China's military advances are impressive only because the PLA was in a very poor state far behind other countries. Comparing to Japan, China only recently rebuilt a used aircraft carrier bought from Ukraine, named it Liaoning, and commissioned it to service as a training carrier on September 25, 2012, whereas Japan had several in service for quite some time. China emphasizes in defensive weaponry for good reasons. She has ~14,000 miles of land borders with 14 countries including Russia and India, who all had taken aggressive steps regarding border disputes with China. For any one schooled in foreign affairs would tell you, an appropriate defense force is necessary to maintain an orderly neighboring relationship. The military hawks would also like to point to the South China Sea and say that China's land reclamation is a threat to the regional security, but the logic does not hold. If China would have offensive objective, it would be more logical to build military bases in inland China near the attack target, it would not make sense to build these small islands having obvious supply and maintenance issues in the event of conflicts. In fact, the land reclamation was started by, for example, Vietnam, long before China’s recent reclamation. So it is clear, China is making the investment for her own security concern, basically for the purpose of maintaining freedom of passage for cargo ships to and fro her ports. As for the argument that China might dominate the ocean resources in the South China Sea, China has been making her legitimate investment on her own islands and welcoming other countries to collaborative development for ocean resources. It only makes sense to sit down and talk about joint development and win-win projects rather than flexing military muscles around these tiny islands, after all we are not playing computer war games.
Therefore, it is logical for the U.S. to hold the flag of balancing (peace pivot) with sincerity to maintain peace rather than let the policy be hijacked by Abe towards a dangerous confrontational path. How will the balancing policy be played out is still very much in the hands of the U.S. Japan can only scheme so much. If the U.S. maintains a sane policy, the genuine balancing for peace can really work. Countries like Australia and some Asean countries would really welcome the ‘peace pivot’. In fact, if the U.S. would encourage Japan and China to reduce military build-up instead of engaging in an arms race; it is very likely other countries in Asia may join the call. China most likely would not have to move close to Russia for arms technology. Unfortunately, this strategy is not in the interest of the U.S. Military Industry segment. Hence, the evidence clearly indicated that the U.S. was encouraging Japan to expand in armament. In consequence, it is provoking China to expand her military in response, dragging all her neighbors to follow suit. If this were the real goal behind the U.S. pivot policy, it would be indeed a devious scheme pitting Japan and China to destroy each other in the name of "balancing".
There are other theses depicting the U.S. as an evil empire and painting her actions as a part of devious strategy designed all along to lead Japan and China to a serious confrontation. By this scenario, the U.S., especially, the U.S. Military-industrial complex stands to gain and the U.S. can maintain her superpower position without challenge. Logically, this might be a plausible strategy, however, the risk involved would be enormous since a Sino-Japan war could likely lead to a larger regional even a world war. China would not hesitate to use nuclear weapon if provoked by Japan and Japan would by all means drag the U.S. into the war, thanks to the U.S.-Japan mutual defense treaty. Presently, Russia, pointing this as obvious, is wooing China to align with her militarily. The recent ceremony commemorating the victory of WW II in Moscow, where China was the honored guest and participant, is a photographic evidence of Russia’s intention. Has this been factored in the ‘evil pivot’ policy? Does the U.S. really want to trigger a Russia-China versus US-Japan nuclear match or WW III by her pivot policy? As American citizens, we must speak up and correct the ‘pivot’ from an evil to a peaceful path. Hopefully, the U.S. has left some clever English in the US-Japan Mutual Defense Treaty to give her a way to prevent the above scenario. We all know, a nuclear war will impact everyone; the nuclear fallout alone will descend in California, even the entire western half of the United States.
Following the above analysis, It is logical to say that the real intension behind the US balancing policy should be genuinely defined for maintaining peace. The policy must not be ambiguous and the actions must be clearly guided to avoid any evil path. One key element that is missing in this policy is a clear goal to reduce arms build-up in AP. The US citizens must urge their Congress to not only control the US military spending but also take measures to achieve arms reduction in AP; weapon development and sales even military muscle flexing must be closely monitored to avoid stimulating arms race. The hyped ‘China Threat’ theory and the revision of US-Japan Defense treaty beyond the spirit of Japan’s Pacifist Constitution are certainly not the way for achieving the goal of maintaining peace. The new situations outlined in the guidelines for the US-Japan Defense Treaty include asset protection of U.S. forces, support for combat search and rescue operations by the U.S., the exchange of information to protect forces participating in ballistic missile defense operations, and logistical support for U.S. forces. Most dramatically is the inclusion of permitting Japan and the U.S. to use forces in cooperation if a third country is under attack. Japan clearly has indicated her willingness to do much more beyond her own defense. This should be of concern not only to China but also to the U.S.
The U.S. should work with Asian countries such as ASEAN members to reach a military detente including China and Japan rather than encouraging military competition. As American citizens, we should be able to see clearly the different consequences of the ‘peace pivot’ versus ‘evil pivot’ or military detente versus arms race. If we do, we must speak up and influence the US ‘pivot’ policy to move onto a peaceful path.