Friday, 21 September 2012

Implication of Standoff between Japan and China over Senkaku /Diaoyu Islands

Implication of Standoff between Japan and China over Senkaku /Diaoyu Islands
It  all began when because of sheer political interest, one politician sought to raise funds to buy  Senkaku islands, and what followed was  a  vicious circle . I do not know how much  he succeeded  in getting popularity  in Japan after that but he  definitely  succeeded in arousing public and Government sentiments in both China and  Japan .  Senkaku seems to be the center of the zero sum game that  followed after Japanese Government's decision to buy private  islands from their Japanese owner. These islands have been  under the Japanese Government control hitherto.
Internal political turmoils seems to be more at heart of such decision. Japan is   also in midst of political crisis with incumbent Government losing popularity and election is due in next year. Japan's recent move to buy island  can be compared to similar move by China when it established Sansa city over one of the island  of the Paracels  claimed by Taiwan, Philippines,Vietnam and Brunei.
China is also undergoing a change in leadership and speculation  of health  of it's Vice President who is going to be take leadership of country in coming weeks, has already found it's place in  top notch journals and papers.

Japan's  Position
The decision, to buy islands has both national and international implications and is clearly not taken by Japanese Government  by itself. US and Japan has defense pact which put Japan's defense under US umbrella. It would be unwise to think that USA would not have been consulted before taking such a important decision . Japan's Government is wise enough to see a possible military confrontation  with China on this issue and know their heavy  dependence on US military clout to avert any Chinese misadventures.  Also, it is the  US presence  that would primarily  keep Chinese on bay . Ventured by Chinese, after precedence of similar act by Japanese to unfurl flag on the islands under the Japanese control, had already done enough to fuel national sentiments in both countries.  Also such sentiments become more prominent
when it comes to Japan.  Japan is under intense internal political pressure to buy these islands. However buying of these island came as surprise and bold move by Japanese leader.  Apparently  you can see a small boy(Japan) coming up against  a big boy(China) thinking his Father (USA)  will help in forcing big boy to retreat . But this big boy, in his youth  can cause stirs  in hearts of his father too.

China's Position
The issue of Senkaku has aroused the feeling of  Chinese people. No doubt that Chinese media has helped to fuel this sentiments further. But unlike in democratic countries where media acts on it's own , in China, it's the state voice. Chinese media is actually the Government's  voice and speaks of it's sentiments.   Large scale demonstration, protest against Japan  can be a part of strategy followed by China. No doubt that matters concerning  Japan fuel the people sentiments and their antipathy for Japan because of Japan's untold atrocities during the 2nd world war . However to utilize such sentiments and channelize it in desired forms,  when required is done by Government  in one way or another. Large scale demonstration can well be orchestrated by State.

These demonstration has two implications :
  1) Giving world a firm message aboutthe  Chinese people anger over the issue of the Senkaku island
  2) To arouse nationalism and put people behind Govt in case of any war . Now the demand that are coming out  of this is to   get the island from Japan.

Implication of the issue

a)  China has  territorial disputes with Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia,Korea and Japan over a series of Island like Parcel, Spratley etc.  World will be watching China's  next move anxiously with fingers crossed especially those nations  having territorial disputes with China and the Uncle Sam .
 Any laxity from China in handling this situation can give a boast to US power and acknowledge it's hegemony. Not only this , it will encourage other nation to make such bold move . Chinese know it well and they already have send two armed ship in region to   send   strong signals to Japan and to to deal with possible military confrontation .

b) War  : 
     Possibility of full scale war does not look evident . However possibility of  small military confrontation cannot be ruled out.  Large scale demonstration in China is a part of it's strategy to send  Japan &  the world a strong message that  how much  it takes the issue related to island  seriously . Chinese Government  has forced itself  to act aggressively. Nation pride has to be restored and China has to emerged victorious otherwise these controlled agitation can turn against it's own  Government . There  is also possibility of pro democratic supporter trying to manipulate the condition  to promote for their  cause and try to turn these agitation against Government .

     China accounts  for 20 % of Japanese export and also it's rare earth material that China supply to Japan that is lifeline of electronic industry. Any escalation of conflict can  severly hit economic ties between two country. Though Japanese companies employs millions of people in China but it's   still Japan would be more on the receiving end .

d) USA:
  The issue has come as testing ground for US power in region as well and can be seen as indirect confrontation between USA and China.

    What if USA leaves:
Japan and US has security pact and defending Senkaku islands comes under ambit of the pact . There's a view among scholar that may be, in case of full blown confrontation US will leave Japan on it's own  as it may hurt it's economy which is     heavily   dependent on Chinese and value life of Americans more than it does for other. However it should be obvious that pulling back from the security pact or modifying security pact to avoid confrontation will give the deathly blow to USA interests  in ASIA(South-East, South and East ).  Not only this it will encourage China to follow aggressive policy for  solving territorial disputes with countries like Philippines and others which as part of US entourage . Also USA backing off from the region will lead to Chinese hegemony in region and  a blot for it. 

   What if US stays
 It's more likely that US will stay and not leave the Japan on it's own fate. Scholars usually cite cases as that of Egypt and Tunsia., when US allowed the friendly General to yield to popular movements there . Supporting a movement against dictator was done to save face and to prevent it's image getting tarnished. Tunisia and Egyptian's people movement against dictator had taken a international character, all thanks to media and had drawn the world attention to it . This conflict is different and is against mighty China against Japan who is  under US military clout . Also as campaign for next Presidential election is going in US, any laxity from incumbent US President on this issue will send wrong signal to people and can affect it's prospectus of winning election 

Now from above 4 points , we can waive off the possibility off US leaving Japan on it's own fate , rather it will engage itself more diplomatically to find the solution of present crisis. Certainly US military and diplomatic analyst  have already though of  possible conflict and other scenario arising out of  this situation . They should have anticipated China modest to extreme moves. As we know of China, it will certainly push the situation to the brink of war for getting maximum out of negotiating table . China is waiting for leadership transfer and also the heath of new to be President is drawing attention of world. It's look like China will take decisive step once new Premier comes into power . Till then , it can try to push Japan and USA diplomatically .

Japan can legitimatize  the buying of Island which are under their own control similarly on the line on which  China established Sansa city in one of disputed Islands.  Military conflict of small scale cannot be ruled out but confining it's limit and extent of such conflict will only be key to prevent full scale war. Japan a economic world power should not be underestimated in military terms too. With US support Japan can be more formidable than ever before.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

India Look East Policy : Part 1

Indian gave a new thrust to it's relationship with  ASEAN and other East Asian  countries with advent of Look East policy. Primarily Look East policy was aimed at ASEAN nation and improving economic ties with them .  India had neglected it's relationship with it's south east Asian neighbour. It will be better to understand into the reason that parted India ways from South East Asian countries. 

India’s neglect of South East Asia Countries
·         When ASEAN was being formed in the 1967s, countries of ASEAN were keen to have India as a member. But India had been reluctant to join it.    Reason can be enumerated as follows
o    Philippines, Thailand had joined SEATO (South East Asia Treaty Organization) and of pro western attitudes. India thought it would be pro western organization aiming to use it against communist block.
o    Indonesia supported Pakistan during 1965 Indo-Pak War and had  new order under General Suharto  after 1965(after fall of President Sukarano). India thus apprehensive of Indonesia’s motto
o    It would hamper India NAM(Non alignment movement) position if would have joined a organization considered to be pro western.

 ASEAN, which is a geo-political and economic organization with 10 member countries, was formed in August 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Since then, the membership has expanded to include Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Viet Nam.

·        Drift and Mistrust:
    • The signing of the Indo-Soviet Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Co-operation by India in 1971, the ASEAN states were suspicious of the USSRs role in determining Indias  foreign policy towards the region in general,
    • After Viet Nams military intervention in Kampuchea in December 1978, India, by its decision to recognize the Heng Samrin regime in Kampuchea backed by Viet Nam forfeited whatever little goodwill it enjoyed in the ASEAN region at that time.
    • India support of USSR policy in Afghanistan and recognisation  of Soviet Pro Government 
    • Results was that Indian being viewed as USSR surrogate and India viewed ASEAN as imperialist surrogate of USA
    • India’s decision not participate as a dialogue partner in 1980 was a further setback.India military intervention in Maldives (Operation Cactus), Seychelles and peace keeping force in SriLanka further created suspicion among  South East Asian nation of India’s intention.
    • Also With India’s obsession towards Pakistan and with its preoccupations with China, the South East Asian region did not figure much in its foreign policy till the early 90s
    • Also India has western orientation and look on West and USSR . ASEAN countries that time was economically backward .
Review of article on Syria in economist  

Article gives very idealistic view on Syria which lead us to believe that whole Syria has been suffering under Assad rule and now is looking on rebels for it's emancipation and liberation . It's portray the whole thing as internal matter of Syria, where Assad's policy and dictator rule has pushed Syrian people to rebel . But reality is quite different. A very false impression has been created. Veil support of Western Countries and Saudi Arabia to arm rebel is form of logistic supply is well known in diplomatic circle or to people keeping eye on Syria. Assad is not paying for his dictatorship but paying price of his closeness to Iran . As part of containment strategy and mounting pressure over Iran , Syria has been made a scapegoat . UN guided by USA show double standards when Saudi forces march in Bahrain to crush popular unrest there . It remained a mute spectator . But in Syria when rebel who comes from 20% of country suddenly found favor of world community and Assad who was slowly yielding to democratic reform was soon portrayed as dictator . Still Assad enjoy support of majority of Syrian people . This was quite evident that these rebel initially were active only on country where they had strong withhold . Country sovereignty has to be respected . We did not find any instant where Syrian forces crushed any democratic possession. Assad can be forced by world community to yield more to democratic reform which would have served the purpose of majority of people in Syria but it would not be acceptable to certain strategist who has been thinking bigger than Syria . Seeing it's implication for Russia and especially Iran .
Even if rebel was successful in taking down Assad, Syria future's look dim. Most of the countries has certain issues in their backyard. It may be Pakistan's Baluchistan , Rohingyas's In Myanmaar, Naxal's in India, Shias in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia . High handiness of Pakistan troops in Baluchistan or Saudi troop in Bahrain for cracking democratic possession could not make to UN . If UN should not let itself be used as pawn to serve interest of Western countries .