Before the earthquake and subsequent explosion of the nuclear reactors that now dominate the world's headlines, Japan found itself trying to stand up to a growing Chinese military, with China announcing a 12.7% hike in its defense budget this year while the United States faces a debt crises of historical proportions and watches its own empire slowly melt into the dirt floor of history.
From the New York Times:
"The Japanese F-15 fighters are engaged in an increasingly busy, and at times tense, game of cat-and-mouse with rapidly modernizing China, just across the East China Sea. The pilots say they face intrusions into Japanese-controlled airspace by an array of increasingly sophisticated Chinese aircraft, including advanced fighters like the Russian-made Su-27."
According to the same article, immediately prior to the earthquake Japan announced plans to strengthen its forces in the southwestern Okinawan islands, boosting its own military capabilities because many in the country's leadership feared that the United States would one day be unable defend the nation from China if conflict ever arose.
Last September a Japanese coastguard ship was hit by Chinese trawler near the Senkaku islands. The Japanese arrested the Chinese captain and in response China detained members of a Japanese construction company that were working in China at the time. It also unofficially banned all of its rare earth mineral exports to Japan-- a near global monopoly that China controls.
Earlier this month, Chinese nationals living and working in Libya fought with Libyan rebels that attacked at least 27 Chinese work camps. Over 35,000 Chinese workers were evacuated and companies such as China Railways Construction Corp and China State Engineering Corp suspended projects that were worth billions of dollars. The United States and the UK admittedly have CIA and MI6 agents on the ground in Libya supporting the rebel s, egging on the crisis there in an effort to oust Gaddafi. Because the United States and its allies are behind the uprising in Libya, the rebel attacks on China's investments are attacks on the China itself by the United States.
The UN has voted to enforce a "no fly zone" in Libya in a 10-0 vote with 5 nations-- including China and Russia-- noticeably abstaining. While being sold to the American public as a humanitarian inspired mission it is clearly a declaration of war by the UN on Gaddafi as the staged revolution has failed to overthrow his regime. With the U.S. and its allies moving in and the Chinese moving out it is clear who benefits from the latest turn of events.
Bahrain has declared a state of emergency after weeks of continuing protests that have gotten out of its government's control. Saudi Arabia, while squashing planned protests in its own country with a heavy police state presence in its streets, has sent troops into Bahrain following a request by Bahrain to the Gulf Co-Operation Council for help. Saudi troops are protecting government buildings while around 500 from the UAE have also been sent to the country to keep order.
The intervention of Saudi Arabian troops is a highly controversial move because the Shi'ite majority in Bahrain believes that the policies of the Sunnis royal al-Khalifa family are deliberately discriminatory against Shi'ites. The Sunni Saudi Arabian troops would just strengthen Sunni power over them.
Gulf intervention is already prompting a response from Iran, which is approximately 90% Shi'ite and already backing Shi'ite groups in Iraq and Lebanon. Iran has sanctioned a protest in Tehran against the royal family of Bahrain, and both Iran and Bahrain have withdrawn their ambassadors from one another's countries.
Back in September President Obama authorized a record 60 billion dollar arms deal to Saudi Arabia, including as many as 84 new F-15 fighters, (upgrading 70 more), as well as 70 Apache, 72 Black Hawk, and 36 Little Bird helicopters. According to the Guardian, the deal was "a strategy of shoring up Gulf Arab allies to face any military threat from Iran."
The previous and current administrations have been engaged in a continuous campaign to destabilize Iran by supporting terrorist organizations like Jundullah that stage attacks on civilians in Iran, and by propagandizing the American public to support a possible future military adventure in the country, mainly hyping Iran's exaggerated nuclear weapons program as a threat. The Obama administration rejected a deal to allow Iran to have its uranium enriched in Turkey, showing his resolve to keep the make believe threat alive and the military option very much on the table.