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Commentary: Let Japan fight a war? It's a terrible idea

English.news.cn   2014-06-03 12:53:47

by Xinhua writer Ming Jinwei

BEIJING, June 3 (Xinhua) -- Clyde Prestowitz, president of the Economic Strategy Institute, has called for "letting Japan help defend America- and itself."

In a recent commentary piece carried by Reuters, Prestowitz said Washington should not only support Hawkish Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's controversial scheme to rewrite the pacifist constitution, but also "welcome it."

It is politically unwise and morally wrong to loosen the strains on the Japanese military even when the country's rightist politicians, including Abe, are continuing to whitewash its war-time atrocities and to pick fights with its neighbors over territorial disputes.

Prestowitz warned that the U.S. could be drawn into a war with China over the Diaoyu Islands because of the "peculiarities" of the Japanese pacifist constitution and the U.S.-Japan security relationship.

His warning is legitimate, but his solution bizarre.

It is quite difficult to understand how a militarily strong Japan could make such a war less likely.

Maybe Prestowitz was implying that a powerful Japanese military could scare China away from defending its territorial integrity. If so, he apparently got two things wrong.

First, Japan, if backed with a more capable military, will only take further adventurist measures over the Diaoyu Islands, which is, to the contrary of Prestowitz's thinking, just more likely to force the Washington to fight a war for Tokyo.

The issue of the Diaoyu Islands has been around for decades. Tensions only flared up after Japan moved to change the status quo by "nationalizing" some of the islands.

For China, such a move is completely unacceptable because it not only betrayed an unwritten agreement between the two countries to shelve the issue for future generations to solve, but also amounts to a unilateral and substantial plan to snatching the islands from China.

Second, China will simply not be scared away from defending its territorial integrity. It is delusional to think China will be bullied by the U.S.-Japan security alliance.

China is not bluffing when its political and miliary leaders are repeatedly saying that they have the capabilities to protect its territories.

If Prestowitz got it wrong, then here comes the one-million-dollar question: What are Washington's viable options over the Diaoyu Islands?

The answer is to restrain nationalist Japanese leaders.

Chinese leaders, burdened with the enormous domestic task of steering the world's second largest economy in the face of both external and internal challenges, are in no mood to fight a war with Japan.

Washington has the best chance of avoiding a war with China over the Diaoyu Islands only when Japanese politicians finally realize the U.S. will not pull chestnuts out of the fire for them and it will probably lose badly in any military gamble.

Editor: Yang Yi
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