Friday, September 28, 2012

A Typical Wrong Headed American View of the East China Sea Dispute

A young American entrepreneur based in Shanghai wrote an op-ed piece about the dispute between China and Japan over the islands in the East China Sea that is typical of American hubris and lack of familiarity with recent world history. Like most American pundits, Nance failed to address the US role complicit in creating the origin of the dispute in East China Sea. 

According to the terms of unconditional surrender demanded by the leaders of the Allies and accepted by Japan to end WWII, Japan gave up any claims to the islands in dispute with China, Korea and Russia. Korea and Russia took possession but China was not allowed to do so by the US because of an altered geopolitical landscape after the War.

In 1972, when the US returned administrative control of Okinawa to Japan, which was already contrary to the terms of surrender, the US compounded the wrong by including Diaoyu/Senkaku islands as part of the package. Whether this was done deliberately or not is a debate for another occasion, but the US must accept responsibility for causing the lingering dispute.

If it was in the US national interest to overlook Japan's lot as the defeated nation then, surely it is in our national interest to reconsider what's good for America now. I believe what's right and good for America is to acknowledge and retract a mistake that was made then and that the US will not side with Japan on this issue now. Once that declaration has been made, I am convinced that the tension will die down quickly.

I wrote my views on this matter on an earlier post.

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