All eyes fall today on Russia and Ukraine, but real war brews across the Pacific. America is already stealthily moving troops from Okinawa to more strategic locations. Chinese aggression will rise slowly, steadily, systematically now, and run hot and cold possibly longer than the European wars between 1914 and 1945. In time, it will make the West Coast of America the edge of America which faces the future. And New York the edge of America which faces the past. Welcome to the first days of the Pacific Century.
Chinese expansion has long been in the works. It began when China invaded and occupied Tibet, taking hundreds of thousands of lives, according to the Campaign for Tibet. America is hungry for Chinese business and no one complains. We give China the green light in Tibet to go elsewhere.
China's challenge is first to Japan, which we are committed to defend by the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security signed in 1952. Before bullets fly, President Obama should collect his generals for an evening viewing of Sue Williams's inspired and heartbreaking documentary "China: A Century of Revolution" in which the Japanese invasion of China in 1937 is vividly described. The Japanese army swept through rural Chinese villages. They killed and burned for three days and nights and moved on. Villager Lu Chuang-cheng was thrown into a pit but escaped at night. "I went outside. I saw that there was fresh dirt in the courtyard and thought someone must be buried in it," he said. "I went out to the well. People were in there too. I found my grandmother, mother and two sons buried in the earth. I pulled my wife and three-year-old out of the well."
Vengeance is the primordial secret component of warfare. The sacking of Atlanta was the price of Southern secession. The nuking of Japan was the price of Pearl Harbor. The neocon invasion of Iraq was about avenging 9/11 and nothing more. China has not yet avenged the horrors brought upon it by the Japanese in World War II. Now or later, it will. It is fundamental to their being. Japan sees it, feels it, and seeks American patronage and protection through the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD). From Wikipedia: "[QSD] was an informal strategic dialogue between the United States, Japan, Australia and India that was maintained by talks between member countries. The dialogue was initiated in 2007 by Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe." It is fair for American youth today, who will be called to fight in this conflict (and to defend a treaty signed in 1952), to ask why.
China's heartfelt challenge to the Japanese will have the secondary effect of consolidating China with Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and other Chinese cultural regions in opposition to Japan and its QSD allies.
Regarding Obama's "pivot to Asia." We actually made the pivot to Asia as early as 1979 when books like Ezra Vogel's Japan as Number One and Robert Christopher's The Japanese Mind: The Goliath Explained in 1983 became popular reading. Jet Li and Jackie Chan would enter our lives and Brigitte Lin, "The Bride with White Hair." Tao and dharma were well-explained in George Lucas's "Star Wars" tutorials. There was then a conspicuous effort by political lobbyists to turn us back to our "traditional" enemies and friends: Russia and Europe. There will be again this time, but the price will be high. Because in the end our destiny as it rises into the next hundred years and potentially through the millenium is across the Pacific.
Quigley is a prize-winning writer who has worked more than 35 years as a book and magazine editor, political commentator and reviewer. For 20 years he has been an amateur farmer, raising Tunis sheep and organic vegetables. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and four children. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.