Cadence of Conflict: Asia, April 12, 2021

China’s getting more flack from more sides—Vietnam, Japan, the Philippines. Vietnamese are furious with H&M for depicting maps with Vietnam-claimed islands as part of China, even though H&M did that because the Chinese told them to. The noose of perceived nuisance tightens.

China won’t back off on military drills and presence. The greatest beneficiaries are Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics. They have every reason to hope China continues military drills. A Chinese aircraft recently radioed reference to airspace as “Chinese”, which Taiwan also claims. Weapons dealers are probably clanging champagne glasses over that.

Military activity in the Southeast Asia is on the uptick. No one plans to back down. The question is over which side is reacting how the other side expected. The accurate expector will likely win the next scuffle.

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Encore of Revival: America, April 12, 2021

The Supreme Court is proving its worth. The bench ruled in favor of itself many times this past week, even through silence. Justice Breyer doesn’t sound like he wants to resign. He doesn’t want the Court packed either. That throws a wrench in the gears of any attempt to subject the Court to politics. Courts are supposed to be independent of party politics so that routine wheeling and dealing does not disrupt society’s need for stable justice.

That need hasn’t been so strong for a long time. Congress and the White House are putting Washington theatrics on full display. Biden’s infrastructure plan is headed to the Senate where it’s sure to get a hair cut big enough to make it lose a few pounds.

But, the big question on the table is: Why—with all the Democrats rearranging the furniture—does Biden keep Trump’s same policies toward China? Something’s up.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, April 5, 2021

China looks worse and worse in the public eye. H&M closures have drawn more Western attention. Chinese ads showing a purportedly happy Xinjiang backfired among Facebook staff. The Philippines are evermore concerned about a swelling number of Chinese militia boats parked in their backyard.

But, things aren’t looking so wonderful for Taiwan either. Pineapples sold to Singapore weren’t properly handled, so the cores rotted. That’s Taiwan’s culture—to not care, thinking problems won’t get bigger. A truck slid down a small cliff on the east side of Taiwan, colliding with a train, killing at least 50 people. The transportation bureau never put guard rails on a dirt road on a cliff above a train track. That’s Taiwan’s culture—to not care, thinking problems won’t get bigger.

Now, Taiwan is working with European partners to develop its own submarines, not only America. That report combats the notion that Taiwan hasn’t been wonderfully annexed by China only on account of the United States. But, are the Taiwanese all that different from China? Lack of care with pineapple exports and railroad safety might say otherwise. The Taiwanese an important choice to make—whether they want to be different from China or not. That is a decision only the Taiwanese people can make. And, they haven’t made that choice yet, even after seventy years of exile.

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Encore of Revival: America, April 5, 2021

So much for competency. An infrastructure bill is good, but look at the border. A president changes. Presidential policy changes. Then, chaos erupts at the border. Some people can’t figure out the cause.

In the George Floyd murder case, doctors can’t agree on the cause of death—the State can’t even agree on the cause of death. Outrage! But, no one should question the cause of death for COVID deaths. Perhaps if George Floyd had COVID at the time, doctors would have declared it a COVID death, then no one would be able to question it.

In the Trayvon Martin case, prosecution sabotaged their own case by pursuing premeditated murder rather than thoroughly building a case for manslaughter. Since manslaughter was only mentioned as an afterthought in the final moments of the trial, the jury of six ladies couldn’t convict. Who knows what kind of other nonsense will surface in the George Floyd murder trial.

So, we can’t agree on the cause of chaos at the border. We can’t agree on the cause of death with George Floyd. We can’t even figure out that a Florida toxic waste reservoir is in disrepair. Apparently we want things to get worse before we make things better.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, March 29, 2021

China’s adversaries face a tightly closing decision. America needs to decide whether it can keep playing the role of the world-cop with only its B-game, or if it is ready to bust out its A-game not seen since FDR. More than ever, warnings of “rising China” smatter the presses. Will this result in Americans getting serious about the need to be serious—because they read about it? Or, is this intended to prepare the American public for some event that thrusts the West into an embarrassing scuffle with China?—embarrassing for China now, embarrassing for the West six years later.

Taiwan has its own choices. Many things inside Taiwan still reflect the thinking of Mainland China. While Taiwan’s government claims to seek democracy and a society where all people are respected with equal rights, their Confucian culture still succumbs to autocratic domineering, whether in the workplace, the classroom, or from government. If in their hearts, the Taiwanese want to retain the old ways of the Chinese, there is no American military big enough to help them against any adversary, even the smallest adversary. But, the factor of Taiwanese culture doesn’t seem to make its way into the military reports.

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Encore of Revival: America, March 29, 2021

America faces big changes, but not the changes our conventional political grid might assume. Public trust in cloud platforms like Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter failed with the massive censorship surrounding the 2020 election. This week, a new cloud provider, Digital Ocean, went public. The Times has used Digital Ocean for nearly seven years.

Digital commerce shifts while the global supply chain faces more disruptions. Not only do we still lack supplies that were made in factories that are closed. Not only is the cruise ship industry floundering. The Suez Canal is blocked.

What is Democrat-controlled Washington doing?—Business as usual. Binden wants to focus on infrastructure—a digression from the Obama years. Republicans have always been good at spending money while appearing not to, while Democrats appear to spend money when they tighten the purse strings. Marketing is one of the best-kept secret ingredients in American politics.

The one thing unusual about this Democratic Washington is its dedication to a strong military. Russia surfaced three subs in the Arctic this week and, now all of a sudden, Democrats want to do military the same way Trump did. Just how the Bush-Obama years held a contiguous policy progression, the Trump-Biden years seem to reflect the competence, military, and infrastructure of FDR. In many ways, it is as if Trump is still in office. We did get Trump’s $2,000 checks, after all.

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