Yesterday, Secretary of State Rice, probably the most inept NSC Advisor ever, and Donald Rumsfeld, the most inept, powerful and dangerous Secretary of Defence ever, made fools of themselves once again. Japan, now no longer number one regional power, merely played a supporting role. The American Enterprise Institute, the wonderful people that helped produce the epic flop, “Enduring Freedom” also lent a helping hand in yesterday’s foreign policy stumble. One can always depend on the AEI to make the wrong decision.
As I have written before, the United States cannot decide how to handle China – one day they are making nice, the next, doing everything possible to provoke the Chinese.
At the same time the US is encouraging China to actively push North Korea into talks; it seemingly is doing everything to discourage China from cooperating. Yesterday, not being content to raise the issue of North Korea and diplomatically suggest that China give an assist, the US, Japan and the AEI raised the highly sensitive matter of Taiwan. Not only did they speak the ‘T’ word, a no-no with China, they lectured and hectored China and got the not unexpected, short and sharp reaction from China.
Little wonder China is being less than cooperative with the US on North Korea. The PRC should be taking a harder line with the US and demand that the US strike the word from the State Department vocabulary. If the US and Japan truly want peace in the region they should support, nay, insist on the Hongkonisation of Taiwan, in return for China putting the arm on North Korea. End game – no more “tension” in the Taiwan Straits, no more nuclear threat from North Korea. What could be sweeter?
Japan, of course, is playing the role of the perfidious and sulking samurai by contributing to the bitter stew. Japan, now relegated to number two regional power politically, militarily and commercially is looking more affectionately on the US. Looking to the West at an enormous and still growing power, Japan, still very much despised by the Chinese for the atrocities it committed in WWII, needs desperately a protector. Thus, rather than trying to come to terms with China, it is identifying more with another hopeless cause, Taiwan. That could be a mistake. When Asia is awakening and manifesting self interest, pride and independence from the West, Japan should not be seen as betraying that cause for selfish reasons. Japan has a bad history in the region and should be careful playing a double game.