This is a calibrated crisis to test the strength of the US alliance with Japan. It reminds me of the Agadir Crisis in 1911, when Kaiser Wilhelm sent the warship Panther to Morocco to prevent French annexation, though there were a series of such seemingly preposterous episodes.

In a strict sense, the Kaiser was correct. The French were violating earlier accords. But his real purpose was to probe and weaken the British Entente with France (not quite a formal alliance) by picking on an issue where London had little natural sympathy for French actions.

The Japanese have walked straight into the trap.


The Agadir Crisis backfired against the Kaiser. The Entente did not break. France was emboldened by British backing, with ripple effects through the Franco-Russian alliance when the Serbian crisis came in 1914

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