Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Latent geopolitical risk rising in Asia

As we wait for the 2Q GDP and FOMC announcement, here is something different to ponder...

I had written previously about the intense animosity between the Chinese and Japanese (see China turns Japanese):

Now a Chinese mall is re-enacting World War II executions of Japanese soldiers (h/t Patrick Chovanec) in order to promote sales.

Oh, how the memories run deep! This is just an illustration of the institutional memories of attitudes arising from the Second World War and serves heightens geopolitical risk in the region.

Former Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans recently penned a Project Syndicate essay warning that Japanese Prime Minister's Abe's "makeover of Japanese foreign policy could undermine the fragile power balances that have so far kept the Sino-American rivalry in check", largely because "opposition to any perceived revival of Japanese militarism is hard-wired in Northeast Asia". Evans warned:
The dangers should not be exaggerated. But, with strategic competition between the US and China as delicately poised as it is, and with the economic interests of Australia, Japan, and many others in the region bound up just as intensely with China as their security interests are with the US, rocking the boat carries serious risks.
In the meantime, I am waiting for the WalMart 4th of July re-enactment of the Bataan death march, coming to you at a California mall.

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