Cadence of Conflict: Asia, July 1, 2019

The Korean DMZ is the hottest new place to socialize! Dear Leaders charge to the border to shake hands. Presidents line up early to get a good spot. Few diplomatic maneuvers or promises on trade can compete with the political electricity and friendship found at the one border in Asia that has no military.

Trump’s visit to Kim Jong-Un on his way home paid a great honor to the leader who was not at the G20 summit. Peace in Korea means a harder sell for countries seeking something else.

Leaders at G20 smiled for the camera and acted like best friends forever, reassuring their citizens back home. But, a bridge that spans 90% of a river is neither a bridge nor a dock, it’s just an obstruction. Trade is on the table. Trump made a gesture without tread, allowing American companies to work with Huawei, as long as they don’t help Huawei in the ways Trump claims Huawei continues to threaten security. Xi smiled, but didn’t seem impressed.

Hong Kong protests have continued four weekends in a row.

If we look at the Hong Kong protests from the view of the Asian Mad Scientist Theorem, everything makes perfect sense. Experimentation with North Korea is finished and moved onto China. Now, it’s time to see what happens when attempting to impose tyranny onto an unarmed, peaceful, free-thinking, free-speaking people.

Their main reaction was to petition G20 nations the week of the G20 summit. China has declared Hong Kong to be an internal matter that will not be discussed at G20. This creates a dilemma similar to the line between an internal family matter vs the kids banging on the neighbors’ door to report domestic violence. If internal matters escalate to a certain point, then can’t not become external matters.

Grenville Cross should be investigated for unhealthy ties to Beijing. Being the director of public prosecutions starting in 1997, when Hong Kong was handed over to Beijing, and with his recent “opinion” piece, more of a political rebuke of the protestors, he is operating as Beijing’s mouthpiece and overlooked one important part of Hong Kong’s Basic Law—mainly that Beijing may never, ever, ever interfere. He should be investigated as an accomplice with a means and a now evident motive.

The Huawei FedEx package returned to Sascha Segan doesn’t seem to be a lash-out at China, but a lash-out at Trump.

Read More

Encore of Revival: America, July 1, 2019

It’s the Art of the Deal. Trump and his work in East Asia at G20 upstaged political niggling in the US. His visit to North Korea upstaged G20. Meeting with the estranged Xi Jinping at Osaka—after rumors of Xi not showing and/or not talking, being the first sitting president to cross the Koreas’ border into the north at the DMZ, then accompanying Kim inside for talks on the other side of the border in the south—this is bigger than anything going on in the Democratic presidential debates.

Meanwhile in Washington, the focus should remain on the courts. Justices are no longer divided evenly and clearly, neither along lines of politics nor judicial philosophy. Justice Gorsuch sided with the Constitution against the should-be Conservatives.

In politics, “Conservative vs Liberal” is about social tradition and whether to guarantee due process to ones opponents. On the Court, “Conservative vs Liberal” is about whether to strictly apply law as written vs trying to rule each case as an indirect way of “creating” new law. Both sides of the recent gun crime case voted on party lines—to let criminals walk vs to punish criminals—all except Gorsuch, who sided with the Liberals only because the law was too vague. It seems that Gorsuch is the only judicial Conservative on the court, while the rest seem to be Republican or Democratic activists.

We are looking at a third term for President Trump, along with a sixth Republican-appointed justice on the Supreme Court.

Happy Independence Week!

Read More

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, August 5, 2019

If one were to guess what was going on between Trump and Kim, internal politics of North Korea would explain it all. Korea is no exception to East Asia’s history of ongoing domination quarreling. Kim is not universally loved within his own government. The military is constantly at his back door and he must squash mutinies constantly. Pomp and acting like he’s the “military man” makes it hard for his enemies within to rally ill will against him.

Also, Trump has commented that many things are going on with North Korea behind the scenes—things which remain beyond the paparazzi watch of the Western presses. When Trump indicates no objection to the non-nuclear missile launches in North Korea, it almost seems as if Trump knows Kim is doing something the rest of the West doesn’t know about. For all we know, the number and frequency of non-nuclear missile tests could be a kind of Morse code only known to Trump and Kim. Given what has been publicly told, that would not be impossible. This only leads us to conclude that we can’t conclude anything about what’s happening in North Korea so far; there have just been too many jokers added to the deck.

Then, there’s China, China, and also China.

When it comes to raising public support for Western action against China, China is its own worst PR enemy.

China keeps doing the same thing. Beijing’s solution to rejection is to incite more rejection. Beijing’s solution to resistance is to give excuse for more resistance. It’s in a self-destructing insanity tailspin—paranoid of invisible enemies, justifying interfering in Hong Kong under the auspices that Hong Kong was already interfered in by the West.

That’s what this is all about, by the way. The whole reason Beijing accuses Taiwan and the US of causing the Hong Kong riots is to build the case that “Hong Kong was already interfered with”, and therefore sending in China’s military to stop the protests would not violate the Basic Law. The problem is that the Basic Law does not grant China permission to use military force against unarmed Hong Kong citizens on the basis of “Western interference”. But, the Chinese don’t understand the concept of “lawfulness” anyway. They just come up with whatever excuse sounds sophisticated enough to seem smarter than everyone else and thereby hypnotize the public into compliance.

China wants to blame the US and Trump won’t give China one single excuse to be twisted into so-called proof. Trump treads cautiously, but he is neither callous nor oblivious. His silence should be a warning to China that he is no fool. Sadly, China will take his silence to mean that he has caved into Beijing’s aggression and the Chinese military will only grow more overconfident than it already is. But, choices of the past four decades suggest that may have been the plan all along.

The tipping point is upon us. If China’s warship crashed into a Taiwan freighter on accident, then there would be no reason to fear or respect China’s Navy because their crew can’t steer. The alternative is to interpret it as an act of war. China doesn’t consider either because an angry bully in blamer-mode doesn’t consider others, not even how others can or will respond.

Read More

Encore of Revival: America, August 5, 2019

Tariffs and trade headlines aren’t about trade or tariffs; they are about Trump. The trade war with China isn’t about China having taken US jobs since before the 1980s, it’s “Trump’s trade war”. The poor American farmers who planted crops to suit the Chinese are all beside themselves. A bad environment—whether in weather or economics—is the new normal and farmers are being told the same thing as American companies that depend on China: get used to it and look elsewhere.

America’s economy can’t be dependent on China because China is not dependable. Look at the self-contradiction of someone who says otherwise. Trump’s former economic adviser, Gary Cohn, says in one sentence that China was going to take down its own economy anyway, then in another sentence says that US trade policy is backfiring. Which is it? Was China going to do all this anyway or did the US initiate something that backfired? Both can’t be true at the same time.

Either the US affected China’s economic policy or it didn’t—for better or worse. Claiming that we didn’t make a difference while also claiming that we made a difference that backfired doesn’t indicate a well-considered economic framework; it indicates someone shooting in the dark, trying to find any argument that will convince people to dislike Trump. After all, America’s economy was wonderful while it made China rich, but once the US economy stopped serving China, it wasn’t a “US trade war”, it was “Trump’s trade war”.

Many Trump critics believe Trump supporters are stupid, but they still try to use reason to persuade Trump supporters. This is another self-contradiction, adding to the self-contradicting reasoning. Even if self-contradiction could persuade Trump supporters to abandon him, there would be no place to turn. Democratic infighting is at an all-time high.  It’s almost as if the Democrats want to lose the 2020 election, pretending to fight valiantly while they do. But, that wouldn’t be anything new. They have been doing that with human rights and civil rights for decades.

Read More

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, June 24, 2019

We are not headed to a Second Cold War. We are not at risk of heading to a Second Cold War. We are traveling at trans-warp speed toward the First Flash War. It will start and end quickly, laying the groundwork for WWIII and FWII to follow.

These pieces of our times are important to distinguish. Different analysts with different levels of understanding of history are trying their best to explain our times. To a novice—either to history or to the West or to the East—who just begins to understand, it may seem like we are headed toward Cold War II.

China and the US are in a growing conflict on the surface, but Russia is whispering in China’s ear. Russia wants the same old thing. The US is generally unaware of Russia’s intent or dismisses it.

China thinks that the US wants to retain power. China wants to rise, so Beijing feels the need to “beat back” the US.

The US knows China wants to rise and doesn’t mind. The US wants to step back, but knows China is an undisciplined bully—lawless and doesn’t respect human rights. So, the US feels the need to “beat down” China to make Beijing behave.

The US takes the approach of protectionism and innovation—tariffs and moving manufacturing back home. China takes the approach of its domineering culture and copying others—both doomed to fail.

One of the Chinese’s biggest complaints used to justify their military aggression in the South Sea is American presence. The claim is that the US has 180 military bases throughout East Asia, rephrased “near China”. Because of this, China calls America the “aggressor” and, like the burglar who thinks society stole from him first, says its military response is justified.

The US has been in many of those places since the end of WWII and after the Korean War. The Chinese didn’t know about this US presence because their surveillance tech wasn’t good enough. Once China reverse-engineered and stole designs for enough Western tech—because they still don’t know how to invent it on their own—they started to see that Americans had been their the whole time.

The “Second Coming Cold War” argument is flawed because we’ve already been in such a “cold” standoff for seven decades. That’s how Beijing interprets it anyway, and now the Chinese want to heat things up.

Consider the contradiction. For over 70 years, Americans have been quietly watching the seas. They didn’t harass fishermen. They didn’t aim missiles and launch threats. They didn’t attempt to ram into other boats. They never tried to deny passage through international waters. China has done all these things, but not the US—in 70 years! So, because of that, the US is the aggressor? That’s Beijing-style thinking anyway. And, that way of thinking is what Washington feels the need to defeat before it gets any bigger.

This week documented a Chinese general committing two “no-nos”. Firstly, he commented on the social structure of Hong Kong—military leaders are supposed to remain outside of politics. Secondly, the thus  proven military government of China thus also proved disdain for the law it must abide by. Motive is one vital burden of proof in a conviction. Not only had Beijing meddled where it wasn’t allowed, but we now have an established motive.

Read More

Encore of Revival: America, June 24, 2019

Our president called off an invasion that could have been what the Bay of Pigs was to JFK. We were on the brink of nuclear war with Russia 58 years ago, and we didn’t even know it! What is the value of a human life compared to a drone? Isn’t the purpose of drones to spare human life? Some would use the loss of a drone as an excuse to end human life, but not our president.

Strategy and navigation that win always elude the untrained mind. What seems to most people like the way to win is precisely how to lose. What seems idiotic to most people is the only way to win. Trump’s ongoing fight against establishments in both Asia and Washington prove who is on which side of the “which way is wise” debate. One of those important, counter-intuitive strategies is mercy.

“To err is human; to forgive, divine,” wise words, courtesy Alexander Pope. There are many traps in politics. It is an indication of scruples and wisdom to know how to navigate through them. Refusing to murder in vengeance of a downed drone is no sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. Trump did far worse to Iran than any could imagine: He showed mercy.

That was just the beginning.

Read More