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Is the U.S. Becoming a Provocateur in the Asian Community?

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The United States has been behaving in a strangely unexpected way of late, moving we surmise unintentionally to bring discord to areas that are in harmony.

The United States encourages Japan, dedicated to non-violence and a strictly defensive military, to take a more affirmative stance toward North Korea, and in response to “assertiveness” from China. The U.S. further is encouraging Japan to join with the United States in military exercises. This American position has, we concede, resulted in some intimidation toward North Korea, who now is seeking to recommence talks with her neighbors.

China, enjoying a period of positive growth and moving toward an even more productive economy, recently was revealed to have a new stealth fighter aircraft, the J-20. At the time of the visit of American Secretary of Defense Gates to Beijing last week, the Chinese government had not yet released word of the new aircraft. Photos of the J-20 on Chinese airstrips had come from various sources, and achieved global attention. The Chinese state-run media calls timing of the events coincidental; the Chinese government, in the words of an unnamed Defense Ministry official stated that the test of the J-20 was “not targeted at any country or any specific objectives.” We are advised that when Gates raised the issue of the J-20 test, which occurred just hours before the diplomats sat to engage, the Chinese administration members in the room had not been informed of the testing. Gates acknowledged that even the civilian leadership seemed surprised at the revelation, and assured him it was unrelated to his visit.

Gates, on his return to the US, took a mixed view. At one point he acknowledged that he took President Hu at his word. But later at a news conference, Gates expressed concern about China’s military and civilian leadership, suggesting that Chinese military leaders were trying to undermine his visit. Experts agree that China’s development of military aircraft is run by local factories, and civilian engineers. Abraham Denmark, an expert on China’s military, said “China must be aware of the political signal being sent by these tests.” He agreed however, that President Hu might have been unaware of the timing involved, linking the tests to the visit.

Another interpretation of events concerns the involvement of the Peoples Liberation Army, who may have sought to devalue the defense secretary’s visit, and to raise doubts as to Hu’s authority

Secretary of Defense Gates has taken additional steps in suggesting Japan should reinforce its military. On January 14 (China is a day ahead on the calendar), Gates again maintained that Japan should buy a fleet of Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning stealth jet fighters (see photo, this article) to bolster its air force. The F-35 is a stealth plane, with enhanced radar capacity. The cost of the F-35 is currently at about $96 million. While in Beijing, in northern China, Gates told statesmen and interested civilians that Japan was considering the purchase of the next generation aircraft, to present a fifth generation capability.

Japan showed interest in securing an F-22 Raptor fleet, which is more expensive, but the U.S. has placed an export ban on that plane.

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About John Lake

John Lake had a long and successful career in legitimate and musical theater. He moved up into work behind the camera at top motion pictures. He has done a smattering of radio, and television John joined the Blogcritics field of writers owing to a passion for the liberal press, himself speaking out about the political front, and liberal issues. Now the retired Mr. Lake has entered the field of motion picture, television, and video game (now a daily gamer!) critique. His writing is always innovative and immensely readable!
  • jj

    US is the greatest hypocrate. It only want to be no 1 and believe in itself as the best and the greatest. Others, especially non-whites, are inferior. Japan is just a US lapdog, thats why Japan is in dire situation now. Like US it confidently feel that it is more technologically advanced than others but may not be so as prooven by China. Maybe on commercial product Japan may be more advanced but that won’t be long.

  • John Lake

    This is a very interesting comment. It is true that many in the United States still feel superior, but there is a slow learning that China is in strong and developing competition for that leadership. We in America also have great respect for Japan, but we still recall the terrible atrocities and disregard for human life just a few decades ago. As to strength in the commercial spheres, I do not have the expertize to comment.
    The United States has taken great strides, and continues to move into the twenty-first century with regard to non-whites (your term). We not only treat the blacks fairly in matters of employment and housing, we actually like them. In many cases, white people take blacks who may be in trouble financially into their homes, sometimes for long periods. We are prepared to have strong positive feeling also for the Chinese, and for the Japanese people. America still feels itself to be the “land of opportunity”, and a “melting pot”, where people from diverse backgrounds can come together and by unified.
    I have never experienced the feeling that Japan was a “lapdog”. Even as a boy, I shared my schooling with students of Japanese origin, and we were all considered equal, by teachers, and by one another

  • Some of the Chinese weapons may be a little out of date by the time they come on stream. The new nuclear subs could be heard coming, giving the US time to get out of the way and take evasive action.

  • It is an amazing twist of words that make it seem like somehow building up Japan’s military leads to peace in the region? However, that is exactly what is being said by Gates’ visit. Japan has to pay billions of dollars of their own money to keep those bases while the US wastes tax dollars to keep the troops abroad–and to what purpose? Containment of China is so immature and doesn’t make sense. Even in terms of common sense, does anyone think that building up arms around China makes China want to reduce its arms or further its military advancement?

  • John Lake

    Building alliances with Japan, and maintaining the alliance with South Korea effectively contains North Korea, who otherwise could be a threat to the region.

  • John Lake

    you open some new doors. If you could expand on the history of American selling weapons in particular to China, you may have the opportunity to take this outlet by storm.

  • Arch Conservative

    We must know what’s going on in every corner of the world in order to protect our citizens and our interests. However we most certainly can do it in a manner that’s less proud, flambouyant and costly which benefit this nation and it’s people to a much greater degree.

    We don’t need to micromanage everything either. Just worry about the big stuff that matters. Militarily and economically.

    Many claim that the US is too arrogant, too meddling. I agree. However those same people also expect America to be the world’s savior as well. Everytime there’s an natural disaster in some third world shithole America is expected to swoop in with buckets of cash to make everything better. That needs to stop too. What happened in Haiti was horrible and it’s truly an honorable thing to want to help them but when do we say enough is enough, you need to start helping yourselves?