This is a rare big picture sobering look of Asia, boiling down the Asian Pivot as nothing more than “bogus” and “propaganda”.
But more practically, unstatedly, the facts are ripe for the reasons why the Pivot will fail.
Recently, there have been more than a few media and governments of many sides breathlessly talking about the hot trending “Asian Pivot” as counter to the rise of China.
US talked, salivating. Japan talked, desperately. Philippines and Vietnam receptively talked.
Aids were promised, gifts seemingly accepted, “cooperation” all around, and around China. What could go wrong??!
Lots, if you dig deep, as John Glaser digged in the article above.
It’s not just the historical grievances either. It’s the impracticality of such “cooperations”, because “freedom loving” people naturally view eager cooperation with suspicion and fear of loss of independence.
Evidence: Philippines had 5 rounds of talk with US already, unable to resolve their differences on the “cooperation” of new US military bases in Philippines.
Why? Sticking point about “how much access” Philippines can get on those US bases.
Basically, Philippines says, “Hey, US. We are giving you bases close to China, so we should get access on those bases too.” US replies, “No Way, Philippines. We can’t have you guys run around on our bases, so close to our secrets.”
Well, that’s when you really find out what “allies” means.
To many, “allies” means sharing every thing. But that’s not what US and Japan meant, because let’s get real, US “share” with Communist Vietnam?? Dream on.
Why NOT? Becareful who you “share” with. That Vietnamese/Filippino General smilingly announcing “cooperation” with US, may secretly decide to sell his “access” to China or Russia, to fatten up his own personal bank accounts. In 2 years time, China may have yet more new lines of shinny ships and planes and drones that look very similar to US designs.
And US and Japan shouldn’t be that stupid. Afterall, if you think China is corrupt, then you don’t know Vietnam or Philippines or India that well.
The problem does come down to what John Glaser eluded to, “self interests”.
Every nation in Asia are fundamentally motivated NOT by “cooperation”, but by “self interests”. That is, they have no real desire to “cooperate”. If it’s not China, they would be fighting each other over the same issues. And if it suited their own self-interests tomorrow, they would “cooperate” with China just as willingly. Japan belongs in that category as well. So does China. So does US.
China at least, does not put up the pretense of “cooperation”. It just stakes claims like every one else.
But if someone really wants to test out their “soft power”, let them go head.
I have no doubt that, some centuries down the line, there will be a new strategic axiom of “Never get into island disputes in Asia.”
There is no simple geopolitics in Asia or anywhere in the world. The western press has been trying to present a united Asia that is rallying around the US against an aggressive China. But what is the reality on the ground?
Japan has three immediate neighbours, Russia, Korea and China. China has better relationship with both Russia and Korea.
Vietnam bordered three countries, Kampuchea, Laos and China. Again China has better relationship with the other two countries.
The Philippines has just one immediate neighbour but is challenging Malaysia for a territory that has over 3 million people. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Borneo_dispute
China also has better relationship with Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Naples which are India’s neighbours.
How can China be remotely be presented as being overbearing when it probably has the best public relation among Asian nations. To complicate matters, relationship among even ASEAN nations are tricky. Not just Malaysia and Philippines have territorial dispute. Thailand has dispute with Kampuchea. And when troops from these countries opened fired on one another over a temple, China tries it best to calm things down. It is a delicate position to be in as China is friendly with both countries.
Malaysia and Thailand have always been at a loggerhead when it comes to the Pattani region. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Thailand_insurgency
Malaysia and Indonesia have similar language and culture but the former is always wary of the latter due to historical claim. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaysia-Indonesia_Confrontation
I hate to say this, only a moron would come up with an Asian pivot strategy. Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines ALL have over lapping claim in the South China Sea! So what position would the US take in this scenario? The US supports the fight against China and then these countries fight it out? Who will the US support in the island dispute between Korea and Japan then?
Unless, someone come up with a solution for all these disputes, the Asian pivot is nothing but a propaganda wet dream. Asian countries all have their own interest to take care of. And the US always take the side of Australia against Indonesia during their disputes. Indonesia even recalled its ambassador after evidence of spying by Australia is found.
The only ASEAN country that is totally pro-US is the Philippines. Most ASEAN countries actually want to get the maximum economical advantage from both China and US, that’s it. Nobody want to be pawn for any countries. Singapore hosts US fleet only because there is fees involved. In fact, Singapore would host ships from Chinese or Indian navy if they pay up!
Quote: “A day before the summit meeting, a high-ranking official of the Japanese government asked Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to stop submitting flight plans of his country’s commercial airlines to China when passing through the ADIZ. With a grimace, Lee questioned the official whether Japan would make the same request to the United States.”
lol…who wants to be caught in the middle? I’m from Singapore and I can tell you we don’t agree with the Philippines. The Aquino regime’s position alone by no means represents all of ASEAN. Only the western media likes to portray it as such, as though every nation in ASEAN are united in the so-called pivot to contain China.
Black Pheonix says
Japan is behaving rather badly as “host”, making all the demands on his guests.
If China was playing host like that, Western Media would be all over China criticizing its lack of “soft power”.
Oh no, even when China is just staking out its own claims like every one else around, China is the bad guy.
While Japan, making demands as “host” is just apparently, needed.
In addition to the reasons cited above why the pivot will fail, there are additional ones here.
1. Financial, U.S. will not have the financial wherewithal to maintain the naval forces and additional economic briberies to those states. Even with the new budget reduce the sequestration to Pentagon wish lists, the domestic pressure against those oversea bases and foreign aids will inevitably increase.
2. Japan, It’s obvious Japan is in the early phase of rearmament and militarization. Yet without scraping her constitution it’s impossible, and it’s very difficult to convince most Japanese for this path. I am sure the right wing Japanese hold no real love for U.S. for the bombs dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and U.S. probably will have second thoughts on rearming Japan.
3. The naval containment of China is getting more irrelevant by day. Witness the moon landing of Chang’e and Jade Rabbit. China is developing a space capability and drones making the 7th Fleet sitting ducks.
Lol another excellent propaganda hack job by cbsnews, especially about state sponsored fearmongering ‘warning’ about China “bricking” computers. First, viruses wiping out bioses has been in existence for more than 10 years, so this can be done by anybody who has good programming knowledge. Second, even if the bios has been wiped out, the data in the hard drive is intact and you can replace the bios chip or in the worst case if the bios chip is soldered into the motherboard, the motherboard can be replaced. Third, what does China has to gain by “bricking” these computers, like it is not stealing any data.
Edit: cbsnews extras. Behind the scenes video about the shooting of this video. They have up to 20 Minders and often the head of the NSA would get a timeout of the questions he have. What is this? North Korea?
Black Pheonix says
Japan up 5% on military defense budget, discloses a list of “want” toys.
Which actually indicates more of Japanese Militarism. In the name of “defense” against China, Japan is largely buying more amphibious assault ships, troop carrying copters, etc., which makes Japan’s military assets look a lot more “OFFENSIVE” than DEFENSIVE!!
If China was buying this much troop ships and transports, Western media undoubtedly would say China is planning on invading someone!
Another case: Knowing China has way more submarines than Japan (like 2 times as many), Japan chooses to buy only 5 new additional subs!
What sort of “defense” is this, where most of the money is spent on troop transports, and almost NONE on defending against the forces of supposed threat??!
Answer: Not “defense”. Japan is indeed planning an invasion force.
Black Pheonix says
And who would Japan “invade” here?
Perhaps to take over and occupy Senkaku, yes.
But I think South Korea should be more nervous about it.