Japan’s 2022 National Security Strategy concludes with a dramatic pronouncement:
At this time of an inflection point in history, Japan is finding itself in the midst of the most severe and complex security environment since the end of WWII. In no way can we be optimistic about what the future of the international community will hold
I find myself strangely affected by this document.
Readers may remembermy stab at a global Great Books list. Recently a reader contacted me asking for guidance: they wanted to read through the books on the “East Asian” section of that list, but did not believe he had the proper historical knowledge to understand or contextualize what they were reading. What do I recommend they read to make sense of the list?
What follows will not make sense if you have not looked at that original post. Here is what I told him:
The closing days of the First World War gave birth to modern combat. Previous to these developments, advances in firepower made titans of the trenchworks. For four years the trenches were assaulted: for four years storms of steel mowed all offensives down. But as the war reached its end tactics were developed to storm through the gauntlet. Stephen Biddle has called these tactics, and what evolved out of them, “the modern system of battle.” The closing developments of the 1918 made offensives possible again—but the playing field remained tilted towards the defender.
Much of what I have written about Taiwan defense issues assumes that the primary challenge facing Taiwanese forces and their allies is defeating (and thus deterring) a proper amphibious invasion. Two recent reports argue—convincingly, I think—that this assumption is wrong. In his testimony to Congress a few weeks ago, former DIA analyst Lonnie Henley asks […]
Image source There is a grand tradition in American politics of bashing the other side’s nominees. In the spirit of that tradition, I have a new piece out in the American Conservative that questions whether Susan Rice is fit to be the Biden administration’s nominee for Secretary of State. Rice is a controversial figure for […]
Infographic from the International Gas Union. Two months ago I wrote a post with the title “Losing Taiwan Means Losing Japan.” It described how the loss of Taiwan to the PRC would put Japan in a geopolitically untenable position, as the PLA Navy would then be capable of choking Japan into submission if conflict ever […]
Image Source The United States could bounce back from the fall of Taiwan to Communist rule. It would have far more dire consequences for Japan. Consider this post a short, informal primer on why this is so. Ian Easton explains the PLA’s view: The Course Book on the Taiwan Strait’s Military Geography is a restricted-access […]
Image source I have a new piece out in Foreign Policy. It takes a look at the changing balance of power between Pacific Command and the PLA, with a special focus on the vulnerabilities of US Forces Japan. This section describes the problem: The threat posed by China to forces stationed in Japan is real: […]
Image Source. On the recommendation of Tyler Cowen I picked up Taggart Murphy’s book Japan and the Shackles of the Past. This book has impressed me; there are enough interesting ideas in it to make up several different posts. But today I’ll limit myself to one thought provoking excerpt: By the fall of 1989, all this […]
Japanese soldiers approach the walls of Nanjing By Sweeper tamonten,China Incident Photograph Album, Vol 2, published in 1938 by Asahi Shimbun., Public Domain, accessed at Wikimedia Commons. In a recent column Peter Harmsen asks “Why do we know so little about China in World War Two?” To quote: We know hardly anything about the war in […]