Whatever the word is, it’s nice to see the Japanese showing some in the current North Korean crisis:
Over Chinese and Russian objections, Japan introduced a draft Security Council resolution Friday that would impose sanctions on North Korea for its series of rocket test-launches and also order a halt to its development of ballistic missiles.
Backed by the United States, Britain and France, the resolution condemns the series of missile launches that the North conducted Wednesday after both its enemies and allies around the world warned it not to.
By putting forth the resolution, Japan risked a showdown with China and Russia, which have said they oppose sanctions or even passing a legally binding resolution on the issue. They want a more mild council statement that would chastize the North for the launches, and go no further.
“If this resolution is put to a vote, definitely there will be no unity in the Security Council,” China’s U.N. Ambassador Wang Guangya said. He refused to say, however, if China would use its veto to sink the resolution or abstain.
Japan’s Ambassador Kenzo Oshima said he wanted a vote on the draft Saturday if possible, yet he and other diplomats said negotiations continued on the resolution.
The sudden growth of Japanese backbone isn’t entirely surprising. The Russians and the Chinese needn’t worry about the N. Koreans going after them. Indeed, the Chinese have always had the ability to rein in N. Korea, which is their more extreme satellite, and have chosen not to do so. The Japanese, however, are a sitting duck for N. Korean military “exercises.” Fortunately, they haven’t lapsed into the incoherent fear that characterizes S. Korea, which is even higher up on the duck scale.
I’m a play it safe kind of person myself. And certainly, when dealing with reasonable people, it is equally reasonable not to escalate matters when a dispute arises. However, when dealing with bullies, one has to be very careful to strike the right tone. On the one hand, one doesn’t want to meet insanity with insanity. On the other hand, Hitler and Stalin (and let’s add in Pol Pot and the Sudanese for good measure) repeatedly demonstrated that, when it comes to murderous dictatorships, if you show even the smallest lack of resolve, they will eat you, brutally.