Friday, April 15, 2005

China vs. Japan

There's a brouhaha brewing in the Far East between China and Japan. Japan's decision to join the US in declaring their intention to help defend Taiwan in case of an attack from the mainland has greatly vexed China which has responded by moving to block Japan's aspirations to join the Security Council as a permanent albeit non-veto member.

To bolster their position the Chicomms have fanned the flames of anti-Japanese nationalism - "how can we refuse the will of the people"? Anti-Japanese passion runs deep in China as well as through many parts of Asia as memories of Japanese imperialism prior to and during World War II remain barely beneath the surface. [It does not, however, in Taiwan which was basically a Japanese colony for the better part of the first half of the 20th century and the native Taiwanese harbor a significant affinity for the Japanese.]

One particular source of deep anger is the refusal of the Japanese to admit to their role in starting World War II in Asia as well as a near complete denial of atrocities committed by Japanese troops in places like Nanking. This is probably the one area where I find myself on the same side as the Red Chinese. I can attest to this having had native Japanese friends who admitted they never learned the truth about the war until after they left Japan. The Japanese government needs to come clean and put the matter behind them as the Germans remarkably did.

That said, even for an American of Chinese descent whose family lived through Japansese depredations in WWII it's easy to choose sides here. China, as long as it remains a totalitarian dictatorship under the Communist Party, is a dangerous strategic enemy of liberty and hence the United States. The Party certainly desires regional hegemony and would like nothing better than to return China to its global preeminent position circa the early Ming dynasty. That, coupled with economic success, would guarantee their hold on power indefinitely. Japan, despite its warts, is a healthy, functioning democracy with whom we share many things including the strategic goal of limiting Chinese expansionism. Let's not forget that in the last fifty years the Chinese Communists have more than amply displayed their flagrant disregard for the value of life and whose body count dwarves that of wartime Japan.

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