Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 30, 2019

We are headed toward a massive inquisition of police. It could be known as the “Hong Kong Trials”, where each police officer who served since June is combed over and evaluated for every step taken at every single protest, then tried under international law. It’s not immediately around the corner, but the current powers governing Hong Kong are doing everything they can to make that day inevitable.

Over the holidays, neither protestors nor police took a break, except for a brief moment on Christmas at midnight, when protestors were the adults in the room to pause for a moment in honor of something greater. Many had Christmas dinner away from their families, largely due to East Asian culture’s dogma toward older family members. Authoritarianism generally drives away people who are self-motivated and take initiative, family being a least exception. Older generations in Hong Kong don’t understand that. Neither does Beijing. This Christmas, many middle aged and elderly parents faced the question posed by empty seats at many a dinner table: Do you love your children more than your desire for compliance? To some extent, families will be reconciled in due course; parents who refuse will lose even more.

Taiwan had its own drama over the holidays. An accused Chinese mole, formerly in Taiwan’s military, is being hung out to dry for purportedly recruiting more moles. Former president Ma is accusing the Control Yuan of interfering by questioning the judge who let him off scot-free. That stands to reason since the Control Yuan was effectively shut down during his tenure, which, unbeknownst to most, gave even greater rise the Sunflower Movement of 2014. As if Taiwan hadn’t its fill of holiday joy, US Congress is now working on a bill that will formalize the US envoy to Taiwan as a full ambassador—requiring presidential appointment and Senate approval. That is about as close to recognizing Taiwan as a country without recognizing Taiwan as a country as a country can get. China won’t be happy, but the Taiwanese sure thought it was a very Merry Christmas!

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Encore of Revival: America, December 30, 2019

The Trump trials are exposing what is broken about our political culture. Politicians don’t know how to talk to people. They can schmooze and beat around the bush. They can use a thousand hours and a hundred thousand words to do nothing in a way that appears like hard work. But, they don’t know how to talk to people so that something actually happens.

To a business man, the phrase “I need your help” is a polite way of making a request easier to turn down. In politics, asking for “help” is code for bribery. The two aren’t at all related. When Trump told the Ukrainian president he wanted “help”, he was being polite. But, the swamp in Washington mistook Trump for speaking their evil language of bribery. In psychosemantics, the term is “projection”.

Trump’s impeachment is purely along party lines. Statistics and figures agree. If you’re a Democrat, you think his call to Ukraine was wrong. If you’re a Republican, you think his call to Ukraine was somewhere between necessary and excusable. Any exceptions are marginal. This is pure party politics, which means that we can’t debate the ethics of Trump’s phone call among fellow Americans with any more success than we can debate guns, abortion, and redistribution of wealth. Now, impeaching the incumbent president for whatever lame reason we can contrive has been added as one more topic in a party-politics worldview.

Most rules that Democratic politicians object to are rules that the same Democrats created to use against Republicans just a few years prior. This new precedent won’t be any exception. It might even come in handy one day, one way or another.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 23, 2019

China’s in over its head. They got somewhat of a trade deal, though they never had much to bargain with because their economy is much more dependent on imports than the US economy. So, their trade deal can’t have gone as well as they would have liked, so they were always going to be unhappy, no matter what they got. They won’t be happy, even though they plan a signing photo op come January.

Beijing-rooted leaders in Hong Kong are genuinely confused about the public outcry. In all likelihood, the Chinese truly don’t know how much they afflict and oppress their own people. Because they are out of touch with normal life—because they rely on inhumane means to silence any opposition—they probably believe dissidents are genuine misfits. Beijing remains oblivious to how cruel and rightly despised its rule is. Had Beijing even tried to know what real, ordinary people really, truly think, they might not have been surprised by Hong Kong’s harsh rejection. But, Beijing never cared enough to try to ask in the first place. So, Beijing despises Hong Kong, all the while doing so under the delusion that its spite is well-deserved.

The British have politely demanded that Beijing honor the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration and hold talks with Hong Kong protestors. From Beijing’s perspective, this is as unimaginable as a Chinese demigod being willing to hold a dialog with a cockroach. Make no mistake, Beijing does not feel that Britain is making any kind of request; it is purely interpreted as an insult, like demanding one to kiss one’s own rear end. However incapable Beijing is of understanding the polite demand, let alone obeying it, the demand remains legally binding. Britain is building a case for nullification and Beijing believes that every way out is an illusion meant to insult.

Then, there’s Huawei. The trade agreement China holds no cards to oppose with won’t matter. Huawei needs customers and Europe is skittish, to say the least. Huawei needs money because the Chinese government needs money. Central planning squandered loans on enormous, countless, empty buildings. The concept of “scalability” is foreign to the government that always gets what it wants, until it can’t afford to anymore. Even then, the Chinese won’t know why they can’t afford to anymore because they can’t understand “scalability”. Huawei’s losses will weaken China’s position further when it comes time for round 2 of the US-China trade negotiations.

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Encore of Revival: America, December 23, 2019

Trump’s popularity is soaring. The impeachment this week helped the popular president even more—well, if an “impeachment” that the House speaker chooses not to transfer to the Senate is an actual impeachment. In the words of Sen. Mitch McConnell, the House doesn’t demonstrate much leverage by not, “sending us something we do not want.” Not sending the Senate something the Senate does not want has made Trump even more “popularer”.

Whether Democratic or Republican, everyone should think the House is an embarrassment to the country. Even Putin thinks the House is laughable. Smart Democratic voters won’t want their politicians barking up trees, starting fights that help the other team. But, there is a danger—power corrupts and supermajority corrupts “superly”. Democrats are handing the nation a supermajority Republican party by 2022, when the third round of Senate elections for Trump’s tenure take place. That is when our freedom will be at more risk than it has ever been; when good people no longer have accountability they are no longer good.

Fortunately, while many Democratic voters don’t value the Constitution that started the trend of ending slavery for the first time in human history, at least they know the power of gridlock. Democrats like checks and balances when they don’t have power. That might be enough to save freedom.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 16, 2019

China is desperately grasping for straws. While German parliament is planning to ban Huawei against the will of their head of state, Chancellor Merkel, a Chinese ambassador sends a message that “there will be consequences”—when diplomatic channels go to the head of state, not parliament. The Chinese ambassador is like a dog barking up a tree; German parliament doesn’t care what the Chinese ambassador says. But, in China different branches of government don’t matter because that’s just a “silly Western thing”. So, the Chinese don’t know how German government works because the Chinese presume that Germans lie as much as the Chinese do.

Moreover, the Chinese Communists have overlooked one blaring flaw—if Huawei isn’t controlled by China’s government, that would make it the only entity in China not subject to passive-aggressive threats under pain of organ harvesting. Moreover, if Huawei were the independent company China’s government claims it is, China’s government wouldn’t be so defensive of Huawei being banned from Germany.

China has many weaknesses, self-contradicting diplomacy being the least. Its labor force is shrinking. Its economy is much more dependent on exports than America’s. Its tech sector is even more dependent on importing American-made components. Tit-for-tat tariffs don’t favor China in that regard. The Chinese don’t spend as much on their military as America does, regardless of the hype from State-run Chinese news outlets. And, it doesn’t own a very big piece of the pie when it comes to US Treasury bonds—the greatest liquidation threat China could make there is to offer a temporary discount price to willing investors. The cost would be China forfeiting any leverage it had by owning such a small part of America’s debt, while America’s economy might skip two beats at most, then nevermore.

Then, we have the anti-Trump camp. Many economists who haven’t a clue where wealth comes from despise America’s president. Everything needs to pay for itself, otherwise it will die in a suicide cult of bankruptcy. Maybe NATO shouldn’t be in Germany, maybe it should, but the answer—one way or the other—will only surface if NATO requires Germany to pay for its own national defense. Bowing down to China may have made a few American companies rich—regardless of making a few million Americans poor—but it was never going to last long. Even though China took American money and started bullying their neighbors, those who profited from those greedy companies in particular are angry. But, most Americans aren’t fooled anymore.

Trump played his cards well, and he’s still got plenty of chips left to ante up for many rounds to come. That isn’t good news if you’re a member of the Chinese Communist Party, hoping to help the party dominate America.

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Encore of Revival: America, December 16, 2019

Revelations about the Russianewsgategate scandal are beyond damning. Why would Comey and friends consciously fabricate a lie, just to scare the president for not meeting with the Intelligence community every day? Generally, the public thinks that they think that their attempted assault against the president would succeed, so they would never have to answer for what they did. Like a failed revolt against Caesar, now they must pay. They didn’t think they would get caught, they outreached, then they got caught. That’s what the public is generally led to believe.

However, given the levels of flagrant sloppiness, it is difficult to say that getting caught resulted from a mere miscalculation. More likely, they simply didn’t think that far ahead because, if they had, they would have prepared contingencies. They had no contingencies and they left a highway of breadcrumbs.

What explains this?—Psychopath?—Ruling class corruption?—Drowning in their own swamp? A simple miscalculation or a belief that they would get away with it doesn’t suffice. Somewhere, the Washington elite have gone off the deep end.

The impeachment campaign against Trump is a self-imploding, self-destructing, backfiring bombshell. The Democrats harm themselves with their impeachment proceedings so fast that news can’t even keep up with the damage. Their resolve to bring their own demise goes beyond conspiracy—it’s self-absorbed madness. No matter how much they can see how much they make themselves lose, they only turn up the temperature and lose more.

The moral of the story is that we should expect even more blunders as the swamp drains and the monsters who thrived there writhe in their last hours of miserable existence. Of course, that could last a few decades before it’s all done with.

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