Is any of this important or can it all be ignored?

First this, from David Archibald at The American Thinker under the title, As China and Japan Prepare for War, American Forces Battle over Turf:

Many readers of American Thinker may be thinking that a war between China and Japan, with or without the US being involved, is precluded by the fact that it would be stupid and destructive. Nevertheless, the people who are actually going to fight that war are continuing to prepare for it. In the US forces, the Marines are seeing off an attempt by the Army to gain a role. The Marines believe that they won’t need any help in retaking the Senkakus from China. They are also concerned that the Army attack helicopters would suffer from corrosion while sitting on flat-decked ships at sea.

Among the pundits, Foreign Policy has come to the realisation that if China seizes the Senakakus, they might as well seize the southern half of the Ryuku island chain, the Yaeyama Islands, while they are at it. Militarily and morally, the Yaeyamas would be only a little bit more difficult than seizing the Senkakus but would come with plenty of basing opportunities and the benefit of partially enveloping Taiwan.

And then there’s this, RAF Jet Chases Russian Planes Away From UK:

Two Russian bombers which flew close to UK airspace have been chased away by an RAF jet fighter.

The aircraft, believed to be Tupolev 95s, were spotted off the coast of northeast Scotland.

They were turned away from Britain when an RAF Typhoon was scrambled from Leuchars airbase, near Dundee.

Crews stationed there are on standby to intercept unidentified aircraft at a moment’s notice.

The incident comes amid heightened international tensions over the situation in Ukraine, following the annexation of Crimea by Russia last month.

It also follows the arrival of a Russian warship, the Vice Admiral Kulakov, in waters off the coast of Britain.

And then there’s this, US troops to Poland as Ukraine truce falters which is also reported here:

RUSSIA says it will strike back if its “legitimate interests” in Ukraine are attacked, raising the stakes in the Cold War-like duel with the United States over the former Soviet republic’s future.

NATO responded by cautioning against “veiled threats”, saying they violated the spirit of an agreement reached in Geneva last week to try to pull the crisis-hit country back from the brink of civil war.

This is what happens when the most important issue in American elections is the distribution of Obamaphones to those who pay no attention to anything actually in the news. Maybe it’s just the news cycle so that there has to be something fresh every few hours. Or maybe it’s the news cycle and even important news only lasts for a few hours before being replaced by something else.

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38 Responses to Is any of this important or can it all be ignored?

  1. Youngster

    I just finished a book on Reagan by one of his closest aides. The contrast between Reagan and Obama could not be more stark. Reagan was a man who passionately believed in the greatness of America and the American people, and that belief inspired the nation. Obama passionately believes in the greatness of Barack Obama, and that belief is ruining a once-great nation. Could you imagine anyone taking Obama seriously if he had to stand in front of the Kiev Wall and demand “Mr Putin, tear down this wall”?

  2. Fisky

    Gosh, aren’t we glad the 2012 election was fought on tampons, contraceptives and “free stuff”, eh?

  3. stackja

    I get my US news from Fred Barnes, Tim Mak and Tom DeFrank. They are Obama sceptics.

  4. Gab

    This is what happens when the most important issue in American elections is the distribution of Obamaphones to those who pay no attention to anything actually in the news.

    This is what happens when the majority of voters are more interested in voting with their vagina than with their brain.

  5. Alfonso

    What’da load of utter rubbish.

    The EU should thank the gods that multi millions of Ukrainian peasants are not about to sign on to be subsidised by Germany. Wish Ukraine well but it is irrelevant to the West.
    Russian Bear probes to the edge of NATO airspace happened daily during the Cold war.
    Russia will go nowhere near Poland if US troops are there as a trip wire.

    Too much spare time not enough to write about…..the NZ newspaper syndrome.

  6. Kingsley

    I do have a lingering concern that if there is a serious property crash in China that the Chinese leadership might need a bloody big external distraction ala the Argentine junta with the Falklands

  7. Bruce of Newcastle

    Add that the Chinese impounded a Japanese bulk carrier, over a 1930′s era debt recently, and looks to be moving on more Japanese commercial interests:

    After Seizing Ship, China Threatens Japan With More WWII Lawsuits

    So a commercial ‘war’ may well be in the offing. Russia did much the same thing by expropriating the assets of Western oil and gas companies last decade, using various rubbery court cases and tax penalties.

    The difference though is China is now so heavily linked to the rest of the world economy that commercial interests should dampen the excitable types in the PLA and the Party. I think all those party members and military officers with export businesses will not be so keen to start a hot war when by doing so they will bankrupt themselves. But the Chinese stealing the assets of other countries using things like these WW2 excuses seems quite likely. There’s not much that Japanese and Western countries can do about it.

    Hmm, just checked. Mitsui have got their ship back as of an hour ago, after they coughed up $29 million in fees and damages.

  8. John of Perth

    As Alfonso stated the Russian Bear Flights were common during the cold war and were designed as a regular show of strength, no different to various NATO flights and military operations that are still conducted near China and Russia. The fact that these fights resumed a few years ago is is no news and are a deliberate design to show an “escalation of tension” in the media.

    I strongly doubt any real war would escalate as this sabre rattling is merely designed as a projection of strength by both sides (US token supporting NATO allies) to ensure the masses of both side are “educated” that the other is the bogeyman to turn public opinion for their benefit as both sides are highly xenophobic.

    If the US places visible troops in the Ukraine (not its private contractors which may or may not be present) at the behest of their puppet regime in Kiev then all cards are off the table and a real conflict will occur.

    I just wonder if its is the US using its poxies in the Ukrainian government to push a Russian military response/reaction for other factors as their behaviour is very illogical at the least and many responses coincide with CIA and other official visits/talks. Some of these factors could be the revitalising the military industrial complex, improving US gas markets at the expense of Russia, curbing the growth of Bric’s away from the US dollar which would be devastating, and covering up poor domestic policies like obamacare and an faltering US economy, ensuring the strengthening of Nato allies and markets, drive the EU particularly Germany from closer Russian economic integration). In light of earlier articles I feel these factors are the real issues to restore a faltering US hegemony, dollar and economy.

  9. Ellen of Tasmania

    This is what happens when the majority of voters are more interested in voting with their vagina than with their brain.

    “We haven’t heard much lately about the “marriage penalty” in ObamaCare. That’s the provision designed to placate and cement the support of the 70 percent of unmarried women who voted for President Obama in the 2008 election. …

    Now there is a growing understanding that – as much as anything else – ObamaCare is aimed at subsidizing a life of singleness among women, particularly unmarried mothers. Little wonder many pro-marriage activists view the bill as “a direct attack on marriage.” The Heritage Foundation reports that the annual “penalty” for being married could go as high as $10,000, and, cumulatively, a married couple “could face a penalty of over $200,000 during the course of their marriage.” “

  10. Ellen of Tasmania

    Would the treaty the U.S. has with Japan obligate them to help protect those islands?

    Couldn’t China just start selling off their U.S. bonds &/or $$ if the U.S. were to assist Japan? That said, the Japs hold a fair bit of U.S. debt and dollars too, don’t they?

    Messy stuff.

  11. rickw

    I do have a lingering concern that if there is a serious property crash in China that the Chinese leadership might need a bloody big external distraction ala the Argentine junta with the Falklands

    When you need to distract the population from a domestic issues, and you have got a flock of Hawks like China has, then the world is headed for big trouble.

    Already minor “corrections” in the Chinese property market have seen some pretty serious confrontations. What would a big property correction look like? As for the Chinese Hawks, they make the supposed American Hawks look like chickens, they get surprisingly little airtime for such complete nut jobs.

  12. Robert Blair

    A hot war is more likely than not.

    When is the question, not if.

    It reminds me of the NASDAQ bubble. Most experienced traders, correctly, saw it was an unsustainable bubble and predicted a bust.

    Some of them, incorrectly, bet on the bubble bursting (via what is popularly called “short-selling”).
    They were dead right that it was a bubble, and would inevitably burst.

    But they got the timing wrong, and several of them shorted themselves into bankruptcy before the bubble burst.

    The Chinese and Russian bubbles (economic and geopolitical) will inevitably burst. But when?

  13. John of Perth

    Yes Ellen very messy stuff.

    Even with the recent change and reorientation of US policy to Asia (away from ME and Europe) these various forms of containment polices used by America on China and their response are highly stupid as all it does is push China and Russia closer and the last thing they need is this partnership which will combine a two growing/re-emerging regional powerhouses, one rich in resources and the other manufacturing . What has America got to stop this and help Japan is a strong but expensive technologically advanced military that is supported by an economy that is a house of cards waiting to fall from weak internal social problems, divisive moral dynamics and needs urgent structural and political revival. Should the US dollar be damaged in such a conflict, China will be badly affected but America will be ruined. It’s like an economic Armageddon waiting for some hawk or fool on either side to press the button.

  14. I am the Walrus, koo koo k'choo

    Russkies send the ancient, noisy Bear around quite a lot to remind people they are still there. They think it will fool people into thinking that Rasha isn’t quite the backward mediaeval toxic disaster that it actually is.

    If they were serious you’d know it because you’d be chasing down a Tu-160 Blackjack.

    The Chinese are going to move against Japan. Just a matter of time. Best to process it now and start working on a response.

  15. Alfonso

    “When you need to distract the population from a domestic issues, and you have got a flock of Hawks like China has, then the world is headed for big trouble”

    Only if the Chinese are very bad at math.
    An invasion of Japanese territory can be terminal to the ChiCom regime.
    The West can go on / survive without cheap Chinese consumables…China cannot go on without selling them to the West.
    China is the most easily oil embargoed country on earth after Iran. Western tech companies like Apple, Intel etc can relocate at the speed of light, it’s been gamed. The Chinese holding of US Treasury debt would last about a day without being declared denominated in a “Chinese Debt Dollar” worth whatever the US chooses. The Chinese can count….excellent.

    Western Resource economies like Australia would be hardest hit by friendly fire…..we’d survive.

  16. Adrian

    Australia might need to kick some people off welfare to buy more F-35s.

  17. Bruce of Newcastle

    Adrian – Tom yesterday linked GetUp…who have helpfully pointed out, with a very nice graphic, that the ABC’s budget each year would buy 6 F-35′s.

    In a decade we could have 60 more of them at no additional cost to the budget. Very nice! Aren’t GetUp thoughtful for raising this wonderful idea at such a dangerous time for the RAAF?

  18. Combine_Dave

    Many readers of American Thinker may be thinking that a war between China and Japan, with or without the US being involved, is precluded by the fact that it would be stupid and destructive.

    That would seem logical.

    The Chinese are prepared to play a long game to get those Islands back. But they don’t need to conquer any Japanese held Islands to get back Taiwan, that’s seemly happening gradually over time anyway as China’s economy becomes bigger and Taiwan becomes ever more dependent on their trade.

    If the Chinese initiate a war the good times would cease and they would lose more than anyone else once the dust settled and the spigot of global investment was cut off. They are not just dependent on exporting to maintain their current pace of development they are also a net importer of both food and energy.

  19. I am the Walrus, koo koo k'choo

    The people saying ‘nothing for China in a war with Japan’ might want to look up the phrase ‘mirror imaging’ on the web.

  20. Combine_Dave

    . But the Chinese stealing the assets of other countries using things like these WW2 excuses seems quite likely.

    Out of curiosity what other countries have committed WW2 era crimes against China and are likely to face court cases?

    Is this really that special when you have similar cases against the Japanese in SKorea or against Germany in Europe for their wartime atrocities?

    Frankly the status quo benefits the ChiComs and their leaders immensely. I bet you are more likely to see another land war in Europe (Russia vs the Eastern Euro-NATO nations?) than China launching an invasion; resulting in Party elite risking their current personal fortunes.

  21. Combine_Dave

    The people saying ‘nothing for China in a war with Japan’ might want to look up the phrase ‘mirror imaging’ on the web

    This would be what you appear to be doing. You may also try looking up ‘projecting’.

    The current Chinese military exists to ensure the integrity of Chinese territory and to stop Taiwan from formally declaring independance. Aside from that its capabilities compared to the US (and even Japan and South Korea) are laughable.

    The Chinese military modernisation drive is also motivated by a fear that history will repeat itself and China will be again be humiliated at the hands of invading Western Powers and Japan, rather than a 1930s German/Imperial Japan style military build up they lack the intent to build a rapidly expanding empire.

    Only time will tell if they can keep developing and catch up with the West. I would suggest they won’t.

    I believe that;

    a) the PRC will collaspe due to internal problems, conflict between provinces with differing needs & dev levels, terrible demographics (growing old before growing rich/developed), and mass opposition to the ruling party or;

    b) Either Japan or USA initiate a conflict with China by striking preemptively to prevent their further development and to prevent them from becoming the regional power of Asia (PM Abe is currently revising Japan’s constitution to allow such a first strike). Even a cold war with Japan/USA doing nothing but blockading China would collaspe China’s economy like a house of carda, smash their living standards and cause massive civil unrest with the potential to bring down the PRC Government.

  22. thefrollickingmole

    The only question left is what year is it..

    1937, 38 or 39?

    A few days ago Russia “forgave” 3/4 of North Koreas debt.
    2 days ago they started rumpling about conducting another Nuke test.

    Hamas and fatah make up which effectively scuttles the 1% remaining chance of a deal there by the Israelis before hell freezes over.

    Ukraine keeps keeping on.

    I just have an awful feeling Obama will announce “peace in our time” soon so we can come full circle.
    We have a terrible tendency to imagine we are smarter than our historical predecessors while history runs on a repeat loop of statesmen looking like the cast of “Ow my Balls”…

  23. Rex Munday

    Frankly the status quo benefits the ChiComs and their leaders immensely. I bet you are more likely to see another land war in Europe (Russia vs the Eastern Euro-NATO nations?) than China launching an invasion; resulting in Party elite risking their current personal fortunes.

    I tend to agree (maybe more out of hope…)

    The problem is Putin. The man is a complete nutter and he likely to do something like drag Russia down with him if he feels his mortality or legacy (political or otherwise) is endangered.

  24. Rex Munday

    As for Obama: well he was elected for no reason but his colour and he’s as useless as any other affirmative action placement is.

  25. Combine_Dave

    Of course, just in case I am wrong there’s no reason for us not to (well aside from our massive budget debt) buy a ton of amazing fighters from America, subs off the shelf from Japan and maybe look at supplementing our tanks with some of those new Jap or SKorea ones.

    Having an effective defense force is like keeping a condom in your wallet, it’s better you have it but don’t need it than need but not have it. Of course some would say it’s better just to not fuck with people at all.

    The ironic thing is we are paying for our military equipment to potentially defend our allies against China through taxes paid due to our massively valuable trade with China.

    I don’t know if Putin really intends to drag Russia down, but he does seem willing to court war in Europeor at least is counting on Obama doing nothing. Putin has also been antagonising Japan in Asia as well, with new military facilities on the islands the soviets ‘liberated’ from imperial Japan and military flights through Japanese airspace.

  26. Bruce of Newcastle

    Out of curiosity what other countries have committed WW2 era crimes against China and are likely to face court cases?

    Well if they run out of appropriate “legal cases” from WW2 there’s always the Opium Wars, which they still complain about. Chinese have long memories when it comes to extracting dosh from other people.

  27. Combine_Dave

    Well if they run out of appropriate “legal cases” from WW2 there’s always the Opium Wars, which they still complain about. Chinese have long memories when it comes to extracting dosh from other people.

    I’d forgotten about that. I guess there’s also the other western nations who at various times occupied parts of China (even Germany had a colony hence the existence of Tsing Dao beer today), and if one wanted to draw a long bow there are the antichinese riots from miners during the gold rush era in Australia and that time the original china town in Brisbane was razed to the ground (chinese business men there had become too successful for the liking of the forebearers of the ALP).

    Although as none of the above nations have existing territorial disputes with China I doubt any law suits will be forthcoming.

  28. Myrddin Seren

    Is any of this important or can it all be ignored ?

    Chinese expansion policies in the East and South China Seas. Potentially a problem. Ergo – Important.

    The Marines and the Army in a purported turf war about liberating a stack of guano layered rocks from the Chinese wannabe hegemon ? Really – source ? Would have thought if the poo hits the fan over the Senkakus there won’t be time for Army choppers to corrode at sea – this is not going to be a rerun of 1942-45 and the island hopping campaign.

    Russian airforce does a flypast of the UK.

    As others have mentioned up thread – “The aircraft, believed to be Tupolev 95s….” These things first flew in 1954. They would make a neat display at the Farnborough Air Show. Ho hum – nostalgia flight for the Russkie crews.

    “It also follows the arrival of a Russian warship, the Vice Admiral Kulakov, in waters off the coast of Britain.” They can see it – they can hit it. Just a jolly for the Russian navy.

    Ukraine – utterly bankrupt. Let the EU have the remains of it and Vlad can send the bill for overdue accounts to Brussels. Still, one can never underestimate the potential for a stupid accident to spin out of control, but I am not convinced this is a rerun of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

  29. Combine_Dave

    Chinese expansion policies in the East and South China Seas. Potentially a problem. Ergo – Important.

    To what extent? An island near Taiwan but admin by Japan which China have no capacity to obtain and Taiwan itself which China appears quite happy to wait out and let return to the fold gradually and over time.

    Ergo no problem.

    Outside of fiction China has no hope of besting America.

    China’s path to strongest regional power status is by no means assured, they face many internal problems likely to prevent them ever being a super power to rival the US.

    Although this could change if Obama backs down over the Ukraine (indicating to China that there’s no longer an impediment to retriving lost territory) or if Abe authorises a first strike on PRC military assets travelling to close to disputed territory.

    In the latter example it’s still possible that China wouldn’t respond with a massive retaliation as the the loss of such a force at the hands of Japan/USA would be a huge blow and more importantly a lose of ‘face’ for the PLA and PRC’s leaders.

  30. Chris M

    Matthew 24v3-6 “And as he was sitting upon the mount of Olives the disciples came to him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be, and what is the sign of thy coming and the completion of the age? And Jesus answering said to them, See that no one mislead you…. But ye will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that ye be not disturbed; for all these things must take place, but it is not yet the end.”

  31. I am the Walrus, koo koo k'choo

    This would be what you appear to be doing. You may also try looking up ‘projecting’.

    LOL! I warn people about viewing China’s options through the lens of western rationality and am accused of projecting.

    This site certainly entertains!

    The ChiComms aren’t just picking on Japan. They are seriously upsetting the Philippinos, whose armed forces aren’t much of a match for the ChiComms, and everyone knows it. Perhaps the ChiComms are just probing until the US and Philippinos spasm. Perhaps they are in earnest. Either way I doubt they are acting in vain.

    If you want the current peace to continue, start preparing for war.

  32. Vasily

    This is what happens when the most important issue in American elections is the distribution of Obamaphones to those who pay no attention to anything actually in the news. Yes, that was not good, but actually the outcome of the last US election changed little in regard to US foreign policy because the kids at Foggy Bottom would still have been let loose to destabilize a good part of eastern Europe under Romney. The only difference is Obama’s presidency creates a vacuum for them to operate in but under Romney they would have presidential backing. Perhaps we can be thankful, then, for Obama’s ineptitude, Steve? Otherwise, we could actually have been at war by now courtesy State Depts’s Ms Nuland and CIA chief John Brennan.

    Meanwhile, western democracies do have problem with electorates voting themselves largesse. This is something de Tocqueville predicted, as you may know. I think Western democracies will have to consider again linking voting rights with property rights in some way. What do you think?

  33. tomix

    Didn’t that unrepresentative electoral system in England lead to the the Corn Laws, troops to protect the interests of the East India Company, that sort of thing.
    Better to remove female suffrage. They’re just not ready for it.

  34. Crossie

    The only difference is Obama’s presidency creates a vacuum for them to operate in but under Romney they would have presidential backing. Perhaps we can be thankful, then, for Obama’s ineptitude, Steve? Otherwise, we could actually have been at war by now courtesy State Depts’s Ms Nuland and CIA chief John Brennan.

    Nuland and Brennan are appointees and a new administration would put in their own people. Besides that, Nuland is/was? a spokesperson, not setting policy but talking to journalists.

    Had Romney won the election he would have been far better at diplomacy and actually negotiate with foreign representatives instead of taking selfies with the blonde Danish PM.

    People are too polite in expressing what they really think now of the Obama presidency but 10 years down the road we will read astounding memoirs about this era.

  35. Combine_Dave

    LOL! I warn people about viewing China’s options through the lens of western rationality and am accused of projecting.

    You asked for the viewpoint from China, you can’t blame me if you didn’t like it, and you’ve countered with the view from the philipines?

    Not sure how bringing in other disputes is relevant to the fanstasy that PRC China will go to war with Japan, and soon.

    It is true that the Phillies are strengthenthing their military in response to the rise of China (and other neighbours), they receive a large amount of aid from Japan to assist with this. Although at present their own actions in this dispute consist solely of machine gunning Taiwanese fishermen in international waters. I don’t think there’s scope for WW3 here. If that didn’t trigger it, nothing between those two will.

    Japan has plenty of disputes of her own, but I shan’t sully this thread with that OT discussion. Needless to say the region is a hotbed of claims and counter claims.

    Back to ChiComs, they are not expanding aimlessly or being driven by a rational desire to obtain new resources. They consider themselves to be newly re-emerged as a power equal to others on the international scene, and are paranoid that their nation could break apart and wish to retrieve historical maritime territories lost during their earlier times of weakness.

    Which is why unless something big happens; ROC delcares full independence and cuts ties with the PRC or Japan launches a strike against PRC assets stations near those disputed Tiaoyutai islands off the coast of ROC, war is very unlikely.

    I can’t say the same about the Ukraine and Russia, if Russia takes another bite of the Ukrainian cherry or if NATO mobiles and tries to return the Crimea by force. Russia seems to have a much more forceful leader than the Chinese.

    The Russians have even been fortifying their Kuril Islands after negotiations with Japan over their ownership (yep more Island disputes) broke down.

  36. Bruce of Newcastle

    The Chinese have pissed off all their neighbours. They have been claiming Vietnamese territory in the SCS. They’ve even been annoying the Malaysians and Brunei over the Nine Dashed Line. India has been improving their transport infrastructure in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh because of a Chinese buildup over the border and several recent provocations. Chinese passports now contain a map with Arunachal Pradesh included as Chinese territory.

    Even Burma has pulled out of agreements with China and has turned to ASEAN. Which in Asian practice is amazing given how much political capital they owe to the PRC for decades of backing.

    I suspect the whole Bo Xilai thing has been a big reason for all this, as Xi Jinping oversets the crony nationalists that Bo led. They had good reason to stir up the neighbours to maintain their positions…which failed when Bo fell. As Xi solidifies control it may quiet down.

  37. Combine_Dave

    As I said earlier the region is awash with competing territorial claims and disputes. Japan herself has serious disputes with a number of regional powers in the area.

    None of this is likely to lead to WW3, unless the conditions I outlined above are realised. The ChiComs are addicted to their current economic prosperity and are paranoid that their nation will split up. WW3 is simply not on the cards.

    Burmar is a rare example of a recent win for American foreign policy. Offering copious amounts of aid and relaxing sanctions to bringvBurmar closer to the West and away from China. A pity they can’t do the same for NKorea.

    The Chinese-Map passport issue is old news, a lot of tough talk when they were first introduced than nothing. Not a trigger for WW3.

    Ditto for India and China’s border dispute. India has about as much chance of recapturing the territory lost to China during the 60s as Jap does of getting back the ‘lost’ Island of Dokdo from SKorea.

  38. Combine_Dave

    I suspect the whole Bo Xilai thing has been a big reason for all this, as Xi Jinping oversets the crony nationalists that Bo led. They had good reason to stir up the neighbours to maintain their positions…which failed when Bo fell. As Xi solidifies control it may quiet down.

    The above certainly highlights how corrupt and ruthleess the Chinese leadership can be (still better than the Australian Labor Party ).

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