Cadence of Conflict: Asia, January 27, 2020

Trying to be polite or indirect while not taking no for an answer does not give anyone a right to make trouble. When someone gives a decisive, “No,” decent people accept that answer, then move on somehow. But, China doesn’t seem able to do that. In Beijing’s thought, relentlessly pushing forward, no matter how many more thousands hate them by the day, China is being polite to Hong Kong. They are being indirect. By not giving up, the Chinese Communists believe they have very politely told Hong Kongers how things will be, thereby justifying whatever manslaughter China chooses to invoke.

It’s not as if China has a lot of time to worry about telling other people what to do. Hong Kong was designed in its Basic Law to be largely autonomous. That means that Hong Kong can take care of itself, should China need to put energies into other matters—such as stopping the African swing flu or the Wuhan coronavirus.

China’s choices led to a landslide re-election for the de facto independence president of Taiwan. She says there is no independence to declare because Taiwan can’t possibly be any more independent than it already is. Some in Beijing might think that means Taiwan has reached its limit; but anyone in the West knows that means Taiwan already has the fullest measure of independence as defined. Yes, many in Beijing might not know that.

Vietnam reached a similar vague point in gearing up for military strength in ASEAN. Buying boats from India is also on Vietnam’s agenda—yes, India is another country China has managed to aggravate.

Why do things unfold this way in China’s back yard? It’s not that China is so much evil as it is immature. But, we tend to stay immature when we age, if we won’t open up to the outside world. Rather than helping China learn, the West just dumped money and emboldened a brat, all so we could save a few pennies on our stuff. Who is really being the most unfair to who? Friends know when to accept a no because friends know when to say, “No.”

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Encore of Revival: America, January 27, 2020

The concept of an ongoing impeachment process against every sitting president isn’t that bad of an idea. In some governments, it’s the fourth branch of government called the “Control”. Perhaps Obama, Bush, and Clinton—all the way to FDR and Wilson—would have served the people better if they had an ongoing impeachment proceeding. It’s tempting, but, for now anyway, it looks like a big waste of time.

The president’s defense seems incredibly boring, but that won’t matter. The Democratic prosecution omits key evidence, but that won’t matter either. Every vote in the Senate has already been decided. These proceedings contain the platform for the other side to be added where there was only one side of what should be fair. Life isn’t fair, but drama stops at the Senate floor. As with Clinton, there is neither basis to remove Trump from Office. Impeachment is a big deal, but usually falls to the popular opinion; voting citizens are the jury. Both times, all the energy from the House was spent on the Senate, which just let the House wear itself tired.

While one proceeding moves forward for show toward a pre-agreed verdict, another investigation continues against the faction that wanted this impeachment in the first place. A network of unhappy people from the opposite side of the political spectrum, largely in cahoots with the FBI and beyond, tried to prevent a president from being elected, then tried to remove him from office for something that didn’t happen. In their view, justice is an illusion; they only do what suits them with whatever power they have. For them, might is morally right. Fortunately, democracies have systems in place to prevent power-defined morality touted by Leftist activists in America’s legal justice system—whether judges or FBI.

The strongest evidence in this impeachment trial is the phone call read-out between Trump and Zelensky. It only seems inditing when heard in small snippets by people who hate Trump anyway. To everyone else, it is acquitting. Calling witnesses would stretch on and on and, for Republicans, would only serve the purpose of exposing the swamp that the FBI was a small part of. Democrats gamble that the Senate won’t call witnesses, so House managers taunt the Senate about not calling witnesses. But, just how the president released the contents of the phone conversation by surprise, the Senate could decide to start the boring process of asking pre-written questions through the Chief Justice. The main purpose for Republicans would be to put accomplices on the stand. If that happens, expect at the top of the list the center of the phone call’s discussion: Joe Biden.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, January 20, 2020

China is engaging in “rapid expansionism”; this is different from the slower-moving modes of Russia and, until Trump, the United States. During Obama, Russia took back Crimea—after that fling Nikita Khrushchev had in giving Crimea to Ukraine when it wasn’t his to give. Russia has also been crawling its influence in Syria, softly with Iran, and shrewdly using China as an effective puppet.

America, though not an empire seeking to claim more within its political borders, propelled power through military bases around the world. Once the Chinese got over their phobia of technology—a disease it long had, which even led up to the Opium Wars—they looked beyond their bubble and saw America’s non-border expansion. But, they still haven’t seen Russia’s soft-handed expansion for what it is. 180 military bases in China’s backyard didn’t bode well with China’s neediness for receiving endless heinie kisses.

Thankfully, Trump is slowly recalling propelled American power—consider Syria, Afghanistan, Turkey, and now Iraq. He is not the archetypal “neocon” expansionist. But, other than Trump, America did have its own soft form of expansionism.

China, different from either of the two soft expansions of America and Russia, is engaging in a more rapid, rude, speedy expansion. The Chinese don’t care how they come across to others because they have been knocked off their emotional rockers, having seen that the world doesn’t regard them to be a fraction of what they think themselves to be. This speed has alarmed the nations of the world like a body’s immune system responding to a spreading virus or cancer. Even India is on alert.

Russia played its card well—or maybe we should say Russia played its China well: expansion backed by Russia, which upsets the global balance, and Russia doesn’t get blamed for it. China doesn’t know what its speedy expansion, mainly against Taiwan and India, will do because China hasn’t been paying attention to the rest of the world for most of human history.

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Encore of Revival: America, January 20, 2020

Current events are forcing everyone into a deep state of soul-searching. Some Iranians were angry after Trump’s drone strike, mourning the death of a leader they somehow admired. They didn’t blame Americans, except that they did. Once the Iranian government admitted to shooting down the passenger jet from Ukraine, Iranians en masse took to the streets, protesting the current government.

As Symphony explained last week, some leaders have yet to “grow up” more than others. Those with more growing up to go tend to invite resentment from those they lead. Iran was no exception. Authoritarianism led to the mistake with the passenger jet, but it also allowed certain leaders to rise in the first place, one whom was killed by a drone strike approved by President Trump.

In America, the doomed impeachment articles from the House were so evidently unpopular that their true purpose went on parade: a parade. Yes, it was only ever for show. So, when House Democrats were forced to give the Republican Senate what they did not want, they continued the show for their supporters’ own entertainment.

But, the show isn’t done yet. Irritation and aggravation will only rise higher and higher as the nation sees what’s really going on. That could be said for both Iranians and Americans.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, January 13, 2020

The overwhelming, earth-shattering, landslide re-election victory of Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-Wen sends a shocking message to Beijing: If you plan to take Taiwan, prepare for greater opposition than you got from Hong Kong. But, like the house cat who doesn’t know it’s not God, let alone that it’s not any tiger, they won’t ever decrypt the message. Beijing will be emotionally hurt, insulted, and will thus froth with rage.

Choosing former Premier William Lai as her Vice running mate was wise. Not only is he loved for—perhaps only for—his intractable stance against corruption, he also views Taiwan as having an already de facto independent status. While President Tsai prefers status quo—a peacefully unresolved dispute with China—Vice President Elect Lai views any Taiwanese declaration of independence from China as no more than a formality for how things already are anyway.

This choice of William Lai strengthens her position. If she were to step down, a president would take her place with an even stronger stance against Chinese expansionism. So, even her political opponents would want her to remain in office.

Taiwan’s position is stronger, not only in US relations, but also within Taiwan. Expect actions from China that result in Taiwan responding with moves toward even greater independence than status quo already boasts.

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Encore of Revival: America, January 13, 2020

The Iranian government’s alibi—or “explanation”, rather—of how it shot down a passenger jet from Ukraine is entirely believable. Barring some grandiose conspiracy, there would be no imaginable motive for any government—friend or foe, even a terrorist sponsor like Iran—to use government assets to kill civilians.

The Iranian military’s story is believable to any Westerner who has spend more than three years in a first-world or second-world country. Sadly, poorer parts of America have similar cultures, poorer White communities as well as minorities. Any autocratic, bossy, domineering culture can easily make severe miscalculations. They do it in Sunday morning congregations all the time.

According to CNN, according to Iran, their government was on high alert, then misidentified a plane from Ukraine as it turned toward a Revolutionary Guard base. In sum, that led to a snap judgment, what Iran calls “human error”. The Iranian government wants to put systems in place to avoid such miscalculations in the future. In the West, we call that “growing up”—learning how to not make rush judgements.

While Iran’s story is believable to any Western expat with experience in a developing country, most Americans don’t know the degree to which immature people run many governments of the world. Part of being a first-world nation means that people in the government need to be mature.

Iran learning from its mistake could be the most significant turning point where Iran’s government learns the “confident humility” needed to govern with maturity. If that happens, Sec. Mike Pompeo’s goal of Iran behaving “like a normal country” will come true. Iran claimed that their military was on high alert in the first place because of tensions surrounding the strike in Iraq. In short, killing Qassem Soleimani helped Iran.

Now, the task is for Americans to understand other people enough to understand why being immature cost the lives of 176 people. Whether at home, the office, or in government, immaturity is the source of much injustice—a lesson which Americans will learn, eventually.

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