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Trent Telenko <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: H-NET Military History Discussion List <H-WAR@h-net.msu.edu> Re: REPLY: XPOST: Containment of Japan and China Irrational regimes become more so under pressure, as factional power games revolve around who can best express their extremism in counting coup between factions. Taken to it's ultimate wartime extreme, you get mass death-cult behavior like the Japanese Kamikazes and the smaller scale end of WW2 Nazi German one-man subs & fighter ramming squadrons. Richard O'Neill's "Suicide Squads: The Men and Machines of World War II Special Operations" and instances like Torpedo Squadron Eight's self-sacrifice at Midway makes clear that the line between very high risk, as opposed to suicidal, behavior is blurry. The break point is when that behavior becomes a wider societal, as opposed to a small military volunteer-elite, cultural norm. AKA "Dying to fight" rather than "Fighting to win, paying the price for victory." In many ways Iran and Pakistan today are what Japan was, and what some here seem to fear China is headed towards. There is very little, if anything, that anyone on the outside can do to influence the leadership process of such regimes. Few diplomatic historians are aware of, let alone study, "The War of the Triple Alliance" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraguayan_War) and the behavior of Paraguayan president Francisco Solano López and the ruling families of Paraguary. Which was the ultimate expression of "Irrational Regime going to hell." Trent Telenko Quality Assurance Specialist Defense Contract Management Agency <trent.telenko@GMAIL.COM> Original Message: > William D. O'Neil <email@example.com> > To: H-NET Military History Discussion List <H-WAR@H-NET.MSU.EDU> > Re: XPOST: COMMENT: Containment of Japan and China > > > I'm happy to have this cross-posted. I was replying to some not-too > thoughtful discussion on another group, which is why I didn't think of > posting it here myself, as perhaps I should. > > I do want to comment on the question of the use of "ethnocentric" as > contrasted to "racist." Ethnocentric is the more inclusive term. It has its > origin in social science rather than journalism and polemics, and is > correspondingly much more clearly defined and less value-loaded. And when > you label an individual or group as "racist" you make a judgment regarding > specific motivations that is not inherent in "ethnocentric". I mean this to > be an objective analysis and not a polemic. > > My thinking along these lines has been stimulated by reading Kinder, Donald > R. and Cindy D. Kam, US Against THEM: Ethnocentric Foundations of American > Opinion (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010), which I recommend. > > Will O'Neil > > William D. O'Neil > Analysis for Decision > firstname.lastname@example.org > or > email@example.com > http://www.analysis.williamdoneil.com/ > 703.256.4146 or 703.256.0066 > > > > Original Message: >> Kuehn, John T Dr CIV USA TRADOC <firstname.lastname@example.org> >> To: H-WAR <H-WAR@H-NET.MSU.EDU> >> Fwd: NBR'S JAPAN FORUM (POL) Containment >> >> >> All: From Will O'Neil, worth posting to HWAR I think. >> >> A fascinating analogy between containment/conflict with Japan and the >> situation vis-à-vis China today. >> >> A quotation of particular merit: >> "Thus even though the anti-Japanese ethnocentrist [O'Neil's euphemism for >> racism] elements in the west did not hold particularly strong political >> positions in the 1930s, a self-amplifying positive feedback loop was >> established and maintained." >> >> Vr, John >> >> John T. Kuehn >> CDR USN ret >> Professor of Military History >> US Army Command and General Staff College >> Fort Leavenworth, Kansas >> >> >> >> ----- Original Message ----- >> From: "William D. O'Neil" <email@example.com> >> Date: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 8:08 >> Subject: NBR'S JAPAN FORUM (POL) Containment >> To: "Japan-U.S. Discussion Forum" <firstname.lastname@example.org> >> >> >>> The irony of the hand-wringing over "containment" of China is that >>> we've been here before, only no one seems to be able to remember. >>> >>> As early as the 1890s, widespread alarm was evident in the United >>> States over the specter of Japanese expansionism. This was a >>> mixture >>> of raw ethnocentrism and cold strategic calculation. At the same >>> time, being the kind of country it was (and largely remains) there >>> was no great unity in American views, and many unhesitatingly >>> supported Japan's economic and political ambitions. >>> >>> Both the Roosevelt (TR) and Wilson Administrations pursued >>> policies >>> of appeasement, while simultaneously building up the navy. The >>> real >>> departure point was the Twenty-One Demands affair of 1915. In the >>> early 1920s the political elites in both countries attempted to >>> build >>> a basis for cooperative relationships, but the rise of very >>> strongly >>> ethnocentric groups in both nations undercut these efforts. >>> Nevertheless, Japan and the United States managed to maintain >>> reasonably productive relationships at many levels during the >>> 1920s, >>> notwithstanding some rather nasty clashes in China, and the ill- >>> will >>> generated by the laws excluding Japanese from American life. >>> >>> Unfortunately for Japan, the military services fell under the >>> leadership of extremely ethnocentric officers, and the Great >>> Depression undermined those who wanted to advance Japan by >>> economic >>> means. The military came to power, teamed with neoconservative >>> civilians. Japan was in a cycle in which the ethnocentrists would >>> precipitate some expansionist action they saw as essential to >>> national security, the west would respond negatively (even if only >>> symbolically so), and this would evoke fears of "encirclement" >>> (i.e., >>> containment) leading to further expansionism to break out of the >>> "iron ring." Thus even though the anti-Japanese ethnocentrist >>> elements in the west did not hold particularly strong political >>> positions in the 1930s, a self-amplifying positive feedback loop >>> was >>> established and maintained. >>> >>> Eventually it was the external forcing function of Nazi aggressive >>> expansionism at the other end of Eurasia that tipped Japan into >>> war >>> with the west. It is very possible that matters would never have >>> reached such a pass absent the predominately exogenous shocks of >>> the >>> Great Depression and European War. At the same time, these shocks >>> need not have been fatal had the ethnocentric elements not gained >>> such dominance over Japan. >>> >>> Despite many changes, the overall sociopolitical constitution of >>> the >>> United States remains much as it has nearly always been. There are >>> both ethnocentric and cosmopolitan elements and neither is likely >>> to >>> be able to establish long-term dominance in the control of the >>> nation's affairs. The United States will thus continue to act >>> somewhat erratically within bounds determined by a broad consensus >>> on >>> basic economic and strategic interests -- which do not in >>> themselves >>> dictate any fundamental conflict with China. >>> >>> The Chinese system, with its narrow leadership base and lack of >>> regular mechanisms for turnover of power, gives an illusion of a >>> steady hand on policy. But it is even more vulnerable to >>> ethnocentric >>> capture than its Japanese counterpart of the 1920s. Even if this >>> takes place, even if it occurring right now, it need not have >>> effects >>> as terrible as those of World War II, but it would run a very >>> uncomfortably great danger of doing so. The seeming prospect that >>> China is contemplating its own replay of the Tsinan (Jinan) >>> Incident >>> over the Senkakus is anything but reassuring. >>> >>> Some have objected that no military conflict could eventuate >>> because >>> of the threat of nuclear weapons, but these are not the words of >>> anyone who knows or reflects on history. Ever since humankind has >>> been fighting wars, for at least 100,000 years and very probably >>> longer, unlimited conflicts have always threatened and frequently >>> enough resulted in the destruction of both of the combatant >>> societies. History says very clearly that such a threat may dampen >>> the risks of war but cannot eliminate them. Indeed, the very fact >>> that it is apologists for China (which by any rational calculation >>> would inevitably suffer far more severely in any nuclear exchange) >>> who invariably raise the nuclear specter speaks eloquently of the >>> limited (albeit very great) power of the threat of annihilation. >>> >>> >>> >>> William D. O'Neil >>> Analysis for Decision >>> email@example.com >>> or >>> firstname.lastname@example.org >>> http://www.analysis.williamdoneil.com/ 703.256.4146 or 703.256.0066 >>> >>> >>> --- >>> >>> >>> NBR's Japan Forum is hosting its 2012 Annual Survey right now. >>> Your feedback helps us improve the project. Please take a few >>> minutes to fill out this short anonymous survey: >>> http://cdn.nbr.org/surveys/JapanForum2012.html >>> >>> >>> >>> >>> NBR thanks you for your continued participation in the Japan-U.S. >>> Discussion Forum. >>> >> > > > ----- For subscription help, go to: http://www.h-net.org/lists/help/ To change your subscription settings, go to http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=h-war H-Net's 20th anniversary is coming up! Help support it for another 20 years: http://www.h-net.org/donations/ -----