The American-triggered regime change in Ukraine at the Western end of the Eurasian continent has been widely discussed. Less noticed, if at all, has been the American-triggered change of government in Japan four years ago as part of the so-called ‘pivot’ aimed at holding back China on the Eastern end. The two ought to be considered together, since they share a purpose known as ‘Full Spectrum Dominance’.
A military ambition and agenda, this provides much activist energy among America’s neoconservatives and their fellow travelers, which include sundry financial and commercial interests. Made up of many parts, like the recently established “Africom” (U.S. Africa Command), the comparable effort to contain/isolate/denigrate the two former communist enemy giants, China and Russia, may be considered a central aim.
It does not add up to a feasible strategy for long-term American interests, but few American initiatives have been so in the recent past. Since neoconservatives, ‘liberal hawks’ and neoliberals appear to have captured the State Department and White House, and their activism has already produced significant geopolitical instability, it would be no luxury to dig deeper in developments on the rather neglected Asian side of the globe.
The protracted overthrow in the course of 2010 of the first cabinet formed by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) does not at first glance resemble what happened in Kiev on January 22nd 2014 – when Victoria Nuland & Co triggered, aided, and abetted an anti–Russian coup d’état. No snipers were involved. No deaths. No civil war against Japanese citizens who had supported a reformist program. It was a gentle overthrow. But an overthrow it was even so. And, importantly, while the Ukraine case served the elevation by consensus of Russia to being the new number one enemy of ‘the West’, the abrupt end to a new Japanese policy of rapprochement was the start of a fairly successful drive to create common imagery of China as a threat to its neighbors.
Back in September of 2009, Japan underwent a politically momentous change when a new ruling party came to power, thereby ending half a century of what had been in fact a ‘one-party democracy’. As the first serious opposition contender for government, the DPJ had won an overwhelming electoral victory with a strongly reformist manifesto. Its original, and at that time still essential, aim was to push for greater political control over a bureaucracy that is in many crucial ways politically unaccountable.
One of this new government’s first moves was to initiate a new China policy. Its main architect, Ichiro Ozawa, had filled several planes with writers, artists, and politicians to visit China for the specified purpose of improving “people to people and party to party” relations. At the same time, the prime minister of this first cabinet, Yukio Hatoyama, was openly declaring his intention to join other East Asian leaders in the formation of an Asean+3 community, consisting of the existing Asean grouping plus Korea, China and Japan. It is highly unlikely that the now diplomatically ruinous and possibly dangerous Sino-Japanese conflict over the Senkaku/Diyaou islands would have come into being if his cabinet had lasted.