Pentagon Asks for Chinese Cooperation

Things in the South China Sea are getting more and more tense every day. The area is rich in natural resources and because of it, many countries hold competing claims over the region, all of which are tied to their own respective histories. While all of the countries involved (China, Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia, The Philippines, and Vietnam) are guilty of stoking tensions and staking claims, China has easily been the guiltiest party in this regard. They have embarked on a massive construction campaign and are currently building artificial islands in the middle of the ocean and on reefs that will eventually house air bases and other military installations, furthering their claims on the area and increasing their ability to defend it with force if needed.

The current tensions in the South China Sea are one of the major reasons the US military is reorienting attention away from Europe and the Middle East and towards supporting our allies in Asia, especially Japan and Taiwan. However, China has noticed our change in regional priorities and they have responded as anyone would expect them to, with slight hostility and micro aggressive acts that are meant to both test US preparedness as well as warn US forces to not interfere in what they see as a regional issue. Sterns words have been matched by shows of force as Chinese warplanes have threatened US spy planes and patrols in the area.

Now, in an attempt to stop things from becoming fatal in any way, the Pentagon has asked for Chinese cooperation in restoring some semblance of stability to the region. The Pentagon has both requested that the Chinese stop building artificial islands (which probably isn’t going to happen) as well as thinking about the bigger picture in terms of regional and world issues. With the US and Chinese economy both rivaling each other while also being intertwined to a heavy extent, the prerogative for all sides is to avoid any sort of actual conflict because of how ruinous it would be for both countries. What this is truly showing though is that the US military is finally realizing that spending all of our time and efforts chasing terrorists around the Middle East has distracted us from a true threat to national security. China is strong and getting stronger, it is far better for us to work together than it is to work against each other.

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New Defense Rules Would Give Japanese Military More Power

As the Japanese military gets more and more popular amongst citizens, the government has continued to push for more flexibility in regards to its military capabilities. Last time I wrote about how the Japanese military was gaining in popularity throughout the country as tensions rose in the South China sea. Now, the Japanese government is in discussions with the US government to come up with new defense rules that would give the Japanese more flexibility when it comes to using their military forces (called the Self-Defence Force), especially when it comes to helping US forces in the region. While this is controversial to many, the new rules would strengthen the US-Japanese alliance and make defenses in the region stronger and more stable.sgt hack, sgt david hack, japan, japanese self defence force

The Japanese military was gutted after World War II due to Japan’s many war crimes throughout the conflict. The Self-Defence Force that arose after WW2 was severely limited in its scope and could only function when defending Japan or direct Japanese interests; it could never attack, only defend. Now, the South China sea and East China sea are becoming more and more tense with every passing week. There are a number of conflicting claims on islands and natural resources in the region between different countries and Japan is included. The various territorial claims are coming from Japan, China, Vietnam, South Korea, Taiwan, and other countries as they argue over exclusive claims to land, resources, and economic exclusivity zones. The kicker is that all of these countries have fully functioning and prepared militaries, except Japan.

The new rules being discussed would be a big change in the way that Japan’s Self-Defence Force is run and equipped. It not only would allow Japan to have a more fully fleshed-out and functioning military, but it would also allow the country to be more proactive about defending itself and its interests. The new rules are meant to shift the current policy from the US defending Japan to the US and Japan defending each other. It will also give Japan extra leverage when it comes to negotiating with countries who might not have taken it as seriously due to its lack of a full military. While this isn’t a full unshackling of Japan’s military potential, it’s definitely the first step towards Japan having an unfettered military with which to pursue it and the US’ mutual goals in the region.

If you’d like to read more, the link is here.

Japanese Military Gaining Popular Support

There is no denying the fact that the Japanese are a martial culture. History has shown time and time again about how ferocious the Japanese are when it comes to war and how the warrior has always been seen in high regard. One only needs to look at the history of Shogunates and the samurai culture to see how important the idea of a warrior’s virtue is to the Japanese population as a whole. Even during the periods of self-imposed isolation, Japan’s warrior culture only grew stronger and more intricate, leading to the eventual showdown between the military government (the Shogunate) and those in support of the Imperial family. Now, as Japan’s military has been sitting hamstrung by the treaty signed at the end of WWII as China is growing stronger, Japanese popular sentiment is pushing for a more active military than it has had in the past.sgt_hack_japanese_us_military

The initial Japanese surge of support for a stronger, more active military began after the Fukushima nuclear plant catastrophe. There, the army was instrumental in the evacuation and clean-up processes as well as in maintaining the peace and securing the area. However more and more events have happened in the past that has pushed the support into louder and louder cries as the Japanese populace begins to realize the benefits of having a full-strength and active military. First, the executing of the both Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa by ISIS have forced the Japanese to realize that they might have enemies who hate them simply because they’re different. This, coupled with the increasing strength and aggression of China, have led strength to Japanese PM Shinzo Abe’s current push for a rewriting of the post-WWII constitution so that Japan can have a fully unhampered military.

The main thing standing in the way of this happening is probably the United States of America. Pearl Harbor and WWII Japanese military aggression and war crimes are still recent history and doubtlessly leave a foul taste in the mouths of many people, not just the US. Japanese atrocities are still remembered by both the Chinese and the Koreans and the fact that Japan has refused to acknowledge or apologize for them is still an issue with many countries. Add to that how China would react if Japan were to start fully re-arming and an already tense region becomes a powder keg for a potential third world war. However what should also be acknowledge, no matter how painful the memories might be, is that a fully re-armed and functional Japanese military has the potential to be an even more important ally to the US and South Korea than it currently already is. With tensions increasing, who’s to say that it isn’t time to unleash the full potential of a US-Japanese alliance?

If you’d like to read more, the link is here.