Friday, May 01, 2015


"For all his flaws, Mr Abe is on balance a good thing for a country that has drifted too long under a succession of fleeting, nondescript leaders. Yet Washington should not back him under all circumstances. That is especially true when it comes to relations with China. Above all, Washington must not give the impression that it wants to use Japan as a tool of containment. If it looks as though the US and Japan are ganging up on China, Beijing is likely to conclude that there is no peaceful path to its legitimate ambitions. The debacle over the China-led Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank — boycotted by both Washington and Tokyo — is a case in point. During Mr Abe’s visit, the joint attitudes of Japan and the US towards China will be tested in three broad arenas. The first is history. In his speech to Congress, Mr Abe will reflect on Japan’s actions in the second world war, which ended 70 years ago. Mr Abe is among those on the Japanese right who think the country has apologised enough. He has hinted that he wants to drop language used in previous apologies referring to “colonial rule”, “aggression” and “remorse”. Any manifestation of “Abenesia” would be a big mistake. Of course it is galling for Japan to be lectured by China, which has whitewashed much of its modern history, on the importance of historical accuracy. But as the aggressor in the second world war, Japan does not have the luxury to decide when the apologies end.... Second, and related, is defence. Mr Abe wants to reinterpret Japan’s pacifist constitution to give Tokyo more leeway to participate in international affairs. The Pentagon wholly supports this. So do some of Japan’s neighbours that are worried about growing Chinese military power. This week, the US and Japan will issue new guidelines for defence co-operation designed to bring contingency planning up to date. There is no harm in this so long as it does not look like an anti-Chinese pact."
Leader, "US should back Japan but not at any price". The Financial Times. 26 April 2015, in
"Kennedy was well to the fore in the Times’s endeavours to support Chamberlain. The sacrifice of Czechoslovakia seems not to have bothered him in the slightest. He seconded Dawson’s turning of the paper into an organ of the Prime Minister and his henchmen. With Dawson’s backing he wrote the leader of 1 April 1939 that prepared a way for pulling the rug out from under the guarantee just given to Poland, just as the rug had earlier been pulled out from under Czechoslovakia. None of this fancy footwork was of any avail. Hitler continued the cleverer; and unappeasable. Kennedy didn’t change his mind. The penultimate entry, written six weeks after the war began, finds him and Dawson concurring in the astounding opinion: ‘There was no statesmanship in our foreign policy between the two Chamberlains – Austen and Neville".’
Geoffrey Best, "Heiling Hitler" [A review of The ‘Times’ and Appeasement: The Journals of A.L. Kennedy 1932-39 edited by Gordon Martel]. The London Review of Books. 21 June 2001 in
The recent leader in the Financial Times on the topic of China and Japan is to put it quite bluntly akin to something that would have appeared in the Geoffrey Dawson's London Times circa 1936. With Japan of course in the role of France and China in the role of Hitler's Germany. The fact of the matter is that contemporary China, however much bien-pensant minded people like the leader writers of the Financial Times, or greedy and unscrupulous businessmen like Jim Rodgers or ex-statesman like Hank Paulson or Henry Kissinger, is au fond a revisionist power pur et simple. And will seek to expand its power and influence as much as it can get away with if not actively opposed. The idea that the PRC will of its own volition "seek to be integrate (sic) China more closely into a rules-based system", bears no relationship with reality 1. The regime in Peking is an insecure, authoritarian state, who uses an aggressive foreign policy to appease and divert its citizenry. Id. est., Chinese foreign policy is primarily governed by considerations of Primat der Innenpolitik. The aggressive stance that the regime in Peking has taken towards almost all of its neighbors in the past five to six years, is of a piece with the above analysis. And however much the leader writers of the FT, think that Peking is truly interested in being 'integrated' into the existing American-lead world-system, it is difficult to believe that a regime which the heroic, emigre dissident, Chen Guangcheng has aptly described as: "a barbaric dictatorship masquerading as a government", will ever willingly abide by the rules and laws of the current international system 2.
1. Leader, "US should back Japan but not at any price". op. cit.
2. Chen Guangcheng quoted in: Jonathan Mirsky, "He Fought the Law". The Literary Review. (April 2015), p. 22.


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