There’s tons of international stories that Americans don’t follow very closely, a pattern of behavior that is quite human, really. But I am convinced that what’s been going on in China is a huge story that most Americans have not yet paid adequate attention to. A fellow at Forbes, Gordon Chang, begins to break down the economic aftermath of the last few weeks of anti-Japanese, but at bottom ultra-nationalist, and yes proto-fascist, protests in China. A Chinese man severely hurt and near-death because he drove a Toyota. Nearly half of Japanese companies re-assessing their current arrangements in China. Japanese political types reasoning, with plausibility, i.e., with evidence taken from the recent protests, that if they give in on the Senkaku islets that the next demand will be for the Okinawa islands. It’s a story that shows you that recent events cannot be referred to as “outbreak,” whose reprecussions will soon fade. No. Something has changed, perhaps irrevocably, between Japan and China, and within China itself.
P.S. The term “ultra-nationalist” is from Mr. Chang’s article, and it is really the best term I can think of to describe what’s going on in China. (Other suggestions?) To term the mob-ish and xenophobic actions “fascist” or even “proto-fascist” is to get into huge questions about the nature and future development of the Chinese government. And to call it “nationalist,” as many liberal journalists and social scientists will tend to, is to insult nationalists everywhere. Here at pomocom, where patriotism is cool and several of us esteem Pierre Manent’s works, “nationalism” is not a dirty word per se. If you are a Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, American, etc., etc., but perhaps especially a German or French “nationalist,” then we say “good for you.”