Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Views From America's 52nd State

I can't seem to get my head around this idea that the "Westerners" think of China as the enemy. I say "Westerners" because Japan is really considered a Western country. Apparently China steals jobs, and tries to bully its neighbors into submission. Here is another sample of this "China is the enemy" point of view:
China, it is plain to see, is at the root of most of the disputes troubling Asia. Two main issues must be managed – one philosophical, the other structural – in seeking to ameliorate the problems caused by China’s unconstrained rise. Only by resolving the structural issue will Asia succeed in overcoming the philosophical problem. 
The philosophical problem concerns China’s renewed conception of itself as the “Middle Kingdom,” a state with no sovereign equal. Throughout its history, China has sought to treat its neighbors as vassals – a mindset currently reflected in the way that it has approached negotiations with Vietnam and the Philippines over the South China Sea
China’s free-floating rise, unanchored in any regional structure or settlement, makes this mindset particularly worrying. At the Hawaii summit, Obama must orchestrate the first steps toward constructing an effective multilateral framework within which the complications posed by China’s rise can be addressed
The absence of such a structure of peace has been obscured, to some extent, by America’s dominant role in Asia since the Pacific War. But China’s rise and America’s other global and domestic concerns have left many Asians wondering just how enduring those commitments will be in the future. Nevertheless, China’s recent strategic assertiveness has led many Asian democracies to seek to deepen their ties with the US, as South Korea has done with a bilateral free-trade agreement. The US is reciprocating by pledging not to cut Asia-related defense spending, despite the big reduction in overall US defense spending that lies ahead.

No surprises here. The author is the former Minister of Defense of Japan, Youriko Koike. As my boss likes to say, Japan is America's 52nd state. Whatever that Koike has said about China can be said of the US. Historically, the US is known to use strong arm tactics to get countries to bend according to its will. It is a plain and simple fact. With rising economic power comes economic influence. There is nothing wrong with that. Let it be known that historically, China has NEVER ventured across its borders to go to war. Can the same be said for the US?

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