Sunday, December 12, 2021

Eighty Years Ago, on December 7th Japan Assaulted More than Pearl Harbor

On December 7, 1941, Japan expanded its war on the Asian mainland south and eastward into the Pacific.

by Mindy L. Kotler

National Interest, Dec 7, 2021

Eighty years ago today, December 7, 1941, critical airfields and ports across Southeast Asia and the Pacific were ablaze and in ruin. In just seven hours, Imperial Japan’s surprise attacks cripled British and American forces in the Far East, exposed the Dutch East Indies to invasion, and pushed Thailand into submission. The bombing of Pearl Harbor was but one of many that day. Casualties of the “Associated Powers,” likely exceeded those in Hawaii. One result of these unprovoked attacks was the creation of alliances that endure to this day.

Japan coordinated attacks on the U.S. territories of Philippines, Guam, Wake Island, Howland Island, and Midway and the British Empire in Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Japanese forces invaded and bombed Thailand’s airfields. In Shanghai, Japan took control of the International Settlement after blowing up the last two British and American gunboats on the Yangtze, the HMS Peterel and the USS Wake.  

The first attack, 70 minutes before Pearl Harbor, was on British-Indian forces at Kota Bharu, on the eastern side of Malaya. Hours before, a British flying boat was shot down by Japanese aircraft while monitoring the progress of the Japanese fleet. The British Royal Air Force crew and their Royal Australian Air Force observer became the first Allied casualties of the war. The ensuing defense of northeastern Malaya was fierce and savage with high casualties on both sides. 

Soon after, Bangkok was bombed and Japanese troops landed to its south and at various points along the Kra Peninsula on the southeastern coast of Thailand. Again, the invaders met with stiff resistance. Despite determined Thai forces, the fighting lasted only five hours. Prime Minister Plaek Phibunsongkhram agreed to a ceasefire and formed an alliance with Japan. The Kota Bharu landings were a prelude to the drive down the eastern side of the Malay peninsula, while the Japanese troops landed in Thailand advanced with Thai soldiers down the western side to seize Singapore and its naval base--the cornerstone of British power in the Indo-Pacific. Japanese planes bombed Singapore that day in warning.

Japan’s early morning attack on Pearl Harbor on Hawaii’s Oahu, was followed by the bombardments of the American airfields on Midway and Howland Island in the equatorial Pacific. Two of the four Hawaii settlers on Howland were killed. For his selfless defense of Midway, First Lieutenant George H. Cannon became the first U.S. Marine in World War II to receive the Medal of Honor.

Guam was shelled, bombed, and invaded. The American territory fell two days later. Of the nearly 500 American military personnel taken to Japan from Guam as prisoners of war, five were female nurses. Japanese troops occupied Batan Island above Northern Luzon in the Philippines before mounting a full-scale invasion. This approach on Aparri on the coast of Cagayan Valley, believed by American war planners as impractical, caught the defenders off-guard and unprepared. The success of the surprise assault was played out just this past fall when U.S., Filipino, and Japanese forces held their first joint amphibious exercises near this Northern Luzon town.

Six hours after the Pearl Harbor attack, the Japanese bombed Hong Kong’s Kai Tak Airport and pushed the defending British and Commonwealth troops to the defensive Gin Drinkers Line. The territory, however, was long regarded as indefensible. Nevertheless British, Indian, Canadian  units along with the Auxiliary Defence Units and Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps (HKVDC) held out for two weeks against a Japanese force twice its size.

The Japanese attacked Wake Island about the same time as they bombed Hong Kong. The Americans on Wake Island were composed of 400 Marines, a handful of soldiers and sailors, 45 Chamorro Pan Am employees,  and 1,146 unarmed civilian contractors building an airfield. They proceeded to do what had never been done before or after, hold off an Armada for nearly two weeks. They did not surrender until December 23rd.

The last Japanese actions on December 7th were the bombing of the Iba and Clark airfields in southern Luzon, the Philippines. As in Hawaii, the Japanese caught the American planes on the ground and the defense weak. The guns of neither the ageing artillery batteries nor tank battalions defending the fields could reach the high flying Japanese planes. Whereas the attack on Pearl Harbor damaged the Pacific Fleet, the attack on the Philippines and other U.S. territories destroyed the Far East Air Force. 

The first battle casualty of the Armored Force in World War II, Pvt. Robert Brooks of Kentucky’s Company D, 192nd Tank Battalion, took place on Clark Field. Back at Fort Knox, the home of the newly formed Armored Force, the Commanding General Jacob Devers responded to the news by ordering that the main parade ground at the base be named after the young tanker. This distinction was particularly significant as Brooks turned out to be African American.

On December 7, 1941, Japan expanded its war on the Asian mainland south and eastward into the Pacific. The primary objective was to knock out American and British opposition to its advance into Southeast Asia. The ultimate goal was occupation of the Indo-Pacific, control over  its valuable natural resources, and supremacy over the region's seas. As the sun set, Japan's success seemed possible.

Instead, the day’s debacles forged alliances with a resolve to fight fascist expansionism East and West. The “Associated Powers” (Britain, the Netherlands, and the United States) became the Allies and expanded to include India, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and free forces from Japan’s occupied territories. The shared bitter experience of Imperial Japan’s wanton brutality and deceits provided the emotional bond to this warfighting coalition. Ironically, these very alliances are what Japan today looks to in defending its homeland. 

Monday Asia Events December 13, 2021

BEYOND VACCINE DIPLOMACY: THE UNITED STATES AND COVID19 RECOVERY IN THE PHILIPPINES AND SOUTHEAST ASIA. 12/13, 9:00-10:30pm (EST), ZOOM WEBINAR. Sponsor: Pacific Forum International. Speakers: Sec. Carlito Galvez, Chief Implementer, National Task Force for COVID-19, Republic of the Philippines; Dr. Yanzhong Huang, Professor and Director, Center for Global Health Studies, Seton Hall University; Moderator: Angelica Mangahas, PhD Candidate, SAIS, Johns Hopkins. 

AMERICAN, CHINESE, AND INDIAN TRILATERAL PERSPECTIVES: CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS-REPORT LAUNCH. 12/13, 9:00am (EST), ZOOM. Sponsor: Sigur Center, GW. Speakers: Ambassador Teresita C. Schaffer, served at US embassies in Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh, and from 1992-95 as US Ambassador in Sri Lanka; Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch, Founding President of the US-China Education Trust; Ambassador WEI Wei served as the Special and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Brunei Darussalam, the Republic of Singapore, and the Republic of India; Nirupama Menon Rao is a retired Indian diplomat, Foreign Secretary and Ambassador; David M. Lampton is Senior Fellow at the SAIS Foreign Policy Institute and Professor Emeritus at Johns Hopkins–SAIS; Professor JIA Qingguo currently serves as Professor and former Dean of the School of International Studies of Peking University.

JAPAN, THE U.S., AND ECONOMIC AND SECURITY POLICY LINKAGES IN THE TAIWAN STRAIT. 12/13, 9:15am (EST), ZOOM. Sponsor: Harvard Program on U.S.-Japan Relations and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. Speakers: Tain Jy Chen, Professor of Economics, Taipei School of Economics and Political Science, Professor Emeritus, National Taiwan University; Sadamasa Oue, Senior Fellow, Asia Pacific Initiative; Lt. Gen. (retired), Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF); Shelley Rigger, Brown Professor of Political Science, Davidson College; Daniel Russel, Vice President, International Security and Diplomacy, Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI); Moderator: Christina L. Davis, Director, Program on U.S.-Japan Relations; Professor of Government; Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University. 

TRAFFIC LIGHT & QUIRINALE: A MORE JOINED UP FOREIGN POLICY FOR THE EU’S BIG THREE? 12/13, 10:00-11:30am (EST), 4:00-5:30pm (CET), WEBINAR. Sponsor: Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS). Speakers: Riccardo Alcaro, Research Coordinator and Head of the Global Actors Programme, IAI Rome; Ronja Kempin, Senior Fellow, EU/Europe Division, SWP Berlin; Pol Morillas, Director, Barcelona Centre for International Affairs (CIDOB); Jean-Pierre Darnis, Associate Fellow, FRS Paris; Moderator: Zachary Paikin, Researcher, CEPS. 

NUCLEAR WEAPONS STOCKPILE STEWARDSHIP AND INERTIAL CONFINEMENT: HOW THE U.S. USES BIG SCIENCE TO ENSURE OUR AGING NUCLEAR WARHEADS WORK. 12/13, Noon-1:00pm (EST), WEBINAR. Sponsors: Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies; Advanced Nuclear Weapons Alliance Deterrence Center. Speakers: Dr. Mark Anderson, Assistant Deputy Administrator, Research, Development, Test and Evaluation, National Nuclear Security Administration; Dr. E. Michael Campbell, Director, Laboratory for Laser Energetics, University of Rochester; Dr. Mark C. Herrmann, Deputy Program Director, Fundamental Weapons Physics, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Dr. Kimberly Scott, Program Director, Office of Experimental Sciences, Los Alamos National Laboratory; Dr. Daniel Sinars, Director, Pulsed Power Sciences Center, Sandia National Laboratories. 

MODERNIZING INTELLIGENCE FOR THE GRAY ZONE. 12/13, 2:00-3:00pm (EST), WEBINAR. Sponsor: CSIS. Speaker: H.E. Michael Vickers, Former Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence; Moderator: Jake Harrington, Intelligence Fellow, International Security Program, CSIS. 

COLLAPSE: THE FALL OF THE SOVIET UNION. 12/13, 4:00-5:00pm (EST), WEBINAR. Sponsors: National History Center; Wilson Center (WWC). Speakers: Vladislav Zubok, Author, Professor, London School of Economics and Political Science; William Taubman, Bertrand Professor of Political Science Emeritus, Amherst College; Dina Fainberg, Associate Professor of Modern History, City University of London. PURCHASE BOOK:

JOONGANG ILBO-CSIS FORUM 2021: THE BIDEN ERA AND KOREA'S GLOBAL STRATEGY. 12/13, 7:30-10:30pm (EST), WEBINAR. Sponsors: CSIS; JoongAng Ilbo. Speakers Include: Yun Byung-Se, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea; Song Min-Soon, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea; Hong Seok-Hyun, Chairman, JoongAng Holdings; Park Myung-Lim, Director, Korea Peace Foundation; Wi Sung-Lac, Chairman, Pragmatic Foreign Affairs Committee, Presidential Campaign for Lee Jae Myung, Democratic Party of Korea; John J. Hamre, President, CSIS; Victor 

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Monday Asia Events December 5, 2021

2021 GLOBAL FORUM ON COMPETITION. 12/6, 6:00-10:00am (EST), Noon-4:00pm (CET), WEBINAR. Sponsor: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Speakers Include: Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director, IMF; Mathias Cormann, Secretary-General, OECD; Frédéric Jenny, Chair, OECD Competition Committee; Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director General, WTO; Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary-General, UNCTAD; Joseph E. Stiglitz, Professor, Columbia University.  

JOINING DEMOCRACY AND PEACE: HARNESSING THE INEXTRICABLE LINK BETWEEN THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS AND PEACEBUILDING. 12/6, 9:30-11:00am (EST), WEBINAR. Sponsor: U.S. Institute of Peace Institute (USIP). Speakers: Uzra Zeya, Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, U.S.; Farhad Alaaldin, Chair, Iraq Advisory Council, Iraq; Maria Jimena Duzan, Host, “A Fondo” Podcast, Colombia; Glenda Gloria, Executive Editor, Rappler, Philippines; Idayat Hassan, Director, Centre for Democracy and Development, Nigeria; Oleksandra Matviychuk, Chair, Center for Civil Liberties, Ukraine; Moderator: Lise Grande, President and CEO, USIP. 

ADVOCATES FOR DEMOCRACY IN CLOSED SPACES. 12/6, 10:00-11:30am (EST), ZOOM WEBINAR. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers Include: Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), Chairman, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations; Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), Ranking Member, House Foreign Affairs Committee; Amb. Isobel Coleman, Deputy Administrator for Policy and Programming, USAID; Anna Dobrovolskaya, Executive Director, Memorial Human Rights Center; Glacier Kwong, Political and Digital Rights Activist, Hong Kong; Sopheap Chak, Executive Director, Cambodian Center for Human Rights; Luciano Garcia, President, Hagamos Democracia.   

STEPHEN HABER ON THE BATTLE OVER PATENTS: HISTORY AND POLITICS OF INNOVATION. 12/6, 10:00-11:00am (PST), WEBINAR. Sponsor: Hoover. Speakers: Stephen Haber, Author, Senior Fellow, Hoover; Alexander Galetovic, Research Fellow, Hoover; Gerardo Con Diaz, Former William C. Bark National Fellow, Hoover. PURCHASE BOOK:

FORTIFYING THE FUTURE: BUILDING RESILIENCE IN THE AGE OF DISINFORMATION SESSION 2. 12/6, 10:00-11:00am (EST), ZOOM WEBINAR. Sponsor: National Committee on American Foreign Policy. Speakers: Benjamin Haddad, Senior Director, Europe Center, Atlantic Council; Dominika Hajdu, Policy Director, Centre for Democracy and Reslience, GLOBSEC Policy Institute; Jakub Janda, Director, European Values Center for Security Policy; James Pamment, Associate Professor, Lund University; Moderator: Nicholas Thompson, CEO, The Atlantic. 

REBOOTING THE EU-U.S. DEFENSE RELATIONSHIP. 12/6, 11:00am-Noon (EST), ZOOM WEBINAR. Sponsor: American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS), Johns Hopkins. Speaker: Sophia Besch, Research Fellow, AICGS, Johns Hopkins. 

VICIOUS CYCLE OF ELECTORAL VOLATILITY IN KYRGYZSTAN. 12/6, 11:00am-Noon (EST), LIVESTREAM. Sponsor: Carnegie. Speakers: Dr. Aijan Sharshenova, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, OSCE Academy; Bruce Pannier, Senior Correspondent for Central Asia, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty; Amb. Kadyr Toktogulov, former Kyrgyzstan Ambassador to the U.S.; Paul Stronski, Senior Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Program, Carnegie. 

PROGRESS AT THE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION AND US TRADE POLICY IN THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION. 12/6, 11:00am-12:30pm (EST), WEBINAR. Sponsor: American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Speakers Include: Angela Ellard, Deputy Director-General, World Trade Organization; Joshua P. Meltzer, Senior Fellow, Brookings; Jennifer A. Hillman, Professor, GU; Moderators: Neena Shenai, Nonresident Fellow, AEI.

2021 HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON AWARDS: WOMEN'S RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS. 12/6, 11:00am-Noon, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security. Speakers: H.E. Hillary Rodham Clinton, 67th Secretary of State, U.S.; H.E. Madeleine K. Albright, 64th Secretary of State, U.S.; Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); Dr. Marina Pisklakova, Founder & Chair, ANNA – National Center for the Prevention of Violence; Guo Jianmei, Founder, Center for Women’s Law Studies and Legal Services; Dr. Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, African Union Goodwill Ambassador on Ending Child Marriage; Palwasha Hassan, Director, Afghan Women’s Educational Center. Location: Gaston Hall, Georgetown University, 3700 O Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20007.

CONGRESS AND WAR: RECLAIMING ARTICLE I POWERS. 12/6, Noon-1:00pm (EST), LIVESTREAM. Sponsor: Cato. Speakers: Chris Murphy, Senator for Connecticut, United States Senate; Jordan Cohen, Policy Analyst, Cato; Gene Healy, Senior Vice President for Policy, Cato; Moderator: Eric Gomez, Director of Defense Policy Studies, Cato. 

HOW CAN CARBON MINERALIZATION HELP FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE? 12/6, Noon-1:30pm (EST), WEBINAR. Sponsor: Center on Global Energy Policy, Columbia University. Speakers: Dr. S. Julio Friedmann, Senior Research Scholar, Center on Global Energy Policy, Columbia University; Dr. Peter Kelemen, Arthur D. Storke Professor, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Columbia University; Sasha Wilson, Associate Professor, Faculty of Science, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences Administrator, University of Alberta. 

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS MEETING. 12/6, Noon-1:30pm (EST), WEBINAR. Sponsor: Gold Institute for International Strategy (GIIS). Speakers: Monica Crowley, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury; David P. Goldman, President, Macrostrategy LLC, Asia Times, Economist, WSJ; Ambassador Hisham ElNakib, Advisor to Egyptian Mission to U.N.; Marc Black, Senior Law Enforcement Fellow, GIIS; Adam Lovinger, Vice President of Strategic Affairs, GIIS.

CHINA’S POWER: UP FOR DEBATE 2021 - DEBATE 2: BEIJING’S CRACKDOWN WILL STIFLE CHINESE TECHNOLOGY AND SCIENTIFIC INNOVATION. 12/6, 4:00-5:15pm (EST), ZOOM WEBINAR. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: Rui Ma, China Tech Analyst, Main Writer and Co-Host, Tech Buzz China; Matt Sheehan, Fellow, Asia Program, Carnegie; Moderator: Bonny Lin, Director, China Power Project, CSIS. 

NATIONAL READINESS FOR GREAT POWER COMPETITION. 12/6, 5:00-6:00pm (EST), WEBINAR. Sponsor: Institute of World Politics. Speaker: General Joseph L. Votel (Ret.), Commander, U.S. Central Command. 

SPECIAL SCREENING OF UK DOCUMENTARY “JAPAN’S WARTIME SEX SLAVES” AND PANEL DISCUSSION. 12/6, 7:30pm (GMT), 2:30pm (EST), IN PERSON (University of Oxford) and VIRTUAL. Sponsors: Institute of Digital Archaeology (IDA); Comfort Women Action for Redress and Education (CARE). Speakers: Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Journalist, Unreported World; Dr. Maki Kimura, Lecturer in Gender and Politics, University College London; Christina Lamb, Journalist, Sunday Times; Moderator: Dr. Alexis Dudden, Professor, University of Connecticut. Location: Magdalen College Auditorium, University of Oxford. Request link from; [article about Japanese rightwing harassment]

duplicate? SPECIAL INTERVIEW OF UK DOCUMENTARY “JAPAN’S WARTIME SEX SLAVES” COMFORT WOMAN SURVIVOR YONG-SOO LEE. 12/6, 10:00am (GMT), 5:00am (EST), ZOOM WEBINAR. Sponsors: Institute of Digital Archaeology (IDA); Comfort Women Action for Redress and Education (CARE). Speaker: Yong-soo Lee. Request link from []

SHEDDING TAIWAN'S 'INVISIBILITY CLOAK': GLOBAL AND REGIONAL PROSPECTS. 12/6, 8:00-9:00pm (EST), WEBINAR. Sponsor: Sigur Center, Elliot School, GW. Speakers: Liang-Yu Wang, Deputy Representative, Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S.; Pasha L. Hsieh, Associate Professor and the Associate Dean (Faculty Matters & Research), Singapore Management University Yong Pung How School of Law; Michael Mazza, Nonresident Fellow, Global Taiwan Institute and German Marshall Fund of the United States; Moderator: Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center, Elliot School, GW. 

TOWARDS POST-COVID-19 FISCAL POLICY AND DIGITALIZATION IN ASIA. 12/6, 10:00pm-12:00am (EST), 12/7, Noon-2:00pm (JST), WEBINAR. Sponsor: Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI). Speakers Include: Odd-Per Brekk, Deputy Director, Asia and Pacific Department, IMF; Paolo Mauro, Deputy Director, Fiscal Affairs Department, IMF; Ruud De Mooij, Assistant Director, Fiscal Affairs Department, IMF; Dharitri Panda, Finance Ministry, India; Sangwook Nam, Ministry of Economy and Finance, Republic of Korea; John Beirne, Research Fellow, ADBI.