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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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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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, March 22, 2021

Huawei plans to charge royalties for some of its 5G tech, but they may lose respect when they refuse rent payment for anchoring 200 military-manned vessels the Philippines’ backyard pool. International royalties are based on international agreement, which China denies. It brings back memories of the old phrase, “Who is ‘we’, you gotta’ mouse in your pocket?”

Taiwan, on the other hand has a vice on the semiconductor industry. And, having its evil pineapple banned from China, Japanese have discovered just how especially delicious Taiwanese pineapple are. And, they are quite amazing. Their cores are even sweet. Many other pineapple need the cores cut out because the acid is too strong. In Japan, when you order dinner, you just might get a sweet Taiwanese pineapple free of charge. Perhaps China could also charge royalties on Taiwan pineapple sales, considering that their ban helped with the boom in sales.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, March 15, 2021

More pressure on China over the games and Hong Kong. According to the Chinese, treaties with China don’t obligate China. That’s how the West views it anyway. This is the war-causing confusion between the West and the Chinese…

China believes democracy and religion will destroy the Chinese. Their solution is to remove religion, free speech, and non-Chinese governments. China claims to respect these three, but thinks that they are exploited to China’s misfortune. So, China makes new laws, hoping to protect itself, then tells the West to back off.

But, the West is concerned about trusting promises. People won’t build skyscrapers on land they believe will collapse after ten years. Nor will countries and companies invest in another country if they believe the government might take over the company or arrest the officers. So, the West is concerned about “rule of law”, that laws are made, then don’t suddenly change in a way that breaks trust. As much as some old laws can be inconvenient for a government, losing trust from the world is proving much more inconvenient, as we are seeing with calls to boycott the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

This is where the contradiction comes into play. China believed that Huawei could ignore Western law while their CFO travels to Western countries. When the Huawei CFO was arrested in Canada, China was genuinely surprised. To the Chinese, “rule of law” is a mythical concept, like using English to tell a dolphin what it’s like to walk on land. So, the Chinese were surprised.

With everything happening, China is utterly and genuinely surprised. This is not what Beijing expected.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, March 8, 2021

Military budgets—that’s the talk of the Taiwan Strait. China wants its budget to grow so it can play with the big kids by 2035. China’s apparently not ready to play with the big kids, at least since India just ate China’s lunch. So, with China trying to bulk up even more, people are asking what the heck is going on with Taiwan.

Israel spends 5% GDP on asymmetric defense; Taiwan only spends 3%. So-called “experts” want Taiwan to spend more. The US wants Taiwan to spend more. Apparently even the newspapers want Taiwan to spend more because military budget is the talk of the week.

It was a strange week, though. So many things have gone peaceful in the East Pacific. China and India are suddenly getting along. Taiwan and China talk more about the need to talk. Threats and vibrato from Beijing haven’t stopped, of course. But, things are getting a bit quiet, and it seems somewhat eerie.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, March 1, 2021

China was fooled again. They thought Biden would be the same pushover he was as vice president. Oops.

Human Rights groups are amassing. Now the Beijing 2022 Olympics are a candidate for boycott. As if that’s not enough, the USS Nimitz can’t stop making headlines as it is supposed to return home in a month. It’s currently in China’s back yard pool, so to speak. The Chinese aren’t happy. But, when are they ever?

Even with Presiden Biden, Trump restrictions on China are still going into effect. China responds by banning imports on Taiwanese pineapple. But, the pineapple ban came too late. Just think how much better the world would be if China had banned those evil pineapple in a more timely fashion.

But, since the evil Taiwanese pineapple ban came too late, China had to take more drastic action. They arrested 47 people in Hong Kong who like democracy. It is rumored that they might like democracy almost as much as they like pineapple. While this can’t be confirmed, it could be that liking pineapple proved how dangerous those democracy-lovers really were. But, that is pure conjecture.

In case banning evil Taiwanese pineapple wasn’t enough to guarantee domestic safety, China also requires that clergy worship Chairman Mao. The Holy See isn’t sanguine, neither are those evil Taiwanese pineapple farmers.

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