China faces more scrutiny from its own propaganda while Taiwan searches its own soul. Taiwanese elections are fast approaching. Demagoguery is in full swing. Even the founder of Foxconn says a Chinese god told him to run for president.
We could say that billionaires are the presidential trend, but Terry Gou’s (郭台銘) money is largely in China, which is planning to attack Taiwan. Trump’s investments were mainly in American companies with satellite projects globally. Gou can’t rightly be compared to Trump. While there were proven-to-be-unsubstantiated suspicions of a connection to Russia with Trump, Gou’s connection to China is both widely known and undisputed, Foxconn having 12 factories in China. Gou opposes the US selling weapons to Taiwan. I wonder why.
If business tycoon Gou were to take the de facto pro-unification KMT-Nationalist party nomination, he would need to overcome Mayor Han of Kaohsiung, a populist with little political experience who’s primary vehicle of campaigning is complaint and demagoguery. Han recently accused Taiwan’s military of being “eunuchs” in uniform, which stirred up the voters who don’t like compulsory military service, but he failed to provide a solid path to making any improvements.
The controlling party’s incumbent president will need to face a primary challenger, former Premier and Mayor William Lai, who has his own past list of non-accomplishments.
While Taiwan fights with itself, China’s new best-friend-forever is Venesuala. The press highlighted China’s high-pressure work culture this week with a story about Alibaba founder Jack Ma’s defense of 12-hour, 6-day work weeks. Did Ma think that would make the American public more or less likely to support US military action against China? Some in China are starting to see Trump as China’s savior.
So, with a seemingly unstable Taiwan and a China with something to prove, we are approaching flashpoint, where “liberators” will get the justification they need to come out of the woodwork and split up China like fire ants on a dead tiger.
Events in China are playing out according to the “Pacific Daily Times Symphony Asian Mad Scientist Theorem“. The experimental phase in North Korea is finished and methods are being applied throughout China on a much grander scale. This week, we see reports of expensive ghost cities, comparable to Pyongyang. The debt to build those ghost cities could be enough to break China’s economy into the deprived status of northern Korea. Now, swelling human rights concern could court the West to support China’s unfriendly neighbors to intervene in China as the “grand liberators”.
If things continue on track with the theorem, China would end up in an armistice against its own provinces—a standoff between Beijing and fragments of the soon-to-be-formerly united China.
Trump continues to prove that he knows what he’s doing with Kim Jong-Un. The DPRK’s Great Successor will likely wise up, still venting steam once in a while. He seems to be one of the smartest heads of state in his region—seeking more cooperation with economic policies that work, not less. But even if not, Korea will not be a border for China to ignore. Beijing and its surrounding provinces would be the likely hold-out against a liberated Northwest, Tibet, Southern Canton, and it will need to keep a 24/7 guard in the Northeast. Break-aways could form their own federation, or not. Either way, as history repeats, we look to be headed for a Cold War -style standoff between fractured Chinese regions.
The US Marines are test driving “lightning carriers”—small aircraft carriers with a potently packed punch of F-35s. Their range radius is smaller, but so is their targetable shadow. In a Pacific conflict, a smattering of lightning carriers might prove more formidable than a single, central Nimitz class group. Federated, autonomous, small attack groups tend to be wise in warfare, as the French Revolution proved on land. We’ll see at sea.
These smaller carriers are said to focus on smaller tasks, putting Nimitz class carriers—now being called “super carriers”—in the spotlight against China and Russia. And, we know that the Chinese think the spotlight is an indication of “importance”. While Russia knows better, the Chinese probably don’t. Just because headlines read that a Nimitz class focuses on China doesn’t mean US strategy would fail if China’s new “anti-carrier” missiles sunk a Nimitz. Sinking a Nimitz class carrier would only enrage the American public into a war that they couldn’t lose. That’s how history has always played out, anyway. But, the mistakes from history don’t seem to have much impact on Chinese President Xi, who is determined to revive Maoism at any cost. If Maoism is revived, it’s results will follow. That won’t end the standoff with Taiwan; it will add more uncontrolled lands to the standoff it was never strong enough to resolve.
America’s government has finally cracked the code on China. They know how to get under China’s skin. They had an idea before, but the algorithm—the precise frequency of activation—needed fine-tuning. And, of course, China made it all too easy to know that the code had been cracked. The sale of 60 F-16V’s to Taiwan—inferior in both number and, supposedly, technology—wasn’t even made official. Still, China couldn’t wait to announce to the world exactly the kind of insignificance that it found irritating above all previous attempts.
With this new and tested knowledge, we can expect the US to do more, and to do so more subtly. America will stand calmly, smiling. China will fume more every day, seemingly for no reason. At last, the Chinese will be so overwhelmed with rage that they will strike before military wisdom advises.
The sad, but poetic, part is that no warnings, not even reading this article, not even a spy exposing some kind of “provocation plot” or whatnot would be able to deter China from this fate. For, China loves respect above all else. Those who hunger for respect are easy to provoke and anyone provoked is under complete control of the provocateur. And, Chinese culture doesn’t know how to change or even listen.
But, there is another factor that blinded China to the American tactics. A nation with a one-child policy won’t have as much experience in sibling rivalry. America doesn’t have such a policy. Americans learn from childhood how to get under some else’s skin—especially when that someone else is the known playground bully who needs to be provoked to a brawl and sent to the principle’s office before getting any older, and bigger.
The die has been cast. The fate of the American-Chinese war has already been determined: China strikes; China loses; China loses more. Now, it’s just a matter of watching how the specifics play out on our road to the foreseen.
China is being overwhelmed—Huawei to the west, British probes to the south, Kim to the north, but the prospect of trade to the east. The weakness is in the Chinese-cultural paradigm of negotiation. Chinese culture wants to sign a contract first, then negotiate the terms after. That’s a polite way of explaining “psychopathic negotiation”.
China labels Hong Kong as an “internal”, national security matter. It’s not; it’s a “joint” matter. According to the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, China can’t govern Hong Kong as its own until 2047—a mandate for Hong Kong being under Beijing’s leadership. By telling Britain to “face reality”, London will see the reality as Beijing reneging on the deal. It’s not that China wants to be malicious, but that China doesn’t understand what a promise really entails.
That could be why the Chinese offer such sweeping concessions to get better trade with America. They might not understand that promises about those concessions will actually have to be kept. But, there’s more that sails over Beijing’s brightest heads.
America shows no indication of backing down on Taiwan. By cozying up on trade, Beijing probably hopes America will receive an indirect message about Taiwan. But, if Taiwan isn’t discussed, then it’s not part of the trade agreement—or any agreement with the US. Beijing, probably laden with more wishful thinking than savvy, won’t understand. They just won’t understand.
That’s the Korean problem to the north. Trump knew exactly what he was doing by telling Kim exactly what “de-nuking” looked like. They had talked before. Kim had taken a three day journey to talk again. Now Kim knows reality: a free economy prospers, North with nukes has neither in the end. That won’t go over well with a culture more prideful than the Chinese. Trump knows this.
Now, Kim is a loose canon to China’s north and the only thing Trump did was unleash the obvious. We’ll see how long it takes for China to understand, if ever.
Now, China has become the dark example of why not to be a Democrat in America. This is a new low. As much as being compared to China makes Democrats appear bad, it makes China appear all the worse because it paints China as the archetype of “how not to be”. American sentiment against China grows evermore glum.
No country is above democratic politics. Though Communist, China is still controlled by democracy. If the American public doesn’t like China, they will overthrow China in their own way. But, that’s a concept Beijing is incapable of adapting to because they have no such accountability to their own people at home.
China thinks its “rise to power” is about China being able to make decisions on its own. America thinks that anyone’s rise to power is about growing up and acting like an adult. As long as China keeps saying things like, “China can do what we want, America can’t tell us what to do,” it keeps getting evermore clear whether China is an adult yet.
Taiwan isn’t backing down. The government there continues to press for WHO participation. A Taiwanese airline now has flights to the island of Palau—which is important because it is a good thing that didn’t happen under Beijing control. A Taiwanese Mayor of Kaohsiung, Han, of the pro-unification-leaning political KMT-Nationalist party visited the Beijing office in Hong Kong—raising questions about honesty and motive in Taiwan’s central government.
His party keeps threatening to make laws to help Taiwan be re-unified under Beijing. That party recently won a mid-term at local governments. Perhaps they want to loose the next national election just as quickly.
Now, the US is in serious talks about establishing a strong military presence on Taiwan’s Taiping Island, somewhere between Taiwan’s huge, main island and China’s man-made islets at Mischief Reef. That would lead to a provocation that no trade agreement could withstand.
Drama and theatrics! The US might be in a position to enforce the Magnitsky Act against China. Now, like Taiwan before, the US is taking the pot shots. It compares to Tony Stark’s Iron Man tossing rocks at a tank to provoke the tank before obliterating the tank.
Talk of talks about trade with China while focusing on more military money for what Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan calls “China, China, China”—that’s not an effort to make peace with a country that wants it, but an effort to irritate a not-so-closet adversary into justifying a retaliatory victory. China will see the US as two-faced, never figuring out that the US is intentionally getting under Beijing’s skin because the Chinese don’t know how easily irritable their view of themselves makes them.
Then, there’s Korea. In a retelling from The Godfather III, we might say that Kim wouldn’t do this without backing. By rumbling about nuking up again, Kim is flexing muscles that shouldn’t be flexed—but only would be flexed if someone, say like Xi Jinping, were whispering support in his ear. More is going on than even Trump may be revealing, even if Kim’s rumblings are all for show. If tensions rise between the US and Northern Korea, China would be the likely backstage culprit. That would mean that tension in the Koreas would justify US action against China—yet another tank rock to toss.
Then, we have “melo-theatrics” worse than “damn lies”: statistics.
If Trump’s poll numbers were to suddenly plummet, nothing would bring them back like a victory against evermore unpopular China—now at 41% in America. That makes Trump, 47% as of Tuesday, more popular than China. If House Democrats were to take action against Trump, that might encourage China that he would not be able to sustain action against China—when actually a victorious action against China would bring up his popularity to make him politically immune to House Democrats. The freedom and opinion -driven dynamics of American politics eludes Chinese strategists, another front on which Beijing is likely to miscalculate.
If Trump’s popularity were to slip just before a conflict with China, it could have been intentional—as a means to provoke China into thinking that China is stronger against the US than it is. But, China will never figure it out, like the cat chasing the laser pen’s dot—they never figure it out.