Sobering column by Evans-Pritchard on the current round of saber-rattling (missle rattling really) by the China. Few things as destablizing in the world as a confusing United States.
If China's purpose with these naval forays is to drive a wedge between Washington and Tokyo -- and to test the willingness of a war-weary America to stand behind allies -- it is hard to know what conclusion Beijing may have drawn from the events of the last six months.
America is sending the same sorts of signals as England at the onset of the First World War. Nuanced diplomacy -- reflecting a divided Parliament -- allowed the Germans and the French to draw different conclusions in those crucial weeks of July and August 1914.
What frightens me most is talk from certain quarters in Beijing that the US is a busted flush, bled dry by the financial crisis, crippled by military over-stretch in the Middle East, and that now is the moment to test the paper tiger.
This is a fatal misjudgement of course. To adapt an old saying, "America is never as strong as she looks: America is never as weak as she looks", and much the same could be said about Japan.