After the end of the Cold War, the President of the United States of America (USA), George W. Bush, proclaimed the establishment of the New World Order, in effect declaring American hegemony in the world. Since the 1980s, China’s emphasis on liberal policies and the announcement of the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013 have posed the most serious threat to American hegemony in the long term. In order to stop and limit China’s rise, the Pivot-Asia strategy was implemented under Barack Obama, trade wars under Donald Trump and crisis strategy under Joe Biden. In this sense, the US aimed to confine China to its own borders and reduce its interest in global politics through crises that would be artificially created and then fueled within China or in its immediate neighborhood.
China’s economic prosperity and increased investment in its military power has led to Beijing’s activities being perceived as a regional security threat. In addition, the US and its allies have raised the “China threat” as China has vowed to use force if necessary to achieve its goal of unification with Taiwan. One of the allies that felt such a risk most keenly was Japan. This is because it has archipelagos extending as far as Taiwan. The Nansei/Ryukyu Islands, for example, encircle China from the seas and prevent it from opening up to the world. Therefore, along with Taiwan, Japan’s islands are also considered to be under threat.
Evaluating all these security risks, the Tokyo administration is trying to expand its national defense to distant seas and a large airspace (space). In its strategy document published in December 2022, Japan emphasized that in case of any attack on its territory, it will strengthen its counter-attack capabilities, missile defense and joint defense capabilities with the United States. In line with this aim, negotiations between the defense forces of the two countries are continuing in order to increase the coordination in response to crises. Both Japan and the United States are trying to reorganize and strengthen their troops in the region.
In accordance with the security agreement signed between the two countries in 1951, the United States deployed its military units on the southern Okinawa Island in order to ensure the defense of Japan. These units serve within the US-Indo-Pacific Command. But in addition, Washington has established a new unified command to task it with crisis response. Japan is taking similar steps. Tokyo will establish an integrated-unified command aiming to control all its military commands from a single centre. Thus, with their new military commands, the US and Japan aim to increase their operational readiness and improve their response capabilities in the event of a crisis. In case of emergency, these commands will coordinate movements between the Japanese Self-Defense Forces and the American Forces.
It is seen that both states are preparing for a war regarding Taiwan. For example, Japan is reported to have increased its military buildup near Taiwan.In about five years, Tokyo and Washington will have developed their joint response capabilities against a possible invasion attempt in Taiwan. Apparently; Neither Japan nor the USA is prepared for a crisis-conflict-that could break out under the current conditions. China plans to complete its military modernization by 2027. The United States is also calculating that a war could break out over Taiwan or Japan by this date and is making its preparations accordingly. Because, in the last war simulations about China and Taiwan prepared in universities in the USA, the years 2026 or 2027 were taken into account. Similarly, Japan has set 2027 as the ultimate target for the realization of its national defense strategy.
During the recent military exercises, for the first time, the US Marine Corps deployed Japanese military units as part of the “reserve force” through the joint tactical coordination centers instead of contacting (notifying) the allied command posts. In other words, the United States can now use the joint tactical coordination center to obtain reservists from Japan without having to notify Japan and ask for its help in responding to the crisis. This will save allied states significant time in an emergency crisis. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced that these bases will contribute to the defense of Japan, as well as to the free and open Indo-Pacific.
The United States may begin to establish the crisis response coordination center established with Japan with its other allies. Thus, during the Taiwan Crisis, the United States will be able to deploy in the bases of many allied states close to the island and intervene quickly. This is part of the US crisis strategy. “We call it ‘theater’,” said General James Bierman, Commander of the US Marine Corps Intervention Force. “We are building theater in Japan, in the Philippines and elsewhere.”.
Theater, a military term, refers to the “field of action” of troops. In other words, theater generally determines the scope (limits) of operations and missions of military units, including defense-security cooperation with allied states. The military theater that was previously set up for Ukraine is now being set up for crises that may arise in Taiwan and its nearby islands. US commander James Bierman pointed out that the cooperation with the allied states in the Indo-Pacific was similar to that in the Russian-Ukrainian War in Europe. He emphasized that thanks to these preparations, Ukraine was able to mount a successful defense. So the US and allied states are preparing for Taiwan this time.
China’s reaction to these latest steps taken by the United States with Japan was swift. Accordingly, Beijing rejected Washington’s offer to re-establish the bilateral consultation mechanism and resume dialogue to prevent military confrontation in the region. In fact, in the last days of 2022, a Chinese military aircraft came within 10 feet (3 meters) of a US military aircraft in the South China Sea, forcing it to maneuver. In response, the US has increased its efforts to keep communication channels open with China in order to prevent crises from turning into conflicts. Because US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to visit Beijing in 2023. In August 2022, during the visit of the Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, it was even claimed that China could shoot down this plane. That’s why the US wants to avoid such a risk during Blinken’s Beijing visit. However, a natural consequence of the US crisis policy is the escalation of tensions and the possibility of conflict. Washington has risked this possibility of conflict in order to confine Beijing to its borders.
 “Basis of Defense Policy”, Japan Ministry of Defense, https://www.mod.go.jp/en/d_policy/basis/index.html, (Date of Accession: 13.01.2023).
 “Japan Nears Plan For Ammo Storage Network Closer To Taiwan”, Asia Nikkie, https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-relations/Taiwan-tensions/Japan-nears-plan-for-ammo-storage-network-closer-to-Taiwan, (Date of Accession: 13.01.2023).
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