It seems the Diaoyu Islands dispute between China, Japan, and Taiwan is escalating a little each day. The claims of sovereignty over the islands is impossible to verify. The facts have been too badly clouded by time, conflicting documents, and unverifiable history. Every side seems to have a valid claim of some sort. Petty disputes over obscure rocks in the ocean like this have little actual value.
Some fear that actual shooting may begin, possibly as a result of an accident between the ships and planes dispatched to the area by the three players. It is imperative that the ownership of the islands be decided before events spiral out of control.
I suggest the leaders of the countries involved in the struggle engage in a Greco-Roman style wrestling match. The islands will be awarded to the country of the winner. At first glance this seems a frivolous suggestion, but it has roots deep in history.
Alexander the Great led his Persian army all over the world wearing a fierce looking lion’s head skin as a war bonnet. The Roman Empire was established and expanded with emperors at the heads of armies.
Gengis Kahn, Atilla the Hun, and other barbarian leaders headed their armies while they destroyed cities and empires, including the Roman. They wandered the world fighting, often for years at a time.
The Emperor Napoleon led the French armies across Europe and into northern Africa. Giuseppe Garibaldi and Otto von Bismarck led the armies that unified Italy and Germany, respectively.
Over the years, the system of kings, emperors, despots, czars, and other heads of state leading their armies into battle slowly began to change. The heads of state began to stay home and send their generals onto the battlefield in their place.
During the American Civil War Presidents Lincoln and Davis stayed in their national capitols while Generals Lee, Grant and others, led their armies in the field. During World War I the tradition continued, but then the generals increasingly kept themselves safely behind the battle lines.
By the time World War II began, it was unusual to find a general directly leading an army, while the leaders of the countries involved dictated their movements from the safety of deep bunkers far from the actual fighting.
Suicide bombers are incited to wear explosive vests onto crowded buses by religious leaders. Rarely if ever, have any of these same leaders strapped a few pounds of C-4 high explosive on themselves. They seem to be anxious to send their children to heaven, but not themselves. The people urging self-immolations in Tibet are the same, older people urging on young people to sacrifice themselves for a cause they don’t understand.
Perhaps it had something to do with the ever more deadly nature of warfare. As time progressed top national and high military leaders kept themselves increasingly safe. Instead they forced or otherwise directed their children and grandchildren to slaughter each other on the fields of battle.
Today’s leaders don’t lead the military, they direct it from afar. In matters of military conflict they expect the youngest and least influential members of society to fight their battles for them, often to the death. Both China and Japan have new leadership. It’s time to end the barbaric practice of forcing children to kill each other if the leaders have a disagreement. Let’s return to the days when leaders settled things between leaders. It’s time for national leaders to remember how to act like men.
That brings me back to the wrestling suggestion about wrestling made in the beginning of this piece. As noted, it was frivolous, but it is even more frivolous to sacrifice the lives of children to settle something as insignificant as the Diaoyu Islands spat. Instead of a wrestling match why not just flip a coin? It could be done on pay-per-view TV and every country’s treasure would reap some much needed revenue. If a coin toss is not good enough, maybe a game of “rock, paper scissors.” or something similar.
The question to the politicians is, would you sacrifice your child for the Diaoyu rocks? If not, why do you expect others to do so?