Speaking of WWII, Japan weakened commitment to pacifism in their constitution

posted at 11:01 am on July 2, 2014 by Noah Rothman

While we are on the subject of World War II and the worst things to have happened since that pivotal 20th Century event, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe defied domestic public opinion on Tuesday when he pushed for and the country’s coalition government approved of a shift in the nation’s defense policy.

For 70 years, Article 9 in Japan’s post-war constitution has prohibited that nation from undertaking offensive military operations or providing for its own collective defense. Abe gutted that pacifism provision, according to The Japan Times, on Tuesday when he signed a provision changing the law to allow Japan’s Self-Defense Forces to provide for their own defense and to come to the aid of allies.

The Cabinet decision, pending related changes to relevant laws, paves the way for the SDF to use force overseas to defend Japan’s allies even if Japan itself is not under attack. In other words, it allows Japan to take part in conflicts abroad, potentially putting SDF members in harm’s way.

“The global situation surrounding Japan is becoming ever more difficult,” Abe told the country in a televised press conference. “Being fully prepared is effective in discouraging any attempt to wage a war on Japan. The cabinet decision today will further lessen the chance of Japan being engaged in war. That is my conviction.”

Japanese relations with its rising neighbor and historic adversary, China, have been worsening in recent weeks since the People’s Republic announced its claim to territory in the South China Sea the Philippines regards as within its economic zone.

Chinese, Filipino, and Japanese naval and air assets have come into close contact on multiple occasions in recent weeks as those nations test each other’s defensive parameters.

In response to Japan’s planned constitutional adaptations, China sent two naval vessels to sail just 12 miles off the coast of the Japanese Senkaku Islands – a chain which China also claims.


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This is the only area of “immigration reform” that I’d favor right now. If we’d let in all the Chinese who attend colleges and universities here, who are offered jobs here, and who want to stay, we could brain-drain that country in a generation. Probably start a run on their banks, too, as their parents transfer their wealth from there to here. Not even sure we’d have to apologize for the Pacific Railroad.

de rigueur on July 2, 2014 at 3:09 PM

It’s not difficult for Chinese that attend American universities to get visas to continue to live and work in the US after graduation, even acquiring green cards or citizenship. Many do. And many then return to China after 10 or 15 years to take positions here. Most of the senior people I work with did just that.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 3:22 PM

Most Chinese that I know personally find the US a great place to raise children. They like the lower cost of real estate and the better air quality.

But many of them find it a boring place to live and don’t want to stay forever.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 3:27 PM

they know we won’t protect them so have no choice.

dmacleo on July 2, 2014 at 11:07 AM

There is no reason why we should protect them. Japan is a first world nation with a thriving economy and manufacturing base. They also have a state of the art armed forces. They can defend themselves. We are not the police of the world nor should we try to be.

earlgrey on July 2, 2014 at 3:31 PM

(3) There will be a Asian NATO arrayed against China

China will still be more powerful, if that happens.

The People’s Liberation Army is almost entirely without value as a fighting force. According to the Paymaster General, the officer corps is the most corrupt in the world, demanding bribes to carry out its orders and murdering rivals.

Chinese propaganda videos on YouTube show that the west is two generations ahead militarily. The Type 99 main battle tank has a glaring design fault called a “shot trap” under the mantlet that would channel any enemy sabot rounds right down into the hull of the tank.

The inside views of the Type 99 show off-the-shelf western electronics. It’s a total joke, like cardboard Iran “stealth” fighter.

Speaking of stealth fighters, both Chinese versions would have the radar signatures of flying shopping malls. One has canard wings, and the other has gaps and seams all over it.

The Chinese use German-style stick grenades, but they teach the troops a throwing style that nearly kills them. They have to wrap the priming lanyard around the fingers of their throwing hand, so the grenade gets pulled back toward the thrower.

The Chinese have used tanks in battle only once. In the Sino-Vietnamese War, they lost 26,000 troops in THREE MONTHS.

Remember those giant structures in the Gobi Desert? Turns out they’re satellite calibration devices. They’re over ten times the size of ours, meaning that the ground resolution of Chinese satellites is horrendous.

Finally, every single soldier of the PLA is an only child who’s expected to carry on the family name, the family business, provide grandchildren, and take care of the parents in their old age. The Chinese military can’t take casualties.

If the Chinese started a war and lost 10,000, there would be a nationwide uprising. The Chinese already used armed force to put down over 80,000 protests per year.

Oh, and their “carrier killer” DF-21 anti-ship ballistic missile? Never been proven to work. Besides, it has a top speed of 3400 miles per hour. We intercepted a satellite going 17,000 miles per hour. We had a ten-second window, using technology never tried before, and it was 100 percent successful.

No war with China. Ever. They’ll never catch up to us.

A Chair of Some Kind on July 2, 2014 at 3:39 PM

The People’s Liberation Army is almost entirely without value as a fighting force.

….

A Chair of Some Kind on July 2, 2014 at 3:39 PM

Then you’ve got absolutely nothing to worry about, as I’ve always maintained.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 3:50 PM

Finally, every single soldier of the PLA is an only child

Well that’s bullshit. I happen to know several members of the PLA that have several siblings. Let’s hope your other ‘information’ is more reliable.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 3:52 PM

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 3:07 PM

The Chinese military structure is still stuck in the First Sino-Japanese War. For example it is based on zones so mobilization and movement of forces from one zone to another is complicated. Military coordination between different zones, much less between different services is non-existent. Even worse the Chinese military is corrupt, going so far as to allow private high rises and homes to be built near or actually inside military bases. Who knows how much the NSA has infiltrated the Chinese government.

China is also very vulnerable to supplying themselves with natural resources. For example the water supply is very limited for future growth and is in fact shrinking. (Yes I know the source is Wikipedia, but just do a google search..) Also the same goes for oil, natural gas, etc. All of which would be cut off by a superior U.S. Navy (with the exception of those supplied by Russia at a high cost).

Also the U.S. does have one major advantage: Location. The U.S. can use its forces farther away than China due to its neighbors who are weak militarily. China has no such luxury. Large borders with military powers like India will mean forces cannot simply be moved around as easily, not to mention the massive amounts of money China spends of paramilitary forces to keep its own people in line. All of which can be exploited by the U.S.

The Chinese economic numbers are probably bogus considering the CCP has a major corruption problem. So I would not get too high on those CCP reports of economic growth. I know the electricity usage numbers don’t add up.

With that said China is a threat and will continue to be the number one threat to the U.S. This is due to its government’s stupidity and no doubt its massive military and lots of military spending.

Of course the U.S. has major problems too, but no greater than China’s. The U.S. may decline in relative power to the world due to our own incompetence, but the CCP is even more inept in other ways and does not have the ability to change course fast enough to save itself due to its own form of government. Single party governments are incapable of dealing with systemic corruption…See Detroit. The U.S. still has hope it can turn it around due to our system of government (hard to believe), and ability to form alliances.

I can add more…but I won’t.

William Eaton on July 2, 2014 at 4:01 PM

Finally, every single soldier of the PLA is an only child

Well that’s bullshit. I happen to know several members of the PLA that have several siblings.
DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 3:52 PM

Sure you do.

A Chair of Some Kind on July 2, 2014 at 4:11 PM

Then you’ve got absolutely nothing to worry about, as I’ve always maintained.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 3:50 PM

See, there’s a continuum of threats that some of us understand.

All out war is on one end, and “absolutely nothing to worry about” is on the other.

What thinking people do is worry about the stuff in between.

A Chair of Some Kind on July 2, 2014 at 4:14 PM

Sure you do.

A Chair of Some Kind on July 2, 2014 at 4:11 PM

Indeed I do.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 4:47 PM

What thinking people do is worry about the stuff in between.

A Chair of Some Kind on July 2, 2014 at 4:14 PM

‘thinking people’ worry about foreign militaries that are “almost entirely without value as a fighting force”?

If you say so.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 4:55 PM

William Eaton on July 2, 2014 at 4:01 PM

You seem to be envisioning a military conflict between the US and China. I think that’s unlikely in the near or mid-term. It’s clear to most in China that the USA is destroying itself. There’s no need to interfere.

The Chinese economic numbers are probably bogus

If you’re basing your wishful thinking on that you’re certainly deluding yourself.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 5:05 PM

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 5:05 PM

War is very possible in the near term.

As the Chinese economy slows the CCP fearing losing control foolishly gets into a fight with Japan or the Philippines under the delusion that the U.S. will not get involved.

The Chinese government makes this conclusion on the fact that America is weak and divided. It is divided, no doubt about that, but not weak, or not weak enough to matter much in this fight. This will be a naval and air war, something which experience, technology, and military structure matters, something which China has none of. So all the massive ground forces of the PLA will mean little.

China also makes this conclusion off the Presidency of Obama, but even a Clinton administration will be hawkish toward China. Most of her foreign policy advisors and strategists are anti-China. Edward Luttwak type characters. Most Republicans, with the exception of maybe Rand Paul or Jeb (who is obsessed with the Middle East), will be the same. So the next president is likely to view China as a military threat and unlike the Obama more than likely to act on it if China does something foolish.

So we have the ingredients. A China acting dangerously hawkish, American allies who are acting more aggressively out of fear, and an American government who now views China as a dangerous foe.

Or instead of China attacking Japan, some hotshot Chinese captain tries to ram some U.S. warship, like a Chinese warship tried to do to the USS Cowpens a few months back in the SCS, and we have ourselves a war.

William Eaton on July 2, 2014 at 5:41 PM

War is very possible in the near term.

William Eaton on July 2, 2014 at 5:41 PM

I’ll wager not.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 5:48 PM

Western people have long had an irrational fear of China.

Not sure why.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 5:52 PM

Western people have long had an irrational fear of China.

Not sure why.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 5:52 PM

Dates back to Fu Manchu.

de rigueur on July 2, 2014 at 5:55 PM

I think Japan as well as Taiwan have closely examined the (alleged) U.S.’s commitment to come to their aid in the event of an attack by China and have decided that the U.S. is not going to put itself between them and Chinese aggression. So, I can’t fault Japan’s decision to invest in their own defense.

And don’t forget that South Korea still has some delusions that the U.S. is going to protect them from N. Korea. That’s why we traditionally had 40,000 combat troops and their families set up to be a trip wire if the North ever decided to attack the South.

Over the last decade or so we’ve been moving our 30,000+/- troops out of the front lines and moving them further south of Seoul. In the 70′s we had more than 40,000 troops there so the numbers seem to keep shrinking.

Personally, I wish we would completely get out of S. Korea and let them bear the brunt of any N. Korea attack. We have too many American civilians (mostly dependents) in and around Seoul. Ironically the dependents are closer to the DMZ than most of their military spouses who are locates south of Seoul.

Currently, we don’t have enough of a military presence to really matter in case of a war and yet the loss of American lives in the event of an attack by the North would almost force any American president to consider using nukes.

China will continue to saber-rattle and try to intimidate its neighbors. Eventually someone is going to forget to blink and pull a trigger. I’d prefer that our G.I.s are not the ones to bleed for any of them.

E9RET on July 2, 2014 at 5:56 PM

A China acting dangerously hawkish, American allies who are acting more aggressively out of fear, and an American government who now views China as a dangerous foe.

William Eaton on July 2, 2014 at 5:41 PM

The dangerously hawkish Chinese with all their foreign bases and near-daily military intervention around the globe? Those Chinese?

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 5:57 PM

I think Japan as well as Taiwan

E9RET on July 2, 2014 at 5:56 PM

By Taiwan do you mean the Republic of China?

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 6:00 PM

Japan will have mecha, but not enough red-blooded young men to pilot them, unfortunately.

Good Solid B-Plus on July 2, 2014 at 6:36 PM

Good Solid B-Plus on July 2, 2014 at 6:36 PM
GUNDAM!

flackcatcher on July 2, 2014 at 7:07 PM

It’s about time.

This is results from 1) China’s growing clout and 2) US retrenchment. Obama creates too many power vacuums as he leads America from center stage in world affairs, but in this case, Japan taking off the post-WWI training wheels is a welcome development.

The problem is America still needs to nurture a pan-Asian anti-Chinese bloc. Not so that we can have a big war. So we can avoid one. Nobody in DC seems to have a clue on how to run a proper foreign policy.

hamiltmc on July 2, 2014 at 8:23 PM

The problem is America still needs to nurture a pan-Asian anti-Chinese bloc. Not so that we can have a big war. So we can avoid one. Nobody in DC seems to have a clue on how to run a proper foreign policy.

hamiltmc on July 2, 2014 at 8:23 PM

Or option 2, America could just keep out of interfering in Asia.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 9:02 PM

The America-vs-China mindset isn’t going to work out well for America.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 9:06 PM

It’s not Japan destabilizing the region. It’s Godzilla.

J.B. Say on July 2, 2014 at 10:04 PM

Or option 2, America could just keep out of interfering in Asia.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 9:02 PM

The US has strong allies and interests in Asia. The US also has a strong interest in maintaining open sea lanes. We will remain involved in Asia despite the desire of isolationists and others.

iconoclast on July 3, 2014 at 2:20 AM

Good for Japan. The Chinese ‘threat’ is a sadsack copyright directly proportional to how much we and they slash our military to pay for social engineering.

They are a joke army with no reserves – 1-child families will do that only a few steps up from North Korea in terms of tech. Their biggest advantage was numbers and without a massive transport fleet that isn’t much help. BUT THEY ARE NOT COMPLETELY TOOTHLESS.

Or option 2, America could just keep out of interfering in Asia.

DimBulb on July 2, 2014 at 9:02 PM

Not an option, as unlike the Middle East America has more than one postage-stamp sized ally in Asia. And the region is not mostly populated with hordes of fanatic barbarians.

LawfulGood on July 3, 2014 at 9:41 AM

By Taiwan do you mean the Republic of China?

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 6:00 PM

Got some fantasies of Chinese expansion, eh?

LawfulGood on July 3, 2014 at 9:42 AM

As bad and dangerous as this may be, can we honestly blame Japan for feeling forced to take action on their own behalf in view of having such an incompetent American President as just a campaigning, golfing community organizer in chief with no one really in charge of America’s military to any significant degree!? This is manifestly treasonous and yet another of countless reasons why the spineless GOP should be brining up impeachment charges if they weren’t as treasonous as the Dems, putting politics ahead of principle. God save us.

russedav on July 3, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Got some fantasies of Chinese expansion, eh?

LawfulGood on July 3, 2014 at 9:42 AM

Here’s the territory claimed by the ROC. It includes all territory claimed by the PRC, including the Diaoyu Islands and even more, all of Mongolia plus some pieces of Russia and Tajikistan. Talk about expansionist fantasies.

DarkCurrent on July 3, 2014 at 10:17 AM

Its almost as if Japan looked at the US security agreement with Ukraine and Obama’s enforcement thereof and decided to stop counting on us.

sgmstv on July 3, 2014 at 10:42 AM

By Taiwan do you mean the Republic of China?

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 6:00 PM

Got some fantasies of Chinese expansion, eh?

Actually, yes. Taiwan considers themselves Taiwanese but China considers them Chinese. Taiwan has a security agreement with the US much like the Ukraine. (They didn’t trade a nuclear capacity for it, however.) And that agreement is the a big reason that China lets the political disagreement over Taiwan’s soveriegnty continue.

If I were Taiwan, I would look at Ukraine and worry.

sgmstv on July 3, 2014 at 10:48 AM

They’ll never catch up to us.

A Chair of Some Kind on July 2, 2014 at 3:39 PM

Always best to remember the saying (unattributed but often associated with Stalin): “Quantity has a quality all its own.”

dreadnought62 on July 3, 2014 at 11:51 AM

Actually, yes. Taiwan considers themselves Taiwanese but China considers them Chinese. Taiwan has a security agreement with the US much like the Ukraine. (They didn’t trade a nuclear capacity for it, however.) And that agreement is the a big reason that China lets the political disagreement over Taiwan’s soveriegnty continue.

If I were Taiwan, I would look at Ukraine and worry.

sgmstv on July 3, 2014 at 10:48 AM

Actually no. Taiwan considers itself a part of China and the government of the ROC considers itself the legitimate government of all of China. See the link in my comment at 10:17.

Taiwan has no security agreements with the US. The US doesn’t even maintain official diplomatic relations with Taiwan, nor does the US officially recognize Taiwan as an independent nation.

DarkCurrent on July 3, 2014 at 11:53 AM

We will remain involved in Asia despite the desire of isolationists and others.

iconoclast on July 3, 2014 at 2:20 AM

Only until we can’t borrow enough money to keep up appearances. Maybe another 15 years. At most.

DarkCurrent on July 3, 2014 at 3:15 PM

Only until we can’t borrow enough money to throw away on the welfare class and half-a$$ed occupations. Maybe another 15 years. At most.

DarkCurrent on July 3, 2014 at 3:15 PM

Be honest, for once.

Our economic weakness is due to our pandering and cowardice alone. Even 9/11 barely put a dent in the limousine that is the American economy.

By contrast, your paymaster’s R&D efforts have consisted of “wait for white Western nations to invent something and then make cheap copies” for decades, have a demographic trainwreck ahead worse than Europe’s, and have brutally persecuted religions that don’t have mile-long track records of terrorism for decades.

LawfulGood on July 4, 2014 at 2:05 AM

Japan has seen the writing on the wall, it cannot always depend on another nation for defense. No matter how strong and good,and even though the US would defend the Japan as if it was one of our 50 states,it may not have the ability to come to Japan’s aid as it once could. Politics change and so do the ability to keep promises.

Japan is one of the US best allies. They have become one of our closest friends,in spite of economic disagreements. Once they build up their military to superpower levels, they will be a big help in Asia, as Israel in the middle east and the UK and Germany in Europe.

Their military will be very innovative and creative, and I have no doubt that they will share this technology with the US and allies.
But as a lasting effect from WWII, Japan will always be timid in using military force. They have seen what nuclear war can do up close and personal…and it has and will be a permanent warning to generations of young Japanese that Empire building was a waste of time and there is no way anybody is going back to that way of thinking in Japan.

dec5 on July 4, 2014 at 8:40 AM

A Chair of Some Kind on July 2, 2014 at 3:39 PM.
Yeah..I wouldn’t be comfortable underestimating China. The history of defeated super powers by once thought weaker nations,are well documented. Remember, China invented many things that helped Western countries take great leaps forward, and in which China caught up in only a few decades in many areas. China will have no problem taking up the technological innovation lead if they have the will to do so. They copy stuff, study it, sell it for cheap…,make money, improve technology, advance it, still sell it for cheap. And then own the industry.

Never underestimate anybody. The US is blessed to be the lone superpower. But don’t let pride put our nation to sleep and turn a blind eye to any potential opponent.

dec5 on July 4, 2014 at 8:56 AM

Robotech will now become a reality! SDF-1 will rise!

gator70 on July 2, 2014 at 11:16 AM

Love this!!

Darn Zentradi walking around like they own the place…

Gatsu on July 2, 2014 at 11:38 AM

Lol, You realize that every Anime Fanboy and FanGirl are salivating
at the thought that the Japanese will finally make Mecha fantasies a reality. Can’t wait to see the first giant Mecha in practical real world use !!!!

dec5 on July 4, 2014 at 9:04 AM

Finally, Japan makes the long overdue decision to truly defend itself. I applaud it’s decision.

At least Abe is trying to be a leader unlike our feckless president.

Not that I would like his idea of leadership even should one emerge.

Obama is too hell-bent on gutting his own country to be a true leader anyway.

The man is a coward abroad and a bully at home and that’s all there is to that.

Sherman1864 on July 4, 2014 at 9:16 AM

Most Chinese that I know personally find the US a great place to raise children. They like the lower cost of real estate and the better air quality.
But many of them find it a boring place to live and don’t want to stay forever.
DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 3:27 PM

That doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.

Sherman1864 on July 4, 2014 at 9:18 AM

That doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.

Sherman1864 on July 4, 2014 at 9:18 AM

Most of the people I know come from big cities or at least have lived in them for a long time and they’re used to the excitement of the high-density urban environment. They often don’t know what to do with themselves in the suburban American environments they often move to.

On the other hand many do adapt and stay for the long term.

DarkCurrent on July 4, 2014 at 9:40 AM

Be honest, for once.

Our economic weakness is due to our pandering and cowardice alone. Even 9/11 barely put a dent in the limousine that is the American economy.

LawfulGood on July 4, 2014 at 2:05 AM

You quote me as saying something I didn’t and then talk about being honest. Ok…

We both know America’s economic problems go much deeper than the couple of factors you mentioned and will be politically impossible to fix short of an complete economic collapse. Take unfunded entitlement mandates such as Social Security as just one example.

DarkCurrent on July 4, 2014 at 9:49 AM

By contrast, your paymaster’s R&D efforts have consisted of “wait for white Western nations to invent something and then make cheap copies” for decades…

LawfulGood on July 4, 2014 at 2:05 AM

You might be surprised to learn how much R&D American companies are doing in China these days.

DarkCurrent on July 4, 2014 at 9:53 AM

dec5 on July 4, 2014 at 8:56 AM

Some very good points.

DarkCurrent on July 4, 2014 at 9:57 AM

By contrast, your paymaster’s R&D efforts have consisted of “wait for white Western nations to invent something and then make cheap copies” for decades…

LawfulGood on July 4, 2014 at 2:05 AM

If you use toilet paper or a toothbrush (maybe you don’t) you’re using Chinese inventions

DarkCurrent on July 4, 2014 at 6:25 PM

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