The Russia-Ukraine War has continued over two months. It didn’t end quickly as some predicted and some wished, despite of the early U.S. statement that she would not send any troops to the Ukraine battle ground. Although the U.S. and NATO would not commit soldiers to fight this Russian special military operation (which was launched in support of the two pro-Russia newly declared independent States, Donetsk and Luhansk). Both States had engaged in a domestic revolutionary war in East Ukraine for nearly eight years. The West from the start had rallied behind Ukraine and offered moral support and threatened Russia with severe economic sanctions. Indeed, when the war broke out, the U.S. rallied 30+ countries including Japan from Asia condemning Russia and siding with Ukraine calling the Russia action as invasion. The situation bearing quite a bit of resemblance with pre-WW I hostile international relations in Europe.
The U.N. passed a resolution on March 2nd, 2022, which was sponsored by 90 members, voted by 140 yes, 5 no and 35 abstain, demanding unconditional withdrawal of all Russian forces. On March 24, 2022, a resolution proposed by Ukraine with 90 sponsors on Humanitarian Consequences of the Aggression against Ukraine was also passed with 140 yes, 5 no and 38 abstain. On the next day, a competing resolution with 67 voted for taking no action, 5 opposed the resolution and 38 abstained. It was clear that the majority of the UN members wanted to end the war. However, what followed were disappointing in that only a few countries made sincere effort trying to mediate the warring parties (Macron of France, Erdogan of Turkey, Bennett of Israel and China behind the scenes) and cease the battles with negotiation. The U.S. led NATO and EU were gearing up severe economic sanctions against Russia by barring her out of the SWIFT currency clearance system vital for trade and financial transactions. Russia counteracted by demanding transaction payments to be settled in Russian rubles and backing rubles with gold. These measures put EU’s dependency on Russian energy (gas and oil) in limbo but yet the NATO countries continued fanning the fire by sending military weapon support to Ukraine and hyping a world-wide media war against Russia and cheering on Ukraine. Hence, the Russian-Ukraine war continues, negotiations became media play. Russia is unwillingly making slow progress on the battleground and must deal with the tremendous economic and media pressure from the West in addition to fighting the unyielding NATO backed Ukraine forces.
The U.S. adhered to her principle of not sending any troop but she is pulling all levers to stimulate the war as many analysts had concluded. The U.S. as a strategy is using Ukraine to wear out Russia by prolonging the war indefinitely. The U.S. had tried very hard to rally the world to stand on her side against Russia. She pressured China but China firmly adhered to her principle of encouraging cease fire and settling disputes through negotiation. China would not take side to inflame the conflict. The U.S. also tried to woo India to take side but India seemed to be also standing firm on her ‘neutrality’ position. In fact, India was buying large amount of oil from Russia on a discount taking advantage of the Russian oil begging for customers. Of course, the U.S. would not forget Japan, South Korea and Taiwan as pawns to do her bidding in the anti-Russia campaign. The U.S. has been selling weapons to Taiwan and agitating Taiwan to prepare for war against Mainland China. Though Taiwan was foolishly taking the U.S. stand, but the U.S. actions were calculated and constrained for not wishing the Taiwan Strait tension to burst before she had harvested the Ukraine-Russian war. The U.S. had to be cautious and would never want China officially aiding Russia before the war worn Russia out.
Therefore, Japan and South Korea are two major remaining pawns to be used against Russia. Although the new President Yoon Suk-Yeol of South Korea was a product of a pro-U.S. election, but he was a new player with little political experience hence not yet entirely predictable in the traditional S. Korean political arena. On the other hand, Japan has long been controlled by the U.S. since the end of WW II, not only with deep political and financial influence through her long occupation of Japan, but also with her long cultivation of Japanese political leaders whose historical close ties trace to Japan’s pre-WW II imperial/military establishment. This U.S. protected political establishment (Abe Shinzo, Fumio Kishida, the like), though pinned under the thumb of the U.S., is the primary right-wing force in Japan to advocate the return to the Japanese pre-WW II glory. Their ambition were clearly exhibited by their words and deeds including worshiping Japanese WW II heroes, white washing WW II history in Japanese school textbooks, denying WWII war crimes such as Nanjing massacre, comfort women, and experimenting bio-weapons and diseases with civilians and prisoners of war as well as maintaining territorial ambitions through disputes with China (Diaoyu Islands), South Korea (Liancourt Rocks) and Russia (four southernmost Kuri Islands).
During the heat of the Ukraine-Russia conflict, Japan was eager to take the side with the U.S. condemning Russia. On the surface, Japan is showing loyalty to the U.S. but judging on Japan’s history back to pre-WW II and Pre-WW I era, Japan was always an opportunistic aggressor with an ever-expanding appetite for territorial expansion. Examples were plenty and clear, China’s Taiwan and Penghu islands, Diaoyu Islands, Northeast province, Liaodong peninsula, Korea peninsula, Liancourt Rocks, Kuri Islands and her sneaky attacks in China before WW II and Pearl Harbor causing the U.S. to declare war against Japan as well as her invasion of the Philippines, Indo-China territories, etc. These histories taught us plenty of warning lessons. Unfortunately they were never forgotten by the Japanese right-wing restorationists who equate Japan's past glory to gaining more territories. The current Russia-Ukraine war presents an opportunity to Japan to rebuild its military strength since the U.S. may tolerate it and look the other way about Japan’s ambition, even possibly encouraging Japan for the sake of U.S. strategic interest (for example, letting Japan to build navy carrier and submarines). Japan recently made an announcement about the 'disputed' Kuri Islands using harsh words against Russia. This is an ominous sign, an indication of possibility of Japan taking advantage of the currently war burdened Russia and waging battles attacking the Kuri Islands (a familiar Japanese past military behavior.) Japan clearly remembered that her surprise attack of Port Arthur on the Russian navy in 1905 and she won and gained all the territories from China pushed out the Russian influence. However, Russia is a nuclear power, if not the biggest one, will she swallow Japan’s provocation? It is very doubtful. Hence any sneaky action Japan undertakes may just ignite WW III, a nuclear war!
Therefore, the world must be alert and offer a sensible advice to Japan and the U.S. First of all, the Kuri Islands are not yet developed. Overtaking Kuri, Japan may gain very little and risk a huge danger, hundred times more than the Hiroshima bomb. Russia even though in stress under Ukraine war but she is not likely to tolerate Japan’s sneaky action. Russia can simply choose to punish Japan once and for all by using precision guided nuclear missiles to wipe out Tokyo, Kyoto and a few key cities. Will this cause the U.S. to interfere? Leading to WW III? A rational mind would say no. The U.S. is not likely to come to Japan’s aid in a hurry (her late involvement in WW II and WW I, waiting long enough, till the war almost over, to join in may be the most likely scenario). Japan would be completely destroyed any way whether or not anyone would come to her aid. The Japanese people need to see this picture clearly, not to let the right-wing to make this happen. China is obviously caught in between Japan and Russia like now with Ukraine and Russia. A nuclear war at Japan's home ground would not give China (Japan's close neighbor) any comfort but also would not give the U.S. (Japan's ally) any peace or benefit. Hence, the U.S. and China must warn and contain Japan not to trot the redline igniting a disastrous nuclear WW III. It would be all wiser to develop a detente strategy among the G8!