Target: Prime Minister of Japan Shinzō Abe.
Goal: Create an international treaty banning military outposts from construction on disputed territorial islands.
One of the leading threats to peace among developed nations today is a scattered series of mostly barren rocks and sandy cays in the waters around East Asia. These island chains, including the Spratly Islands, Paracel Islands, and Senkaku Islands, are mostly made up of small rocks and atolls a few acres in area and of little intrinsic value.
The islands have little to no natural resources, small potential value for tourism, and are nearly all uninhabited. So why does such fierce political posturing continue over these seemingly worthless rocks? Part of the problem is that they have some strategic military value, and China has already built an airstrip convenient for military use on Taiping Island. Each nation fears the others getting control of a military base in the islands central between them and using them as a foothold to other acts of aggression. The other part of the problem is intense national pride within every country involved.
While national pride cannot be easily changed, even to avoid conflict, the building of military facilities can. If a treaty were agreed upon to prohibit construction of military facilities on these islands and prevent occupation by military forces, the strategic value of these islands as outposts of war and threats to neighboring countries would disappear. This would not end the conflict, but it would certainly mellow out the threat posed by weapons of war, and might help to avert violent conflict from taking place over these naturally innocuous ocean rocks. Please sign the petition below to urge the leaders of these nations to come together and prevent military construction from elevating this unnecessary conflict.
Dear Prime Minister Abe,
The continued conflicts between Eastern and Southern Asian nations over the scattered, barren islands located between them are threatening to upset peace between these nations for wholly unnecessary and trivial reasons. The Spratly Islands, Paracel Islands, and Senkaku Islands have each been claimed by several nations including China, Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, and the Philippines, with each nation too intent on preserving its own pride to relinquish any claims to these nearly worthless rocks.
Part of the problem is that these islands, uninhabited and lacking in natural resources, have potential as small military outposts owing to their strategic location. Although national pride is all but unavoidable, this military exploitation is. If a treaty were signed to prevent any nations from constructing or stationing any military bases or runways on these small disputed territories, the conflict would remove the military value and deescalate the dispute.
There is no reason for developed nations in the modern world to threaten violent conflict over such small, worthless pieces of territory. I understand that no nation will back down so easily and simply allow another to claim the islands, and this dispute will continue regardless. We can, however, reduce the intensity of this argument in an even-handed manner that reduces any potential for violent conflict without causing any nation to lose face in the international arena. I am urging you to propose an international treaty that will prohibit any military construction or occupation on these disputed island territories and deescalate any potential for war.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Jacob Jose