Abe lacks experience of Mideast strategy

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-2-1 23:38:02

Islamic State (IS) militants on Sunday morning posted a video that purportedly shows the execution of the second Japanese hostage, journalist Kenji Goto. Although the video hasn't been authenticated, the Japanese government believes it's genuine. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, along with other Western leaders, including US President Barack Obama, denounced the IS immediately after news of the video broke in the early morning. The heinous murder strongly shocked Japanese society. 

Terrorist acts must be condemned without reservation and the tragedy of the Japanese captives deserves the sympathy of Chinese society.

After the beheading of the first hostage, there was analysis anticipating that the Abe government could perhaps rescue the second; however, the worst outcome on Sunday once again proves that the Abe government lacks the ability to cope with the perplexities of the Middle East. Japan's Middle East diplomacy and even the whole of its foreign policies are closely tied to those of the US. As an informal military partner in the US-led alliance, Japan is in the disadvantageous and dangerous position of self-defense.

It's hard to sum up the world's anti-terror situation since it's becoming unprecedentedly multidimensional. On the one hand, Al Qaeda has been badly stricken by the death of Osama bin Laden. On the other, the US has flinched from its resolution to carry the anti-terror war through to the end. Instead of concentrating power and resources on combating the IS, Washington has chosen to retreat from anti-terror fronts such as Iraq and Afghanistan. The US is apparently recalibrating its Middle East policy. A few days ago, it just redefined the Taliban. 

The quick emergence of the IS in fact is related to US strategic reluctance. At this time, the Japanese hostage case leaves an impression that Japan is taking a step forward in anti-terror operations in the Middle East. However, that the Abe government is willing to confront the atrocious IS is not necessarily a matter of morality and obligation. It's very likely out of the consideration to sending Japanese forces abroad. Since Abe is promoting constitutional revision to pave the way for Japan's military rise, there's no wonder such speculation circulates.   

The hostage crisis indicates that the Abe government is too naïve regarding its reliance on Washington to break the military bottleneck. The US didn't offer substantial help to rescue the hostages and Obama's condemnation of the IS was a mere condolence.  

With regard to security, Japan has paid too much attention to China. It perceives China as an imaginary enemy, which exhausts most of the country's diplomatic and security resources. As a matter of fact, as one of the major trading countries in the world, Japan faces multidimensional challenges. The hostage crisis is a warning.

The Middle East is of similar significance to Japan and China. Both countries hope for peace in the region. US and European Middle East policies stem from their own interests. If Tokyo follows Washington too closely in the Middle East issue, it will suffer a loss of interests of its own.

Posted in: Editorial

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