Friday News

Tokyo is constitutionally prohibited from waging offensive warfare, but its lower house of parliament just passed 11 security-related bills that allow Japan to gear up to engage in combat overseas. The nation also is increasing its cooperation with the United States in the face of rising Chinese aggression, reports Foreign Policy’s David Francis.

“There’s a very specific reason that Tokyo and United States, which is currently attempting to reallocate more military resources to the region, are increasing their military cooperation: China,” he writes.

“Tokyo is engaged in a tense standoff with Beijing over the contested Senkaku islands in the East China Sea. China, which calls them the Diaoyu, has also been building a series of concrete runways capable of handling military planes in the South China Sea’s contested waters. The two nations have been engaged in an increasingly sharp-edged war of words, and Beijing reacted harshly to this week’s vote,” adds Francis.

The Chinese, however, did not react warmly to the strengthening of ties.

“This move will have a complicated influence on regional security and strategic stability,” Chinese defense chief Chang Wanquan cautioned Japanese officials, according to Reuters citing the Chinese news agency, Xinhua.

Chang also cautioned Japan to “learn from history, respect major security concerns of its neighbors and not to do harm to regional peace and stability.”

Related: Professor Joseph Nye, member of Boston Global Forum Board of Thinkers, and Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor, asserted that a US-China conflict in the South China Sea can and should be avoided.

In South Asia, Fears Of Terrorism On The Rise
Authorities in Southeast Asia are worried they don’t have enough legal tools to keep Muslim extremists from spreading fundamentalist beliefs at home, reports The Wall Street Journal.

1992 Gulf War May Have Cemented Iraq’s Fate
When Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein decided to launch an invasion of Iraq, he may have set his nation down a course that produced ISIS and ensured the US would be involved in the Middle East for decades, argues Brookings Institution scholar Bruce Reidel in an opinion in al Monitor.

“The Saudi decision to accept Bush’s offer of American troops in August 1990 began its break with Osama bin Laden and what would become al-Qaeda. His offer to raise an Islamic army to fight Saddam was rejected by the House of Saud. Choosing US military help 25 years ago began the path that led to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State declaring war on the kingdom and the United States,” asserts Reidel.

“In retrospect, the crisis that began 25 years ago today was the critical moment in modern Middle East politics. America became obsessed with the region as never before. Today there seems no way out,” he concludes.


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