My post of two days ago showed that, if you are watching for them, early warning signs of potential nuclear disasters often can be seen, and catastrophe averted. As a current day example, I noted the dispute between Japan and China over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, so imagine how I felt when I opened today’s New York Times and found this two page ad on pages A16 and A17.
China Daily, which placed the ad, is a state-controlled English language newspaper located in Beijing.
The ad is also on China Daily’s web site. The last two paragraphs highlight why we in the United States should think long and hard before issuing security guarantees that we will go to war with a nuclear-armed China to allow Japan to hold onto these insignificant islands that it wrested from China by force in 1895:
Japan’s so-called “nationalization” of Diaoyu Island severely infringes upon China’s sovereignty and rejects and challenges the outcomes of the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War.
China’s will to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity is firm and its resolve to uphold the outcomes of the World Anti-Fascist War will not be shaken by any force.
The “World Anti-Fascist War” is what we call World War II – a war in which Japanese aggression killed almost 20 million Chinese, most of them civilians. The infamous “Rape of Nanking” is the best known of numerous atrocities and war crimes that Japan inflicted on China. This is not to say that the Senkaku/Diaoyu should be returned to China, only that we need to be aware of how high emotions run on both sides, and that China has some legitimate grievances from the past.
And, of course, Japan was not uniquely blood thirsty. Millions of Chinese died at Chinese hands during the Chinese Civil War; the mistakes of Mao’s Great Leap Forward led to millions of deaths; and the Cultural Revolution killed somewhere between half a million and three million more Chinese, some by public beatings that could be likened to atrocities during the Rape of Nanking.
Given the level of irrationality that is possible on both sides, and the reasonable arguments that each side can advance for its claims to these islands, it is not in our national security interests to issue security guarantees to Japan over these islands. There is too much risk that our “insurance policy” will have to pay off, potentially with a nuclear war and millions of American deaths. Such an outcome is unlikely, but if we keep risking small chances of being destroyed, eventually one will realize that potential.
Further Reading: See my associated web site, Defusing the Nuclear Threat.
PS: At least on my Mac, clicking on the picture of the ad brings it up in higher resolution.