« Intangible drilling costs | Main | And the United Nations makes Ghana give Argentina its warship back »

December 10, 2012


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Not really sure shifting allegiances based on realpolitik and balance of power considerations really remove the whiff of 1914. But we can hope.

Korea is a post-colonial society whose extremely brutal former colonial master is still right there, just a short hop away. So, Nipponophobia is still a core element of Korean nationalism, and likely will be for a long time to come. It's a bloody shirt that's always lying close at hand, waiting for someone or other to wave it.

That said, nationalist hysteria is usually (not always!) a question of internal politics. This can make it relatively opaque to outsiders; it looks to us like Korea is going nuts, when in fact there's usually (not always! but usually) a more complex game going on involving various impulses in Korean politics and society.

Anyway: the rise of China is generating new defensive arrangements all across the region. For example, Indian-Japanese relations have grown steadily stronger and tighter over the last decade. The two countries quietly signed a security pact in 2008. They’ve conducted joint naval exercises in the Indian Ocean. Their trade has more than tripled since 2001 (albeit from a low base), and Japan is funding several massive Indian infrastructure projects with cheap loans.

Similarly, Japanese-Vietnamese relations have been growing ever warmer and closer; Japan is Vietnam’s largest investor and largest donor, and there are regular friendly high-level meetings of prime ministers and Party chairmen and such. The two countries don’t have a formal security pact (yet), but have agreed upon a “strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia”. Their first joint military exercises ever are scheduled for 2013 — because it’s going to be “Vietnam-Japan Friendship Year”, don’t you know.

Of course, neither Vietnam nor India has particularly bitter memories of Japanese colonization or occupation. Still: the Philippine response is consistent with what's been going on across the region for a little while now.

Doug M.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)