Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Regional Strategy

It seems the excitement never stops!
Once again, discounting the rights and wrongs of the situation (and everyone involved has pretty strong views), the flare-up over the arrest of the Chinese fishing captain for ramming a Japanese coastguard vessel brings up several interesting points.

The timing, in particular, is quite interesting - it happened immediately after Kan's defeat of Ozawa - for all his short-comings, Ozawa is certainly far more vocal, out-spoken and less likely to be pushed around on foreign policy.

China's quick resort to this kind of strong-arm tactic has set off alarm bells throughout the region - it is very likely the shape of things to come. What is also interesting, though perhaps not immediately apparent, is the thinking behind this kind of tactic. Whereas America utilises a similar approach based on the belief that they are right, China seems to disregard the rightness or wrongness of the situation in favor of what works - if it looks like Japan will retreat a step or two, it's worth a try to gain some tactical ground. They have plenty of experience in heating the pot and then letting things cool for a while.

International opinions are worth watching, too - for all China's economic strength and bluster, the country is part of the web of international relations that will be affected by actions of this kind. Already there seems to be a feeling that though they have won a tactical victory, strategically, it may have been a misstep.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Ozawa Falls

As a quick follow-up to my last post, despite the initial dispositions of the power blocks in the party, and a fairly strong showing in televised debates, Ozawa was comprehensively beaten, and Kan retained leadership.

The key was was the rank and file of the party: Ozawa just couldn't overcome the seeds of distrust and dislike that had already been sown by his previous behavior. It seems he had misread the strength of feeling against him.

There might be something in the need to create enemies if you want to get things done, but this is an example of when creating too many can come back to bite you in the ass.