China, Japan, and the US May Go to War Over These Rocks

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Here is a link to the Google Maps Satellite view of the Senkaku Islands. Take a moment to contemplate how insignificant these scrubby rocks really are. Some observations after zooming in and out and panning around. First, there are no visible houses, bases, airstrips, factories, or really anything of value other than some timber and potential (note – potential, not proven) oil reserves. Second, the total size of the islands is 1700 acres – slightly bigger than most modern swim tennis communities in the US. Third, given that Japan, Taiwan, and Mainland China are all well within surface to surface missile distance from each other, these islands offer no military or strategic advantage. Fourth, if there are oil reserves of any significant amount they undoubtedly extend beyond the immediate confines of these tiny islands into the waters of Japan and China. Next time someone tells you we need government to resolve international disputes peacefully, send them this.

8:40 am on February 22, 2013