Original: Yin Guoming source wechat official account: Mingren Mingcha has been authorized to reprint
(tip: why is conflict difficult to avoid?)
The United States has three important security mechanisms in the world: the security framework in Europe is NATO; The Middle East security framework is the basis of the US dollar oil settlement mechanism; The Asia Pacific security framework is based on the US Japan alliance.
The global hegemony of the United States is based on these three security frameworks. Brejin’s “grand chess game” is also based on these three security frameworks.
The United States’ Asia Pacific security mechanism, formed in the cold war, was mainly used to deal with the expansion of the Soviet led socialist camp in Asia. With the end of the cold war and the disappearance of the Soviet Union, containment of China has become the most important goal of the Asia Pacific security framework.
Moreover, with the strong rise of China, the position of the Asia Pacific security framework in the global strategy of the United States has increased significantly. The essence of the Obama administration’s implementation of the “Asia Pacific rebalancing” strategy is to put the Asia Pacific security framework in a more important position. How important is it? The United States wants to deploy 60% of its military strength to the Asia Pacific region:
In 2012, U.S. Defense Secretary Panetta proposed the U.S. “Asia Pacific rebalancing strategy”, proposing that the United States will deploy 60% of its warships in the Pacific by 2020. In 2013, the new US Defense Secretary Hagel announced that he would increase the deployment of ground forces in the Asia Pacific region and deploy 60% of the US Air Force’s overseas forces to the Asia Pacific region.
At present, the United States is trying to upgrade the Asia Pacific security framework to the “Indo Pacific framework”. The core is the Asia Pacific security framework, and it highlights the importance of the Asia Pacific security framework in the change of the world pattern.
Japan is the main strategic fulcrum of the Asia Pacific security framework of the United States. On the one hand, the Asia Pacific security framework is becoming more and more important. On the other hand, the United States needs Japan to play a more important role in the framework. Japan has been given an increasingly important role by the United States. This is the external factor of Japan’s particularly active diplomacy. The United States can come forward directly and needs more support from Japan. If the United States is not suitable to come forward directly, it can be handed over to Japan.
Japan is the most important helper for China to contain the Oriental powers. Now the United States is building Japan according to this positioning. Since the United States needs Japan more and more, the United States has to transfer some castrated national sovereignty to Japan, at least to give Japan such expectations and imagination; Even when the United States encounters extreme disadvantages, Japan may be nuclear armed by the United States.
As a country closely controlled by the United States, Japan will naturally cooperate with the global strategy of the United States. On the surface, the interest ranking of the Japanese government should be like this: the major interests of the United States are greater than Japan’s security interests, and Japan’s security interests are greater than Japan’s economic interests.
It is the common destiny of all countries that have not achieved full independent status to put the interests of the United States above their own interests. Even if they do not want to do so, they have to do so. To be a friend of the United States, we should have the consciousness of “consumables”.
At that time, Japan signed the “Plaza Agreement” under the coercion of the United States, and its driving force for development was curbed, but Japan did not see any positive resistance. Japan’s development boundary has not yet exceeded the scope allowed by the United States. What Japan needs to do is to show more obedience and cooperation, in exchange for greater trust from the United States, so as to expand the scope of activities allowed by the United States. Behind this extraordinary, there is also Japan’s extraordinary forbearance.
At the same time, Japan has also “cleverly” integrated Japan’s demands into its cooperation with the United States, achieving normal national status and seeking political and military power status, which are the two major goals of Japan’s diplomacy. When the United States is still strong, Japan does not want to achieve it by resisting the United States, but by actively cooperating, gaining more trust from the United States, and looking for opportunities with the help of changes in the international situation.
Now, Japan believes that this opportunity has come. The Japanese government released the “blue book on diplomacy” in late April, which clearly defined Japan’s latest judgment on the international situation at the beginning: “the United States has supported the era of world stability and prosperity in the international situation with overwhelming political and military power. The world has entered the era of ‘competition between the United States and China and competition between countries’.”
It is precisely out of the understanding of the trend of the times that Japan should make full use of the power of the United States in the era of “competition between the United States and China and competition between countries”, and look for opportunities to realize the national normalization and political power status that Japan has been expecting and planning for 70 years.
In recent years, the United States has organized many small circles against China. Japan is not only passively joining, but also actively planning with the help of American forces.
Japan’s initiative to propose a strategy against China, of course, also has the purpose of “killing two birds with one stone”: not only to contain China through the United States, but also to consume the United States through China. Whether it is the Asia Pacific security framework or the Indian Pacific security mechanism, Japan is cooperating with the United States, and Japan is also using the United States to promote Sino US rivalry and realize Japan’s benefits.
Japan wants to achieve the goal of national normalization and political power status. Neither China nor the United States is too powerful, which is not what Japan wants to see. The more serious the power consumption between China and the United States, the more important Japan’s position will be. The United States will have to deliver more benefits to Japan, and the greater the hope that Japan will become a normal country.
Cooperating with the United States is only a means for Japan, but not an end. Such performance is in line with the description of Japanese national character in Ju and Dao: they are docile, but they are not easy to obey the control of their superiors; They are loyal and generous, but they are rebellious and full of resentment.
Until the strength of China and the United States reverses, Japan will continue to choose to stand on the side of the United States. This is in line with Japan’s bullying nature.
Another reason is also very important. As an island country, Japan defines itself as a maritime country and chooses to stand in the camp of maritime countries to seek containment against mainland countries.
As an island country, Japan has the same island mentality as Britain, and does not agree with the “Asian consensus” of seeking common development. The essence is that it does not want a strong land power country to appear in its heart, let alone the economic integration of mainland Asian countries. Japan learns from Britain’s implementation of the “Continental balance of power policy” in Asia and plays the role of Asia’s “offshore balancer”, which is an inevitable choice for Japan before China has achieved national rejuvenation. But Asia is different from Europe after all. There are no super large countries in Europe. The difficulty of “offshore balance” in Asia is only possible when China is not strong.
For this reason, Japan implements the strategy of “long-distance communication and close attack”. At the same time, Japan is well aware of its own lack of ability, put forward a series of propositions, and is keen to establish various small circles. In 2006, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso proposed the “arc of freedom and prosperity”, and proposed to define the periphery of Eurasia as the “arc of freedom and prosperity”. We should use the “universal values” shared by Japan, the United States and Europe to unite the peripheral countries of Eurasia to form a “arc of freedom and prosperity” for the target countries.
Similarly, in 2013, Japan called on Australia, India, Japan and Hawaii of the United States to jointly form a “democratic security diamond” and the “free and open Indo Pacific strategy” proposed by Japan in 2016 are also for the same purpose.
In terms of geopolitical strategy, Japan is deeply influenced by Mahan’s “sea power theory” and spickman’s “marginal zone” theory, claiming that “from the perspective of geopolitics, Japan is a maritime country” and wants to unite the marginal zone countries of Eurasia to encircle the heart zone countries of the Asian continent. Japan’s exclusive “sea power theory” advocates that Japan’s national foreign strategy priority is to deal with the threat from “mainland countries”, and China bears the brunt.
Although the balance of power between China and Japan is quite different from the previous two Japanese games, there is one thing similar. Japan is also facing a profound internal crisis.
In 1868, Japan began to embark on the road of capitalism through the Meiji Restoration, “breaking away from Asia and entering Europe”. But it soon faced the capitalist problems of lack of domestic resources and narrow market. In 1890, there was a crisis of overproduction in the textile industry. According to the history of Japanese imperialism (Volume 1, p74), “textile capital and other industrial capital that covet the Korean and Chinese markets, as well as commercial capital associated with these industrial capital, all unanimously hope to expand political power to deal with China, and even hope to take military pressure according to the situation. Later, the emperor’s forces were increasingly urged to launch military action.” Japan has invested 60% of its national revenue to develop its navy and army, and is ready to wager a war with “national fortune”. This is the Japanese crisis before the outbreak of the Sino Japanese war.
In 1933, the world economic crisis broke out, capitalism entered the era of “Great Depression”, and Japan was also involved in the crisis. The economy was on the verge of collapse, and domestic contradictions were acute. Launching war abroad became the main way for Japan to get rid of the economic crisis and transfer internal contradictions. At that time, China was in the “ten-year golden period” of the rapid development of the Republic of China. In order to solve the domestic crisis, Japan did not want to sit back and watch China develop and grow. It launched the second war of “gambling on national fortunes”, and the comprehensive war of aggression against China began.
Politics is the concentrated embodiment of economy, and military is the extension of politics. When Japan encountered a serious crisis at home, Japan chose to seize external resources and expand external markets by means of war violence, ease the domestic crisis and transfer domestic contradictions.
Now Japan does not have the national strength advantage against China at that time, but the severity of Japan’s domestic economic problems is increasing with the naked eye. Japan has lost “three decades” since the 1990s, but from the perspective of Japan’s current situation and development trend, it is still not the end of Japan’s “loss”. The Japanese economy is in great trouble.
Among them, the biggest trouble is that Japan’s economic aggregate has not changed much, but the strength of Japan’s manufacturing industry has declined seriously from the subversive period.
As a country with serious shortage of resources, Japan’s economic status mainly depends on its manufacturing strength. At present, although Japan still maintains a strong competitive advantage in some industries, it is an indisputable fact that with the continuous enhancement of the manufacturing competitiveness of China and South Korea, Japan has fewer and fewer leading industries. On the whole, Japan’s manufacturing industry began to boom and decline in the 1990s. After three decades, Japan has retreated from the TV, communications, computers, mobile phones and other industrial segments. The decline of familiar manufacturing terminal brands such as NEC, Sony, Toshiba, Panasonic and sharp marks the end of the golden age of Japanese manufacturing. Although Japan is still a manufacturing power in the world, its advantageous industries have narrowed significantly. At present, the first few industries are automobile industry, robotics, machine tools, semiconductor materials and equipment, and Japan’s manufacturing industry is more retreating to the middle and upper reaches of the industrial chain.
The ideal state of a country’s strong manufacturing industry will not give up the downstream terminal brands. Having a strong terminal brand will not only affect the supply chain, but also face the needs of consumers and respond to changes in demand faster. The decline of terminal brands will sooner or later affect the advantages of the upper and middle reaches of the industrial chain.
Moreover, the Japanese manufacturing industry has been exposed to scandals in recent years. Mitsubishi’s “fuel efficiency door” falsified the fuel efficiency data and even involved all models sold since 1991. The car airbags produced by Takata company in Japan have major potential safety hazards and have been concealed for 20 years. Kobe Steel tampered with relevant quality inspection certificates and forged data such as strength and size. Quality inspection fraud of Mitsubishi Electric in Japan Japanese manufacturing fraud is no longer limited to individual enterprises, not an individual phenomenon. The halo originally given to Japanese manufacturing industry has been broken one by one.
The Japanese economy faces the new technology, new industry and new economy of the future, and there are not many cards in its hands. Although it also has a leading edge in some areas such as robots, it has lost its overall initiative. As a whole, Japan can only summarize the new generation of communication standards and technologies, the Internet, informatization and other fields related to the future new technological revolution and new industrial revolution with “nothing to show”.
From the perspective of the new economy, Japan has fallen behind and cannot see the future. From the perspective of traditional industries, Japan’s competitiveness is declining, and it is difficult to maintain the status quo. Look around, China has grown into an economic elephant. The scale advantage of the economy facing China has long disappeared, but the technological advantage is declining rapidly.
The prospect of automobile manufacturing, the largest industry in Japan, is not optimistic. Many countries have determined the delisting time of traditional fuel vehicles, and the future is the world of new energy vehicles. Japan’s advantages are concentrated in traditional fuel vehicles. In the field of new energy vehicles, China and the United States are in the first camp, and China has formed the most complete industrial chain. China’s production and sales of new energy vehicles account for half of the world. If Japan loses the advantage of automobile manufacturing in the era of new energy vehicles, its economy will be severely hit.
After three decades of loss, Japan’s economic problems have been transmitted and concentrated in the financial sector.
The recent serious depreciation of the yen is due to the fact that the Bank of Japan continues to adopt a loose monetary policy during the dollar appreciation cycle, but the deeper reason is the reflection of the decline of Japan’s economic strength on the monetary exchange rate. This decline in strength is highlighted by the fact that the exchange rate of the yen has fallen by more than 30%, but it has not brought about ultra-high growth in exports, and the import and export deficit has become larger. In the case of the great depreciation of the yen, Japan has maintained a foreign trade deficit for 10 consecutive months, which largely reflects how serious the decline in Japan’s manufacturing capacity is.
Moreover, this will enter a vicious circle. The depreciation of the yen exchange rate, which has hit a new low for 24 years, means that the cost of energy and raw materials imported by Japan has increased significantly. Considering the sharp rise in the price of world energy and raw materials in dollar terms, coupled with the depreciation of the yen by more than 30%, the cost of Japan’s domestic manufacturing industry has increased significantly, and the price of imported oil in yen has even increased by more than 300%. This puts great pressure on the cost of Japanese manufacturing industry, reduces the profits of Japanese enterprises, reduces R & D investment, and affects the future technology and product competitiveness.
There are also compelling reasons for Japan to let the yen depreciate. Japan is one of the most indebted developed countries in the world. In 2020, Japan’s debt ratio reached 267%, twice that of the United States, which is 130%. Japan’s annual fiscal revenue is only 60 trillion yen, but its expenditure is as high as 110 trillion yen, which shows how big the deficit is. The scale of Japanese government bonds is more than 1200 trillion yen, with an interest rate rise of 1%, and the interest rate is 12 trillion yen. Raise interest rates by 5%, and Japan’s fiscal revenue can do nothing but pay interest. The Bank of Japan has given top priority to controlling the yield curve of the yen. It can only operate the money printing machine to buy treasury bonds sold in the market and maintain the yield at around zero. In this way, the larger the interest rate gap between Japan and the United States, the weaker the yen. If the depreciation of the yen cannot change the current account deficit, the yen will continue to depreciate. With the depreciation, the yen’s status as an international safe haven currency that has been maintained for many years has been shaken.
From manufacturing to finance, Japan has not found a way out of the problems and crises in an aging and childless society. Depending on the money printing machine to maintain social operation, sooner or later, the credit overdraft will be completed, and the system will collapse. In the future, with China’s industrial upgrading, Japan’s product competitiveness will further decline. Japan will rely more and more on money printing machines, and it will collapse faster and faster.
Although Japan has not experienced the same high inflation as the United States, both Japan and the United States have suffered from the same disease. The decline in manufacturing capacity has led to a decline in absolute strength, while facing the decline in relative strength brought about by the rise in the strength of the eastern powers.
Like the United States, Japan did not look for the root cause of the problem from itself, but attributed the problem to external causes, believing that the development and industrial upgrading of China’s manufacturing industry harmed their interests. Therefore, it also placed the hope of solving the problem on curbing their perceived rivals. The United States believes that to continue to lead the world for 100 years, it is necessary to contain its strongest strategic competitors. In order to recover the lost three decades and find its own position in the world, Japan needs to curb the development of Asia’s most important rival. In terms of target selection, the United States and Japan have achieved overlap. On the issue of containing China, Japan is even more active than the United States, and Japan’s tolerance for China’s resurgence is even lower than the United States.
Japan can accept that the United States is strong, but it can’t accept that China is strong. This psychology also has historical factors. Since China lost to Japan in the Sino Japanese War of 1894-1895, Japan has looked down on the former “central Empire”. Although China was also a war country in the Anti Japanese War, Japan did not think that it was defeated by China. Even if China won the victory of resisting US aggression and aiding Korea, the US and European powers had to accept that China stood up militarily and politically, and the contempt of Japan’s political mainstream for China still exists.
Until China is really strong enough to convince Japan and make the Japanese as strong as the United States, the Japanese can’t accept and tolerate the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. When China is not strong enough, Japan will regard China’s strength as a threat to Japan. Only when China is strong enough, Japan will take China’s strength for granted. Before that, Japan didn’t want to give up the opportunity. They wanted to use the power of the United States and the whole United States and the west to create obstacles to China’s development.
In modern history, Japan has interrupted China’s development process twice, although there is the problem of China’s weakness, but both occurred when China did not pay enough attention to the threat from Japan. The subjective contempt and fluke mentality are the more important reasons.
Does Japan have the idea of interrupting China’s development process for the third time? This is no longer a problem, as long as we are careless, as long as we give him enough opportunities.
For the sake of greater interests, Japan will dare to take risks. This country has a tradition of gambling on National Games in its history.
We cannot underestimate Japan either from historical experience or according to the actual situation, otherwise it will bring serious consequences.