Saturday, December 31, 2005

Japan and China Head Towards War

By Elaine Meinel Supkis

A new year and old problems arise. Looks like the conflict between China and Japan is growing and will engulf our foreign policy which we don't run anymore, being in hock to both budding empires. And the deficits responsible for this are growing greater and greater.

Globe and Mail:
China accused Japan on Thursday of “vile behaviour” for blaming the suicide of a Japanese diplomat on Chinese agents, setting off a new round of tensions between the Asian rivals.

China's Foreign Ministry criticized a statement by a Japanese government official Wednesday that the Japanese consulate official in Shanghai killed himself in May 2004 as a result of “an impermissible act by the Chinese security authorities.”

The diplomat's identity has not been released by authorities because of privacy concerns, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said.

The angry exchange is the latest in a yearlong series of disputes between Beijing and Tokyo over their wartime history, possible gas resources in disputed seas and Japan's anxiety at China's growing military power.
Since Aso has been made Japan's envoy, it is no surprize to see war-like talk. This is directly connected with America's immense and growing piles of IOUs sitting in Japanese banks. They threatened to cut back on the dollar/debt machine if we didn't kneel before the Yasukuni War Shrine and hand over our Asian foreign policy to them.

Bush obeyed. He had to since America has run over $500 billion in the red for every year of his misrule! Next year, thanks to the tax cuts just passed, it will exceed $650 billion. Disaster, disaster. We have few markets where we can peddle that much debt. And the Japanese want a security deposit which is for us to quietly hand over Condi Rice's job and they gave it to Aso, son of war criminals. A rank rightwinger who lusts for war. Gads.

Looking through the news, I note the entire planet is paying attention to this latest spat. They know what happens next. Only America sleeps and this is deliberate for our rulers don't want us to know the full extent of the trap we put ourselves in when we decided to cut the taxes of the rich.

One thing is certain: if we don't understand history, we will be run over by the Fates' chariot. And understanding what "face" is all about is extrordinarily important when dealing not only with Asia but with Japan in particular.

So New Year's celebration is time to travel back in time to understand Japan a little bit. Let's start with the troublesome shrine in Tokyo.
The shrine was founded in 1869 as Tokyo Shokonsha, and was renamed Yasukuni Shrine in 1879. It was build in order to commemorate and worship those who have died in war for their country and sacrificed their lives to help build the fundament for a peaceful Japan (the meaning of Yasukuni is "peaceful country").
This is the official script on the web.
The deities of about 2.5 million people who died for Japan in the conflicts accompanying the Meiji Restoration, the Satsuma Rebellion and similar domestic conflicts, the First Sino-Japanese War, the Russo-Japanese War, the First World War, the Manchurian Incident, the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Pacific War are enshrined at Yasukuni Shrine in form of written records, which note name, origin and date and place of death of everyone enshrined.
These people are gods. Yes, gods. I repeat, they are GODS. Not war heroes but fricking GODS. The rest of Asia understands this. Many of these "gods" did the massacres and tortures that wracked Asia. They marched prisoners of war to death and starved and worked them to death in camps. They fought Americans to the death. And we supposedly put them down but we lost the bigger war.

Namely, when we took over Japan, we let them continue this shrine. And because we feared the Russian Empire, we rearmed and remilitarized Japan. And the cycle begins all over again, the clock is reset, it begins to tick. Being Americans, we assume everyone has forgotten the past and all is well.

This is insane. They haven't forgotten! Why do we think they visit the shrine and defy all of Asia, doing it!

Here are some pictures of Japan before the Yakusuni Shrine was built:

This is from "Japan" by Clark Worswick, from the Japan House Gallery. This picture is from before the Meiji Restoration. All the pre-1869 photos show a terribly poor country. The 300 years of despotic rule started by the Tokugawa had taken a severe toll on the peasants. The country was more akin to North Korea today. Murderous at home and to visitors, a dangerous place where executions were meted out for the most minor of offences and suicide a solution to irritations and problems.

The peasants had revolted a number of times and were brutally suppressed. They were reduced to scrabbling for crops and had to hand over most of the labor's fruits to grasping creditors and rulers who were often bankrupt. The merchant class was abused by the upperclass who made internal trade more difficult than trade in Germany pre-Bismark. Just as Bismark empowered the Emperor to unite Germany, so did the samurai rally around the emperor to break the Tokugawa stranglehold.

Here is a typical pre-Meiji village. The road is actually steps since there is virtually no wheeled vehicles at all even though the Japanese knew all about the wheel and used carts in the past. All the pictures show no farm animals, no horses, no oxen, nothing. Just humans working as beasts of burden. Even bridge building was inhibited by the authorites who wanted it to be very difficult to get around. Any business of trade had to be carried on the back. In this picture, the two men in the middle are carrying a long, heavy pole with the goods slung in the middle. Each holds a walking stick. In the doorways and under the stone covered eaves squat dispirited, idle people.

Even the samurai in the photos in this book are poor. Sliding screen doors papered with letters, holes everywhere, bare ground strewn with random rocks, the ladies kimonos with ground in dirt, many creases from kneeling on dirty floors, everyone is barefoot. When socks or leggings do appear, they are full of holes. Merchant or samurai or peasant, everyone looks tattered.

When allowed to trade again, the energy of the people burst forth. But the concept of being beasts of burden continues. Here is a typical example from 1890:

The rickshaw was brought over from China, an empire in collapse, one where humans were rapidly harnessed into being beasts made to haul and pull. Note how the lady has two men pulling her for extra speed! Think about this. Today, their descendants are producing the world's greatest number of cars and trucks and doing this with robots and are hiring Americans who they feel pity for! Back in 1867, in America, nearly everyone who farmed or many who traveled, used horses or oxen. Midwestern farmers didn't pull plows using their wives! Of course, we did use slaves in a similar fashion. Which is one reason we had the Civil War!

All the peasants of Japan were effectively slaves in 1867. The upheavals of the American/European incursions freed these slaves and they enthusiastically went to work, changing Japan.

We all know what happened next. Japan modernized, pulled everyone out of that depressing pit of poverty caused by vicious dictators interested only in maintaining power with minimum work, and immediately went to war, building an empire!

Japan, today, wants to enjoy the fruits of victory. During the eighties, when they successfully purchased the employment of Ronnie Reagan and had him working hand in glove with them, they finally could start to let the people enjoy life in Japan. No more toilet paper shortages or people heating only under the little table in winter! Now they could heat their apartments and houses! Buy cars! Travel to Hawaii for vacation!

America, meanwhile, went on a tax cutting/spending spree, greenlighted by Japan. For, before 1982, Japan owned hardly any American government bonds. Today, they are the primary purchaser. And each bond is bondage. There is a reason the two words look the same! They ARE the same! Each bond we sell is one more chain we must wear and the clanking of these chains is getting pretty loud, isn't it?

Before today, our rulers told us, the Japanese are very thrifty and won't spend money on themselves, they are content to live in huts and shiver in the cold and not use toilet paper! So we can help them save by selling them our future earnings. And they had so much money begging for earning interest they would appreciate our generosity in promising them we will pay our loans!

But that fiction is gone. The Japanese people aren't saving all that much. Certainly not an extra $75 billion a year. To keep the debts increasing, the Japanese government now loans money at a ridiculous low rate, less than one percent, so no one in Japan is going to buy it if they have to use their own money.

Get the picture? The money is not in yens but dollars, dollars we spend on Japanese goods, relent to us as bonds so we can continue putting on those chains.

Let's go back to history. Have the Japanese forgotten Hiroshima? Or WWII? Do they love us? When we bowed to them and allowed them to sneer at us from on high, standing with their gods at the Yakusuni Shrine, did they admire us for this?

If anyone thinks so, all I can say is, "Bonzai!"

Normally, with the friction between China and Japan, we would be the moderating power, but just like with Israel, we are not. We are helpless tools of other countries, doing their bidding. Note that the pro-Likud neo-cons in our government are shoving us to war with Iran. Simultaneous with the Japanese shoving for war with China.

From Xinhuanet:

Hu Jintao, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), said here on Friday that Party building theorists should adhere to the practical style of linking theory with reality, to substantially enhance the Party building theory study.

Addressing a group of representatives of the Party's theory researchers, Hu, also president of China, said that given that the Party and the whole nation are working hard for the building of a well-off society and pushing forward the process of socialist modernization, the CPC must enhance the construction of its governance capability and moral and intellectual superiority.
China's neo-cons are dangerous, too. So are Japan's. And preventing the growth and power of neo-cons of all stripes is what all concerned populations should be doing for all these people point to war since they have no real solutions to real problems. I am amused Hu is asking for some reality.

If he only really wanted it! But this would require leaving his bubble. They should all do this! Look at Bubble Boy Bush! From the Rolling Stone:
This is how President Bush takes his message to the people these days: in furtive sneak-attack addresses to closed audiences of elite friendlies at weird early-morning hours. If you want to catch Bush's act in person during this tour, you have to stalk him for days and keep both ears open for last-minute changes of plan; I actually missed the Annapolis speech when I made the mistake of briefly taking my eye off him the day before.
The Asian rulers can see this and this emboldens them. A sneaky, snivelling victory tour. A drunken, cringing, stuttering fool staggering about, begging to be saved. His own owners, the military/industrialists, can barely tolerate his presence.

This sneaky, Gollum character visits the Asian leaders and each visit is more disasterous than previous visits for they can see he is no challenge, just a fool. And sent on a fool's errand. Unable to grasp the indelicate situation where he is the beggar and they are the kings.

Pathetic. This is why rulers must have people around them to remind them how they look. To show them a mirror and force them to see themselves. But then, that is the job of the peasants. When a ruler won't look in a mirror, they break it.

Happy New Year.
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