Thursday, December 20, 2012

On the Other Side of the Dashed Lines

China has been throwing its new weight around, trying to push neighbors into doing what China demands. The neighbors seem tired of being pushed around.

Japan and South Korea have elected leaders who take a harder line on national defense.

Not that South Korean or Japanese voters have voted for war, but in the face of foreign threats the people of those countries did not choose candidates likely to take a softer line with China and North Korea.

(Of course, that mutual attitude causes problems, too.)

And Southeast Asian states are looking to India for help:

Southeast Asian leaders are expected to lay out a vision for closer cooperation with India on security and the economy at a high-level gathering in New Delhi at a time of tension with China in the potentially oil- and gas-rich South China Sea.

India has been looking east for a couple decades now, and they seem to see China annoying the people there.

I know China is getting stronger, and the Chinese leaders aren't used to this. With their confidence and pride in their new power, are they determined to see if they are stronger than everyone?

UPDATE: Japan's new leader may push to loosen the rules on how Japan's military may fight:

Most of all, he wants to open the door to what the Japanese call "collective defense," which would allow Japan's troops to fight alongside their allies — especially the U.S. troops who are obliged to defend Japan — if either comes under direct attack. The United States has about 50,000 troops in Japan, including its largest air base in Asia.

Right now, if Japan's current standoff with China over a group of disputed islands got physical, and U.S. Navy ships coming to Japan's assistance took enemy fire, Japan wouldn't be able to help them.

But China considers North Korea so important to maintain as a nuclear sabre-rattling little attack dog that they won't try very hard to keep Pyongyang from going nuclear.