White Mountain Links, 4-19-12

19 Apr

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The entire Asian region is a bit crazy recently.

Four possible explanations, or combinations of them, can account for the frequency of political power being inherited by the children of political leaders. One can think of them as affecting different stages in the progeny’s personal history, from conception to the progeny’s own political career.

Just a decent, basic Poli Sci 101 argument, but excellent.

Nuclear conservatives remain a dominant political force in Japan and South Korea for now. An unbounded North Korean nuclear program could strengthen the nuclear radicals in Tokyo and Seoul who favor nuclear arming. Negotiating a bilateral NWFZ would head them off and facilitate reconciliation between these countries despite their troubled history. Nuclear conservatives would be prudent to consider that.

…one state that should be part of Washington’s strategy has been conspicuous by the absence of any reference to a possible role for it in that emerging multilateral architecture. That is Taiwan. The lack of mention of the longstanding U.S. ally in the region is no accident; rather, it’s a calculated effort on Washington’s part to avoid making its “return” to Asia too controversial in Beijing, which already regards the pivot as the latest in a long list of exercises in containment.

Mr Ishihara, a conservative who has long been fiercely critical of China, suggested leaving the islands in private ownership could weaken Japan’s claim to them, waving aside worries that attempting to develop them would be diplomatically unwise.

“The purchase of these islands will be Japanese buying Japanese land in order to protect it. What would other countries have to complain about?” Mr Ishihara said.

A lawyer for the owner of the islands, confirmed that Tokyo municipal government officials had raised the possibility of buying them and that the owner – who had known Mr Ishihara personally for decades – was “open to the possibility”.

However, the lawyer, Makoto Watanabe, said no final decision had been made on a sale. According to Japanese media, the current lease on the islands expires next March.

Mr Ishihara’s move is certain to outrage many in China, which nurtures bitter memories of Japan’s 1931-45 invasion and has in recent decades often challenged Japanese control over the Senkaku/Diaoyu group.

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