Monday, August 20, 2012

Puffballs


The dandy little dandelion propagates, as do many living creatures, by successfully exploiting the power of big numbers. Like the plucky little turtles who dash to the sea, only a few of the many fertilized seeds make it. And no one knows which fertilized seed will find root.

Guambat joined the hoards of other young guambats and other folk who, as kids, couldn't resist the thrill of helping the soft dandelion puffballs send their potential on the way, with a good hardy puff.

Guambat wonders if the puffing and chuffing going on in the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands will take root in violent confrontation. With relations is both gene pools, he truly hopes not.


Territorial tensions flare between China and Japan
Angry Chinese youths on Sunday overturned cars and smashed shop windows in anti-Japanese protests across the country stemming from a long-standing dispute over uninhabited islands claimed by both countries.

Meanwhile, 150 Japanese activists tried to land on the islands by boat Sunday to commemorate World War II deaths. When that failed, 10 of them swam to one of the rocky islands and tried to plant a Japanese flag.

The demonstrations in China were the largest since 2010 when a Chinese fishing captain who had rammed a Japanese coast guard vessel was arrested, leading to a protracted standoff.

The largest street protest was in Shenzhen, where thousands of people, mostly students, overturned Japanese-made police cars and smashed the windows of Japanese restaurants. Demonstrations also took place over the weekend in Chengdu, Xian and Jinan, among other Chinese cities, as well as in Hong Kong. Japanese chain stores like Uniqlo, which are wildly popular among young Chinese, were forced to close for the day.

“Japanese, get off of our Diaoyu Islands," read most of the banners, while others exhorted Chinese to “kill all the Japanese.”


Japanese nationalists land on disputed island, tensions with China intensify
Japanese nationalists landed on an island at the heart of a corrosive territorial row with China on Sunday in a move likely to further inflame tensions with Beijing.

Around a dozen members of the right wing Gambare Nippon (Hang In There Japan) went ashore, an AFP journalist witnessed, saying they intended to plant a Japanese flag at the island’s highest point. A Japanese coastguard ship 100 metres from the moored vessels regularly sounded its siren, with loudspeakers telling activists: “Do not moor. Leave the island.”

Japan's growing rashness
To escalate tension with China over Diaoyu Islands, Japan has chosen to play the same game twice this month. According to the Japanese media, Japan's Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba said on Tuesday that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "had confirmed" that the "Senkaku" (Diaoyu) Islands fall within the scope of the US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security.

Whether Clinton and other US officials have actually said so is not important because neither Japanese nor US claims will alter the fact that the Diaoyu Islands have been part of Chinese territory since ancient times. Neither Japan nor the US is in a position to impose a bilateral security pact on or infringe upon the interests of a third party.

The 1960 US-Japan security treaty requires the US to defend Japan in the event of an armed conflict. Should the current dispute continue to escalate into a major conflict, Japan would be "justified" in evoking the treaty and asking for direct US involvement or even military intervention.

What chance does reason stand to play given all this Tea Party Diplomacy?

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