With the purchase of a string of tiny islands in the East China Sea, Japan has set off a series of protests across several Chinese cities. The fiasco began when the Japanese purchased a string of islands, known as the Senkakus by the Japanese and the Diaoyus by the Chinese, from a private Japanese owner. It seems that China is simply “flexing it’s muscles” in an attempt to show it isn’t a pushover.
Tensions have gotten strained to the point of one Chinese newspaper suggesting skipping the diplomacy and moving straight to serving up Japan with an atom bomb. While this is an extreme example, it does illustrate how nationalistic China has become and what could be a sign of things to come in coming years. A recent survey conducted in China, suggests that over half of China’s citizens think there will be a “military dispute” with Japan. A military dispute is not in China’s best interest and if they were to take military action against Japan, the United States would intervene.
The United States currently has no position concerning China’s claims, and the Obama Administration’s complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) is more of a political stunt than actual attempt to distract the Chinese from Japan. The dispute between China and Japan will most likely blow over in the coming weeks and all the protestors will be satisfied when their leaders reassure them that all necessary steps were taken. In today’s world, countries have become so interconnected with one another that conflict would ultimately do far more damage. Hopefully the party leaders in China understand that a string of uninhabited islands is not worth having the entire South Pacific and United States turning against you.
I hope that cooler heads are and remain in power with the Chinese government, and don’t let these demonstrations steer the countries course of action. But in the end, can the party leaders really be upset with product of so many decades of nationalist propaganda being hammered into the people from early on?