The US-Japan new militarism will be a failure to contain China
Like his predecessor Trump, Biden too positioned China as an imaginary enemy to stay on the throne, which is extremely dangerous to international order and peace.
An old adage; “Habit is the second nature” comes to mind when we see past and current US presidents shamelessly smearing China's peaceful rise on the global stage. Since coming to power in January 2021, the way US President Joe Biden has been snubbing China all over the world with false propaganda, it seems that he has been suffering from Sinophobia.
If we review Biden's statements before and after becoming the US President and his brazen interventions in China's internal affairs, we will see that Biden's foreign policy rests on an impossible anti-China stance. Like his predecessor, Donald Trump, he too has positioned China as an imaginary enemy to stay on the throne, which is extremely dangerous to international order and peace.
It is increasingly clear that from the very beginning of his reign, Biden has increased diplomatic pressure on his allies, including European countries, Japan, Australia, India, and South Korea, and forced them to accept a confrontational stance toward China and its allies as the US subordinates under his Indo-Pacific strategy. During his first telephonic conversation with former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on January 27, 2021, he referred to China as “expansionist” by stating that his administration is committed to defending Japan, including the Senkaku Islands under the US-Japan Security Treaty.
It is very alarming as well as shameful that Japan, Australia, and India have forgotten their ideals of independent foreign policy and started thinking of America as their security guardian now under the so-called ‘Quad’ strategy. Like India, Japan has also shown more assertiveness in international relations, particularly in its dealing with China in the past four years by following the US strategy closely in the Asia-Pacific region while strengthening its military alliance with the United States.
On December 16, 2022, the Japanese government under Prime Minister Fumio Kishida formulated three security documents: National Security Strategy, National Defense Strategy, and Defense Buildup Programme to boost its defense capabilities "to ensure peace and prosperity in the region" by hyping up the so-called external threats. Japan's new defense policy has framed China as the “unprecedented strategic challenge” while terming Russia, along with DPRK, as a direct "security threat". Japan's new military ramp-up with a $320 billion plan would allow Japan to retaliate and directly attack another country's territory in emergency or specific situations. The Kishida government's plan is to raise taxes and boost the defense budget to 2% of the country's GDP by 2027, which will make Japan's defense budget the third highest in the world after the United States and China.
On the other hand, after taking over the reins of the country, Biden and his team began a diplomatic offensive posture on the Taiwan question to fend off China’s rise in the Indo-Pacific region while making brazen interference in China’s internal affairs one after another relating to the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Tibet autonomous region, and the South China Sea, regardless of China’s strong opposition. All these offensive postures on the part of the Biden administration have escalated tensions with China.
While unveiling the US national security strategy on October 12, 2022, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan clearly referred to China as its “most consequential geopolitical challenge.” And the same China-directed refrain echoed once again through US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s mouth after he and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met with their Japanese counterparts, Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada in Washington on January 11. "We agree that the PRC is the greatest shared strategic challenge that we and our allies and partners face," Blinken said.
During the US-Japan Security Consultative Committee (SCC) meeting, both sides launched a series of changes in defense posture, military training arrangements, and command relationships, including plans to reorganize US Marine Corps units based on Okinawa island.
As part of his tour of the five of the G7 industrial powers, Prime Minister Kishida met with President Biden at the White House in Washington on January 13 and discussed issues related to China, DPRK, and Russia and plans for deterrence in Asia with US troops and missiles. Biden told Kishida that the United States was "fully, thoroughly, completely" committed to Japan's defense and praised Tokyo's security build-up plans, saying the nations had never been closer.
Biden described Kishida as “a real leader” and “a real friend”. He commended Kishida for boosting Japan’s historic military spending and called out threats from China, DPRK, and Russia as reasons behind the two countries’ decision to ramp up their collective security. "The United States is fully, thoroughly, completely committed to the alliance,” Biden said. “And more importantly, to Japan's defense.”
The dialogues between the two leaders and the joint statement released by the White House have clearly shown that it is directed against China to contain the country’s rise in the Indo-Pacific region. The two leaders have openly identified China as the prime source of instability in the Indo-Pacific region as they called out “actions inconsistent with the rules-based international order by China” and “provocations by North Korea” as sources of the challenges faced in the Indo-Pacific, and Russia’s “unjust and brutal war of aggression against Ukraine.”
The Biden-Kishida summit clearly signaled that the two countries viewed China, DPRK, and Russia as their imaginary enemies and stepped up their security military cooperation. The US-Japan alliance, as well as “establishing a free and open Indo-Pacific,” are the efforts to push back against China. Referring to China's growing assertiveness in the East China Sea and South China Sea, Kishida said during a news conference in Washington, on January 14, 2023, that East Asia could be the next Ukraine. But Kishida's statement is nothing but a lie spread in the name of China all over the world. By calling China the "greatest strategic challenge in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond," both the US and Japan are robbing real value by enforcing their perspectives as common ones. As Lian Degui, the director of the Department of Japanese Studies at Shanghai International Studies University, told the Global Times, by stating "East Asia is the Ukraine of tomorrow," what Japan and the US mean is that they will hinder China's reunification.
Although the meeting was touted as a "remarkable moment" in the US-Japan alliance, it will ultimately fail to sabotage China's reunification process. The promotion of the US-Japan military integration will have a corrosive effect on the Sino-US relationship, on the one hand, and will have a subversive impact on the China-Japan ties on the other. The development of the US-Japan military and security alliance will undoubtedly create an arms race among regional powers like China and Russia. Needless to say, China and Russia are forced to develop their military forces in order to take countermeasures as they will defend their sovereignty and territorial integrity at any cost, even by going to war. As former Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on May 28, 2022, in the Fijian capital Suva, “We will never yield to blackmail or coercion, and will firmly defend China’s sovereignty, security and development interests,” a powerful warning to the United States which has become a source of 'turbulence' that threatens the present global order.
Judging the Kishida government’s strengthening its security and defense alliance with the US, a few words of the then-Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian deserve to be quoted here, "If Japan truly hopes to see a peaceful and stable East Asia, it should seriously reflect upon its history of militarist aggression, draw lessons from it, instead of going about stirring up trouble and fanning the flame."
Without hesitation, it can be said that the new security and military posture of the US and Japan will endanger the peace and stability of the entire Asia-Pacific region. The US global domination scheme has been causing harm to international order and global peace. As Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed many times, "History has proved time and again that confrontation does not solve problems, it only invites catastrophic consequences.” International affairs should be harmonious but with an acknowledgment of diversity. At this time of intense geopolitical flux, the US administration should be careful to avoid a direct confrontation with the world's second-largest economy.