Troubles brewing in the Asian Pacific are making the concept of isolationism sound very attractive.
Relations between China and Japan have never been all that great. We’ve seen two Sino-Japanese wars, with the second lasting more than eight years.
At the close of America’s war with Japan, that country agreed to never take up arms again and even included it in its constitution:
ARTICLE 9. Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.
(2) To accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.
Today, Japan may be re-thinking that provision.
During the last five months, tempers have flared between the two nations over ownership of a small string of islands situated in the East China Sea. Online MBA reports:
The argument came to a head last September, when a boycott of Japanese products led Chinese demonstrators to target fellow citizens who owned Japanese cars. Three months later, the situation escalated when Japanese jets confronted a Chinese plane flying over the islands; no shots were fired, but the act of antagonism has set a troubling precedent between the military forces of both nations.
All of which puts the United States smack dab in the middle.
Since the end of World War II, the United States and Japan have enjoyed a special relationship, including a treaty in which each nation agreed to come to the aid of the other in times of war. Moreover, in November, the United States officially recognized Japan’s claim to the islands. When you throw in China’s repeated patent infringements and reports of cyber-security violations, one would think that would seal the deal for Japan.
But consider this: China holds a substantial portion of America’s $16.4 trillion debt. If it were to suddenly flood the market with U.S. bonds, it could substantially lower the value of U.S. securities and the dollar. Also, many U.S. firms have their products manufactured in China, most notably some General Motors automobiles and all Apple iPhones. Many more, including Jeep, are making plans to do the same.
Conflict between the two nations, which represent the area’s largest economies, would have an enormous economic impact on not just America, but the entire world.
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