World View: Asians Talk About War Between China and Japan

World View: Asians Talk About War Between China and Japan

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Gun Control versus 3D printing
  • Asians increasingly talk about war between China and Japan

Gun Control versus 3D printing

Supposedly the world's first 3D-printed gun
Supposedly the world’s first 3D-printed gun

In my article yesterday, “26-Dec-12 World View — Andrew Sullivan and the Gun Control Fantasy”, I pointed out that there’s no evidence thatprohibitions in the past — of alcohol, drugs, abortion andprostitution — had any actual effect, but they had a large negativeeffect of creating bootleggers, organized crime, drug cartels andprostitution rings.

A web site reader complained of a flaw in the argument because, gunsare different from alcohol and the others, because “gun manufacturersand importers can be legally controlled and illegal weapons can bedestroyed.”

In other words, he’s claiming that although you can distill your ownalcohol in your basement or garage, you need a gun manufacturer if youwant a gun.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Just google the words “how to make a gun,” and you’ll find plenty ofinformation on how to make a home-made gun from ordinary constructionmaterials, such as metal tubes, bars, nuts and bolts. It’s no moredifficult to make a home-made gun than to make home-made moonshine.

And that doesn’t take into account 3D printers. These devices have beenaround for decades, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, and capableof “printing” or manufacturing 3D plastic models of anything designed byCAD (computer-aided design) software.

Basically, you can design anything you want — a house, a car, abridge — on you CAD software, click the “3D PRINT” button, and yourdesign is sent to the 3D printer. Within a couple of hours, you havea precise plastic model of your design.

The thing that’s changed recently is that the prices of 3D printershave fallen dramatically. You can now get very nice desktop modelsfor a few thousand dollars, and that should be below $1000 by the endof 2013. If you’d like to learn more, go into YouTube and do asearch on 3D printers, for demonstration videos.

The gun pictured above is claimed to be the world’s first 3D printedgun. A couple of standard metal parts were combined with parts fromthe 3D printer, and a new gun could be in your hands within a fewhours. Once you’ve figured out how to do it, you can clunk outseveral new guns every day — for your own use, or to sell.

There are already 310 million non-military firearms in America, and5,400 licensed firearms manufacturers. Given those numbers, anyattempt to get rid of all guns is simply a fantasy. Gun control,except for some trivial prohibitions, will never become law.

But suppose the fantasy of gun control DID come to pass. It wouldn’tbe more than a few months before tens of thousands of basements andgarages turned into homemade gun manufacturers. Organized crime anddrug cartels would quickly move into gun manufacturing. Some would doit the “old fashioned” way, with metal tubes and bars. But within 2-3years, the technology for 3D printing would have advanced to the pointwhere thousands of them would be done with 3D printers.

Actually, even without gun control, it will soon be possible tomanufacture guns and a lot of other stuff in your home spare room.Most people today would be lost if they didn’t have a computer. Well,within a few years you’ll be lost if you don’t have your own 3Dprinter. Extreme Tech and CNN

Asians increasingly talk about war between China and Japan

Normally, the mainstream media never talks about possible war, forfear of getting people angry or, in the worst case, for fear oftriggering a war themselves. So it’s surprising to suddenly see somany year-end editorials talk about a possible war between China andJapan in 2013.

Here’s an editorial from Wednesday’s Sydney Morning Herald:

“THIS is how wars usually start: with a steadilyescalating stand-off over something intrinsically worthless. Sodon’t be too surprised if the US and Japan go to war with Chinanext year over the uninhabited rocks that Japan calls the Senkakusand China calls the Diaoyu islands. And don’t assume the war wouldbe contained and short.

Of course we should all hope that common sense prevails.

It seems almost laughably unthinkable that the world’s threerichest countries – two of them nuclear-armed – would go to warover something so trivial. …

Where will it end? The risk is that, without a clearcircuit-breaker, the escalation will continue until at some pointshots are exchanged, and a spiral to war begins that no one canstop. Neither side could win such a war, and it would bedevastating not just for them but for the rest ofus.”

The article contains a lengthy historical analysis comparing therelationship between Japan and China to the relationship betweenSparta and Athens that led to the Peloponnesian War. That’s not agood omen.

However, the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands are far from worthless. Alongwith ownership of these islands comes a huge exclusive economic zone(EEZ) that provides the right to take advantage of rich fishinggrounds, as well as huge oil and gas fields.

The Wall Street Journal Asia edition says the following:

“The past year was a turning point in Sino-Japaneserelations: Japan suffered a total defeat. Beijing realizedpractically all its diplomatic objectives, whereas Tokyo could notachieve any of them. But this victory may prove self-defeating forChina.

Since the Japanese government’s purchase of the Senkaku Islandsfrom their private owners on Sept. 11, Chinese forces haveregularly violated the territorial waters around the islands. Asof Dec. 18, some 62 Chinese vessels entered the area on at least18 occasions.

Beijing has also firmly established a national narrative thatthese islands were grabbed by Japan from the falling Qing Dynastyat the end of the 19th century. China and Taiwan have found commonground on this issue despite some obvious policy differences overthe islands. Lastly, Beijing’s economic retaliation has harmedJapanese companies. …

If Beijing considers that the Senkakus belong to China and Japan’sownership of the islands is unfounded, it has every right to sayso in the bilateral talks and elsewhere. It might mobilize theChinese diaspora to buy full-page advertisements in majorU.S. newspapers. It might even take diplomatic measures topressure third countries to curtail ties with Japan.

But there is one measure from which China must absolutely refrain:changing the status quo by force. And entering the territorialwaters or airspace where another country has implemented effectivecontrol already for 117 years with an objective of establishingits own jurisdiction is precisely that.

This is one of the most serious challenges to the post-World WarII order of peace and security under the United NationsCharter. Achieving territorial claims by force is a crude statebehavior usually defined as hegemonism, which China itself firmlydenounced in the Japan-China Treaty of Peace and Friendship of1978. …

Beijing’s present behavior is a reversion to the crude imperialismof the late 19th century. It seems China’s leaders have notlearned from the mistakes of Imperial Japan and all the peacefuldiplomacy that Japan painstakingly undertook since its defeat in1945.”

This article fails to mention the source of China’s “reversion tocrude imperialism”: Increased widespread nationalism, and a thirstydesire for revenge against Japan for wrongs committed prior to 1945.

The Strategy Page, which reports on military matters worldwide, saysthat both China and Japan are rapidly preparing for war:

“Newly selected Chinese Communist Party chief (andruler of China) Xi Jinping has come out strongly in favor ofstronger and more aggressive armed forces. …

The new Chinese leadership openly called for the military to getready for regional (with the neighbors) war. Newly elected leadersin Japan and South Korea made similar pronouncements, in responseto growing Chinese aggression. In particular the Chinese areclaiming all the islets and reefs in the South China sea,including some that are clearly in the waters (as recognized byinternational law) of other nations. Outside the South China SeaChina and Japan are contesting ownership of the Diaoyu (inChinese) Islands (Senkaku in Japanese and Tiaoyutai inTaiwan). …

Currently, the Japanese have the most powerful naval forces in theregion, and are backed up by a mutual defense treaty with theUnited States. China was long dissuaded by that, but nomore. China is no longer backing off on its claims, and neither isJapan. So these confrontations are becoming more serious. …

[On a related subject:] Indian officials repeated their beliefthat China was now India’s major military threat, notPakistan.”

China’s Global Times looks upon the new government in Japan, led byShinzo Abe, with apprehension:

“The Abe cabinet was officially installedyesterday. … It is already impossible for China and Japan toresume the friendly ties they had before the JunichiroKoizumi-era. In the short term, it’s impossible for therelationship to be what it was before the outbreak of the[Senkaku/Diaoyu] Islands conflicts. …

Officials from both China and Japan will continue to stressmutually beneficial relations. However, we cannot realisticallyexpect this. Tension has existed in the Sino-Japanese relationshipfor more than a decade. Given that the situation in theAsia-Pacific hasn’t improved, the relationship of the twocountries cannot really become warmer.

China does not intend to confront Japan. However, at this stage,we can only adjust our policies based on reality.

The “cold politics but hot economics” relationship between the twocountries is transforming to “cold politics and cold economics.”China’s economy has also suffered from this.

Sino-Japanese relations have been filled with suspicion andmisunderstandings. Both sides expect the other to be overawed byhard-line attitudes, while they also worry about escalationleading to war. We should have the proper strategic vigilance toavoid war. However, we should not transform this vigilance intoexcessive anxiety. …

There’s a possibility that Japan may decide to tie its future tothe US and become an anti-China country even more radical than theUS. However, whether this comes true depends on the overallsituation in the region. China does not have the capability totake the initiative to prevent this from happening. China’sincreasing strength may be more effective in defusing Japanesehostility.”

As I’ve said many times in the past, China is preparing for preemptivewar on multiple fronts. It’s beginning to look like 2013 will be theyear. This will be the worst war in history, killing billions ofpeople. The survivors, including the Chinese, will regret that itever occurred, even if they “win.”

Sydney Morning Herald and Wall Street Journal and Strategy Page and Global Times

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