Little Japan in a hostile world
As you know, the topic of "common islands" has been the leading one in Russian-Japanese relations for the past seventy years. And for obvious reasons, no gap is observed there. The negotiations are endless. But practically without any result. In Russia, this theme served as the basis for numerous jokes, parodies and even "haiku" on the South Kuril theme.
Discussing this burning topic, some authors very ironically note that the Kuril Islands, together with Sakhalin and Hokkaido, elegantly form the "V" sign, that is, "victory". As if hinting that the island of Hokkaido would look very good as part of the Russian Federation. This is a joke, then.
But seriously, it must be stated that at the end of the 100th century, the development of the former Japanese Empire quite logically reached a complete dead end. In fact, it is no coincidence that XNUMX years before the Japanese were very, very active trying to develop territories on the continent. With varying degrees of success.
What else could they do?
Japan is a small country, densely populated and very poor in resources.
And their outstripping expansion to the continent could well have been foreseen. They did not have any other options. And the Japanese garrisons, scattered from Manchuria to Taiwan, as well as across the vast expanses of the Pacific Ocean, are an almost inevitable consequence of the creation of an industrial power.
World War II and defeat by the United States and its allies. A post-war economic miracle that finally died out in the late 80s. And three decades of stagnation against the backdrop of economic recovery first in South Korea, and then in Greater China ...
Does Japanese society and Japanese economy have any prospects in general?
We somehow barely noticed the collapse of the Japanese electronic giants in the XNUMXs. Then Fukushima happened. And the energy crisis.
We must also take into account the following unpleasant circumstance for the Japanese: an extremely hostile foreign policy environment.
For China, Japan is an enemy, for Taiwan too, no difference. Koreans hate Japan with all their hearts. To say that the Japanese are adored in Southeast Asia is to twist. Enemies are everywhere. And on the plus side - American military bases and territorial disputes with Russia over the islands. The picture, frankly, is not joyful.
This is when viewed from Tokyo.
The rise of the People's Republic of China, of course, poses great risks to Taiwan. But for the Chinese there are people there. And the Japanese are completely alien to them. That is, the Chinese expansion, oddly enough, creates the main threat just for the Yamato country. It's nobody's fault. It happened.
Since ancient times, the Chinese have the most serious historical accounts to Tokyo. It is clear that earlier Beijing simply did not have a chance to present them. Now such a chance has appeared.
The former strengths of the Japanese economy (mass industrial production and active exports around the planet) have already ceased to be so. In other words, the strategic situation for the Japanese state has been constantly deteriorating over the past 30 years.
And the entry into the ocean of newly built Chinese aircraft carriers is, first of all, a threat not even to the States overseas, but to Japan, located very nearby. For some reason, she is constantly forgotten by all observers considering the rise of Chinese fleet... But the Chinese just remember about her. And they hold it very tightly in the head.
It just so happened that after the Second World War it was around Germany that the European Union was eventually formed. Absolutely nothing formed around Japan.
And the loneliness and isolation of the island nation at the time of the Fukushima disaster is especially clear.
There is hardly anyone to buy electricity. It's good for the Germans, who can play green energy just in the center of Europe. Purchase electricity from neighbors. And to receive pipeline gas from Russia. But the Japanese are not so fun and not so great. On their resource-poor islands that shake regularly. And where communications to them are more and more intercepted by the growing Chinese fleet.
Here we must also mention the regular (and increasingly successful) tests of the North Korean missile weapons.
You noticed, where Are these missiles flying?
Towards Japan. Exactly there.
And if it is still impossible to finish shooting up to the "big Satan" (but they are working on it), then the densely populated regions of Japan are right at a glance. And with the missile defense system they (or rather, their American partners) have certain problems. In the sense that there is a system (based on the most modern Western technologies). But with the interception of Korean missiles (based on extremely outdated Soviet ones), there were minor problems.
Again. At one time (in the 80s), it was customary to admire Japanese economic achievements. At the same time, pointing out that Japan, practically devoid of resources, is forced to import all types of raw materials from abroad, sending high-tech products in return.
All this было So. But it doesn't work that way anymore.
Korean and Chinese concerns have replaced the Japanese in the field of high technology. And more and more ships under the red Chinese flag with five stars are coming out of the flow of resources to Japan, which seems to hint ... And it is in this direction that the Kim family experiments in the field of rocket technology are directed.
The Japanese are the historical enemy of the Koreans. What do you want?
That is, the "problem of the northern territories" in such a scenario seems rather far-fetched. The "high-tech Japanese" at the beginning of the XNUMXst century already have enough problems. Moreover, the problems are growing.
The paradox lies precisely in the fact that at the end of the 80s, Russia was the only large neighbor that did not have serious claims and some kind of historical negative towards the Japanese state. This is, of course, when compared with all other neighbors.
Diplomacy in the Russian direction
Japan's further policy in the Russian direction over the past 30 years is the most active attempts to transfer goods into a compost heap. That is, to spoil the initially good mood of the neighbor as much as possible.
How could those "islands" recoup all this disgrace? Absolutely incomprehensible.
And, in general, there is a certain paradox here. The Japanese argue that after the return of the islands, everything will be just fine in Russian-Japanese relations. At the same time, the quite obvious fact of a sharp deterioration in the attitude of Russians towards Japan over the past 30 years (just because of their intolerable desire to return these islands) for some reason is completely ignored by them.
Don't you find that this is somehow strange and paradoxical?
In the early 90s, in principle, there was no talk of any anti-Japanese sentiments in Russia. The Land of the Rising Sun was treated more than positively.
The result of 30 years of persistent and assertive Japanese policy towards Russia to return the islands is the emergence (from scratch) of persistent anti-Japanese sentiment.
Who, excuse me, except professional historians knew about the Nanking Massacre in Russia in 1991? Who was interested in this? For whom was it relevant?
Yes, practically to anyone and for anyone. The attitude towards Japan was positive.
But the Japanese worked tirelessly. As a result, political references to this country on the Russian Internet immediately lead to negative responses. That is, the Japanese tried to convince the Russians to return the islands, but as a result, no one is going to return anything. And, moreover, everyone understood that Japan is bad. So it goes. It's nobody's fault.
As a result of their vigorous activity in the Russian direction, the only thing that the Japanese have really achieved is a sharp deterioration in their attitude towards their country.
And here you can fantasize further. If they don't give a damn about what people think of them in Russia, then what kind of "improvement of relations" can we talk about? What is it all for then?
The relationship was bad. They got worse. But did Japan get the islands back? Why do we need this?
Here, oddly enough, I remember Dale Carnegie with his advice on making friends and influencing people. To achieve something, one should not impose it, but understand the interests of the counterparty. Something like this. So, the Japanese just acted strictly across Carnegie. And they just tried to push their interest over and over again.
By the way, I cannot unequivocally condemn Khrushchev for those very negotiations. He kind of wanted to play harder and get neutral Japan as a result. It's hard to say how realistic this idea was, but the attempt is not torture. For some reason, of all the complex combination that was offered to them, the Japanese diplomats remembered only that they want to return the islands. Apparently, too much sake was drunk during the negotiations. Or not sake?
Basically, as part of a big deal, then in 1956 it could all be interesting. But it didn't work out.
Why talk about it now?
Since then, the geopolitical situation has changed beyond recognition. What happened is not there. Completely new realities have emerged. The current situation in the Far East has nothing to do with the 50s of the last century. Everything changed.
Russia has lost the initiative in negotiations
So, you see, what is the trouble: the loss of diplomatic initiative on the part of Russia. The Japanese are actively imposing a discussion on the islands on us. And we begin to discuss only and precisely the islands. Island exclusive.
As a matter of fact, why?
There are two sides to the negotiations: Russian and Japanese. And everyone has equal rights in these negotiations.
Why we must strictly follow the Japanese script?
For some reason, the statement is taken for granted that after
"Return of the 4 islands will our relationship be wonderful?"
And then a discussion is already underway whether this "wonderful relationship" of the four islands is worth it or not.
As a matter of fact, it is absolutely unclear where it follows that we will get just such a relationship. No, I would like to, of course.
But where does this come from?
The last one and a half hundred years of Russian-Japanese relations have not given much grounds for optimism.
There were conflicts. There were wars. There were also invasions and occupation of Russian territories by the Japanese. But "good relations" were somehow not observed. And then suddenly - please.
This is somehow strange.
Has the idea of returning the islands become a Japanese national idea?
Well, firstly, this is the problem of the Japanese. And secondly, you have to pay for everything in this world. That is, in general, it is not clear, but what, in fact, are the Japanese proposals?
Just to give something tangible in exchange for meaningless words?
Paris is definitely worth the mass. And Japan's neutrality cost four islands. It is very difficult for me to criticize Khrushchev here. In principle, given the length of the USSR's borders, as well as the complexity and cost of their defense, the decision is not the most stupid. But it didn't work out. Today, talking about Japan's "neutrality" is completely meaningless.
So what do they have to offer? Big and serious? Politically?
Is Japan interested in principle in good relations with Russia?
Where does this follow, strictly speaking?
Rather, the impression is that the Japanese are trying to take revenge for the Second World War in the "safe" Russian direction.
Let's do it again. The current geopolitical position of Japan is rather complicated and continues to deteriorate continuously. That is, it was much better in the eighties than in the nineties. And in the 90s it was better than in the XNUMXs. The economy has been stagnating for thirty years. China is building a fleet. North Korea - missiles. This is reality.
The only neighboring country that did not harbor any historical complexes and did not crave revenge in the postwar years is Russia.
So, Japanese diplomacy has worked tirelessly all these years, in fact, to worsen these relations. Which, in fact, did not upset anyone in Japan. And not only did it not upset, but nobody in Japan even bothered about it. And why?
In other words, it was considered superfluous even to track the reaction of Russian society to those very attempts to "return the islands". And what kind of "good relationship" after that can we talk about?
Yes, I agree, Japan wants to return the islands literally at any cost. But what good can it do for us?
It is naive enough to believe that after the hypothetical transfer of the islands, in general, something will change in Japanese policy towards Russia. And, in fact, why should it change? Why would it suddenly?
That is, when analyzing the situation and its variants, it is very important not to "stick with the horn" in a single decision on the principle of "yes or no", but to analyze the situation as a whole and all its possible forks. And we must understand that the signing of some kind of paper (peace treaty) in itself is not capable of drastically changing Japanese foreign policy towards the Russian Federation. Simply because it took shape a long time ago. The inertia is too great.
As we can see, without any war and serious preconditions, Europe imposed economic sanctions against Russia and seriously lowered the level of relations. What will prevent the Japanese from doing this (at the suggestion of their American partners)? After the signing of the "peace treaty"?
As if, they say, they wanted to make friends with us at home. The food has already been prepared. And then suddenly something bad happens. (Well, for example, an attack by an unknown submarine with a crookedly drawn Russian eagle on the wheelhouse on a peaceful Japanese ship). And here a thousand-year-old tale about Russian-Japanese friendship and the end? And who believed in her - that fellow?
That is, the most offensive thing is that the endless discussion of the issue of "returning the islands" is the constant poking of the nose into the painted hearth in the hut of Pope Carlo. Behind him is like a wall. And he himself is not there. After all, this is a virtual hearth.
How virtual is the discussion about our islands.