The U.S. Realism and Idealism toward Pacific War(2)
Mearsheimer 's analysis
page 136 Japan did not invade any part of the United States, and japanese leaders certainly gave no thought to conquering it, Japan merely sought to establish an empire in the western Pacific by capturing the various islands located between it and Hawaii. Japan also initiated wars against Russia in 1904 and in 1939 but in neither case did Japan invade Russia or even think about conquering it. Instead, those fights were essentially for control of Korea , Manchuria, and Outer Mongolia.
page 179 By the end of World War Ⅰ the United State felt that Japan was getting too big for its britches , and it set out to rectify the situation. At the Washington Conference in the winter of 1921-22, the United States forced Japan to accept three treaties that effectively reversed Japan's gains in China during World War put limits on the sizes of the American, British and Japanese navies. These treaties included much rhetoric about the need for cooperation in future crises and the importance of maintaining the political status quo in Asia.
page 259 The fall of France in June 1940 and the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 fundamentally altered the balance of power in northeast Asia. Germany's quick and decisive victory over France in the last spring of 1940 greatly reduced, if not eliminated, French influence on Japanese behavior in Asia . Indeed the defeat of France as well as of the Netherlands left their empires in South Asia vulnerable to japanese attack, With France out of the war, the United Kingdom stood alone against Nazi Germany in the west. But the British army was in shambles
page 221 As Paul Schroeder notes, "the United States did not seriously consider stopping the Japanese advance by force of arms, or consider Japan as an actual enemy, until the Far Easter war had become clearly linked with the far greater...war in Europe. In particular , it was "opposition to Hitler which began to condition American policy in the Far East more than any other factor"
If Japan conquered Southeast Asia, it could shut down a considerable portion of the outside aid flowing China , which would increase Japan's prospects of winning its war there. And if Japan controlled China and Southeast Asia as well as Korea and Manchuria, it would dominate most of Asia. The United States was determined to prevent that outcome, and thus in the summer of 1940 it began working hard to deter further Japanese expansion.
Japan was anxious to avoid a fight with the United States, so it moves cautiously in southeast Asia. ....
German invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, however, fundamentally altered relations between Japan and the United States and sent them to hurtling down the road to war. Most American policymakers, ..believed that the Wehrmacht was likely to defeat the Red Army, thus making Germany the hegemon in Europe. A Nazi victory would also have left japan at the hegemon in Asia , since the Soviet Union was the only great power with an army in Asia that could check Japan. Thus if the Soviet lost to the Germans , the Unites States would have found itself confronting hostile hegemons in Asia as well as Europe. Not surprisingly , the United States was bent on avoiding that nightmare scenario, which meant that the Soviet Union had to survive the German onslaught of 1941 as well as any future German offensive
...page 223 the United States employed massive coercive pressure against Japan to transform it into second rate power.
The United States was well positioned to coerce Japan. On the eve of World War Ⅱ、Japan imported 80 percent of its machine tools and almost 75 percent of its scrap iron from the United States. This dependency left japan vulnerable to an American embargo that could wreck Japan's economy. ...
The embargo left Japan with two terrible choices: cave in to American pressure and accept a significant dimunition of its power, or go to war against the United States, even though an American victory was widely agreed to be the likely outcome. Not surprisingly , Japan's leader tried to cut a deal with the United States in the late summer and fall of 1941. They said that they would be willing to evacuate their troops from Indochina once a "just peace" was reached in China, and they maintained that they would be willing to pull all Japanese troops out of China within twenty-five years after peace broke out between China and Japan. But U.S. policymakers stuck their guns and refused to make any concessions to the increasingly desperate japanese. The United States had no intention of allowing Japan to threaten the Soviet Union either in 1941 or later in the war. In effect, the Japanese would be defanged either peacefully or by force, and the choice was theirs.
Japan opted to attack the United States, knowing full well that it would probably lose, but believing that it might be able to hold the United States at bay in a long war and eventually force it to quit the conflict. ..
page 224 they were willing to take that incredibly risky gamble, however, because caving in to American demands seems to be an even worse alternative....Sagan put the point well" ....if one examines the decisions made in Tokyo in 1941 more closely one finds not a thoughtless rush to national suicide, but rather a prolonged agonizing debate between two repugnant alternative."
Mearsheimer, unlike Kennan and Kissinger, talks less about idealism; his focus is how actually great powers worked (and will work.)
It is interesting to see how the influential diplomats' and professor's views of Pacific War started is different from many Americans' view on it I often see in the comments on the Internet.
page 103 When the American bombing campaign against Japan began in late 1944, the initial goal was to use high-explosive bombs to help destroy Japan's economy, which was being wrecked by the U.S. navy's blockade. It quickly became apparent, however , that his air power strategy would not seriously damage Japan's industrial base. Therefore, in March 1945, the United States decided to try instead to punish Japan's civilian population by firebombing cities. This deadly aerial campaign, which lasted until the war ended five months later, destroyed more than 40 percent of japan's 64 largest cities, killed approximately 785,000 civilians, and forced about 8,5 million people to evacuate their homes.
page Why did Japan continue to hold out? ....Japanese policy makers refused to accept unconditional surrender because they thought that it was possible to negotiate an end to the war that left Japan's sovereignty intact. ...The threat of costly victory , they reasoned, would cause the United States to be more flexible on the diplomatic fro. Furthermore, Japanese leaders hoped that the Soviet Union ,would mediate the peace talks and help produce an agreement short of unconditional surrender.
page 93 The final straw was the Soviet decision to join the war against Japan on August 8. 1945......Japan was now at war with both the Soviet Union and the United STate.