- Last week Japan’s cabinet changed its constitutional interpretation of the country’s right to collective self-defense. Ryo Sahashi, a visiting professor at Stanford University, argues that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe still has much convincing to do in order to change a Japanese public opinion that’s deeply averse to the use of force. There are months of legislative work ahead to reflect this change into bills.
- East Asia Forum expects a military buildup in Indonesia no matter who wins the forthcoming presidential elections:
“Even with modest economic growth projections, an Indonesian military build-up is inevitable. Both candidates, running on nationalist platforms, desire a more powerful Indonesian military that can project its power. The only difference is that Prabowo prefers a powerful — yet stationary — military presence initially and power projection capabilities later on, while Jokowi seems to prefer it the other way around.”
- China’s Communist Party under general secretary/president/chairman Xi Jinping is increasingly sounding like it’s in the middle of a full-blown purge, after it expelled former vice-chairman of China’s Central Military Commission Xu Caihou last Monday. See the language of state and party-sanctioned headlines: People’s Daily scolds ousted military leader; Battle against the enemy within. Xu Qiliang, a former PLA Air Force pilot, replaced Xu Caihou as the CMC’s #3.
- C. Christine Fair from Georgetown University thinks the Pakistani army’s operation against the Taliban in North Waziristan should be met with deep skepticism. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have fled the area… and business has been booming for barbers.