Abe sees World War I echoes in Japan-China tensions

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  • -12

    smithinjapan

    "Although the rivals then had strong trade ties, that did not prevent the outbreak of war in 1914, Abe said,"

    So, then, how on earth are they alike again?

  • 5

    Deplore

    Not a bad comparison. Germany was a rising power in the same way China is now, attempting to displace the longstanding great power, Britain (representing Japan in this comparison).

    "Although the rivals then had strong trade ties, that did not prevent the outbreak of war in 1914, Abe said,"

    So, then, how on earth are they alike again?

    All he's saying is that believing that war is impossible due to trade relations is misguided. It's a warning, not a prediction.

  • -2

    rowiko68

    Talking complete hogwash, as usual. If certain politicians talk so much nonsense that other constantly need to clean up after them, clarifying what they meant or didn't mean, then perhaps they shouldn't speak at all.

  • 0

    kurisupisu

    Abe should be holding history lessons in the Diet for his fellow politicians to curb their revisionist diatribes before invoking historical comparisons at international forums.....

  • 6

    CrazyJoe

    Abe's statement shows a complete lack of understanding in history that drove the international situation into chaos with unprecedented casualties.

  • 4

    flowers

    Correct me if I’m wrong. I've never seen Xi provoking or making any negative remarks about Japan, am I right? It is really inappropriate for a leader to do so. People are getting tired of Abe’s provocations. He is looking more and more like the N. Korean leader. Also, it looks as though Abe has a lower standard than Xi so if Abe is trying to project Japan as the leader in Asia, he has failed considerably.

  • -6

    Victory Nippon

    Abe please don't compare Japan and China like Britain and Germany because German people are much more polite and kind then Chinese and they don't back down from a fight like Chinese people do. I would say that South Korea is a better example to be Germany and Japan to be England.

  • 0

    FizzBit

    Abe draws 2 cards wand raises ¥1000.

  • -3

    Kobuta Chan

    Communist Chinese leaders they like Childish behavior very much. They need to grow up and do not waste times. The Communist Leaders cover up their corruption and abusing of power by campaign against Japan.

    Chinese peoples need to ask their President, Prime Minister and other Top rank party members about where they get their family and relatives' wealth. If their accumulated wealth was obtained by illegal ways and then they should be sent to prison or give death penalty as they have done to ordinary Chinese Citizens.

  • 2

    chucky3176

    Will this guy ever shut up?

  • 1

    Chenchan

    Will this guy ever shut up?

    Good argument from you. As always.

  • -1

    SenseNotSoCommon

    Next he'll be comparing himself to Momotaro, and rushing to (hopefully his own) Onigashima.

  • 8

    Mitch Cohen

    Correct me if I’m wrong. I've never seen Xi provoking or making any negative remarks about Japan, am I right? It is really inappropriate for a leader to do so. People are getting tired of Abe’s provocations.

    @flowers - True, but your opinion won't be popular here.. some people are determined to only see the bad in China and selectively see the good in Japan.

  • 7

    lucabrasi

    But Germany didn't have nukes. Abe would do well to bear that in mind....

  • 4

    Asianhometown

    I think Mr Abe meant to say WWII and not I and he was comparing Japan like Germany building up for WWII. Germany prior to WWII, like Japan today, turned to right wing nationalist leader who changed the constitution, build up the military based on a perceived threat from Russia, prohibited freedom of the press through changing of laws, supported right wing hate groups, and stirred tensions with its neighbors.

    Mr Abe was right on. He is leading Japan into war like Hilter lead Germany into war.

  • 3

    edwardw

    It would be interesting to note that Joseph S. Nye, a former US assistant secretary of defense and chairman of the US National Intelligence Council, and currently a University Professor at Harvard University, drew nearly the same conclusion not too long ago in an article titled 1914 Revisited?. Except, he makes the comparison between the U.S. and China, not Japan and China as Abe describes.

    You can read it here http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/joseph-s--nye-asks-whether-war-between-china-and-the-us-is-as-inevitable-as-many-believe-world-war-i-to-have-been

    The main takeaway in this might be his conclusion that reads:

    Among the lessons to be learned from the events of 1914 is to be wary of analysts wielding historical analogies, particularly if they have a whiff of inevitability. War is never inevitable, though the belief that it is can become one of its causes.

  • 5

    ka_chan

    OK, who is England and who is Germany? WWI was started because of the assassination of the Archduke of Austria. Between Japan and China who has an aristocratic class? Also during WWI, China and Japan were on the same side along with Italy. Then there is France where most of the fighting took place. Don't get the analogy.

  • 9

    Reckless

    I really don't like chicken-hawks like Abe. He sounds like GWBush, who also was a chicken-hawk.

  • 4

    Probie

    Prime Minister Shinzo Abe compared current tensions between Japan and China to rivalry between Britain and Germany on the eve of World War I, but his top spokesman on Thursday denied the Japanese leader meant war between Asia’s two big powers was possible.

    Mushmouth Abe has such a way with words! He needs to learn how to talk. Now just physically, but what words to say too. He's like a mixture of Thomas Menino, and George W. Bush.

  • 11

    kcjapan

    "Abe, speaking to international journalists at the World Economic Forum in Davos, said on Wednesday that China and Japan were in a “similar situation” to that of Britain and Germany before World War I"

    How many lives is Abe ready to spend to define his independence? How many Japanese agree? A Democracy or an Abe-ocracy? Who else is driving M. Abe's rhetoric?

    With all respect, what is Abe's vision of conflict? Drawing the world into his mad desire? Do the Japanese people agree? Any madness is a global madness. Abe seems mad. Tiny atolls in the sea? Millions dead? What does M. Abe see? Madness?

  • 5

    browny1

    Using an example that escalated into one of the most horrific events in human history is surely a reflection on Abe, no matter which way you view it.

    He used the spectre of war as a back drop. If he didn't mean that, then he could have referred to other non-military confrontations in history as a comparison. . Using an analogy of an incident that lead to war then saying, but I don't mean it in our case is pure nonsense.

    You can't have it both ways.

    Personally I think he shows his ignorance and bleats what his advisers/writers script.

  • 11

    gogogo

    Abe needs to shut the hell up, he is pouring gas into the China fire.

  • -1

    Jimizo

    'Please don't compare Japan and China like Britain and Germany because German people are much more polite and kind than Chinese and they don't back down from a fight like Chinese people'. I've met some rightwing British who would resent a comparison of themselves with Japan. They would probably give out some hackneyed, ignorant stereotype of Japanese people to explain why this is offensive to them. I've defended Japan in the UK and other countries from at best ignorant and at worst racist and hateful comments. The last thing we need from both sides is enough ignorance and hatred from the people to make a war more possible.

  • -2

    Athletes

    “Nothing has been changed in the policy of continuing to uphold this position,” he said,

    A lot of things have changed since Abe became a PM. South China sea is warmer and Air temperature is rising. That dispute existed since I was a child. Now I am old and grey and like Abe. Abe is a trouble maker for making inflammable speeches. He is not diplomatic as PM and reviving pre war nationalism.

    “I believe you, who live in Japan, can understand this fundamental stance of ours.”

    Not all people living in Japan are right wing nationalists. He is a polished politician he will change his tone for the different audience. Former PM Murayama says that this flip-flopping of positions confuses him. Former PM Noda saide"I cannot help feeling that it is pork-barrel spending of Abe". If Murayama and Noda do not understand Abe foreign and economic policy, how on earth others can understand him as prophet of doom and gloom?

    http://japandailypress.com/former-japanese-prime-minister-murayama-criticizes-abe-for-wwii-remarks-2129218/

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/10/02/national/noda-slams-abenomics-as-pork/#.UuG8eOVKOMY

  • -3

    Reckless

    He could choose other metaphors, such as Japan is Mr. T and China is Rocky in Rocky 3; or China is Oscar and Japan is Felix in the Odd Couple,,,

  • 3

    Kabukilover

    Well, if the conditions are really similar to those prior to World War II (which, in fact is not the case yet) then Abe is adding fuel to the future fire by stoking Japanese militarism and a foolish right-wing agenda.

    Abe's jaunt has so far been a disaster. He has proven himself to be an irresponsible ignoramus. I only hope Japan can survive this guy's tenure in power.

  • 3

    FizzBit

    Ka chan

    WWI was started because of the assassination of the Archduke of Austria.

    That's history 101. You need to dig deeper at how Germany embraced the industrial revolution, building up its navy, challenging British supioriority of the seas.

  • 1

    LFRAgain

    I have come to really, really, really despise China's infantile and thoroughly disingenuous version of foreign policy.

    There is simply no justifiable need for China to boost its military in the region if not for the sake of intimidating neighbors. And considering how many grabs China is currently entangled in throughout the region, it's fairly obvious that intimidation is precisely what China is looking to accomplish with its continued military buildup.

    Japan has its fair share of the blame for not doing more to keep nationalistic asses out of higher public office, despite the vast majority of citizens not buying one iota of their belligerent drivel. But it’s China that goes beyond speeches and visits to shrines with violent, destructive demonstrations against Japanese businesses, naked aggression against infinitely patient Japanese coast guard vessels, and a blatant ratcheting up of military spending in a bid to be the biggest and toughest bully on the block. China is feeding the trolls all across Japan with its single-minded pursuit of forcing Japan to protrate itself before China.

    What I truly believe is at work in China right now is two-fold. One, a persistent belief that China can and should have been the predominant colonializing force in the world -- and simmering anger that Japan put the kibbosh on those aspirations, and two, an ever-increasing belief that China can and should have a shot at a "do over" of the Sino-Japanese War driven in part by myopic efforts to mask burgeoning domestic issues and by testosterone-driven pride and ego. There are folks both in and outside of Chinese political circles that really do want to test their mettle against Japan again. Yes, insane and childish, to be sure. But never underestimate the driving power of wounded pride -- particularly in a culture as patriarchal as China's.

  • 2

    Mr Japan

    Why he want to provoked other nation? very bad.

  • -1

    gelendestrasse

    Abe is close to right but the better analogy is Japan and the US before WWII; with China filling in for Japan.

  • 1

    Fox Cloud Lelean

    “It would be better to face up to what Japan did to China before the war and in recent history than to say stuff about pre-World War I British-German relations,”

    Japan has faced up to what it did to China before the War. Repeatedly. But China refuses point blank to accept the apology. What does Abe have to do? Bend down before the Chinese leader and kiss his feet? If China cannot accept multiple apologies, that's their problem. But they can't turn around and say that Japan hasn't apologized.

    Also, what events "in recent history" are China referring to? Purchasing islands from one of it's own citizens? Opposing a unilaterally declared ADIZ? Increasing Defense spending in response to blatant expansionist gestures and aggressive actions? Since we're looking at history, why don't we look at the occupation of Tibet? Why don't we look at the atrocities committed by Chairman Mao? Why don't we look at China's involvement in the Korean and Vietnam Wars? Why don't we look at China's aggressive attempts to expand throughout half of Asia? Why don't we look at China's state controlled media as well for that matter?

    China's policy seems to be one of finger pointing, playing the victim, and diverting global attention from it's horrendous environmental conditions, while simultaneously doing everything possible to provoke and intimidate Japan. If China was as eager to make peace as they claim, they wouldn't have the second highest military spending figures in the world.

  • -5

    JohnY921

    Abe, very good comparison!

    Angela Merkel show remorse for their war crimes and distance herself from Hitler and other war criminals. But you, on the other hand, justifies the war crimes and visit Yasukuni Shrine, giving respect to the war criminals. Abe, why is it so?

    Abe, there are many victims still alive suffering from the atrocities committed by the war criminals that you show respect to. Grow up and have some compassion for the victims.

  • -4

    Tamarama

    It would be better to face up to what Japan did to China before the war and in recent history than to say stuff about pre-World War I British-German relations,

    Gee, is this ALL China can think of when it comes to relations with Japan? It's like a mantra.

    I'm absolutely with LFRAgain on this. China's actions and rhetoric show expansionist aspirations, and a bent for revenge. There is a foolish teenage pride about all of this, a hankering to prove themselves, to establish their mark on the world, to right past wrongs. It's a lack of maturity, and shows a complete absence of diplomacy because diplomacy hasn't been necessary in China for so long.

    Considering that the country that invaded them in the past has a prime minister who's father was a convicted war criminal, controls the second strongest navy in the world, prays to the spirits of war criminals, and is looking to revise the country's constitution so that it can attack instead of just defend, there is a justifiable need.

    I think this is preposterous. Firstly, as a convicted war criminal, that main served the sentence given to him and paid for his crimes. As did they all. Are we really visiting the sins of the father upon his son? I thought one of the aims of the War Trials was to make sure that didn't happen. Justice was served, and China took part in that whole heartedly. Secondly, you can not honestly think Japan have aspirations to attack China, can you?

    My questions here are; 1. Why would they? 2. What have they done to suggest they want to?

  • 1

    joumultiup

    What's the benefit to compare situation in the past? We have to focus on the future. Pride is not a love of country.

  • 3

    JoeBigs

    Very astute of Prime Minister Abe to see the problem, too bad Communist here can't see past their hatred of Japan and freedom to see it also.

    smithinjapanJan. 24, 2014 - 07:01AM JST "Although the rivals then had strong trade ties, that did not prevent the outbreak of war in 1914, Abe said," So, then, how on earth are they alike again?

    Wow, you really don't keep up with the times do you. Your hatred of Japan gushes every time you try and make an irrational point. Do some research and you will be shocked that Japan and Communist China are very strong trade partners. But at the same time they are in the midst of a row.

    Now, look back to 1914 and you will see the same points with Germany and Great Britain. This might also shock you Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany was Queen Victoria's eldest Grandson. This made Wilhelm II and George V first cousins. But that didn't stop them from going to war.

    If you still don't see Abe's point then your hatred has truly blinded you completely.

    rsgz4gg7y2Jan. 24, 2014 - 07:04AM JST I wonder in Abe's analogy, what country he is comparing Japan with

    Wow....

    It doesn't make much sense to you, maybe that's why he is Prime Minister and you're not.

  • -5

    Mr Japan

    This Japan PM is a super idiot.

  • -1

    creatividades

    my loved,admired and respected japan, can and should put the "fire" out by doing away with self pride and " innocent " remembrances. If one is to be " honest" or " gracious" it does not need to be ....so that the public and everybody "sees " it. Me and anybody can be or visit any god dam shrine. But why it has to be public? . To start with, these visits in the context of Japan war experiences ( to visit to any such shrines) is just irresponsible in view that other people were hurts. And they are just across the seas and today China can and should get at least a modicum of respect if not for her pride at least for her incalculable losses at the hands of strangers with dreams of conquests of other people lands. Never mind theirs lack of sophistication or politics ......respect to others is the basis of our humanity moving forward positively and constructively.

  • -1

    25psot

    Abe went too much off of Japan with his mind.

  • -4

    sangetsu03

    Abe is being played by China, and he is too clueless to realize it. China doesn't give a rat's backside about the Senkaku islands, exclusive airspace, or fishing zones. What they do care about is maintaining political power and control of their country. China is overcrowded, heavily polluted, and contains an immense population of people who struggle to get through each day. These people are becoming increasingly aware of the world around them, and how poorly run their own country is. The leaders of China need to give their people something greater to fear than the pollution, poverty, and corruption endemic in China, and the most obvious bogeyman is Japan. Abe is being manipulated like a puppet, reacting just as China wants him to react. Abe seems to be nothing but a mouthpiece and a good head of hair, and his advisors appear to be little better. They had better open their eyes and start using their heads.

  • 0

    SenseNotSoCommon

    Just like WW1, Supreme Advisor will never see the front lines - he can escalate to his heart's content.

    Meanwhile, DeAgostini are milking the Zeitgeist with their 戦争映画 collection:

    http://deagostini.jp/tsd/

  • 1

    Japan Korea

    Bash Abe all you want but clearly, he is doing an awesome job and is acting more mature compared to Park Geun Hye or Xi Jinping!

    You hate Abe because he loves his country very much. Abe's point is simple: RULE OF LAW for East Asia and NO country should use force, intimidation or coercion to alter the status quo. If that message of Abe does not resonate, I don't know what will.

  • 2

    Tamarama

    Strangerland

    Considering that the country that invaded them in the past has a prime minister who's father was a convicted war criminal,

    I thought this was off, and checked to make sure. Shinzo Abe's father was not a war criminal, nor was his grandfather. Which makes this look pretty silly:

    And this is Japan where not only are sins of the father visited upon the son, but also where sons take up the honor of their fathers.

    And you conveniently side-stepped my questions, too, which were (just in case you forgot):

    Why would Japan want war with China?

    What have they done to suggest they want to?

  • -1

    tyvtgo1US

    Smith Japan... let's spell this out for you..... S T R O N G T R A D E T I E S. Its not that complicated dear!

  • -5

    JoeBigs

    StrangerlandJan. 24, 2014 - 01:18PM JST 1) Not all of us who express displeasure with Abe are anti-Japan. I love Japan, a lot more than China. It's because of my love of Japan that I hate seeing Abe leading the country down a dark path. I don't believe in blind loyalty.

    I'll call you out on this first one, what dark path? Has Japan invaded any of it's neighbors under Abe? Did Abe or the LDP purchase the Senkaku Islands?

    Do you think that all world leaders of any nation shouldn't go to a national memorial in their own nations and pay respects for those who died? Before you answer remember that there are no bodies at Yasukuni Shrine, only names and Mao has his very own tomb.

    StrangerlandJan. 24, 2014 - 01:18PM JST 2) Even China isn't communist, I'm not sure why you would think any of us are.

    Really, you don't think Communist China isn't a Communist nation? Wow, you have really fallen head over heels for their propaganda.

    Read Document Number 9 and then get back to me.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/20/world/asia/chinas-new-leadership-takes-hard-line-in-secret-memo.html?

  • -1

    stalingrad2014

    For China, they saw the echoes of "Hunting Eric Eichman", they see Abe is a fugitive of last war's atrocities!

  • 0

    Nippon_Banzai

    There is an ancient saying "If You Want Peace, Prepare for War" Abe is already conditioning the mind of the whole world, that incident of war is not totally remote. China is not limiting his military might only to Japan, but also expanding south of China Sea, where Vietnam and the Philippines coastal territory is forcibly violated by China.

    This an excerpts from the bible: "you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing."

  • 1

    tyvtgo1US

    strangerland, you want to make a point about China not being communist, there have been no true communist countries to exist, but to leave out a few major facts about Chinese government and Chinese society that actually describes China as a country is like the deceitful tactics the leaders of China have been keeping the people of China under thumb! In regards to your smooth talk on China you leave out some very true facts that categorizes China as what it is, a authoritarian regime and more like a dictator state, you seem to conveniently forget, forced silence of its people, self censorship by news outlets, , leaders stay in power by false nationalism, control of information in and out of the country , Censorship of internet, filtering of internet, lack of basic human rights, so your perception here of trying to smooth over what China actually is , is as deceitful as what the leaders of China are! A people without a voice is not a country with the face of the people! So you to say China is some sort of a Capitalistic state is a shame and a cover up to what China actually is as a country as a whole, they may use capitalism economically but as for a society????? They are more on the side of a dictatorship with the people forced silent without a voice. you need to take those rose colored glasses off and set them aside! This is the whole problem with China still today, the antics of the leaders shaping China society as they have throughout the CCP rule. Take all away and give the people a bone from time to time as if they are little pets and rewarded for their loyalty to their masters, but do not forget, all was taken away!

  • 3

    CH3CHO

    aussie-musashiJan. 24, 2014 - 05:26PM JST

    In all fairness though, Jpaan should be acknowledging there is a dispute over the Senkaku / Diaoyu islets, and come to a mutually acceptable solution with China

    China has long standing policy that it has right to send troops to "disputed area", be it India (1962), Soviet Union (1969) or Northern Vietnam (1979). Admitting dispute is like inviting a war with China.

    Why do we see armed Chinese government ships near Senkakus everyday? The situation can develop into an armed conflict at any moment. Chinese government officially says that they send ships to "pressure Japan" into negotiation. What an outlaw country. Use of threat is prohibited by international laws.

    Japan has recognized the jurisdiction of International Court of Justice. If China wants to settle the territorial dispute peacefully, just bring the case to ICJ, and prove the sovereignty. Japan said this to China more than once.

  • 0

    JaneM

    @strangerland: There is simply no justifiable need for China to boost its military in the region if not for the sake of intimidating neighbors. Considering that the country that invaded them in the past has a prime minister who's father was a convicted war criminal, controls the second strongest navy in the world, prays to the spirits of war criminals, and is looking to revise the country's constitution so that it can attack instead of just defend, there is a justifiable need.

    If you do try to be objective and follow the time sequence of all things you mentioned, you might notice that, while Japan does have Abe as PM now, the increase in the military spending by the Chinese government started long before He became PM, began talking about the change of Article 9, etc.

  • 0

    Simon Foston

    JoeBigs said:

    Has Japan invaded any of it's neighbors under Abe?

    Give him time, he's only been PM a year and he's got a lot of military spending to do yet.

    Do you think that all world leaders of any nation shouldn't go to a national memorial in their own nations and pay respects for those who died? Before you answer remember that there are no bodies at Yasukuni Shrine, only names and Mao has his very own tomb.

    Yasukuni is NOT a national memorial. It has no government affiliation whatsoever. It is run by old men that the LDP milk for votes and campaign donations. Your analogy is therefore invalid.

  • -2

    Victory Nippon

    Why can't Abe just learn from the German leaders or Mike Honda is that too much to ask for him. Abe thinks Japan is never wrong and always right.

  • -1

    maglev101

    Abe please don't compare Japan and China like Britain and Germany because German people are much more polite and kind then Chinese and they don't back down from a fight like Chinese people do...

    most of europe would disagreed with you from 1914-1918. germans were considered savages by them.

  • 1

    sf2k

    why travel at all to international meetings if you can't use an apt analogy without baggage and outcomes. You can't have the analogy and not it's outcome. Even Abe's disclaimers have disclaimers.

    Mean what you say and use words to convey understanding. As long as Abe keeps showing the world his ignorance of history regardless of his intentions or not, this will continue to rankle Asia. I have to think that is the point. Sadly there is nothing to indicate otherwise

    Buckle up

  • -3

    JoeBigs

    Prime Minister Abe has already made his point and the seed of reality and has been planted. If you don't believe me then ask yourselves, why are you and the world talking about this subject?

    For those that don't see the brilliance of his tactic you will never see it because you can't understand it. He is a master diplomat and strategist. He has made his opponents look like childish robber barons.

    StrangerlandJan. 24, 2014 - 05:57PM JST Yes, because the point was made that China is communist. I was pointing out how that is incorrect.

    Disagree again, it is not irrelevant to make the point when it is a fact and Document number 9 reinforces that fact, China is Communist. When and I do mean when the government of Communist China truly changes to allow other political party's then China will cease to be a Communist regime. But till that day comes, China is a Communist regime.

    A clown may put make-up for a show, but when the day ends he removes it. They allow corporations to do business' , but no one truly owns any property in Communist China. The Communist regime allows you to do business on that land, but that is as far as that goes. It's all about making money to allow them to expand.

    The leadership saw what happened to Russia and saw their fate. So instead of falling because Marxism doesn't work unless the entire world is Marxist they decided to use Capitalism to expand. And they have expanded, look at their military. It has grown by leaps and bounds since 2000.

    And they started using that military to take what was not their's.

    Simon FostonJan. 24, 2014 - 10:15PM JST Yasukuni is NOT a national memorial. It has no government affiliation whatsoever. It is run by old men that the LDP milk for votes and campaign donations. Your analogy is therefore invalid.

    So you believe that it is not a national memorial, do you know who founded it and why?

    This is from their official web site, "The origin of Yasukuni Shrine is Shokonsha established at Kudan in Tokyo in the second year of the Meiji era (1869) by the will of the Emperor Meiji. In 1879, it was renamed Yasukuni Shrine."

    To even further prove my point do a Google search using the term "war memorial Japan" and will find that Yasukuni Shrine will be listed as Japan's only War Memorial.

    Hope that helps you to understand a bit more about the Shrine.

  • 0

    kcjapan

    "For the corporation executives, the military metaphysic often coincides with their interest in a stable and planned flow of profit; it enables them to have their risk underwritten by public money; it enables them reasonably to expect that they can exploit for private profit now and later, the risky research developments paid for by public money. It is, in brief, a mask of the subsidized capitalism from which they extract profit and upon which their power is based."

    C. Wright Mills , "The Causes of World War Three" (1958)

    How is this different one hundred years after WWI? How are Mills' observations (1958) the basis of a new era of desperation enabling risk underwritten by public money? Some few atolls are not of any importance. That they are used to gin up and manipulate nationalism for private profit is the only goal.

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