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Now come the monster anti-Japan riots, ostensibly in response to Japanese behavior during the Second World War, and Japanese failure to publish textbooks that recount the rape of Nanking and other horrors during the Japanese occupation. No one can seriously believe that the oligarchs in Beijing were responding to popular demand; as the great Chinese 魩gr頤issident He Qinglian reminds us, "the Chinese Government has virtually eliminated its citizens' right to publicly assemble, protest, or express any kind of political aspirations." So one must ask why the regime is encouraging these mass protests...There are layers within layers within layers of this onion. But building on the maestro's starting point here's another bit of little-notice news. The headline - Pacifist Japan To Join Asia's Largest Annual War Games - is a bit deceptive, as the games in question are a bit different this year:
The anti-Japan riots are of a piece with the foolish law, passed just last month, that officially approved the use of military force to annex Taiwan. That one was so outrageous that it antagonized the entire civilized world, and undoubtedly contributed to the Europeans' about-face on lifting military sanctions against China. No doubt the oligarchs worried that the Chinese people might notice that the regime's policies were a shambles, and that they might come to suspect that things could improve if only the people were free to choose their own leaders. Thus, one of the delicious paradoxes of our time: China threatens Taiwan with huge armies, but Taiwan threatens China with freedom, and may well win in the end.
Officially pacifist Japan will fully participate for the first time this year in Asia?s biggest war games, the Cobra Gold drills, which are co-sponsored by the United States and Thailand, the defense chief said April 19.The post-tsunami world already sees strengthening ties between Indonesia and the US, and now "Asia's largest war games" will be an example of beating swords into plowshares. Even Agence France-Presse has a hard time making a convincing argument that this is overt militaristic behavior on the part of Japan.
The 11-day annual exercise, scheduled to kick off May 2 in waters off Thailand, will focus on international disaster relief operations in the wake of the Indian Ocean tsunamis.
Japan?s military, known as the Self-Defense Forces, has participated as an observer since 2001, amid concern in neighboring countries about the country?s past militarism.
?Japan will formally participate in the drill for the first time,? Defense Agency Director-General Yoshinori Ono told a news conference. ?It is good to share experiences in disaster relief.?
Meanwhile China takes the path of most beligerence, threatening Taiwan with huge armies for threatening them with freedom, as noted by Ledeen. For added drama this match is being played on a chess board standing on the border between Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb. Three-D chess? I've lost count of the layers of this one...
But this is certain: it's not about the words in history books describing events 60 years ago.
It's about who's going to write them 60 years from now.
Update: The embargo on arms sales to China "is anachronistic, wrongfully discriminatory and in complete contradiction of the current state of the strategic partnership between Europe and China," French Prime Minister Raffarin said in Beijing...