Face On In East China Sea: A Chicken Game Made For Giants
1. Introduction: A Game Theory Designed For Giants?
To understand the Strategic Chicken Game developing in East China Sea between China and USA, through Japan or – more precisely – with Japan serving as the facilitator of the process and other nations trying to gain access to the process as well, one needs to primarily understand the nature of the Game and to put it in its concrete historical and geopolitical context, prior to attempting to interpret the hardcore facts. Without such an exercise, one may be lead to wrong conclusions, due to the appearance of things, which might prove completely different from their nature. When Power Giants chose to challenge each other on an important – at least for the one of the implicated parties – strategic environment, which risks to get transformed to Death Ground due to choice and/or due to an accident, as is now occurring in East China Sea, the context can provide with perspective. Without perspective, the Giants’ actions may appear completely incomprehensible, or inconsistent, with other actions of them occurring in the same time, past actions of them, or their future aspirations.
To get to the essence of any given Chicken Game designed for Giants, it is imperative to identify and examine:
- the Giants and their interests to the Game, their commitment to play and their willingness to champion it: who are the actors? What is their nature? Do they like similar games? What about their interests? Are they ready to promote and defend them? What does History indicates on their past?
- the dynamics of the Game: is there an escalation or a gradual de-escalation of the Giants’ efforts? Why does this escalation or de-escalation take place within this time frame? What does the timing signify? What are the forces behind the Game itself and behind each of the Giants? Are there solid geopolitical factors pushing them to continue playing, disregarding the dangerous realities getting created because of Game’s design and initiation, as well as of their strategies within it?
the external framework within which the Game develops: what is “the death path” like? Is it a strategic environment with particular importance for some of the party or the Game takes place in an environment without strategic gravity? Are there any third parties involved? Why are they involved? What are their stakes to the Game and what do they expect of and from the players? How does the factor of time correlates to the environment, to the Game and to the players?