By William Markiewicz

"A conservative Japanese leader has warned Beijing that Japan can arm itself with nuclear weapons overnight if China goes ahead with an excessive military build up......" (In yesterday's "The Times of India" http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com).

This is an unexpected reaction from Japan, which knows that it has nothing to fear from China; historically it's been the reverse. China has no imperialistic traditions, having absorbed foreign aggressors. Today's Japan is geopolitically equivalent to Switzerland: nothing appealing for foreign appetites because small, mountainous, heavily populated, with technology its only wealth. China has to build up its nuclear power for basic security, because it has a lot to lose, and in the West imperialism is not an ugly word anymore.

Why does Japan call attention to itself using, in my opinion, an artificial pretext? Because it has become obvious that pacifism is no longer in fashion. Japan sees that Asia is a Western target, and starts to feel uncomfortable, even if not directly targeted. Syria, Iraq, Iran, China, North Korea, are threatened. Afghanistan is occupied. India and Pakistan have nothing particularly tempting for the imperialists yet they are heavily armed, mostly against each other. This may change; we see Iraq and Iran, traditional enemies, unite under common danger. China and Russia have improved their relationship. Relatively weak Russia has Siberia and the Caucasus to lose; China has Manchuria to lose. Japan in turn may feel a necessity to show its teeth, even if it's too early yet to decide with whom to form an alliance. Maybe China, whom Japan now "warns", will become a Japanese ally if "Thunder Over Asia" (title of an old Soviet movie) becomes a reality. Some Western conservative politicians call this potential thunder "a great shock of civilizations." I would call it rather a display of insatiable appetites.

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