Beware of Bears and Dragons in Their Own Backyards

Beware of Bears and Dragons in Their Own Backyards

BRIAN CLOUGHLEY | 03.03.2016 | WORLD

At the UN General Assembly in September last year President Obama declared without a trace of irony that «History is littered with the failure of false prophets and fallen empires, who believed that might always makes right, and that will continue to be the case. You can count on that».

A week later the US-NATO military alliance approved a plan to double the size of its expeditionary force to 40,000 and decided to create «two more NATO force integration units… in Hungary and Slovakia, in addition to the headquarters already set up in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Bulgaria and Romania» surrounding Russia. This is a regrettable case of believing that «might always makes right» as these actions are intended for no other purpose than to menace Russia, which Washington considers to be essential for growth of its domestic weapons’ industry and the «military-industrial complex» in general.

(President Dwight D Eisenhower’s Address to the nation in 1961, in which he coined the evocative and damning phrase ‘military-industrial complex’, is rightly regarded as one of the most predictive and far-sighted speeches in US history.)

US Defence Secretary Carter is proud of the fact that the US armed forces have «more than 450,000 men and women serving abroad, in every domain, in the air, ashore and afloat» – which is more than the total number of troops deployed outside national borders by every other country in the world.

Two weeks after US-NATO announced the most recent of its confrontational threats against Russia, the US Navy destroyer USS Lassen was ordered to conduct a «Freedom of Navigation Operation» in the South China Sea, by sailing close to the territory claimed and occupied by China. This needlessly provocative exploit succeeded only in making it clear to China that it was being challenged militarily in its own backyard by a country that has no territorial rights or interests in the region.

According to Reuters «a senior Obama administration official» said, the aim of the South China Sea confrontation operation was to «advance our strategic objectives in the Pacific region, including on maritime issues».

Modern-day American international perceptions resemble more and more those of the Cold War era, when President Reagan, for example, had an election advertisement showing a predatory bear roaming the woods with the commentary that: «There is a bear in the woods. For some people, the bear is easy to see. Others don’t see it at all. Some people say the bear is tame. Others say it’s vicious and dangerous. Since no one can really be sure who’s right, isn’t it smart to be as strong as the bear?»

It was obvious that the bear was Russia. The dangerously bellicose General Breedlove, military leader of the US-NATO group, «said that for too long, the United States has ‘hugged the bear’ of Russia. But now, he said, it’s time to get tough. This toughness should come in the form of more US troops to Europe, he said, and more ‘high end’ training to prepare American forces for a potential battle against the former cold war foe».

Naturally he ignores the fact that Russia wants to forge mutually beneficial trade ties with its neighbours, and especially with European Union countries, and it would be pointless to try to destroy such economic links.

The bear wants to trade and prosper. But if the bear is prevented from doing so and continues to be maliciously provoked, there might be problems ahead for the «indispensable nation» .

* * *

When contemplating the future, it is advisable to reflect on Napoleon’s reply when asked during his final exile what he considered might be the greatest concern to the world in centuries to come. It is said he declared that this would be «when the Dragon wakes».

Now the Dragon has woken and is being challenged for doing so.

The South China Sea has nine littoral states of which most have sovereignty claims within the Sea, and some are more reasonable than others. The United States has a vast fleet and military bases throughout the western Pacific, surrounding China, just as it menaces Russia in Europe. («450,000 men and women serving abroad, in every domain, in the air, ashore and afloat» as proudly declared by Defence Secretary Carter, who, Forbes states, was «a consultant to defence contractors and when he went back to the Pentagon in 2009, had to get a special waiver because of his work for companies like MITRE Corp, and Global Technology Partners, a defence consulting firm».)

None of the islets in the South China Sea was taken over by imperialists in the days of colonial expansion, but more recently there has been considerable interest in the region. Naturally this is based on economic imperatives, although estimates of the amounts of oil, gas and rare minerals under the waves vary greatly.

No matter what nationalistic advantage may be sought, there is the problem of legally apportioning spots of rock to any one country. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS; ratified by China – but not by the United States) says sensibly that «Rocks which cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of their own shall have no Exclusive Economic Zone or continental shelf». But if a subaqueous oil gusher spouts a few kilometres away from your tiny lump of rock, you’re going to build a platform on it and grow vegetables and then declare that your rocky paradise is inhabited and self-sufficient. It therefore has an Exclusive Economic Zone extending for 200 nautical miles all round. The US objects to this.

So over the years the US has stepped up its military might in the region – and has now 70 warships, over 300 aircraft and 40,000 Marines to confront China in its own backyard. Washington’s Pentagon chief claims that it does this in the interests of «freedom of navigation» – ignoring the fact that not one single commercial vessel of any nation has been or ever will be prevented by China from traversing the South China Sea. Indeed, it would be commercial suicide for Beijing to even attempt to interfere with such shipping, which carries such vast quantities of China’s exports and imports.

The US is confronting China, and the fact that conflict is looming closer is hardly the fault of the Chinese whose position, in the words of Xinhua, is that «the tree craves calm but the wind keeps blowing». There is one thing certain, however: the Chinese tree will whip back if the Washington wind increases its intensity. China and Russia are aware that the world in general craves calm, but have been forced to realise that the out-of-control US military machine, in an expansionist wave of unprecedented energy, is hell-bent on global domination.

President Obama boasts that the US is «the one indispensable nation in world affairs» but he would be well-advised to exercise care in his policy of aggressive confrontation.

Washington’s war-lovers should bear in mind what Napoleon said two centuries ago, and realise that the Chinese Dragon has woken. And when Dragons wake it’s not altogether clever to threaten them. They had better beware of Bears, too.

Beijing Vs DC: The Battle for Southeast Asia

February 4, 2016 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – The Strait Times published an opinion piece by the London-based Rob Edens. Wishfully titled, “South-east Asia fast becoming unfriendly territory for China,” it attempts to portray Southeast Asia as increasingly pivoting West toward Washington, coincidentally just as Washington was “pivoting” East toward Asia.

Edens’ attempts to outline Beijing and Washington’s respective strategies in the region by stating:

On the one hand, China’s “One Belt One Road” initiative, for instance, is focused on physical infrastructure; improving road, rail and air networks overland between neighbouring states as a means to oil the cogs of commerce and bring new customers into China’s fold. On the other hand, the US-led Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) maintains a discourse of freer trade in the Pacific region, opening up new markets overseas by relaxing tariffs and increasing various standards relating to the process of manufacture.

Lost on Edens appears to be the fact that physical infrastructure built beyond China’s borders becomes a long-term asset for those who cooperate in its construction, while Western “free trade” is in all reality, submission to foreign economic hegemony. Many aspects of “free trade” agreements are in fact, stripped verbatim from treaties that defined Colonial Europe and its subjugation of Southeast Asia.

“Free Trade” is Code for Economic Hegemony 

Edens seems to believe that “free trade” is a viable incentive to lure Southeast Asia away from China. However, upon historical examination, it is more a means to coerce it away.

Thailand in the 1800’s, then the Kingdom of Siam, was surrounded on all sides by colonized nations. Gunboats would eventually turn up off the coast of Siam’s capital and the Kingdom made to concede tothe British 1855 Bowring Treaty. Upon examining these terms imposed via “gunboat policy,” how many of them echo verbatim the terms found among modern “free trade” economic liberalization?

  1. Siam granted extraterritoriality to British subjects.
  2. British could trade freely in all seaports and reside permanently in Bangkok.
  3. British could buy and rent property in Bangkok.
  4. British subjects could travel freely in the interior with passes provided by the consul.
  5. Import and export duties were capped at 3%, except the duty-free opium and bullion.
  6. British merchants were to be allowed to buy and sell directly with individual Siamese.

Compared to modern day examples of “free trade,” and in Iraq’s case, free trade imposed once again by the barrel of a gun, it is nearly impossible to distinguish any difference.

The Economist would enthusiastically enumerate the conditions of “economic liberalization” imposed upon Iraq in the wake of the 2003 US invasion in a piece titled “Let’s all go to the yard sale: If it all works out, Iraq will be a capitalist’s dream.” They are as follows:

  1. 100% ownership of Iraqi assets.
  2. Full repatriation of profits.
  3. Equal legal standing with local firms.
  4. Foreign banks allowed to operate or buy into local banks.
  5. Income and corporate taxes capped at 15%.
  6. Universal tariffs slashed to 5%.
Iraq is a perfect modern day example of a nation overrun by brute force and made to concede to an entire restructuring of its economy, giving foreign powers not only access to their natural resources, markets, and population, but uncontested domination over them as well. It was absolute subjugation, both militarily and economically. It was modern day conquest. And it is something Washington seeks to repeat elsewhere, including Southeast Asia.

It’s America’s “Island Dispute” with China, Not Southeast Asia’s

Edens would continue claiming:

However, regional attitudes are changing, largely as a result of the bullish stance China has taken in recent years over territorial disputes. The nations of South-east Asia are increasingly reluctant to accept any threats to their sovereignty in the form of Beijing’s repeated incursions into their exclusive economic zones.

However, it should be noted that the US itself in its own policy papers has noted that these “disputes” are being intentionally provoked by Washington itself, often with ambassadors and envoys repeatedly finding themselves attempting to pressure nations across Southeast Asia to “join” the dispute. The goal of using Southeast Asia as a collective Western-dominated bloc to encircle and contain China with has been stated US policy since the release of the Pentagon Papers in 1971.

Image: One map among one of many US policy papers spanning decades, reiterating the US grand strategy to encircle and contain China. The 2006 “String of Pearls: Meeting the Challenge of China’s Rising Power across the Asian Littoral, report laid out an entire global arc essential for China’s rise, and offered various solutions to confound it. The current “island despite” is simply the latest in a long line of manufactured conflicts Washington is using to strike at China. 

A relatively recent example of this can be seen when US Ambassador to Thailand Glyn Davies berated the Thai government for not “adding its voice” to calls for China to “peacefully resolve conflicts over its appropriation of islands in the South China Sea.” Similar messages and accompanying political and economic threats, have been delivered to other capitals across Southeast Asia.

Edens doesn’t seem to understand that what he is watching is a dispute created by Washington, and a confrontational reaction from across Southeast Asia extorted out of each respective nation by Washington.

Edens mentions the Philippines and their legal dispute with China brought before the Hague. He fails to mention that the legal team representing the Philippines is in fact headed by Washington-based law firm Foley Hoag and that their representative is in fact an American.

The New York Times would reveal this in their report, “In Victory for Philippines, Hague Court to Hear Dispute Over South China Sea,” as well as reveal one of the “incentives” likely being used to encourage the Philippines to continue participating in what is mainly Washington’s confrontation with Beijing:

The Philippines — represented by an American lawyer, Paul Reichler, of the Washington law firm Foley Hoag — contends that it has the right to exploit oil and gas in waters in a 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone extending from territory that it claims in the South China Sea.

Dangling the spoils of victory over the government in Manila – in this case, oil – along with less public threats over what will happen if Manila does not cooperate, is likely what has caused the Philippines to squander diplomatic currency with Beijing, money in unnecessary military expenditures, and both time and energy that could be better spent invested in its own future in Asia Pacific, rather than Washington’s.

Nations Not Cooperating Will Suffer Washington’s Wrath 

Edens then turns his attention toward Thailand, claiming:

 In the grip of a military junta since last year, the former Land of Smiles is slowly being turned into some southern version of a North Korea.

One might forgive the London-based writer for thinking so, apparently having never set foot in Thailand before or after the coup, and apparently only reading what he sees in the British papers.

In reality, up to and including the day before the coup, US-backed dictator Thaksin Shinawatra was mass murdering his opponents in the streets with a paramilitary political front known as the “red shirts,” all while building a hereditary dictatorship that saw not only himself as prime minister, but also his brother-in-law and sister as well.

Image: Shortly after Thailand defied the US who demanded suspected terrorist Chinese Uyghurs be sent to Turkey rather than back to China to face justice, a devastating bomb ripped through the heart of Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, killing and maiming over 100 people. The attack would be linked to NATO-backed “Grey Wolves” terrorists from Turkey, and several members of ousted US-backed dictator, Thaksin Shinawatra’s “red shirt” faction. 

More relevant is the fact that during Shinawatra’s decade plus grip on power, he capitulated to every demand made by Washington, including sending troops to Iraq, hosting the CIA’s abhorrent rendition program, and attempting to illegally pass a US-Thai free trade agreement without parliamentary approval.

Since Shinawatra’s ouster from power in 2006, and more recently his sister’s ouster from power in 2014, he and his political dynasty have received unswerving support from the West, seeking to undermine Thailand’s existing political institutions, and reinstall the Shinawatras back into power.

These facts are never mentioned by Edens, nor is it explained how Thailand is being turned into “North Korea” by the military simply for intervening and putting a stop to obvious abuses of both power and human rights, or subsequently arresting members of this political group – a group that has employed terrorism and pursued open, armed insurrection.

Edens is making it clear, intentionally or not, that nations failing to heed the demands of Washington will be isolated and undermined, rhetorically, politically, economically, and even militarily, just as it is doing to China.

China Seeks Collaborators, Washington Seeks Colonies  

Edens claims that Thailand has become a “prime breeding ground for Chinese foreign policy.” In some respects that is true. Thailand seeks a regional partner, not a foreign master. China has not placed any preconditions on Thailand regarding its internal politics in exchange for regional political and military cooperation or joint economic expansion.

Image: While the US dangles preconditions over Thailand’s head for alleged “economic” incentives, Beijing has moved forward, gladly working with Bangkok while leaving the country’s internal affairs, internal. 

In reality, it is likely Southeast Asia collectively prefers this arrangement with Beijing, over the preconditions and client regime status mandated by Washington. What Edens and others in the West attempt to hold up as “evidence” of growing tension in Southeast Asia is more likely the result of backdoor meetings and insinuated threats prodding weaker capitals in the region continuously toward wider confrontation with China. However, none of this is sustainable.

Even as Edens and others hold up evidence that their strategy of tension is working, those on the ground in Southeast Asia can see the waning influence of the West, increasing awareness of the poorly hidden coercion used by the West to cling to the influence it has remaining, and the slow and steady influence of China.

China is a regional neighbor, unlike Washington who attempts to impose its agenda from the other side of the planet. China benefits from a stronger Asia, while Washington sees any rising power or region as a threat that must be controlled, and failing that, divided and destroyed.

It would be wrong to say the rest of Asia is not watching China’s rise with caution. It would also be wrong to say that China does not possess the potential to some day equal or exceed the unwarranted power and influence Washington has wielded in the region. But it would be equally wrong to say that Asia prefers very real Western subjugation to a potential Chinese variety. It seeks a multipolar region where all nations rise together and a balance of power and a respect for national sovereignty is maintained. That is a balance collaboration with the West simply will not yield.

So despite Edens optimistically claiming the “ball” is “squarely in Washington’s court,” the truth is after centuries of the West using and abusing Asia, Asia now is using the West, to raise itself up before pushing it out.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook”.

Easy to understand why North Korea would want nukes

Why North Korea Wants Nukes. Extensive U.S. War Crimes Committed against the DPRK

By Stephen Lendman

north-korea-nuclear-us

Pyongyang has just cause to fear America. It knows how it raped Southeast Asia, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.

Truman’s naked aggression was devastating, turning most of North Korea to rubble during the Korean War (1950-53). General Matthew Ridgway ordered air force bombers to level Pyongyang and other strategic targets. Scorched earth death and destruction was official US strategy.

Douglas McArthur wanted commander’s discretion to use nuclear weapons – to spread a radioactive belt from the Sea of Japan to the Yellow Sea.

US terror-bombing ran out of targets. Principle ones included Pyongyang, Chongyin, Wonsan, Hungnam and Rashin.

North Korea suffered overwhelming numbers of casualties. Up to four million died, mostly civilians. Terror weapons were used, including napalm and toxic agents – chemical and biological.

In March 1952, an International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) commission visited North Korea, investigated US war crimes charges. Their report included documented evidence of toxic agents used, saying:

American planes have on various occasions used asphyxiating and other gases or chemical weapons at least since 6th May, 1951.

The commission took eye witness and expert testimony. Post-mortem examinations and autopsy results argued that some chemical had been used, with a ‘disagreeable smell, resembling the smell of chlorine…

In the affected area of the city, it was noted that grass became yellow brown, objects containing an alloy of copper became blue green and rings of silver became black.

Former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark drafted a Report and Final Judgment on US Crimes in Korea (from) 1945 – 2001, showing Washington used chemical and biological agents on the peninsula.

By 1952, virtually everything in northern and central Korea was destroyed. Damage assessments showed 18 of 22 cities were half or more obliterated.

Large industrial ones were 75 – 100% destroyed. Villages were turned to “low, wide mounds of violent ashes.”

Investigative journalist IF Stone’s “Hidden History of the Korean War” called it US-led international aggression. Truman bore full responsibility for waging war together with fascist South Korean President Syngman Rhee, installed by Washington to serve its interests.

Pyongyang fears America for good reason. Truman’s war never ended. A longstanding uneasy armistice persists. Beating up on North Korea is relentless after all these years.

Washington spurns its desire for normalized relations, maintaining an undeclared state of war instead. Pyongyang is vulnerable to the whims of US imperial policy.

It sees a nuclear deterrent as its best strategic response, giving Washington pause about again waging war. At the same time, wanting peace and stability on the peninsula. US policy prevents it.

World leaders blasted Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test, its first since February 2013, while ignoring the major threat of Western arsenals and Israel’s.

Imposing new sanctions is meaningless. What else Washington plans remains to be seen. It deployed a long-range strategic B-52 bomber able to carry nuclear weapons provocatively – flying at low altitude over South Korea.

US Commander of United Nations Command, ROK-US Combined Forces Command and US Forces Korea General Curtis Scaparrotti called Saturday’s flight a “demonstrat(ion) (of) the strength and capabilities of the (so-called) alliance.”

It took off from Guam, escorted by F-15 warplanes. Commander, US Pacific Command Admiral Harry Harris stressed America’s “ironclad commitment” to regional allies, notably Japan and South Korea.

“North Korea’s nuclear test is a blatant violation of its international obligations. US joint military forces in the Indo-Asia-Pacific will continue to work with all of our regional allies and partners to maintain stability and security,” he added.

America’s regional presence remains hugely destabilizing. Another Asian war could precipitate global conflict – humanity’s greatest threat.

US imperial policy threatens world peace.

Special Report: Vietnam between the US, Russia and China

Foreword by the Saker:  I don’t know who “Conical Hat” really is.  All I know is that he is a Vietnamese reader of the blog.  And judging by his article, he is somebody with superb knowledge and understanding of Vietnam’s history and international relations.  We emailed each other a couple of times and, one day, I suggested that he write up something about the geostrategic position of Vietnam.  What Conical Hat sent back to me was the most detailed and most interesting analysis of Vientam I have seen in a very long time.  I am immensely grateful to him.

This is the 2nd Special Report I am posting on this blog.  I put the first one (about Macedonia) into the SITREP category as it pertains to current, unfolding, events.  I will put today report on Vietnam into the “Guest Post” category as it is a more analytical one.  However, no matter in which category they will be placed, I am hoping to continue to regularly post high-quality analytical “Special Reports” to provide our community with the kind of real expert reports which are so totally missing from the official corporate media.

The Saker

Vietnam between the US, Russia and China

by “Conical Hat”

Some historical background

Simply put, Vietnam was under direct Chinese colonization for a thousand years, from 111 BCE until 939 CE. The Han (main Chinese ethnic) could never absorb and transform the Vietnamese people to become Chinese, as they did with other neighboring people, and Vietnam was never becoming a small star on the Chinese flag (composing of one big star representing the Han, and 4 small stars representing the other four principal minorities). From 939 on, China could not subjugate Vietnam for any longer period than 1407-1427 under the Ming Dynasty.

Independent Vietnam always “played by the rules” vis a vis China: accept to be a tributary to the Chinese suzerain. That modus vivendi lasted another thousand years into the 19th century when France occupied Vietnam. But for China, Vietnam was part of it and needs to be “reunited” with the “motherland”. For the last two thousand years, it is always in the Vietnamese psyche to prove that “we are NOT Chinese”. Interestingly, according to Professor Han Xiaorong, as late as 1936 Mao Zedong said to Edgar Snow that it was China’s loss of Vietnam to France that had awakened his national consciousness! (A Story of Việt Nam by Trương Bửu Lâm).

The iron clast guideline of Vietnam’s geopolitics has always been determined by the formula established since the first dynasty of the independent Vietnam in 939: “Nam tiến, Bắc hòa” meaning “advance to the South, make peace with the North”. From a territory comprising present north Vietnam, they expended southward to annex Champa, and half of Cambodia, to form present day Vietnam, only to be stopped by the French colonization.

In 1858 the French started to attack Vietnam, and in 1862 the Vietnamese court signed the treaty recognizing French colonization. French Indochina comprised of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.

Eventually Vietnam, led by the Communist Party, declared independence on September 2, 1945 following Japan’s capitulation ending WWII in Asia.

Then started immediately the Resistance War (the French call it the Indochinese War) against the French, followed by the partition of Vietnam (into communist North and anti-communist South) and the American War (the Americans call it the Vietnam War) that ended 40 years ago on April 30, 1975 with victory of the North over the South.

1945-1975: 30 years of war

During WWII, the Japanese army occupied vast areas of Asia, including Vietnam and part of China. The French Vichy regime who already surrendered to Germany, accepted the presence and rule of the Japanese imperial army in Indochina. For the Vietnamese people, it was “one neck caught in 2 collars”. The Japanese occupation was particularly rude (as it was elsewhere in Asia). For many scholars that occupation was responsible for the big famine in north Vietnam in 1945 that claimed 2 million lives. On March 9, 1945 the Japanese imprisoned all French troops in Indochina (The Japanese Coup) and put the whole area under their sole rule.

After Japan surrendered to the Allies, ending WWII in the Pacific, communist leader Ho Chi Minh declared independence of Vietnam on Sep 2, 1945. At that time, Ho Chi Minh was supported by Stalin and was officer of the Komintern. (It was ironic that Ho started his quest for independence by approaching US President Wilson at the Versailles Conference ending WWI, naively thinking the US would support the right to self determination for all nations as they proclaimed, only to be said no). Bao Dai, the nominal Vietnamese Emperor abdicated and accepted the post of Adviser in Ho Chi Minh’s government, and famously declared “I’d rather be a simple citizen of an independent Vietnam than the emperor of a colonized country” (note that although the French ruled Indochina, they put nominal “kings” and “emperor” in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam). Not long after, he left the communist government and went to China then Hong Kong (British territory).

The Allies decided to divide French Indochina into two zones north and south of the 16th parallel. Chinese troops (nationalist Chiang Kai-shek) were to disarm and repatriate the Japanese soldiers northern of 16th parallel and the British troops to do the same southern of 16th parallel. However, the Brits embarked French troops alongside to reconquer Cochinchina (French name for south Vietnam). The Chinese sent more than 200,000 troops into Vietnam north of 16th parallel. Ho Chi Minh negotiated with the French to come to north Vietnam to replace the Chinese (that formula also suited French and Chinese in their bargain related to Chinese territory occupied by French). The Vietnamese communist leader was reported as famously saying: “I’d rather smell French shit for a little while, than eat Chinese shit forever”. French and Vietnamese started negotiations on the future of Vietnam. They could not agree on a satisfactory solution, and in December 1946 the Viet-Minh (Vietnamese resistance movement led by the Communist Party) officially launched the National Resistance against the French, starting what the French call the Indochinese War. Not all Vietnamese accepted the communist rule. There were many non-communist movements that were fighting against the French colonial power. However, their degree of organization, manpower, and determination was pale comparing to the communists’. The French, in their effort to fight against the Viet-Minh, tried to find/create local allies. They called in Bao Dai, the emperor who abdicated to the Viet-Minh in 1945, to become head of the State of Vietnam, with promises of future independence. The non-communist movements are to be gathered behind Bao Dai and the State of Vietnam to fight against the communists. That was the “Bao Dai solution”. In the meantime, Mao Zedong and the Chinese communists defeated Chiang Kai-shek and the nationalists who were forced to retreat to Taiwan. The People’s Republic of China was proclaimed in 1949. Support from (communist) China for the Viet-Minh escalated tremendously, from weapons to advisors. Eventually the French were defeated at the famous battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954, by the Viet-Minh under general Vo Nguyen Giap. The Geneva Agreement was signed in July 1954 which partitioned Vietnam into communist North (The Democratic Republic of Vietnam with Ho Chi Minh as Head) and anti-communist South (The State of Vietnam with Bao Dai as Head. He was eventually dethroned in 1955 and South Vietnam became the Republic of Vietnam), with the 17th parallel as demarcation. The partition was supposed to be temporary for two years until general elections be held in 1956. South Vietnam never agreed to hold the general elections, arguing that the Geneva Agreement was signed by the French and the Viet-Minh, and not by the State of Vietnam. It was a spin narrative, because South Vietnam benefited from that same agreement and inherited the territory south of the 17th parallel. It also applied the agreement in organizing (with US help and command) the migration of 1 million people from North to South, fleeing the communist regime; and also accepted the repatriation of communist partisans from South to North also according to the Agreement.

The French left Vietnam entirely. The Americans filled the void. The American War as the North Vietnamese call it, or Vietnam War as the Americans call it, started immediately. We are right in the Cold War. South Vietnam was presented as the “vanguard of the Free World” fighting against communism. For South Vietnam, it was a self-defense war against the aggression from the North that violated international rules by attacking a sovereign country (the South); and the sovereign country has all the rights to ally itself with another sovereign country (the US) in its self-defense. For the North, it was simply the continuation of the war for independence, with the Americans replacing the French, as they (and their South Vietnamese allies) violated the Geneva Agreement by refusing the general elections; thus it was a “Liberation” war, to finish up what was left in 1954. For world geopolitics, the war in Vietnam was symbol of the Cold war, between the “Communist World” and the “Free World”.

The relationship between North Vietnam (NVN) and the USSR and China are not as straightforward as that of South Vietnam (SVN) and the US. As revealing anecdotes, one can refer to the CIA’s estimate that general elections to be held in 1956 (per Geneva Agreement) would give the communists big victory; the US then “advised” SVN not to accept to hold elections. On the NVN side, immediately after the signature of the Geneva Agreement, Chinese Premier Chu En Lai offered a friendly hand to SVN, proposing recognition of the two Vietnams, to the big disappointment of NVN. SVN eventually declined the offer, under US “advice”.

China never wanted a strong Vietnam on her southern flank, and found a divided Vietnam as a perfect solution from her viewpoint, as we will see the Chinese attitude during the war and after the victory of NVN over SVN.

The USSR always supported the communist regime in NVN. As we said, Vietnam was the hot spot of the Cold War. NVN masterly navigated that symbolic situation to court favor of the two competing entities at the top of the communist world: the USSR and China. Both supported NVN, or may I say both have to support NVN (leadership obliges).

The US engaged more than 500,000 ground troops in SVN. The war escalated. NVN infiltrated troops and war material to the South, via a complicated network of trails through rain forests and mountains in Laos and SVN alongside the border. Prince Sihanouk of Cambodia (officially neutral) let NVN troops use his country as a sanctuary to attack SVN. The first major communist offensive was in Jan 1968 (the Tet offensive) where 70,000 communist troops launched a coordinated attack on more than 100 cities and towns in SVN. They were eventually pushed back by SVN and US troops. Militarily, it was a defeat for the communists who lost 100,000 troops and agents altogether. But politically it was a big victory for NVN. The last point is very important, because NVN leadership always considered the war in Vietnam is to be “won in Paris and Washington” (After the war, General Võ Nguyên Giáp had a talk with one of his US counterparts who said “’hey, we won every tactical engagement against you” and Giáp replied “it’s also irrelevant”)

The fact that the Vietcongs (name calling the vietnamese communist) are able to coordinate a general offensive on the whole SVN, and especially they could attack and get inside the US Embassy in Saigon (capital of SVN) and hold in for hours, already by itself attains the objective. The $ 1.2 billion US Embassy was just built a few months early and presented as an invincible fortress. All of that could be seen almost live on TV around the world. That psychological effect turned the tide in the public opinion and eventually forced Jonhson to seek negotiations that ended 5 years later in Jan 1973 with the Paris Peace Agreement. It was the longest peace negotiation in world history.

Let’s go back to some important points to understand the complexity of the situation as well as the complex relationship between Hanoi (capital of NVN) and Beijing. As stated earlier, Cambodia was used as a sanctuary to attack SVN. Suffice to look at the map to see that SVN cannot be defended as long as Cambodia is in hostile hands. In 1969 Nixon secretly bombarded Cambodia. In 1970 general Lon Nol overthrew Prince Sihanouk and established the pro american Republic of Kampuchea. The Cambodian communists started a resistance and “liberation” war under Khmer Rouge (Khmer means Cambodian, Rouge is the French word for Red) leader Pol Pot, supported by China. In Feb 1972, Nixon arrived in China for an official trip. It was a big geopolitical coup that worried NVN as much. According to NVN intelligence, Kissinger would assure (premier) Chu En Lai that the US would stay neutral in case China reclaims the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea (The Vietnamese call it the East Sea) hold by SVN at that time. One month later, NVN launched the Easter Offensive that lasted from March to October 1972. That was the first ever full scale conventional offensive with hundreds thousands troops crossing the demarcation line, equipped with modern Soviet military hardware. The move had many motives: it was a signal to Beijing that Hanoi could always count on Moscow for military support, and whatever the Chinese might agree with the Americans, NVN pursued its own interest. It also intended to test Nixon’s “vietnamization” of the war (giving SVN troops more means and responsibility to conduct the war, in the aim to reduce US exposure), and also to force Nixon to promise the end of the war, when campaigning for reelection. In January 1973, the Paris Agreement was signed. Nixon, so eager to get the agreement to appease the US public pressure, acquiesced to the main and only goal of NVN: per agreement, the US withdraws troops from SVN, while NVN troops remain in SVN. That was the ultimate goal assigned by the NVN politbureau to Lê Đức Thọ, chief NVN negotiator: “quân Mỹ rút, quân ta ở lại” (the US out, we stay). Thọ had full powers to negotiate as long as THE GOAL is in the agreement. NVN knew too well once the US withdraws from the VN quagmire, the US public would never allow and the US as a country will have no gut for any kind of substantial re-commitment, no matter what Nixon says or threatens. NVN also knew too well that the “vietnamization” would crumble without US air power (during the 1972 Easter offensive, SVN troops finally got the battlefields back only thanks to US airpower). In Jan 1974, China attacked and seized the Paracel Islands from SVN, under the neutrality of the US. According to SVN admiral Hồ Văn Kỳ Toại, the US 7th fleet just watched SVN sail men drowned in the Pacific Ocean. Exactly like the NVN intelligence predicted. And the Chinese presence there only grows until now, and the Paracel Islands are right now in hot dispute between Vietnam and China, and were part of the US argument for the “pivot to Asia” policy.

China was duped by the US, in thinking the Paris Peace Agreement would guaranty the US support for SVN. From the Chinese perspective, they hold the lever for the fighting in Vietnam. The more pressure they put from the North (into intensifying the hostilities), the more the US have to do to support their client in the South. Vietnam would stay divided (thus weak), and China would hold the command lever. That was a gross error of interpretation of US intention. For the US, to drop SVN is not a “betrayal” in any moral sense. Just need a “decent interval” (Kissinger’s words) between the agreement and the collapse of SVN. That interval was 27 months. It’s just like you close a bankrupt company and plan another business model. The business model is to use Vietnam as a bait to put a wedge between the two communist giants: the USSR and China.

In 1975, Hanoi decided to launch the final offensive against the south, convinced that the US would never re-commit itself to defend its “ally”, and the SVN army would not stand a chance without US airpower (the whole military doctrine taught to the SVN military was to wage war with US air superiority). The over million regular and 600,000 regional troops that composed the SVN armed forces crumbled in more than a month almost without a fight. On April 30, 1975 SVN surrendered.

From Hanoi’s point of view, only now the business of Independence Fight is finished.

Tension with China immediately after Vietnam is unified

Immediately after the war is finished in Vietnam, the Khmer Rouge (who just won in Cambodia around the time NVN won SVN) started to attack Vietnam. On May 4, 1975 Khmer Rouge troops assaulted the Vietnamese Phú Quốc island in the Gulf of Siam, and massacred 500 civilians. Vietnamese troops fought back. The Khmer Rouge regime was under Chinese control. Escalations between Cambodia and Vietnam grew ever since and culminated on Dec 13, 1978 when the Khmer Rouge launched 10 out of 19 divisions, heavily armed by the Chinese, across the border with Vietnam in an attempt to seize the provincial capital of Tây Ninh.

Now, let’s put the big picture into perspective. China was not pleased to see a unified Vietnam, especially one that is allied with the USSR. It instigated an attack by the Khmer Rouge from Cambodia. Vietnamese leadership knew too well that the southern part of Vietnam cannot be defended if Cambodia is hostile, for it itself took advantage of the Cambodian territory during the war against SVN. Inside Vietnam, it was estimated the Chinese ethnic to top 2 million, with 1.5 million in Saigon area and 300 thousands in North Vietnam. The problem posed for Vietnam was evident: no stability and peace if the Khmer Rouge continue their hostilities on Beijing’s order, but invading Cambodia would trigger a fierce response from Beijing and Vietnam would have no chance of resisting with such a huge Chinese 5th column. Thus, while defending the territory against Khmer aggression (without ever crossing the border into Cambodia), the Vietnamese applied methodically all measures aimed at breaking the back of the Chinese 5th column, from economic to social measures. That led to the bankruptcy of 50 thousand important Chinese owned businesses, and eventually hundreds of thousands of people of Chinese descent forced to leave Vietnam. In the meantime, Hanoi set up a group of pro Vietnamese Cambodians to govern Cambodia in the near future.

When the Khmer Rouge attacked on Dec 13, 1978, Hanoi was ready to retaliate (and expecting to be retaliated by Beijing). The day before Christmas Eve 1978, VN launched its own offensive to invade Cambodia. Phnom Pen (capital of Cambodia) fell 2 weeks later, and 2 weeks after that, on Jan 17, 1979 the whole Cambodia was under Vietnamese control. The pro Vietnam government was installed in Phnom Pen. Exactly on month later, on Feb 17, 1979 China launched a cross border offensive against Vietnam with 100 thousand troops. Devastation in the Northern provinces of Vietnam was appalling. After a month, China declared victory and withdrew. Vietnam also claimed victory. Each side counted 50 thousands casualties (dead and wounded). The USSR officially condemned China, but did not substantially engage in the sino vietnamese conflict besides helping the Vietnamese with transportation means in moving troops.

Vietnam did what it had to do for existential reasons. But it did not wholly foresee “the Cambodian trap” set by China. Vietnam was stuck in the quagmire for more than a decade until Sept 1989 when it withdrew troops and accepted a political settlement under Beijing’s terms. The occupation of Cambodia drained substantial Vietnamese resources, which were already very scarce. Vietnam was totally isolated diplomatically on the international arena. The Khmer Rouge still kept the Cambodian seat at the UN, with US and China’s insistence.

Right after winning the war, the Vietnamese engaged in 1976 negotiations with US in view of normalizing the relationship between the two countries. The Carter administration was keen to the idea. During his trip to the US, Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping warned Carter that the US had to choose normalization with China or with Vietnam, not both. The US did not really have a choice. Relations between Vietnam and China became normalized only after 1989 (although the 1979 war lasted only 1 month, low intensity fighting continued for another decade). Note that in 1985 Gorbachev told the Vietnamese that the Soviets had to stop aid to Vietnam and Hanoi had to be on its own. The US maintained the embargo vis a vis Vietnam. That was the period when Vietnam was most isolated diplomatically. In 1986, Vietnam decided to launch its own reforms called Đổi Mới (Renovation) and adopted market economy, phasing out the typical communist subsidized centralized economy. Normalization with China was a must. And treat the “elder brother” with reverence as Vietnam always did for a thousand years. In 2009, after thirty years of negotiations, an agreement on the land border was signed between China and Vietnam. What Vietnam gains is an official recognition of the border by China (first ever in the history of the two countries), but what Vietnam looses is a symbolic loss of a historic landmark: the Nam Quan pass that historically symbolized the sovereignty of Vietnam. Although the pass has no strategic or economic value, its symbolic value cannot be overstated. I guess that is the price demanded to Vietnam as a reverence to the “elder brother”. Symbol plays a big role in Asia. Most Vietnamese still resent that fact, and consider it as a “proof” that the Vietnamese leadership is nothing less than vassal to the Chinese, no matter the fact that the same leadership is the only one that dared fighting a war with China when it had to in 1979 and that it took 30 years of negotiations, almost kilometer by kilometer to come to agreement. But that is for land border. Vietnam still contests the Chinese 9 dash line called the cow tongue line in the East Sea (South China Sea for the Chinese), and still claims sovereignty on the Paracel and Spratly islands.

Main developments since then, and where does Vietnam stand?

1989: normalization with China

1991: the USSR collapsed. Russia remains a friend of Vietnam until present day.

1994: the US lifted all embargo on Vietnam.

1995: Vietnam joins the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)

1995: establishment of normal diplomatic relations between the US and Vietnam

2007: Vietnam joins the World Trade Organization (WTO)

Since the adoption of the market economy, Vietnam gradually joins the international playfield as much as it possibly could. It made big progress in term of lifting the economic condition of its 90 million people, and combatting poverty. Infrastructure modernization, agricultural production, manufacture, etc… took off, and Vietnam became one the Asian “dragon” cited as example by the World Bank. Of course, much still needs to be reformed especially on the human rights and corruption areas but that is for another topic.

Where does Vietnam stand on the moving ground of international geopolitics in the post Cold War era of globalization?

The official position of Vietnam is “to be friend with everyone”.

Vietnam is a very active member of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), busy promoting a more structured and integrated regional association.

It enjoys booming trade with the US and Europe, boosting the economy for the last 20 years. Foreign investment skyrocketed, especially from regional neighbors from Japan, China, Taiwan, the ASEAN countries, Australia, Korea.

It maintains strong economic, cultural, and especially military ties with Russia that provides modern hardware ranging from Su-30 fighter jets, to SA-300 missiles, to Kilo submarines with Klub missiles, tanks T-60, BMPT, etc…. Russia also helps Vietnam in Petroleum industry, Satellite construction, and Nuclear Energy, etc…

Vietnam also buys military and civilian equipment from the US and Europe, as well as India.

With China, Vietnam is pursuing a very warm relationship, maintaining deep economic ties. But one can argue that Vietnam’s attitude is polite (even reverential) with China, but not totally trustful. The two countries still contest the Paracel and Spratly islands. Vietnam welcomes the US presence in the area as a guarantor to the “right to navigation”. The US is courting Vietnam in its China containment policy called “pivot to Asia”. It especially dreams of using (again, as during the Vietnam war) the Cam Ranh deep water base for its Navy. Vietnam rejected the idea. But Russian bombers are allowed to use the location for refueling, triggering a protest from the US on 3/11/2015 (which Vietnam ignores).

The US (as much as the ASEAN nations) knows too well that in the region, the only military capable of standing ground facing the Chinese PLA is the Vietnamese People’s Army.

Observing the balancing acts of Vietnam, playing nice with “everyone”, one can observe that it tries at all cost to avoid being a US base against China, while flirting with the US just enough to send the message to the “elder brother from the north” to not “push too hard”. In the meantime, it deepens friendship with Russia, the one big power that did not fail Vietnam in the past.

Its posture with China is carefully calibrated to show enough reverence to the “elder brother”, while maintaining a hypothetical high cost to any Chinese aggression attempt. The 1979 war showed to China that fighting Vietnam does come with a (very) high cost especially now that China is in its quest to develop Eurasia with Russia through the ambitious New Silk Road project. But the 1979 war also showed to Vietnam that when it comes to fighting China, it is on its own. Not even the big friend Russia would confront the “elder brother”, and especially now that Russia and China are in symbiotic mode. The big friend is still very useful though in talking positive to the elder brother to look at the big picture and not to bully the little guy Vietnam.

Vietnam knows too well that it should not trust the US. Should it participate in the China containment policy, and should China retaliates, it would be the first to be sacrificed by the US, in order to preserve its strength in South Korea and Japan.

In summary, Vietnam

  • Says Hi to everyone
  • Tries to consolidate its role in ASEAN, and participates in all international forums
  • Shows reverence to China, without trusting it, while pushing business and economic ties
  • Does as much business with the US and the West as possible, and let the US court it without trusting the US and ultimately without “marrying” it
  • Deepens friendship with Russia, the only true friend so far that did not fail it in the past, and to whom the Chinese extend a listening ear.

The last point is interesting, in consideration that all the other powers have failed Vietnam in the past: China, US, France, Britain (bringing the French back to Vietnam in 1945), Japan (harsh occupation and provoked famine).

Notice that Vietnam is among the “founding members” negotiating the American Trans Pacific Accord (TPA) project, has Free Trade Agreement with the Russian led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) starting mid 2015, and is among the “founding members” of the Chinese led Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB).

In view of the redistribution of cards in world geopolitics, Vietnam must have a global view and a clear notion of its place in the region, before determining where to stand on the global stage. In that view, ASEAN integration is of utmost importance for Vietnam. It’s an existential issue.

Think ASIA, from an ASEAN viewpoint

The US/Western centered international System is collapsing in front of our own naked eyes. From the financial crisis since 2007, to the social unrest in many developed countries (Greece, Ireland, France, etc…) to the popular revolts called the Arab Spring, to the turbulence in the Middle East (Lybia, Syria, ISIS, Yemen,…) to Ukraine, to the “new Cold War”, etc…, to the inability of the G20 group to come up with coordinated solutions for the world crisis, to the abysmal US debt problem, the world is heading toward the end of the US/Western centric order. Many other global players are claiming their share in the world governance.

The global systemic crisis engenders a geopolitical dislocation of worldwide proportion (see GEAB). Many geopolitical blocs will emerge in a new system which will be multipolar, such as Europe (and Euroland in particular) even though it’s in crisis at present, the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), Latin America, and of course the giant China. And the biggest next geopolitical event is the “symbiotic alliance” (to borrow the term from the Saker) between China and Russia and the creation of the Eurasian space.

China is rising to (re)claim its world superpower status. And its consequences are tremendous for the world at large and for its neighbors in particular.

An Asian bloc centered on China will appear within the next decade. This is part of the general historical trends, no matter if one likes it or not. In that context, some thinking needs to be put forward, regarding the Asian countries in the natural sphere of Chinese influence. Depending on the actions and decisions of the political and social elites among those countries, we will witness a smooth successful and mutually beneficial Asian integration, or a conflictual tide encompassing the whole region, pulled by the attraction force of world superpower China. To borrow the metaphor from F Biancheri, China is like a super-sized supertanker navigating the world ocean engendering waves and currents on its path. An individual neighboring country can be:

  • An “independent” raft alongside the super-sized supertanker, with the inherent risk of being drowned just by the waves from the latter.
  • An “independent” raft pulled by another supertanker in opposite direction with the Chinese super-sized supertanker, with the certainty of being crushed in ocean.
  • Absorbed by and be part of the super-sized supertanker, with the loss of national identity and independence.
  • A part of a midsized tanker alongside the super-sized supertanker.

Only the last option is mutually beneficial for all countries involved. But it does not come naturally, and demands a great deal of efforts and determination from the political and social elites.

ASEAN UNION – the Evolution through necessity vs the Revolution through ideology

VN1

Since its inception in 1967 with 5 countries, ASEAN has evolved into a much more integrated entity of 10 countries with many structures of coordination in the economic, political, cultural spheres. As a group, ASEAN has a population of more than 600 million, and ranks 9th in the world (3rd in Asia) in term of GDP. The ASEAN Charter (15 Dec 2008) that turns ASEAN into a legal entity, aims to moving closer to an “EU style community”. ASEAN has also concluded numerous free trade agreements with China, Japan, S Korea (Asean + 3), Australia, New Zealand, and India, and is negotiating an agreement with EU, and Taiwan.

As we can observe, ASEAN is moving toward a greater integration. It must accelerate the pace of integration to become an ASEAN Union similar to the European Union. The social and most importantly the political elites of the member countries must have the determination to act toward that goal. The “ASEAN Six majors” (Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam) can form the head wagon, pulling the other four (Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Brunei Darussalam) in that direction, without necessarily waiting for unanimous consensus among the ten. Time is flying fast and historic trends will accelerate the pace. ASEAN as a Union will be that midsized tanker alongside the super-sized supertanker. If the ASEAN countries fail to push further their integration into a Union, they will face the unenviable position of having to choose among the bad and worse of the three remaining options.

Any political, social, cultural, educational, environmental, economic reform or evolution in each member country must aim at that Union goal. As a Union, a harmonization in all spheres of society must take place among all the member countries. All need to move toward that end. Thus, the political and societal management system in each country must go along with the path of union integration. Such evolution is desirable for all. But the elites must keep in mind that if evolution is desirable, revolution is on the contrary to be avoided at all cost. A revolution brings necessarily within itself a high degree of instability, and that’s the absolute unwelcomed ingredient in the march toward Union integration. Some well intended activists from countries like Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam might feel encouraged by the “revolutions” happening in Arab countries, or the siren of so called “color revolutions” and might think they should take the issues on their own hands. But actually, by derailing the path to an ASEAN Union, they ultimately derail their own country’s future with a great risk of being in option 2 (An “independent” raft pulled by another supertanker in opposite direction with the Chinese super-sized supertanker, with the certainty of being crushed in ocean).

When Union is on its way, necessity of openness will bring each individual country in par with the others and democracy, market economy, educational system, etc… find common ground in the whole group. Evolution through necessity is much more desirable than revolution through ideology.

ASIAN COMMUNITY

VN2

The Asian bloc centered on China that will appear during the next decade will encompass all the countries of ASEAN plus Japan, the Koreas, and China. In the optimal option discussed above regarding the small countries, ASEAN countries must be part of the Asian community as an ASEAN Union and not as ten separate members. This Asian community will compose of:

– A super-sized supertanker China,

– A supertanker Japan,

– A midsized tanker ASEAN,

– And a tanker S Korea (N Korea will be considered “absorbed” by China or S Korea)

Those four members can work toward a more integrated community, without unbearable disproportionality between themselves. Such an Asian Community will decidedly be one of the biggest world players, for the benefit of all.

I don’t mention India as it is a subcontinent by its own weight. Same for Russia.

Through projects like the Russia centered Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), and the Chinese infrastructure and development mega project known as the New Economic Silk Road and Maritime Silk Road, the above mentioned Asian Community only makes more sense.

WEST PACIFIC COOPERATION

VN3

The West Pacific region is the world’s most dynamic area. With the formation of the Asian Community, this part of the world will be of utmost importance to the environmental, economic, political, social spheres of the planet. Many issues directly related to this area have arisen in the past and will continue to arise in the future. A formal cooperation framework between the countries bordering the West Pacific Coast is of vital interest. All issues between those countries relating to the coast and maritime activities, including territorial disputes, economic zones, sea lanes, etc… must be discussed and resolved within the “Cooperation”. Of course, it should be bore in mind that the WestPac area should be considered as a specific domain of the WestPac Cooperation, and not an “international” domain where a hegemon located thousands of miles away can claim as its own area of “vital interest”. The West Pacific region from north to south should comprise of Russia, China, Japan, Korea(s), Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Brunei Darussalam.

Conclusion

With the collapse of the US centered world system, several geopolitical blocs will emerge within the next decade. China will be the center of an Asian bloc. Regarding the latter, the smoothest and most beneficial for all will be the finalization of the ASEAN Union which is member of the Asian Community, and the creation of the West Pacific Cooperation to manage issues related to the WestPac area.

Pushing for ASEAN integration is an existential matter for Vietnam. Any necessary change in the organization of the political/societal life must follow the path of evolution through necessity and not revolution through ideology. The nation’s existence is at stake.

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Hiding America’s War Crimes in Laos, While Reporting on the Grim Results

Hiding America’s War Crimes in Laos, While Reporting on the Grim Results

NY Times Covers Up Washington’s Monstrous Evil

bombis,girl&bomb,craters.preview

By Dave Lindorff | This Can’t Be Happening | April 7, 2015

The NY Times on Monday ran a lengthy piece (“One Woman’s Mission to Free Laos from Millions of Unexploded Bombs”) on Channapha Khamvongas, a 42-year-old Laotian-American woman on a mission to get the US to help Laos clean up the countless unexploded anti-personnel “bombs” that it dropped, which are still killing peasants — especially children — half a century after the so-called “Secret War” by the US against Laos ended.

The article explained that Khamvongas, as a young adult in Virginia, had read a book by anti-war activist Fred Branfman, Voices from the Plain of Jars: Life Under an Air War (originally published in 1972 and reissued in 2013), which featured accounts and hand drawings by refugees from that war of the deadly US aerial attacks and bombings of their farms and villages. It was a book that sparked revulsion in the US over the saturation bombing of Southeast Asia’s smallest and least developed country — a nation of under six million people.

While the Times article mentioned that the secret air war, launched by Lyndon Johnson against Laos in 1964 and continued by Richard Nixon through 1973, was “one of the most intensive air campaigns in the history of warfare,” and that it had made Laos, a country the size of Great Britain with a population of only a few million peasants, into “one of the most heavily bombed places on earth.” What it did not make clear was that this bombing and strafing campaign, which Branfman’s research showed was so intense that US jets were even killing individual water buffalo, and so continuous that any Lao person, including children, who dared to venture out from underground shelters during the daytime, was targeted.

Instead, Times reporter Thomas Fuller simply parrots the official US line about the Laos air war, which was kept secret from the American public at the time, writing that the campaign’s “targets were North Vietnamese troops — especially along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, a large part of which passed through Laos — as well as North Vietnam’s Laotian Communist allies,” the Pathet Lao.

This is a patent falsehood.

Listening to Lavrov and remembering the Crusaders (UPDATED!)

Via the Saker 

Listening to Lavrov and remembering the Crusaders (UPDATED!)

I was just listening to Lavrov’s reaction to the latest grandstanding nonsense spewed yesterday by Obama.  Lavrov mentioned that it is rather clear that the USA refuse to be even the “first amongst equals”.  I had to smile.Lavrov was referring to the notion of primus inter pares which means just that, “first amongst equals”, and which was the primacy of honor the entire Christian world was willing to grant Patriarch of Rome because, at the time, Rome was the capital of the Empire.   But then, just as now, being just the “first amongst equals” was not good enough for the leader of the West which already wanted to subjugate all the other Patriarchates (Alexandria, Antioch,  Jerusalem and Constantinople), soon thereafter, the entire planet (spiritually via the Dictatus papae and secularly via the Treaty of Tordesillas).  Apparently nothing has changed in over 1000 years.  The leader of the “Western World” still wants to be the Pontifex Maximus of the entire planet and the leaders of the East as still resisting him.The Saker

PS: I forgot to add: and the Latins still want us, people from the East, to shut up, stop reminding them of their historical record – now they want to pretend like we are brothers.  Yeah, brothers like Cain and Abel I suppose – Russia today sure “feels the love”, no doubt here.   You are only kidding yourselves…

 

AirAsia Flight QZ8501: Mysterious Chinese Man Predicted Disappearance 2 weeks ago

AirAsia Flight QZ8501: Mysterious Chinese Man Predicted Disappearance 2 weeks ago 

楼主:老百姓有自己的乐 时间:2014-12-15 20:15:00 点击:3259111 回复:
国际大黑手把马航MH370和马航MH17劫持和击落后,作为世界第六大航空公司的马航基本垮了,处于要死不活的状态

现在,大黑手又把目标锁定在亚航,一如既往,必须搞垮亚航,因为亚航也属于马来西亚

鉴于黑手的势力过于强大,心肠过于狠毒,建议出行的中国旅客,远离亚航,别成为另一个MH370的牺牲品
楼主发言:39次 发图:0张

GOOGLE TRANSLATE

Landlord: people have their own music time: 2014-12-15 20:15:00 Hits: 3259111 replies:

International Black Hand and the Malaysia Airlines MH370 Malaysia Airlines MH17 after the hijacking and shot down, as the world’s sixth-largest airline Ma Hangji this collapse, in a lethargic state

Now, the big black hand again targeted in AirAsia, as always, must ruin AirAsia, AirAsia also belongs to Malaysia because

Given Blackhand forces too powerful, too vicious heart, suggested that the Chinese passenger travel, away from AirAsia, do not become a victim of another MH370
Landlord statement: hair Figure 39: 0

In an eerie blog post about two weeks ago, a mysterious Chinese man had warned that an AirAsia plane was going to disappear or meet a tragic end. And about a fortnight later, AirAisa flight QZ8501 disappeared from the air traffic control radar system on the morning of 27 December.

The post has gone viral on social media and discussion forums such as Reddit, with people reacting in astonishment on how the person could have predicted it. The man behind the post apparently explains that the same people who brought down MH370 were going to attack another Malaysian airlines flight or an AirAsia plane.

The post alleges that an organisation called “The International Black Hand” is behind the disappearance of the airplanes. Black Hand is the term that is understood to be a metaphor for the shadowy organisation that does its work behind the scenes, or it may refer to a number of underground, anarchic organisations, many of which have ties to Islamist groups.

“Black Hand hijacked and shot down MH370 and MH17. This has pretty much killed the 6th largest airline — Malaysian airline,” the post read, according to a loose translation by a Reddit member.

“Now the Black Hand is targeting AirAsia to ruin this airline because it too belongs to Malaysia. Given how powerful the Black Hand is, I suggest that all Chinese planning to travel, should avoid AirAsia, so that you don’t disappear like those on MH370,” it read.

“You could be happily vacationing, working, or studying aboard, but if you go on Malaysian airline or AirAsia, you’re dead, be careful everyone,” he warned urging people to inform all their family members and friends to avoid Malaysian airline and AirAsia.

When asked by blog followers how he could he be confident about this and when another person made a joke calling him a ‘conspiracy nut, the poster who recognised himself as ‘Landlord’ replied: “All you civilians get away from the airline. You can still hide, all those who can see the post can still save themselves… Don’t be a victim, go hide. Avoid Malaysian airline and AirAsia. Life is precious and your safety is important (sic),” he urged.

The Chinese version of the Epoch Times also notes the warning put forward by the mysterious ‘Landlord’. Not much is known about this person, but there is an ongoing conspiracy theory that the man in question is a Chinese intelligence official, or a hacker who got sensitive information and was trying to save as many people as possible without creating a big ruckus.

The person appeared to be desperate to reach out with the message to as many people as possible as he is was reportedly spamming the thread, repeatedly warning people about the impending attack. He had stopped posting the message only a few days before flight QZ8501 disappeared, it has been noted.

 

Tomgram: Pepe Escobar, Eurasian Integration vs. the Empire of Chaos

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

LEGACIES OF THE GREATER EAST ASIA WAR THAT SUPPORT POSTWAR JAPAN

Imperial_Japanese_Army_by_ShiroIshii

NOVEMBER 26, 2014

by Ezaki Michio, Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact

Asia invaded by the Allied Nations after World War II

Did peace come true in Asia in August, 1945, after Japan’s losing in the Greater East Asia War? A junior high school history textbook in use in Japan reads:

“World War II … was over in August, 1945 by Japan’s surrender. Peoples of Korea and Taiwan formerly colonized by Japan, in addition to China and other Southeast Asian nations occupied by the Japanese Army were greatly jubilant, celebrating liberty.” (History for Junior High School Students, published by Teikoku Shoin in January, 2007)

“Japan decided to surrender, accepting the Potsdam Declaration …, World War II was over. Southeast Asian nations occupied by Japan and former Japanese colonies like Korea and Taiwan were liberated and headed for independence.”(New Social Study; History, published by Tokyo Shoseki in February, 2006)

These descriptions, however, do not refer to the vital historical facts.

What were the Allied Nations, while condemning Japan for the “crime against peace” (crime of waging an aggressive war) in the Tokyo Trials (formally, the IMTFE or International Military Tribunal for the Far East) doing? Did they help Asia in the postwar recovery efforts? The answer is “No”. They waged “wars of aggression” against Asian nations and crushed their independence. Taiwan was occupied by the Chiang Kai-shek led Chinese Nationalist Party (the Kuomintang Party)and tens of thousands of people were massacred (the 2-28 Incident).

On the Chinese mainland, civil war between the Nationalist Party and the Communist Party (the CCP) continued to rage and eventually resulted in the establishment of a dictatorship by the Chinese Communist Party. Even now, the Chinese people are still suffering from oppression. As for the rest of the Asian countries, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia were invaded once again by French forces. Worst of all, Vietnam was obliged to fight a war for independence for nearly 15 years, totally wreaking the land totally ruined. Indonesia was unilaterally attacked by the British Army and then by Dutch forces. The three and a half year-long war for independence cost the lives of about eight hundred thousand people. Tibet and Uygur were invaded after the end of the War by the Chinese Communist government and lose their independence. Mongolia was effectively put under Soviet rule. Korea was divided into north and south by the U.S. and USSR, and the Korean War broke out on June 25, 1950.

This is the reality that took place in Asia during the postwar years while the Tokyo Trials were held.

Why, then, did many Asian nations have to suffer from invasions by the Allied Nations after Japan’s defeat? The reason is clear. The Japanese Army was no longer there, which had been functioning as a shield against invasions by European and American colonial governments.

During the Greater East Asia War, Japan defeated European and American colonial governments then ruling Asia, one after another. Seeing genuine window of opportunity, one Asian leader after another declared independence.

On August 1, 1943, Ba Maw of Burma (presently Myanmar) declared independence. On October 14, President Jose Laurel proclaimed an independent Republic of the Philippines. On October 21, Chandra Bose established an interim liberated Indian government. On August 17, 1945, Sukarno proclaimed an independent Indonesia.

However, after the Japanese Army was defeated, these newborn independent nations had to cope on their own with renewed invasive attempts by Europe and America. Victorious Allied Nations—Britain, the Netherlands and France—had no intention whatsoever of abandoning their former colonies. The European and American Allied Nations took it for granted that Asian nations would eventually fall under the control of Western military powers once the Japanese Army, a powerful supporter of their independence, was defeated.

Quite contrary to Western expectation, new Asian nations had no intention of simply abandoning their hard-won independence. Consequently, wars broke out between the Allied Nations and Asian peoples.

The Allied Nations adopted logical reasoning to justify their aggressive wars against Asia in the postwar years, which formed the basis of their historical overview which, in turn, was presented at the Tokyo Trials. The Western Allied Nations maintained that Asian leaders proclaimed independence in cooperation with Japan, the aggressor, and so they were also militarists like Japan and, therefore, their “independence” was unacceptable.

In fact, using the Tokyo Trials’ historical view, the Allied Nations crushed the Wang Jing-wei government in China and the Laurel government in the Philippines.

However, there were nations that did not succumb to the Allied logic: They were India and Indonesia.

Chandra Bose of India founded the Indian National Army (INA) in Singapore and then established the Provisional Government of Free India, fighting together with the Japanese Army for the liberation of India at Imphal, India, against the British Army. For this reason, after the War, following the Tokyo Trials, Britain attempted to try twenty thousand officers and soldiers of the Indian National Army for treason against their colonial master, the King of Great Britain,. The Indian people resented such a trial and ardently protested, claiming that the Indian National Army were not “war criminals who committed treason against Britain, in cooperation with the aggressor Japan,” but rather “heroes of Indian independence.”

Succumbing to the surge of protests, Britain abandoned the trial for war criminals, and India won independence on August 15, 1947.

The Netherlands denied Indonesian Independence

The country that suffered a harder time than India was Indonesia. It was in 1602 that Holland began a full-scale invasion of Indonesia. At that time, eastern Indonesia was called the “Spice Islands” and the biggest supplier of pepper and spices, which Europe most dearly coveted. In order to monopolize the precious spices, the Netherlands invaded and subdued one sultan after another throughout Indonesia and put them under Dutch rule. In conquered lands, the Netherlands forced the indigenous rice farmers to raise coffee and sugar. As a result, the inhabitants were unable to produce enough food stuff for themselves and had to buy expensive food from the Dutch, which rendered them deeply in debt–eventually their meager estates and lands were totally usurped by the Dutch.

The method of exploitation became more and more ingenious as time moved into the 19th century, and it is said that profits from Indonesia accounted for one-third of the total Dutch national budget. On the other hand, according to one source, the average life-span of the poverty-stricken Indonesian population dropped to 35 years.

Against rigorous Dutch rule, Indonesia continuously endeavored to struggle for independence, only to be subdued each time. So, expectation for the Japanese Army, after it had defeated their long-held enemy, the Dutch, in just over seven days during the Greater East Asia War, was high among the frantic Indonesians. Not a few Indonesians expected to achieve their independence in no time at all, but for the Japanese Army, it was not so easy to grant Indonesia immediate independence amid the on-going, strenuous fighting against the powerful European nations and America.

General Imamura Hitoshi, commander of the Japanese 16th Army, asked independence movement leader Sukarno for his cooperation in the war effort, in exchange for help in preparing for future independence. After deliberation, Sukarno accepted the offer. He actually provided logistics and labor for the Japanese Army, and in exchange for services, and with the assistance of the Japanese Army, sure and steady progress was made in founding an army consisting of Indonesians (PETA), training government officials and implementing laws and an educational system. Finally, on August 17, 1945, just two days after the Japanese Army was defeated, first Indonesian President Sukarno declared independence.

However, at the end of September, Acting Governor–General Hubertus Johannes van Mook of the Royal Dutch East Indies Government landed in the Indonesian port of Surabaya with the British Army, ignoring the “Declaration of Independence.” He thought, “The Indonesians are an extremely obedient people. Now that the Japanese Army has surrendered, if we land in Indonesia, the Indonesians are sure to immediately be as submissive as before.”

On the contrary, the people waiting for the arrival of the British Army were not at all obedient Indonesians. Trained by the Japanese Army and equipped with Japanese Army weapons, the Indonesian people’s army attacked the British Army and immediately destroyed an entire British division. The Dutch were horrified at the changes the Indonesians had achieved, thinking “Thanks to the Japanese Army, sheep have turned into tigers.” In the end, the British Army took one hundred days to occupy City of Surabaya alone and had to give up subduing Indonesia by force of arms, obliging them to turn to peaceful negotiations. As soon as a temporary agreement was reached between the Netherlands and Indonesia in November 1946, the British withdrew its Army from the country. For that matter, Britain gave neither an apology nor compensation for torching the city of Surabaya and depriving nearly twenty thousand Indonesians of their lives in the Surabaya war.

Although the British Army had withdrawn, the Netherlands did not give up its attempt to colonize Indonesia once again. Loudly claiming that “Sukarno, who declared Indonesian independence, is nothing but a puppet of the Japanese Army (therefore, the authentic government of Indonesia is the Dutch East Indies Government), the Netherlands launched full-scale military assaults, calling them “police actions,” on July 20, 1947. At that time, at the Tokyo Trials, the Netherlands, one of the winners of the war, was in the midst of judging Japanese leaders, who had supported Indonesian independence, for the crime of waging an aggressive war.

The Royal Dutch Army had roughly one hundred thousand men equipped with modern tanks, airplanes and heavy machine guns. Up against wide-ranging air and ground campaigns, the Indonesian Republican Army had two million or so soldiers with weapons which had been secretly delivered by the Japanese Army—about forty thousand small arms. Thus, most were armed with nothing more than bamboo spears. Indonesians were obliged to beat one retreat after another, while the Royal Dutch Army promptly captured most of Java and the vital industrial areas including the Sumatra oil fields.

However, this “war of aggression” by the Netherlands became the target of harsh criticism from all over the world and on August l, 1947, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution demanding “an immediate cessation of belligerent actions on the part of the Dutch” and “a solution through peaceful measures.” Accepting this resolution, the Netherlands appeared to agree to a cease-fire, but Dutch forces refused to retreat from the occupied areas.

As the diplomatic negotiations came to a deadlock and regional battles went on, in the early hours of December 20, 1948, the Netherlands launched a second “police action.” Under attacks by Dutch airborne troops, Indonesian could do nothing and militarily, Holland scored a victory. Once again, however, international opinions were fierily against the Netherlands for indiscriminately bombarding Indonesian cities. Above all, India and other Asian countries criticized the Dutch, and the UN Security Council adopted a resolution on January 28, 1949, demanding that the Netherlands remove its army from Indonesia. The most decisive of all were voices raised in the US Congress, suggesting that the Marshall Plan (US economic aid for the recovery of Europe) as applied to the Netherlands be cut off if Dutch forces continued in its military actions. Finally, the Netherlands succumbed to international pressure and agreed to hold the Round-Table Conference in The Hague, beginning in August 1949, and lasting for two months, and to participate in peaceful negotiations on the premise of granting Indonesia total independence.

The Netherlands did not apologize

During the three and a half years of the war for independence against the Netherlands, Indonesia paid a dear, steep price. The lives of eight hundred thousand people, including children and women, were lost and over ten million were injured. The total loss, of property, valuables and homes, due to indiscriminate bombardment was too huge to calculate. Much to everyone’s consternation, at The Hague Round-Table Conference, far from apologizing to Indonesian victims, the Netherlands raised an astounding demand to Indonesia.

After the war of independence, it was in 1949 that the final peace treaty was reached between the Netherlands and our country. At that time, Indonesia did not ask for either an apology or compensation. That was because we were still in danger. It was the Netherlands that asked for money during the talks concerning the four years. Speaking of the huge sum of military scrip issued by the Dutch East Indies Government, the Netherlands demanded that if we want independence, we should settle in hard currency the scrip that was issued during that time. We had no choice but to promise to pay the sum.

Thus testified Sayidiman Suryohadiprojo, Senior Ambassador of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, of the time. Military scrip was issued to pay for war expenses and other expenditures spent by the Dutch East Indies government in their efforts to extinguish the Republic of Indonesia. The total amount was said to reach six billion dollars. Far from paying compensation, the Netherlands asked instead to be compensated for war expenses. No words can express the dismay evoked by the Netherlands’ imprudent demand.

It was not war expenses alone that the Netherlands demanded during the peace talks. Their demands ranged far and wide, from the payment of pensions for Dutch officials of the Dutch East Indies government, recognition of property rights of Indonesian real estate owned by the Dutch to payment of the cost of developing the North Sumatra oil field. In order to have their independence granted, the Indonesians had to accept all these unreasonable requests from the Dutch, albeit most unwillingly and reluctantly. It was not until 1963 that Indonesia publicly denounced the Dutch demands, after they had acquired complete independence and fear of another Dutch invasion had dissipated. Then Foreign Minister Ruslan Abdulgani said in an interview with this author in 1994 as follows:

Finally, after we acquired sufficient national power as a state, we tore to pieces all the promises we had had to make with the Netherlands, in the light of day with the whole world watching. In order to fight against colonialism, you have to be strong enough. Strength to fight against the Dutch, in other words, military ability was given to us by Japan during the War. We owe Japan so much for achieving our independence.

It was in 2005 that the Dutch government officially recognized the Declaration of Independence by Sukarno. It took as long as sixty years for Indonesia to persuade the Netherlands to finally come around, which previously insisted that they would never recognize independence declared by Sukarno, who cooperated with Japan.

To Indonesia, burdened with such a severe history, the historical view presented at the Tokyo Trials is hardly worth supporting, for that view clearly regards the Allied Powers including the Netherlands as “just” and Japan as the “aggressor.”

Roosevelt’s blueprint for postwar peace came to nothing

As we have seen the history of Asia, aggressions committed by the Allied powers so far, it is very clear that the historical view presented at the Tokyo Trials makes no sense at all, for it claims that only Japan is responsible as the aggressor who threatened the peace in Asia.

However, anti-Japanese powers of the former Allied Nations and left-wing liberals cooperating with the Chinese Communist Party invented political propaganda so that Japanese people would not notice the “senselessness of the view.”

Article 11 of the San Francisco Peace Treaty, which took effect in April 1952, states, “Japan accepts the judgments of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East and of other Allied War Crimes Courts both within and outside Japan, and will carry out the sentences imposed thereby upon Japanese nationals imprisoned in Japan.” Based on Article 11, they asserted that Japan was able to re-enter the international community by accepting the judgment of the Tokyo Trials, namely, the historical view of the Tokyo Trials.
I will not re-argue the misconceptions that are apparent in Article 11 here, since Professor Sato Kazuo, a scholar of international laws, has fully discussed this issue with reference to global trends at the time in academic societies of international law in his book entitled Tokyo Trials Judged by the World (published by Meiseisha).

What I want to make clear here is whether the United States asked Japan to accept the Tokyo Trials’ historical view upon signing the peace treaty.

In fact, the Tokyo Trials were held as a part of U.S. global strategy.
Let’s go back to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s concept of the postwar political process. What kind of international political scheme would be the best to prevent another world war? After much deliberation, President Roosevelt thought of establishing a system to manage international conflicts utilizing “global policemen,” composed of four countries, the U.S., Britain, the USSR and China (with France being added later). These countries are presently the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. The gist of the idea is that America, militarily and economically the most powerful, should govern the entire world in cooperation with the Soviets, China and Britain. In realizing this idea, it was essential to thoroughly weaken the three nations of Japan, Germany and Italy, which could pose a threat and challenge to the American-led international order.

In the background of Roosevelt’s global strategy existed the view of Japan defined by the thinking that “Asian conflicts were caused by militarist Japan.” The point is that “strong Japan kept breaking the peace in Asia,” and so if Japan is made weak, then peace in Asia will be secured. This is called the “Weak Japan” policy. How, then, can Japan be weakened? President Roosevelt stated the following at the Casablanca Conference held in Morocco in January 1943:

The elimination of German, Japanese, and Italian war power means the unconditional surrender by Germany, Italy, and Japan. That means a reasonable assurance of future world peace. It does not mean the destruction of the population of Germany, Italy, or Japan, but it does mean the destruction of the philosophies in those countries which are based on conquest and the subjugation of other people.

President Roosevelt thought that in order to weaken Japan, Japan should be made to surrender unconditionally, and not just simply disarmed, but also the Japanese national philosophy itself should be “annihilated.” How was this to be achieved? By implementing a “war guilt information program,” to insinuate the sins and evils of Japanese war crimes into the Japanese minds, thereby depriving the Japanese people of their national dignity and pride.

Further, in order to justify the “information plan,” the Tokyo Trials were actually held. Moreover, to ensure that the political system will never again enable Japan to fight back against America, they changed the constitution and basic educational laws for the worse, purged approximately two hundred some thousand then-leaders of Japan from public offices, who were charged of being “militarists”, and instead supported labor unions and recruited socialists and communists into the political and scholarly spheres. For the time being, President Truman’s Democratic administration intended to put Japan unarmed under the surveillance of the Allied Nations for at least 25 years.

However, President Roosevelt’s prospect of keeping peace in Asia through the cooperation of the three nations of the U.S., the Soviet Union and China by defeating and weakening Japan did not come true. In the postwar years, the U.S. and the Soviets were constantly in conflict over the issue of Eastern Europe and on the Chinese mainland, a violent civil war broke out between the Nationalist Party and the Communist Party.

George Kennan, who criticized the Tokyo Trials, and the course reversal

Other voices were raised in America, fearing that as the Cold War era dawned, the policy of disarming and weakening Japan then in progress might eventually fall Asia to communism. One of them was William H. Draper Jr., U.S. undersecretary of the Army, and he changed Japan’s status from “hateful enemy” to “breakwater against communism” and started to shift toward the policy of “Strong Japan,” meaning “strong Japan brings stability to Asia.” This is the so called “course reversal. ”

The theoretical supporter of this course reversal was George Kennan, the first director of the Policy Planning Staff of the U.S. State Department, who became famous for creating a plan to contain the Soviets. He came to Japan in 1948 and upon observing Japan under occupation with its demobilized Army and a malfunctioning Ministry of Home Affairs (the administrative organ in charge of the police and domestic security management), stated, “At first glance, the nature of the occupation policy implemented until now by General MacArthur’s Headquarters looked like nothing but preparations solely on making Japanese society weaker so that communist may take over.” Naturally, he harshly criticized the Tokyo Trials as well.

There is really no law on which such judicial procedure can be founded…there is no crime of an international nature involved in the services which an individual renders to his own state as a public servant. The state, as such, stands responsible for its own policies; the vicissitudes of peace or war are its trial.

And in the case of Japan, the judgment is now being enacted through the disaster which has befallen the entire country in consequence of the loss of the war. This is not to say that the victor does not have the right to punish individual leaders of the defeated nation. But the punishment should take place as an act of war, not of justice; and it should not be surrounded with the hocus-pocus of a judicial procedure.

Kennan pointed out: now that the global strategy of making Japan weak in order to secure peace in Asia is no longer appropriate with the occurrence of the Cold War and the Chinese Civil War, it makes no sense at all to continue the Tokyo Trials, fabricated as they were with dubious legal procedures, which was launched in the first place in order to make Japan weak. In only four months after Kennan made this statement, on February 24, 1949, the Allied Nations Far East Committee decided that the Tokyo Trials would no longer take place, and the Tokyo Trials were closed.

And in October of the same year, the Chinese Nationalist Party led by Chiang Kai-shek retreated in defeat and Chinese Communist Party government esatablished on mainland China. The United States had been enthusiastically supporting Chiang Kai-shek so that he might establish a democratic Christian nation on the Chinese continent; a witch-hunt began immediately for those who were to blame for Chiang Kai-shek’s defeat.

Constantly opposing President Truman’s Democratic administration, Republican Party leader Senator Robert F. Taft stated that the reason Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist government lost in the civil war against the Communist Party was not due to a fault of the Nationalist government, but because the Truman administration did not give enough support to Chiang Kai-shek.

From the beginning, Senator Taft, “Mr. Republican” as he was called, was critical about President Roosevelt’s pro-Soviet and anti-Japan diplomatic stance all along even before the War started.

President Roosevelt concluded a secret pact with Soviet leader Stalin at the Soviet city of Yalta in February 1945. (It is called the Yalta Agreement.) The agreement stated that: As a reward for the Soviets agreeing to the idea of founding the United Nations, it is acknowledged that Poland and the three Baltic States would be incorporated into the Soviet bloc and in exchange for the Soviet’s entering the war with Japan, interests in Manchuria, South Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands should be given to the Soviets.

Learning of this, Senator Taft, in the mid-term election of 1946, stated: “President Roosevelt and President Truman], at Tehran, at Yalta, at Potsdam, and at Moscow pursued a policy of appeasing Russia, which has sacrificed throughout Eastern Europe and Asia the freedom of many nations and of millions of people.” According to Senator Taft, the immediate crisis of Asia falling to communism should be attributed to the diplomatic mistakes made by President Roosevelt’s administration as it acted hand-in-hand with the Soviets. (In May 2005, President George Bush, Jr. made the same accusation.)

As a natural consequence, Senator Taft was skeptical about trying Germany and Japan, which fought against Soviet Communism, in war crimes courts. On October 5, 1946, during a lecture given at Kenyon College, Taft flatly condemned the Tokyo Trials, confidently saying, “Trials of the loser by the winner can never be just, however judicially it may be dressed. The execution of the twelve German war criminals will forever remain a stigma in American history.” He added, “I sincerely pray that the same mistake will be never again repeated. Unlike Germany, any pretext for vengeance to Japan will hardly be valid.”

In October 1949, the birth of the Communist Chinese government made it widely known that President Roosevelt’s policy of “Weak Japan,” the premise that a weak Japan would secure peace in Asia, was a sheer mistake. With the support of American public opinion, Senator Taft and others asked for a shift in the U.S. policy towards Japan. President Truman’s Democratic administration accepted this request and in April 1950, it appointed Republican John Foster Dulles as top adviser to the State Department and on May 18, decided to assign Dulles to the task of concluding the peace treaty with Japan.

At that time the Soviet Union and the Chinese Communist administration were against the rearmament of Japan. The Australian government also asked that some restrictions be imposed on Japan’s rearmament. Some countries insisted that restricting Japanese commercial activities and maintaining plans for reform (namely, the “Weak Japan” policy) being prosecuted during the occupation period be clearly stated in the articles of the peace treaty. However, Dulles persuaded those countries with concerns that a peace treaty could be concluded in the direction of acknowledging Japan’s rearmament, arguing “Under the present circumstances weak Japan might lead to Red Asia.”

Thus, the punitive occupation policy was modified by Kennan, Taft and others, who criticized the Tokyo Trials, which were held as part of the “Weak Japan” policy. Under the peace treaty, which does not restrict the rearmament of Japan in any way, Japan came back to the international community.

Asian leaders who sympathized with the Greater East Asian War
There is one more thing we should not overlook in the trend of international politics. That is the fact that those who ardently supported Japan’s return to the international community were leaders of Asian countries who highly valued the Greater East Asia War.

In September 1951, at the San Francisco Peace Conference, Finance Minister J.R. Jayewardene, representing Ceylon (presently Sri Lanka), made the following speech:

Why is it that the peoples of Asia are anxious that Japan should be free ? It is because of our age-long connections with her, and because of the high regard the subject peoples of Asia have for Japan when she alone, among the Asian nations, was strong and free and we looked up to her as a guardian and friend. I can recall incidents that occurred during the last war, when the co-prosperity slogan for Asia had its appeal to subject peoples, and some of the leaders of Burma, India, and Indonesia joined the Japanese in the hope that thereby their beloved countries may be liberated.

Therefore, Ceylon did not ask for compensation from Japan, said Jayewardene.

India refused to participate in the San Francisco Peace Conference partly because India was against the article demanding compensation from Japan. On May 24, 1957, former “Class A war criminal” Prime Minister Kishi Nobusuke was warmly welcomed by a mass rally on his visit to India. Amid crowds of nearly thirty thousand welcoming people, India’s founding hero Prime Minister Nehru mentioned how profoundly the Indian movement for independence was affected by the victories of Japan in the Russo-Japanese War, then adding “India did not dare to join in the San Francisco Treaty. And we have rescinded the right to compensation. This is simply because India makes much more of friendship than monetary demand.”

Besides India, with the sentiment of comradeship that “Japan fought for Asia,” Laos and Cambodia also voluntarily rescinded the right to ask for compensation.

Even in the cases where Japan did pay compensation, leaders who deeply sympathized with the ideal of the Greater East Asia War put down sums that were at the very low end.

Foreign Minister U Nu of the Ba Maw Administration of Burma, which declared independence in August of 1943 with the help of Japan, became Prime Minister after the War and concluded, prior to any other countries, a peace treaty with Japan as well as an agreement for economic cooperation, holding out for only a paltry amount of compensation.

The Philippines was put under American influence after the War, and became strongly anti-Japanese. Though negotiations over compensation often came to a deadlock, it was President Jose Laurel, who declared Philippine independence on October 14, 1943, in cooperation with the Japanese Army, contributed greatly to solving this deadlock. He exiled himself to Japan after the Philippines was invaded by the U.S. Army toward the end of the War and immediately after the War, he was detained at Sugamo Prison by GHQ. Later on, he was sent back to the Philippines and was charged with treason. He was pardoned by the Amnesty Proclamation and was elected Senator in 1951. In 1954, he accepted the post of chief plenipotentiary in the negotiations dealing with the Japanese compensation issue.

Asian countries also paid high regard in deciding how to spend the reparations each country had received from Japan. Ex-Foreign Minister of Malaysia Ghazali Shafie, who was awarded the United Nations Dag Hammarskjold Prize for his great contribution to the establishment of ASEAN said as follows:

Although the Japanese people may not be aware of this, some of the recipients of the compensation—newly independent countries who were once victims of the Japanese occupation—tried their best to avoid the payment of reparations stirring up anti-Japanese sentiment as money paid in exchange for the bloody cost and sacrifice and rather helped Japan by spending the compensation in ways so that the Japanese reparations might become worthy of admiration. For example, in Malaysia, the compensation was used to start up a jointly-undertaken international shipping company, which now results in spread of the business and has become a symbol of cooperation between Japan and Malaysia.

Moreover, ex-Foreign Minister Ghazali Shafie pointed out: “Soon after Malaysia became independent, a plan was discussed to impose traffic tax on tankers passing through the Straits of Malacca, but upon further consideration, if the taxation was implemented, Japanese trade would be hit hard and the plan was soon dropped.” Ex-Foreign Minister Ghazali Shafie deeply sympathized with the ideal of the Greater East Asia War.

Postwar Japan supported by the legacy of the Greater East Asia War
Japan became independent following the conclusion of the Peace Treaty and in order to be economically prosperous, Japan needed a new economic market replacing the booming business of special procurements brought on by the Korean War. Japan could hardly expect to achieve economic prosperity with the loss of huge markets such as the Chinese Continent and the Korean Peninsula. Afraid of the situation, Secretary of State Dulles of the Republican Eisenhower Administration focused on the Southeast Asian market.

Again, it was Asian leaders sympathizing with the “ideal of the Greater East Asia War” that supported Secretary Dulles’s economic policy and indirectly backed up Japanese enterprises entering Southeast Asia.

The Oil Shock broke out beginning in autumn of 1973 and continued to the following year. OAPEC (Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries) reduced the supply of oil to oil-consuming countries in order to take advantage of the ongoing Middle East War, and Japanese industry, heavily dependent on oil, was hit hard by the incident. The Japanese government issued two oil-related decrees and asked enterprises to reduce use of oil and electricity by 20% as well as a reduction in energy use among the general public. Bright neon signs in cities were gone, gas stations were closed on Sundays and holidays. The price of goods in January of the following year frantically shot up by more than 20% over the same month of the previous year.

When the Japanese government confidentially tried to ask King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, leader of OAPEC, to increase oil exports to Japan, those who mediated the negotiations with King Faisal were none other than Indonesian leaders such former Coordinating Minister for Public Welfare of Indonesia H. Alamsjah Ratu Perwiranegara and former Prime Minister Mohammad Natsir, who always held the opinion “Without the Greater East Asia War, there would not have been an independent and free Asia.” They ardently persuaded King Faisal, stating that “It was Japan that saved Islam (90% of the Indonesian population are Muslims who were subject to Christians (the Dutch)) through the Greater East Asia War and supported us in our independence. Japan is a true supporter of Islam.” (With gratitude for his efforts in this matter, the Japanese government presented Mr. H. Alamsjah with Grand Cordon of the Order.)

When then Prime Minister Tanaka Kakuei visited Indonesia in January 1979, a large-scale anti-Japanese demonstration took place in the capital city of Jakarta. The people were repulsed by corruption, such as repeated bribery committed by Japanese enterprises entering Southeast Asia and teaming exclusively with Chinese merchants.

On the other hand, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir played a leading role as the flag-bearer, welcoming Japanese enterprises into Southeast Asia. Around 1980 and onwards, he adopted the policy of “Look East (Learn from Japan and Korea)” and launched a campaign of admiring Japan. One of the devisers of this policy was vice-president of Malaya University Unk Adis, who had studied in Japan during the War as a special foreign student from South Asia.
Thanks to leaders of many Asian countries who sympathized with the ideal of the Greater East Asia War, Japan was not only able to escape from the burdens of harsh postwar reparations, but also able to receive support from them in entering lucrative Southeast Asian markets, which laid the foundation for present-day economic prosperity. Indeed, Japan has been supported by the spiritual legacy of the Greater East Asia War.

In the broader perspective, while Japanese national interests have been constantly threatened by China, Russia, South and North Korea and their sympathizers who obstinately stick to the historical view as dictated by the Tokyo Trials, people who are critical about the Tokyo Trials view, including American conservatives and Asian leaders, have supported and helped Japan return to the international community and contributed in creating the prosperous Japan of today. It is very important that we should rightly understand the structure of the international politics surrounding the Tokyo Trials.

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