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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 27-Dec-2012
27-Dec-12 World View -- Asians increasingly talk about war between China and Japan

Web Log - December, 2012

27-Dec-12 World View -- Asians increasingly talk about war between China and Japan

Gun Control versus 3D printing

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Gun Control versus 3D printing


Supposedly the world's first 3D-printed gun
Supposedly the world's first 3D-printed gun

In my article yesterday, "26-Dec-12 World View -- Andrew Sullivan and the Gun Control Fantasy", I pointed out that there's no evidence that prohibitions in the past -- of alcohol, drugs, abortion and prostitution -- had any actual effect, but they had a large negative effect of creating bootleggers, organized crime, drug cartels and prostitution rings.

A web site reader complained of a flaw in the argument because, guns are different from alcohol and the others, because "gun manufacturers and importers can be legally controlled and illegal weapons can be destroyed."

In other words, he's claiming that although you can distill your own alcohol in your basement or garage, you need a gun manufacturer if you want a gun.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Just google the words "how to make a gun," and you'll find plenty of information on how to make a home-made gun from ordinary construction materials, such as metal tubes, bars, nuts and bolts. It's no more difficult to make a home-made gun than to make home-made moonshine.

And that doesn't take into account 3D printers. These devices have been around for decades, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, and capable of "printing" or manufacturing 3D plastic models of anything designed by CAD (computer-aided design) software.

Basically, you can design anything you want -- a house, a car, a bridge -- on you CAD software, click the "3D PRINT" button, and your design is sent to the 3D printer. Within a couple of hours, you have a precise plastic model of your design.

The thing that's changed recently is that the prices of 3D printers have fallen dramatically. You can now get very nice desktop models for a few thousand dollars, and that should be below $1000 by the end of 2013. If you'd like to learn more, go into YouTube and do a search on 3D printers, for demonstration videos.

The gun pictured above is claimed to be the world's first 3D printed gun. A couple of standard metal parts were combined with parts from the 3D printer, and a new gun could be in your hands within a few hours. Once you've figured out how to do it, you can clunk out several new guns every day -- for your own use, or to sell.

There are already 310 million non-military firearms in America, and 5,400 licensed firearms manufacturers. Given those numbers, any attempt to get rid of all guns is simply a fantasy. Gun control, except for some trivial prohibitions, will never become law.

But suppose the fantasy of gun control DID come to pass. It wouldn't be more than a few months before tens of thousands of basements and garages turned into homemade gun manufacturers. Organized crime and drug cartels would quickly move into gun manufacturing. Some would do it the "old fashioned" way, with metal tubes and bars. But within 2-3 years, the technology for 3D printing would have advanced to the point where thousands of them would be done with 3D printers.

Actually, even without gun control, it will soon be possible to manufacture guns and a lot of other stuff in your home spare room. Most people today would be lost if they didn't have a computer. Well, within a few years you'll be lost if you don't have your own 3D printer. Extreme Tech and CNN

Asians increasingly talk about war between China and Japan

Normally, the mainstream media never talks about possible war, for fear of getting people angry or, in the worst case, for fear of triggering a war themselves. So it's surprising to suddenly see so many year-end editorials talk about a possible war between China and Japan in 2013.

Here's an editorial from Wednesday's Sydney Morning Herald:

"THIS is how wars usually start: with a steadily escalating stand-off over something intrinsically worthless. So don't be too surprised if the US and Japan go to war with China next year over the uninhabited rocks that Japan calls the Senkakus and China calls the Diaoyu islands. And don't assume the war would be contained and short.

Of course we should all hope that common sense prevails.

It seems almost laughably unthinkable that the world's three richest countries - two of them nuclear-armed - would go to war over something so trivial. ...

Where will it end? The risk is that, without a clear circuit-breaker, the escalation will continue until at some point shots are exchanged, and a spiral to war begins that no one can stop. Neither side could win such a war, and it would be devastating not just for them but for the rest of us."

The article contains a lengthy historical analysis comparing the relationship between Japan and China to the relationship between Sparta and Athens that led to the Peloponnesian War. That's not a good omen.

However, the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands are far from worthless. Along with ownership of these islands comes a huge exclusive economic zone (EEZ) that provides the right to take advantage of rich fishing grounds, as well as huge oil and gas fields.

The Wall Street Journal Asia edition says the following:

"The past year was a turning point in Sino-Japanese relations: Japan suffered a total defeat. Beijing realized practically all its diplomatic objectives, whereas Tokyo could not achieve any of them. But this victory may prove self-defeating for China.

Since the Japanese government's purchase of the Senkaku Islands from their private owners on Sept. 11, Chinese forces have regularly violated the territorial waters around the islands. As of Dec. 18, some 62 Chinese vessels entered the area on at least 18 occasions.

Beijing has also firmly established a national narrative that these islands were grabbed by Japan from the falling Qing Dynasty at the end of the 19th century. China and Taiwan have found common ground on this issue despite some obvious policy differences over the islands. Lastly, Beijing's economic retaliation has harmed Japanese companies. ...

If Beijing considers that the Senkakus belong to China and Japan's ownership of the islands is unfounded, it has every right to say so in the bilateral talks and elsewhere. It might mobilize the Chinese diaspora to buy full-page advertisements in major U.S. newspapers. It might even take diplomatic measures to pressure third countries to curtail ties with Japan.

But there is one measure from which China must absolutely refrain: changing the status quo by force. And entering the territorial waters or airspace where another country has implemented effective control already for 117 years with an objective of establishing its own jurisdiction is precisely that.

This is one of the most serious challenges to the post-World War II order of peace and security under the United Nations Charter. Achieving territorial claims by force is a crude state behavior usually defined as hegemonism, which China itself firmly denounced in the Japan-China Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1978. ...

Beijing's present behavior is a reversion to the crude imperialism of the late 19th century. It seems China's leaders have not learned from the mistakes of Imperial Japan and all the peaceful diplomacy that Japan painstakingly undertook since its defeat in 1945."

This article fails to mention the source of China's "reversion to crude imperialism": Increased widespread nationalism, and a thirsty desire for revenge against Japan for wrongs committed prior to 1945.

The Strategy Page, which reports on military matters worldwide, says that both China and Japan are rapidly preparing for war:

"Newly selected Chinese Communist Party chief (and ruler of China) Xi Jinping has come out strongly in favor of stronger and more aggressive armed forces. ...

The new Chinese leadership openly called for the military to get ready for regional (with the neighbors) war. Newly elected leaders in Japan and South Korea made similar pronouncements, in response to growing Chinese aggression. In particular the Chinese are claiming all the islets and reefs in the South China sea, including some that are clearly in the waters (as recognized by international law) of other nations. Outside the South China Sea China and Japan are contesting ownership of the Diaoyu (in Chinese) Islands (Senkaku in Japanese and Tiaoyutai in Taiwan). ...

Currently, the Japanese have the most powerful naval forces in the region, and are backed up by a mutual defense treaty with the United States. China was long dissuaded by that, but no more. China is no longer backing off on its claims, and neither is Japan. So these confrontations are becoming more serious. ...

[On a related subject:] Indian officials repeated their belief that China was now India’s major military threat, not Pakistan."

China's Global Times looks upon the new government in Japan, led by Shinzo Abe, with apprehension:

"The Abe cabinet was officially installed yesterday. ... It is already impossible for China and Japan to resume the friendly ties they had before the Junichiro Koizumi-era. In the short term, it's impossible for the relationship to be what it was before the outbreak of the [Senkaku/Diaoyu] Islands conflicts. ...

Officials from both China and Japan will continue to stress mutually beneficial relations. However, we cannot realistically expect this. Tension has existed in the Sino-Japanese relationship for more than a decade. Given that the situation in the Asia-Pacific hasn't improved, the relationship of the two countries cannot really become warmer.

China does not intend to confront Japan. However, at this stage, we can only adjust our policies based on reality.

The "cold politics but hot economics" relationship between the two countries is transforming to "cold politics and cold economics." China's economy has also suffered from this.

Sino-Japanese relations have been filled with suspicion and misunderstandings. Both sides expect the other to be overawed by hard-line attitudes, while they also worry about escalation leading to war. We should have the proper strategic vigilance to avoid war. However, we should not transform this vigilance into excessive anxiety. ...

There's a possibility that Japan may decide to tie its future to the US and become an anti-China country even more radical than the US. However, whether this comes true depends on the overall situation in the region. China does not have the capability to take the initiative to prevent this from happening. China's increasing strength may be more effective in defusing Japanese hostility."

As I've said many times in the past, China is preparing for preemptive war on multiple fronts. It's beginning to look like 2013 will be the year. This will be the worst war in history, killing billions of people. The survivors, including the Chinese, will regret that it ever occurred, even if they "win."

Sydney Morning Herald and Wall Street Journal and Strategy Page and Global Times

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 27-Dec-12 World View -- Asians increasingly talk about war between China and Japan thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (27-Dec-2012) Permanent Link
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