Pivoting to a Possible War
By Erick San Juan
''If this Japanese wolf again attacks America's Pearl Harbor or Australia's Darwin, how do you know it wouldn't receive another nuclear bomb? The world would hail if Japan receives such a blow.”
The abovementioned quote is from Senior Colonel Liu Mingfu, Chinese Military officer of the National Defence University as a reaction to the growing tension between China and Japan over the disputed territories in the East China Sea.
Liu said, "What makes it a very complicated situation is the ‘meddling’ of Uncle Sam (again?) by dragging Australia in to the picture." Col. Liu is actually warning Australia not to follow the US or Japan into any military conflict with China. A wise advice?
He elaborated further by using a figure of speech ''Australia should never play the jackal for the tiger or dance with the wolf,” for him, ''America is the global tiger and Japan is Asia's wolf and both are now madly biting China.” Of all the animals, Chinese people hate the wolf the most.
And to put weight on what he actually meant he added, “China was a peaceful nation but it would fight to the death if seriously attacked.”
Liu concluded that his views do not represent China's government policy but he said that they were consistent with what mainstream Chinese political and military leaders think, if not what they say.
(Translation- Perhaps it was the Chinese government who ordered him to openly inform Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard as she prepares to deliver a speech for Australia's national security.). Again, the world is witnessing an exchange of rhetorics a.k.a. a ‘war of minds’ in the midst of growing tension in the China Sea (both South and East). If not taken with much caution by countries involved, it might lead to ‘war of arms’ soon.
With so much hostilities brewing in the said region, the rest of the world is watching the cofluence of events with nervousness. For there is a reason to be anxious because what the world is witnessing right now is a repeat of what had happened before the Second World War. Alliances are in the making while arms race is ongoing especially the almost simultaneous change of leadership both in China and in Japan while Obama is now on his second term.
These leaders are in the works in strengthening their country’s military capabilities in the middle of a global economic downturn. Even US President Barack Obama has allegedly metamorphosed according to critics as Mr. good guy Jekkyl into President Hyde. If this is the case, the world has to be prepared for the possible scenarios that might lead to a regional conflict. Like what Col. Liu said of a plot that would justify a nuclear attack.
The pivots that will create the war.
The much-hyped US pivot to Asia-Pacific has intensified the already tensed situation in the region, and now – it's Japan’s pivot to the south.
As what Richard Javad Heydarian wrote in his article on atimes.com : “After decades of self-imposed pacifism, Japan is beginning to carve out a new role in regional maritime affairs. Newly elected Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has launched a charm offensive across the Pacific, with Australia, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam among the countries Tokyo is bidding to align against China's rising assertiveness. Abe has vowed to revisit Japan's pacifist constitution, re-calibrate its security alliance with the United States, and steer the establishment of a so-called "democratic security diamond". It is a proposed strategic alliance of like-minded Indo-Pacific countries that share similar anxieties about China's growing naval might.”
PM Abe’s so-called ‘democratic security diamond’ is about his vision of “a strategy whereby Australia, India, Japan, and the US state of Hawaii form a diamond to safeguard the maritime commons stretching from the Indian Ocean region to the Western Pacific. And, he is willing to invest ‘to the greatest possible extent, Japan's capacities in this security diamond.’
China is likely at the top of Abe's foreign agenda, though not only for economic reasons. Last year, in a controversial essay published before the parliamentary elections, Abe expressed his commitment to forge ahead with a more muscular and assertive foreign policy aimed at containing China. (Ibid)
The new Japanese PM is doing his rounds in visiting some ASEAN countries. He actually visited Australia (a non-ASEAN country) first because “Canberra's significance lies in its status as the other spoke - together with Japan - in the US-based "hub and spokes" alliance network in the Pacific.
The three Pacific powers - Japan, the US, and Australia - have been in a constant state of interaction and cooperation under the Trilateral Security Dialogue (TSD), while the 2007 Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation has served as a linchpin in the evolving Japanese-Australian strategic partnership.” (Ibid)
That is why Col. Liu Mingfu seems nervous when he warned Australia because this growing ‘security diamond’ alliance will actually contain China in the process.
It seems that every leader in this region has not wasted time in preparing for a possible conflict, and we know that China is doing the same. But the nagging question is, is the Philippines ready for such eventuality? Unfortunately, the country (especially the ruling party) is very much attuned to the coming mid-term elections. So what else is new?
Then again, are we going to reach that scheduled election day?