Plunge Pontificates

A place for my thoughts.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Japan Needs to Rethink Military

Interesting article by James Holmes, a senior research associate at the University of Georgia's Center for International Trade and Security and a former visiting fellow at National Chengchi University in Taipei. He offers, what he thinks, is what Japan needs to focus on in the near future for its military forces.

The defeat and downfall of Imperial Japan in World War II discredited aggressive foreign and military policy, including the naval strategy that helped impel the nation into war.

Indeed, a pacifist Japan banished strategic thought altogether, in effect throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Japanese officers today seemingly can't conceive of operating without their US partners. Asked how they plan strategy and forces, they shrug and call for strengthening the alliance.

Tokyo needs to do several things. First, it needs to realize that Japan might need to act without US help. Second, and perhaps most importantly, it needs to resurrect its tradition of analyzing naval affairs. Sea-power theory needn't give rise to aggression at sea. And third, it needs to focus its resurgent intellectual energies on crafting a strategy and a fleet able to compete on an equal footing with China's navy. Taiwan -- as well as the other Asian powers -- would benefit from a Japan able to appraise its interests thoughtfully and craft a prudent, predictable strategy to uphold them.
Japan has disputes over islands with just about every nation close to it. I can't see the US ever getting involved in these disputes, especially militarily. I'm not saying that Japan should put an aggressive plan together to take these islands, but, if another nation, say China, decides to intervene militarily, Japan needs to be able to respond, or at least have forces enough to act as a deterrent to keep other nations from acting militarily.