How to Win in the World Court
The scary possibility arising from the ongoing Diaoyu/Senkaku islands dispute is that some eager boat captain chasing after a big fish could inadvertently trigger the Third World War. It nearly just happened with the bump-and-run chase between a Fujian-based trawler and a pair of Japanese Coast Guard ships. So far, no anti-ship missiles have been fired, and the battle cruisers did not show for the umpteenth sequel to the Sino-Japanese Wars. The stalemate as usual brings no satisfaction to either side of this long-running grudge over a few barren rocks at sea.
A couple of decades ago, China would have lost hands down in court. Back then, the USA was the sole superpower, Japan an economic dynamo, and Europe a devourer of former socialist states. Times have changed – America is now a down-and-out former champ, Japan is the tired old man of Asia, and Europe is struggling to just to keep together. Today China might actually get a fair trial – with the odds possibly in its favor.
The only other way to settle this unending saga once and for all, short of the Final Knockdown Battle between the champions of kung fu and sumo is a law suit. That may sound like a real letdown, but the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, better known as the World Court, is the only practical arena for this sort of territorial combat in our (yawn) contemporary technocratic world.