Japan post Taft's War?
For Justin. Circa 1868, a coalition of militarists and merchants elevated Emperor Meiji to transition Japan away from 250-years of Shogunate isolationism. Amazon.com: Toru: Wayfarer Returns (Sakura Steam Series): 9780996932318: Sorensen, Stephanie R: Books Merchants wanted to gain prosperity from trade with the outside world. Militarists wanted to promote themselves and Japan through conquest.
The militarists had some success: helping put down the Boxer Rebellion in 1901 and defeating two Russian fleets by 1905. Conquests include Korea 1910, Manchuria 1932, Okinawa 1872, Formosa/Taiwan 1895, German Pacific possessions Conquest of the German Pacific | Historical Atlas of Asia Pacific (10 October 1914) | Omniatlas became Japanese following World War One.
Army officers in the 1920’s and ‘30’s assassinated politicians: Before Abe: A Brief History of Political Assassinations in Japan – The Diplomat The historic Japanese Army invaded China without government approval and lost a war with Russia in 1939. War in China led to war against the United States in 1941. Though Taft’s War saw Japanese ships blockading Ottoman ports in Arabia, as well as shepherding ANZAC troops and Dutch oil to the Suez Canal; I am not greatly hopeful for a better outcome. Taft’s Germany was defeated and reformed as a federal republic that is less liable to autocratic takeover. German prisoners of war were educated in democracy and capitalism before being returned to Germany. Japan was on the winning side and would see little need to change.
Japan was blocked from direct trade with European colonies. An alternate Japan might engage in asymmetric warfare against colonial France, Netherlands and the United States by backing resistance groups to create a Co-prosperity Sphere. The goal would be to obtain favorable access to oil and rubber without overt warfare. Merchants might reach out to Brazil for iron: Iron Ore in Brazil | OEC - The Observatory of Economic Complexity Japanese Brazilians - Wikipedia
Another alternative would be Japanese investment in foreign countries to raise mutual standards of living. One proposed megaproject (since the 17th Century) is the Kra Canal: Thai Canal - Wikipedia This would save oil tankers 1,200 kilometers sailing between the Gulf and Asia. The economics is against the project as the comparable Suez and Panama canals save, perhaps, 12,000 miles of sailing time and distance. A recent cost estimate is $28 Billion netting some $100 to $500 Million per year. You can see the payoff would take over 50-years without considering interest on the debt. The other end of the scale is micro-investment: Fund Economic Empowerment | Micro Loans & Microfinance | World Vision In between is investment in transport: roads, bridges and railways. This would not find favor with colonialists desiring a monopoly on cheap labor.
I am mildly hopeful that fewer war dead in Taft’s War versus World War One would create a richer planet. A federal Germany might resist Nazism. An alternate US President might lead the world with saner taxation, trade and de-colonization. One the other hand, Russia is on the United Nations Security Council. Your thoughts?
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Rick Kester is a Viet Nam era veteran living in Northern California with his wife Nancy.