact, the political tension between Japan and China has had several positive effects for both countries. Whenever an incident occurs, the politicians from both countries become consumed with dealing with the crisis. This leaves no time for anything else. In particular, it leaves no time for dealing with anything that America wants.

The continued tension between Japan and China also gives America an excuse for spending too much money on its defense. East Asia wants America to spend too much money on defense because that spending boosts their exports. Higher military spending means more jobs and more income. That translates into higher imports, some of which comes from East Asia.

Of course, while East Asia demands that America spend too much money on their defense, East Asia works together to keep their defense spending low. During the Reagan administration, when America was trying to get Japan to boost its defense spending, China howled in protest, claiming it feared a return of Japanese militarism. In reality, China was helping Japan. Increasing its defense spending was the last thing Japan wanted to do. Japan used the complaints from China as an excuse for why it would not increase its defense spending.

I am sick of these games. Japan needs to change. China needs to change. America needs to change.

On February 28, the vice foreign ministers of Japan and China met with each other in Tokyo. They agreed that 2011 would be crucial for the bilateral relations of their two countries. This year is a crucial year for Japan and China. It is also a crucial year for America. The current world order is not working. We need a new one.

History ends here.
Apparently, my government was not happy with this article (or the no-confidence motion) because shares of TiVo and Vonage declined today. TiVo shares dropped 19 cents to $10.15 while Vonage shares dropped 8 cents to $4.69.

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