Cadence of Conflict: Asia, May 22, 2017

The big question surrounding the time of North Korea’s end will be logistics. It won’t be about tactics or the “most diplomatic-surgical way” to end the volatile regime. While the scene is that of the super villain who has strapped himself into a chair, booby-trapped with trip wires and armed with explosives, even more important things are going on. Large-scale powers don’t think about micro-tactics, they think about logistics. And, logistics are shaping-up.

Social energy is one important logistic. The people of nations involved must see a viable path to support certain action. Navies in the region are burning up tax dollars, something that can’t continue forever. Taiwan is itching for recognition in the world and the world itches for Taiwan to be recognized—and Taiwan is making much more progress than in years past. Then, there is trust.

From a PR perspective, China is failing. But, from a spying perspective, China has turf to defend. China’s isolationist policies may seem anti-free speech to the West, but China sees spies to catch and leaks to plug. Trump doesn’t like leaks either. Spies are dangerous. China is willing to kill them while Americans publicly oppose executions while secretly wishing the deaths of their daily enemies. China’s execution and imprisonment of CIA spies caught during the Obama years is very understandable. But, the American public won’t see it that way.

This week, a huge ramp went up to alert the public to “news” that is anything but. China caught and executed CIA spies long ago. It didn’t matter until now, when social support is an important calculation with logistics of war. That explains the Pentagon statements and the newspaper trends in America as well as Europe and Australia. The Western public is being rallied against China. That is significant.

Then, there is China’s image with the Koreas. China won’t be too hard on North Korea. China is banning South Korean travel because it doesn’t like the US presence in South Korea. That’s understandable, but not to the pop star fans in South Korea or the United States. When South Korean pop stars tour the US, more young people in the US will become aware of the issues. China could have stopped it, but Beijing still struggles to understand the Western mind. The Korean pop star fans in China might start struggling to understand Beijing’s mind, at least more than in the past. When you turn people away, they don’t just go home, the go elsewhere. That’s not easy to comprehend when you’ve always gotten what you want and always been told what to want to hear. Whatever China’s problems are or are not, the travel bans make China look worse than it deserves.

The real crime was the Shakespearian “fatal flaw”: China didn’t understand the West well enough. In a world of growing alliances between sovereign nations, that is an unforgivable sin as far as gravity is concerned. And, with gravity, mercy is too lacking and pain always greater than it should be.

But, all is fair in love and in war.

China viz Koreas

Why China’s Nervous Over South Korea’s New Missile Defense System | Jolopnik

North Korea fires off ‘unspecified missile’ into Sea of Japan as South condemns “irresponsible and reckless behaviour” | Mirror

North Korea missile passes re-entry test in breakthrough for nuclear programme | Telegraph

Kim Jong-un vows to ‘MASS-PRODUCE missiles’ after observing North Korea’s successful test | Express

China Is Reluctant to Blame North Korea, Its Ally, for Cyberattack | NY Times

Locked out of China, South Korea’s K-pop stars are heading to the US | CNN

South Korea’s Moon says “high possibility” of conflict with North – Edaily | Yahoo – Reuters

China viz Taiwan

US-Taiwan ties should be reoriented: Stephen Yates | Taipei Times

Taipei hopes allies defy China ‘threats’ | Taipei Times

China  Spy Flashback Week

Killing C.I.A. Informants, China Crippled U.S. Spying Operations | NY Times

Chinese paper applauds anti-spy efforts after report CIA sources killed | Yahoo – Reuters

China killed CIA informants, US officials say | News

China Kills U.S. Spies, but on Obama’s Watch, so no Drama | Herald Sun

China viz World

Two Chinese Fighter Jets Intercept U.S. Plane Over East China Sea, Officials Say | NBC News

With A Budget Of $55.9 Billion For 2016, India Is Fifth Largest Military Spender, US Tops The List | India Times

China-Hong Kong bond trading scheme approved by regulators | CNBC

Will the Thaw in U.S.-China Relations Continue? | Wharton University of Pennsylvania