Thucydides Trap Takedown

I read an abridged version of the Peloponnesian War in a history class early in college. Analogies come to mind naturally as one is reading it. I reread some parts later particularly part of the Melian dialogue during the early stages of the "war on terror." Much later, when I heard Graham Allison's analogy that was being pumped in the media with China in the role of Athens as the "rising power" I felt they had it all wrong, but I didn't have the longitudinal depth in history study to break it down like this analyst below does. I saw the US as arrogantly overextending itself like Athens as portrayed in the Melian dialogue, and projected that the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were strategic blunders which would irrevocably weaken the US. Defense expenditures are not an investment in the conventional sense, and opportunity costs if not justified represent losses that will never be recovered. There are no "do overs" in real life.

"The strong do what they can, the weak do what they must." This seems to be the analytical frame of the so called "realists" who constantly project the Anglo/European imperial practice onto China. Japan bought into this and became one of the club in the 19th Century. I don't think China has quite yet, their cultural inertia is too great. It's as if the US is trying to project this deranged imperial outlook onto them whether they want it or not. Become our colony or be destroyed.

I really like this journal:

Individual, National, General – Obscuring Poverty In Post-Pandemic Japan

Japan has a poverty problem. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Japan’s poverty rate is the worst among developed countries, higher than Spain, the United States, and regional rival South Korea (Oyama, 2023). One in six Japanese live in poverty. Japan’s Gini coefficient, a measure of distribution of wealth as well as income, is now little different from South Korea or England, countries often perceived as very unequal (Nakamura, 2023). If we look at particular groups in Japanese society, the situation seems even more grim. The rate of relative income poverty among the elderly in rapidly aging Japan is almost 20% compared with the OECD average of 12.6%. Japan’s rate is around twice that of Italy or Germany, which share similar demographic challenges (McCarthy, 2015). Poverty hits women particularly hard. A third of all woman living alone and nearly half of single women over 65 are in poverty (Abe, 2020). At the same time, about one in seven Japanese children is in poverty—in single parent homes, overwhelmingly headed by single mothers, that number is almost 50% (Nihon Kodomo Shien Kyokai, 2018). These rates of child and single parent poverty are also the worst among OECD members (Japan Foundation Children’s Support Project, 2019)...

...Despite the numbers outlined above, poverty has not emerged as a central social issue. Research carried out between 2009 and 2013 revealed that only 50% of Japanese claimed to believe their society is economically unequal (Murata, 2013). This number has increased since the 1990s, but was still one of the lowest rates in the world.

And they are going to double their defense budget? They probably will.

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