Those canny fellows at NightWatch had a very pertinent commentary concerning the Sino-Japanese dispute over the Senkaku Islands - no, me neither, but it concerns some specks of Islands in the South China Sea which the Japanese 'own' and the Chinese think they own. It's a bit like the old Schleswig-Holstein Question of which Lord Palmerston remarked:
“The Schleswig-Holstein question is so complicated, only three men in Europe have ever understood it. One was Prince Albert, who is dead. The second was a German professor who became mad. I am the third and I have forgotten all about it.”
Thus it is with the Senkaku Islands but the fact is that there has been a steady rise in tension between the two countries which is not helped by memories of WWII and the murderous cruelty of the Japanese army in China. So far the tensions have expressed themselves in economic terms with mutual boycotting of goods and according to my 'NightWatchmen', both have suffered but crucially the Japanese have suffered the most:
The key point is that global economic integration magnifies the consequences of international disputes. Interdependency means both sides seriously suffer economically, although security incidents result in no casualties. Japan might have sustained a .5 per cent decline in GDP in the last quarter of 2012, essentially because of Chinese hostile, nationalistic responses to the islands dispute.
Both sides got hurt, but China can absorb the consequences more than Japan.
Another shrewd insight was offered which I do hope 'the cousins' have noted and underlined:
Another key point is that the dispute shows how the Chinese fight in every kind of battle space - at sea, in the air, on the land, in cyber space in international political space and in economic space. Total warfare means total to the Chinese. They are experimenting with that in the Senkakus dispute.
My emphasis was apropos my previous comment on our apparent lack of ability in this field.