Joe Burleson INTRO The world that exists today and the period in which the citizens of the globe find themselves in is unlike in other time, or period, in history. It is a world full of technological innovations and concepts that our ancestors could not possibly have imagined. Amongst the greatest of these innovations that technology has given way to is the instant communication and broadcast of events that occur around the world; some would call this a form of globalization. People are now able to be aware of foreign conflicts, or situations, as they are happening, as opposed to learning about hem long after they had occurred.
This has created opportunities for immediate analysis and debate on events that have happened perhaps the day before. Recent events that have resulted from a chain of disputed island territories in the East China Sea between China and Japan, are perfect examples of how one can analyze and provide reasoning as to why these conflicts are occurring and in the manner that they occur. MAIN CONFLICT The major dispute between these countries is historically one of the main reasons two nations have a dispute in the first place, territorial claims.
These claims are over a small group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, which Japan refers to as the Senkaku Islands and the Chinese refer to as the Diaoyu Islands. While no one actually lives on the islands they are of some importance; the location of the islands are quite close to strategic shipping lanes, are rich in fish, and may have oil deposits deep beneath the soil. Although these islands have been disputed between the two countries for over a century, a pair of events that have transpired in the past year have put this dispute on the front page of global news.
The first began in April of 2012 when the Govenor of Tokyo, a very rambunctious and unpredictable man, named Shintaro Ishihara claimed that he would use public money to formally buy the islands from their owner, ironically a private Japanese citizen. This resulted in protests and boycotts of Japanese goods, on somewhat of a small scale, in Chinese cities that actually lead to partial damage of the Japanese owned Toyota factory in China. However nothing came of this and the governor never did make a formal offer to purchase the islands. The second of the events happened very recently.
In late January Japan accused China of using certain radar capabilities aboard a Chinese Navvy vessel that could produce the location of a Japanese escort ship and Japanese helicopter. Japan also claimed that this information could be used by the Chinese to conduct a military strike upon the Japanese ship and helicopter. No such strike resulted. Both sides released statements that basically said the same thing; the Chinese/Japanese government should respect that this is our territory and should cease invading the air and sea space of the islands.
China’s foreign ministry pokesman even came out, speaking on behalf Chinese government, saying he hope Japan would “show sincerity and willingness to work (with China) through talks and negotiations to control and mange the current situation. ” While both of these events or strong military action, on the overall relation between the two states, it would be an accurate assumption to claim that this has caused a great deal of tension, equally from either side.
One now would naturally ask themselves the questions, why haven’t these events lead to a more severe reaction from either side and what has aused these countries to act/interact in the manner in which they do. A majority of the theories of conflict may provide a very small bit of logic and explanations to why these events have occurred, the method to which they have occurred, and why these two countries are acting/interacting the way they are.
However, the Liberalism/ Liberal Idealist theory, mainly according to Kant’s Perpetual Peace, aggregately describes these events and answers the questions previously discussed better than any of them. Further, Liberalism/Liberal Idealism goes deeper and provides a vastly uller explanation of the relationship that Japan and China share with one another, and why these events are merely small incursions that have not, nor will not, lead to violent military clashes between the two countries or all out war.
In this paper I will provide an in-depth and thorough analysis, supporting the claim that Liberalism best explains these events. REASONING To first explain why this theory works the best to describe why these recent events happened the way they did and with the weight, or lack thereof, that they did, you must determine what Kant’s view of human nature was. From his literature Kant views nature as being in a state of war,he writes, “the natural state is one of war” and how “the rulers of states… are insatiable of war. This closely resembles the Hobbes’ realist view of human nature, with one major difference; humans have the ability of reason. Kant writes that leader should be practical and act consistently, understanding when there is actual cause for action. A country must be self- interested but act with reason. Because of this “A state of peace must be established”; if you want peace you must make efforts at peaceful relations. One way of doing this is through a peaceful treaty or resolution. It is very evident that the leaders of China and Japan clearly understand this concept.
One example is the Treaty of Taipei that was signed after WWII, Japan really had no choice but it was an establishment of peace. The far better example happened on September 29, 1972 when China and Japan signed a Joint statement consisting of 9 points all of which discussed, in one form or another, lasting bonds of peaceful relations, none of which have been broken. This is most definitely a reason for the recent events occurring the ay they did; both sides want and have instituted peace and have the mental capacity to understand that a chain of islands should not violate this peace.
Secondly, the events that occurred were peaceful because both countries have created economic institutions that greatly benefited the economies of both. In May of 2012 China, Japan and South Korea signed a free trade agreement that would provide a much more open system of trade between the countries with little restrictions. By doing this Japan and China will most likely be each other’s largest trading partners. As of 2011 Japan’s total foreign direct investment in China exceeded over 13 billion dollars.
The liberalist/liberal idealist theory is that when there is free trade, no actions both countries took in the two events. Some would say, Neoliberalists to be exact, that this is not causality, it is simply a correlation of both factors, peace and commerce, and that the countries are Just linking these issues together. However this is not the case at all, neither country has openly come out to say that invading the air or land space of the Senkaku/Diaoyu will result in the lose of trade or strain he economical relations between the states.
While the Toyota Company may ask China for stronger security of its factories, it has not pulled out of China. The third reason that these conflicts can be explained best by Liberalist theory is that both countries, China and Japan, have taken the Kantian prescription and are involved in a federation of states, which prevents war and creates a collective security. Kant writes “there must be a league (of states) which can be called a league of peace… to make an end of wars forever. ” The so-called “league” that both China nd Japan have entered is called the United Nations.
The establishment of the United Nations built a federation of states whose incentives to Join were stooped in peace and free trade. Since the United Nations was formed there have been no wars amongst the major powers of the world, Japan and China both fall in that category. Had either of the countries responded to the actions of the other with violence and military aggression, the aggressor would most likely be the target of the entire I-JN. Thus, reinforcing the idea that going to war over a small chain of fishing islands that ight have some oil on them would be a very dumb move by both parties.
The last portion of the reasoning section has a combination of 2 reasons that explain why China and Japan have not gone to war over the island chain, and that the events occurred only so each side could emphasize their self-believed claim on the territory. The reasons are that one, the Japanese and Chinese governments have established a condition of “Universal Hospitality’ between the citizens of each country and that in the world we live in today there exists a natural universal economy.