Welcome to the Looney Tunes world of Russia and Japan, who after 70+ years are trying to officially make nice-nice and sign a peace treaty that somehow the two combatants never got around to signing previously… what with the big red machine suddenly going all cold and anti-west, and Japan being all atomic hot and seeking aid from the west.
It was like the two did a flip flop of sentiment at the press of a red button.
While the former USSR finally decided that communism wasn't so cool and broke up into satellite countries including Russia, Japan had remained quite warm in its relationship towards its former WWII enemies, embracing western society and ideals of capitalism while still trying to maintain a death grip on its traditional Japanese roots.
And then came the red dawn, when just after Russia held the 2014 Winter Olympics, its leader, one Vladimir Putin decided his country should invade the Ukraine, calling it a military intervention as though the Ukrainians were drinking too much and damaging themselves. Of course, for the longest time, because the invaders were not dressed as Russian military, no one was really sure if Russia had invaded, though the invaders love for borscht, vodka, hockey and the Russian mob did give the shocked Ukranian's a clue... though it is well known that Ukranians also love their borscht.
Just note that there are still some 10,000 Russian troops in eastern Ukraine right now.
No one is doing anything about it because while Russia is still considered to be an ally after the USSR dissolved back on December 26, 1991, countries don't quite know what to make of its current leader Putin… in control since May 7, 2012. He was also president from 200-2008, Prime Minister from 199-200 and again from 2008-2012.
He's the loud mouthed schnook (Foghorn Leghorn).
And then there's Japan. Led by Abe Shinzō (安倍 晋三 - surname first) as its Prime Minister since his election on December 26, 2012. He also served as Prime Minister in 2006-07.
While not invading anyone, Abe's Japan has irked its neighbors because Abe himself likes to occasionally pray at a shrine where WWII Japanese war criminals are honored - not because they are war criminals, but because they were considered honorable soldiers who did their duty. It's all about perspective… and while I disagree, I see where Japan is coming from.Still, Abe's lack of seeing things from the perspective of others continues to upset people from any of the countries Japan invaded during the and before the war.
Abe has also sought and succeeded to move Japan from out of the yoke of the United States, while still having the United States act as its protector. While not as fierce as a chicken hawk in cartoon life, Japan sounds like it is both a chicken and a hawk.
Abe wants to re-write its Constitution… and why not, it was foisted upon it by the conquering Allies, specifically the United States at the conclusion of WWII. Along with giving the women of Japan more equality (not real equality, just more than what it had before), Japan was not allowed to have a military, but it could have a Self-Defense Force. It was also not allowed to manufacture war planes, tanks or other modern weaponry that could be considered as arms for a possible military.
Look… I could understand Japan wanting to grow up and be trusted after 70 years of punitive punishment by the United States, who also helped rebuild the country after the war, purchasing its electronics and automobiles and booming its economy, and even giving jobs to otherwise hopelessly unemployable western citizens to teach their kids all about internationalization and a few words of English, too.
China, now a global power - though its economy is started to collapse under its own middle-class weight - and Russia (and a few other nations) are laying claim to islands that Japan owns… claiming they were illegally stolen by Japan during wars over 100 years ago or more. So, playing the bully with it's extremely large military, China likes to buzz the territorial borders of the Senkaku Islands located in the East China sea.
This makes Japan angry, as by the time it has scrambles its defense jets, there's no one around to start a war with. But if it had its own offensive-style military to defend its Buddha-given right to claim a bunch of islands few Japanese have ever visited, despite being controlled by Japan since 1895… well, who cares if Japan borrowed huge elements of its culture and language from China… these useless islands are Japan's… and really, the only reason China wants them is that by owning them, it would be able to claim a closer part of the surrounding air and sea meaning it could better eavesdrop in on the Japanese military, also known as the U.S. and its Okinawa base.
So… back to Russia and Japan. Russia… it has been taunting Japan for years with ghostly flybys in jets at Japan's Northern Territories or, as Russia calls them, the Southern Kurils… the four southern islands of the Kuril chain, that only really affects the aboriginal (Japan) Ainu people who live there.
When WWII ended, the former CCCP/USSR (now Russia), annexed the islands during the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation.
beginning on August 9, 1945, this was the last campaign of the war, and the largest battle of the 1945 Soviet-Japanese War… a war that began after six years of peace between them. The Soviets came at the Japanese forces in Manchuria from directions completely unexpected and overwhelmed the Japanese invaders in Manchuria.
This invasion by the USSR also helped speed up Japan's surrender, but you can also be sure the US dropping of a couple of atomic bombs on two major Japanese cities was the real antagonist in gaining peace.
Portions of Manchuria were given to the USSR… and guess what… these regions controlled by communist USSR helped bring about legitimacy to Communist China… and even help shape the political climate of the Korean War.
Anyhow… as the Soviet forces advanced on the Japanese territories in Manchuria… the Japanese citizenry living there began to commit suicide - women killing their kids - and were even aided and abetted by the remaining Japanese military.
For the record, when the Soviets dis arrive in those parts of Japanese-occupied Manchuria, they did take whatever Japanese valuables and equipment they could find… and when the pillaging was complete, also took place in a bunch of raping of the Manchurian female population … all done over an embarrassing three-day period.
So… it's 2016, and Russia and Japan want to bury the hatchet officially.
Ensuring only a slight slight, Japan Prime Minister Abe says: "Without a summit meeting (to achieve a formal treaty), this Northern Territories problem cannot be resolved."
Yes… poke-a-poke-a-poke-a to the big bad Russian bear that is Putin. Honest Abe called used the Japanese term for the disputed northern islands and not the Russian one.
And there you have it. Peace and piece finally between the Russians and the Japanese. (Yawn.)
And while I was succinct, at least you have an understanding of just what the hell is going on between our friends the Chicken Hawk and the Loud Mouthed Schnook.
That's all folks!
Andrew "there's something, I say, something wrong with that boy" Joseph
PS: Today's title is song written by Irving Berlin… but I first heard it played by Taco… and means "to dress very fashionably"… in this case, image is everything.
PPS: 2014 Putin and Abe photo taken from: http://www.voanews.com/content/why-is-abe-seeking-better-ties-with-russia-putin/1850393.html