December 7, 1941. In the words of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, “A date that will live in infamy.” Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor.
There is cause and effect. Every action does have an equal and opposite reaction. Are the U.S. and China on a path similar to that which led to the Japanese attack?
Examine the facts.
It was December 6, 1941, the day before Pearl Harbor. U.S. intelligence less than adequate. Roosevelt had been told the Japanese fleet was heading for Thailand.
Roosevelt sent a telegram to Emperor Hirohito: “For the sake of humanity” intervene “to prevent further death and destruction in the world.”
Roosevelt amusingly told his wife Eleanor…..”The son of man has just sent his final message to the son of God.”
U.S. intelligence was wrong. Roosevelt relied on the erroneous intelligence. The next day, Hawaii was attacked. Not Thailand.
Why did Japan attack Pearl Harbor? Japan was a non-entity in world affairs in the years leading to 1900. Isolated from the rest of the world.
In 1894 and 1904, Japan successfully engaged in wars against nations considered superior to Japan. During World War I, Japan participated on the side of the Allies.
The Great Depression affected Japan as most nations at the time. Tensions had begun growing between the U.S. and Japan 10 years earlier. Driven by economic and demographic woes.
Japan invaded Manchuria and other parts of China. The League of Nations condemned the invasion. Japan withdrew from the League as a result.
The Sino-Japanese War began in 1937. Japan acted in an extremely brutal fashion. Perpetrated massacres. Mass killings and rapes.
It was obvious Japan was expanding globally. The U.S. tried to stop Japan’s expansion. The U.S. imposed economic sanctions on Japan, including trade embargoes on aircraft exports, oil, and scrap metal.
In September 1940, Japan signed the Tripartite Pact with Germany and Italy. The U.S. not involved in war with Germany and Italy yet.
The U.S. and Japan negotiated Japan’s expansion, the sanctions, etc. for months. Without success.
The U.S. had hoped the embargoes on oil and other key goods would lead Japan to halt its expansions.
The opposite proved correct. The sanctions and other penalties actually convinced Japan to stand its ground. Stand up for Japan.
Japan became increasingly angered. Thought U.S. conduct a part of Western interference in Asian affairs.
Importantly also, Japan felt the U.S. was not paying Japan the respect to which it was entitled. Japan believed they had earned respect as a world power beginning with the wars surrounding 1900 and its actions into the 1940’s.
Respect/face very important in Asian thinking. Neither was forthcoming from the U.S. There was a failure to recognize the new kid on the block.
Japan realized war was inevitable. Japan recognized the odds were stacked against them in a military confrontation. Success depended on surprise. The target Pearl Harbor. Four thousand miles from Japan’s homeland. The U.S. would not expect it.
Pearl Harbor was perfect. The U.S. fleet, except for carriers, in harbor. The fleet and U.S. morale would be destroyed. There would be no will to fight back.
Japan underestimated the U.S. and its people.
Sanctions a major cause compelling Japan’s decision to attack.
U.S. sanctions in effect today against China. The tariff wars. War, global recession possible. Perhaps imminent.
The issues the same. Overbearing sanctions, the economies of both countries in disarray. Everything moving at a rapid pace.
Trump the creator of the present scenario. His intelligence advise questionable. Where it does exist, he does not pay attention. He refuses to be properly briefed.
An example is Meng Wanzhou who was arrested/detained in Vancouver saturday. At the same time Trump was sitting with China’s President Xi in Buenos Aires.
Meng is CFO of China’s second largest technology company Huawei. Her father founder and a leading Chinese figure.
Huawei has been violating U.S. imposed sanctions by doing business with Iran. The reason Meng was arrested. She is awaiting deportation to New York for a federal court appearance.
Note again she was arrested while Trump and Xi negotiating at the G 20. An embarrassing loss of face for Xi.
The question also arises as to what right the U.S. has to impose penalties on China for doing business with Iran. The Iran problem is between the U.S. and Iran, not the U.S., Iran, and China.
Word is that Trump was unaware Meng was being arrested. John Bolton says Trump did not know and had not been briefed.
Makes one wonder what is going on at the highest levels of U.S. government.
The outcome of any military conflict uncertain. Both nations have nuclear weapons. China considered the world’s second most powerful nation. It may be questionable whether it is behind the U.S. militarily.
In the past five years, China has gone all out improving its military. In excess of 350 new naval vessels constructed with up to date nuclear missile capacity.
China has also constructed islands where none existed in Asian waters. Islands out of nothing. Now airbases with planes and troops stationed thereon.
It makes me question whether the U.S. is still the strongest nation in the world. I would not what to find out the answer.
Similarities exist between the Japan of yesterday and the China of today. Especially as regards each’s relationship at the specific time with the U.S.
Hopefully both the U.S. and China will negotiate their way out of this mess.
We are entering a Don’t Tread On Me situation. Where one side will not take it anymore. Similar to the Boston Tea Party, the Alamo, Pearl Harbor. Not a comfortable time.