When it comes to current geopolitics, one has to stretch their memory to recall a time when there were more overt and not so overt conflicts, humanitarian interventions, drone bombings and proxy or outright civil, and/or otherwise, wars.
But even the escalating cold war (as in European winter cold) between Russia and the west will pale by comparison to what may happen in the far east, if the pent up for generations tensions between China and Japan, which have historically hardly been in a state of "amicable relations", finally spill over into an all out war. Which, incidentally, is precisely what a majority, or 53% of Chinese respondents, and some 29% of their Japanese peers, expect will happen in the coming years.
As the FT reports, the Genron/China Daily survey poll found that "38 per cent of Japanese think war will be avoided, but that marked a nine point drop from 2013. It also found that a record 93 per cent of Japanese have an unfavourable view of their Chinese neighbours, while the number of Chinese who view Japanese unfavourably fell 6 points to 87 per cent."
It is almost as if all that fake pleasantry and courtesy over the past several decades between the two feuding nations was merely to facilitate globalized trade. Trade, which in the new normal is no longer relevant since central banks can just print prosperity in lieu of actual commerce, and which means that the people's underlying feelings can finally bubble to the surface.
And what's making things worse is that over the past year, both government have made nationalistic sentiment a cornerstone of their domestic and foreign policy (something which a depressionary Europe is quite familiar with):
Jeff Kingston, a Japan expert at Temple University in Philadelphia, said Japanese tabloid media were driving the already negative sentiment towards China by focusing on its “warmongering”. He added that the government was “amplifying the anxiety” by talking about the threat from China.The poll was released ahead of the second anniversary of Japan’s move to nationalise some of the contested Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.
Ironically, one of the biggest contributions of Abenomics to Japan's economy may be a massive GDP boost... through war:
Sino-Japanese relations started to improve about a year ago, spurring Tokyo to start laying the groundwork for a possible first meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping. But ties deteriorated rapidly again after Mr Abe’s visit in December to Yasukuni, a controversial shrine dedicated to Japan’s war dead including a handful of convicted war criminals.Mr Abe wants to hold a summit with Mr Xi in November on the sidelines of an Apec summit in Beijing but China has shown no sign of interest. Critics say Mr Abe has hurt efforts to repair ties by visiting Yasukuni and also because of the perception that he is an unrepentant ultranationalist.This week two members of Mr Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic party, including a new cabinet minister, were forced to distance themselves from photographs that showed them posing with the leader of a Japanese neo-Nazi party.“He just replaced the rightwing loonies [in his cabinet] with another group of rightwing loonies,” said Mr Kingston.
As if the world needed more evidence of the intellectual capacity of the people bringing you Abenomics every day. That said, with loonies running the show, something tells us those 53% of Chinese respondents expecting war in the near and not-so-near future, will be 100% right.