Cadence of Conflict: Asia, August 12, 2019

China instructs Hong Kong not to confuse restraint for weakness, notwithstanding that China is making that very mistake with the West in not sponsoring the demands of Hong Kongers that Hong Kong’s government keep the Sino-British promise of 1984. China claims that the West has meddled in Hong Kong. The biggest problem with this argument isn’t lack of evidence, though evidence is lacking. The bigger problem is need—the West wouldn’t need to meddle in order to create the chaos we see in Hong Kong because China has already done more than enough. Balancing Hong Kong’s unrest with China’s interference, the math adds up.

As China poetically said of Hong Kong, a “blow from the sword of law is waiting for them in the future.” China should heed its own words. But, we already knew China was incapable heeding any wisdom, including its own, which is probably why the West doesn’t bother commenting anymore. After all that has happened, China recently had the lack of self-awareness to call its growing power a “peaceful rise” in defense of growing Australian concerns.

Taiwan is gearing up and arming up. Their new “Cloud Peak” missile can reach Beijing. It’s mobile and in mass-production. It still pales in comparison to Beijing’s aggression toward everyone, everywhere. But, Taiwan figures, at least an attack from Beijing would hurt in Beijing. But, Beijing’s probably not capable of understanding that. So, the Taiwanese can’t count on their Cloud Peak missiles as any kind of deterrent, only a disruptor to cripple and confuse and weaken sequential attacks from an attacker who struck first.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, July 29, 2019

China says that Hong Kong CEO Carrie Lam may not resign because she must remain in power to clean up the mess China started and blames on her. Albeit, staying in power to clean up her scape-goat mess is impossible because cleaning up that mess requires her to resign as the people demanded. The “mess” includes her being there in the first place—because her election was not from self-governance as Hong Kongers were promised in 1984. The mess also includes China saying who may and may not resign—because China doesn’t get a say about one grain of sand in Hong Kong until 2047.

The whole problem goes back to China’s inability to not meddle. A Beijing-managed group based in Shenzhen has been carefully researching and observing the developments in Hong Kong so that Beijing can know how to properly respond—whatever that’s supposed to mean. Make no mistake, they aren’t trying to understand how to govern a free people or understand the reasonable requests of a free and self-motivated economy. They aren’t trying to learn whatever wisdom might have made the West so rich and powerful in the first place. No, Beijing is on a mission to Sinicize Hong Kong out of being Hong Kong.

The current task is to figure out how to “disappear” 2 million Hong Kongers without the world noticing. Hong Kong’s police under-reported the 2 million turnout; they’ll probably under-report the number of “disappeared” people as well, and they need research to make it sound convincing. If the protests had happened in Xinjiang, Beijing wouldn’t need to do such research because the world wouldn’t be watching because making 2 million people disappear in Xinjiang was never a problem in the past. And, that’s what Hong Kongers rightly fear.

Beijing’s research narrative presumes that Hong Kongers only fear being “Xinjianged” because some phantom, invisible Western influence influenced them. They have no proof of this, but that’s Beijing’s presumption. If there’s a problem, it must be America’s fault. So, Beijing’s approach is to sneak around and spy from the shadows until this phantom “influence monster” from the evil West shows its face. That’s Beijing’s plan to solve the Hong Kong problem.

Now, there’s constitutional discussion about where and how Hong Kong’s “Basic Law” allows military intervention from China, namely if Hong Kong’s government asks. But, the whole discussion misses the whole point—that Hong Kong’s Basic Law is based on the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984 of non-interference from Beijing. Beijing already interfered by not allowing self-governance in Hong Kong as promised. Not letting Carry Lam resign is yet another violation of that promise and premise. So, technically, the law beneath the Basic Law has already been dissolved. And, Beijing only incriminates itself further by claiming that promises made in the past don’t need to be kept because they are in the past.

Pay attention because, while Taiwan is a linchpin that will bring America into war with China, Hong Kong is the linchpin that will bring the UK and Europe along with it.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, June 17, 2019

Trump’s so-called “trade war” with China was never any failed attempt at relations. It was a way to get American companies out of China before the inevitable crud hit the fan. With Hong Kong’s government ignoring it’s people, we can see Trump’s wisdom with China.

One million people in a population of just over 7 million protested a Beijing-backed extradition law in Hong Kong. Protests continued all week until a second, larger march returned one week later. What in the world is happening in the Far East? To understand Hong Kong, first take a look at Taiwan.

Much like the Asian Mad Scientist Theorem for North Korea, consider the Taiwan Schedule Theorem, as follows: Unknown to the world, China has a military expansion schedule which requires possession of Taiwan. By a certain time, Beijing wants to use Taiwan’s harbors to anchor China’s Navy. Anything that threatens or delays that schedule causes China to take more extreme steps elsewhere, in fact anywhere, anyway. This isn’t truth; it’s a theorem that explains a lot.

For example, the DPP being elected in 2016 meant a slow in China’s schedule for Taiwan—according to this theorem. That led Beijing to lean on Taiwan’s allies, making them break off formal relations with Taipei.

With this theorem in mind, the goal of the US would, then, be to make as many disruptions with China’s “Taiwan schedule” as possible, provoking China to exhaust its “other” ways to respond to schedule delays. Trade would be one way China could respond to schedule delays. But, the US trade war already removed “trade” as way to retaliate.

Another way China expands its power is through unofficial loans. Sri Lanka had to surrender a strategic sea port to China because of debt. Moreover, if countries borrow Chinese money off the books, then government bond values are inaccurate. Under-the-table lending is another rout China can take if the “Taiwan schedule” gets delayed, but that’s been exposed and won’t be so easy in the future.

China’s getting boxed-in and Taiwan absorption seems farther and farther away.

With snowballing US-Taiwan cooperation—including the FBI scene last week, also including the $2 Billion in arms sales—China will see more delays. Protesting the G20 set for June 28, 2019 in Osaka would be another way Beijing could retaliate for delays in absorbing Taiwan. But, Trump already promised tariffs on yet another $300 Billion in goods if Xi Jinping doesn’t show.

Chinese ambassadors to G20 countries are promoting anti-US sentiment. Will those countries be likely to side with China against the US just because a Beijing ambassador told them what to do? Even Hong Kongers don’t like Beijing telling their CEO what to do. Perhaps Beijing doesn’t know that. Perhaps Beijing knows, but doesn’t care. Perhaps everyone “kowtowing” to China’s demands over the last 40 years has led the Chinese to believe they are more influential than they really are. Beijing doesn’t seem to be aware of where it stands with international opinion. But, it might find out soon.

Does any Chinese president show up where he is not welcome? Think about that…

With Trump’s G20 threat in place, if Xi Jinping shows up at G20 where his anti-US diplomacy efforts “un-welcomed” him, then people will think he succumbs to threats and is weak. If he doesn’t show, then Trump will lecture China publicly about “keeping a schedule” while Xi’s country faces tariffs on $300 Billion of goods, and Xi will be seen as weak. More importantly, with new tariffs, China would be even less able to retaliate to delays in the “Taiwan schedule”. Either way, drama over G20 exhausts China and leads to a checkmate.

If Taiwan is considered a playing “card”, then it is a “trump” card, as they say. Taiwan might be a chess piece, but not one that gets sacrificed. Taiwan may be the pawn-turned-queen to hold the king in check at the end game.

Now, consider Hong Kong, where a “to other countries including China” extradition law brought out 1 Million Hong Kongers in protest, twice. CEO Carrie Lam outright ignored the protestorstwice. She’s sad—not about her proposed extradition law, but that the law is opposed. Ignoring 1/7th of the population when they march in the streets is a bad idea in any country, in any universe. But, Carrie doesn’t care, thus reflecting the worldview of any Beijinger.

Taiwan responded by deciding that it would not cooperate with the Hong Kong extradition law, even if passed, until “human rights” were addressed and only if Hong Kong heeded the opinion of its people in choosing whether to pass the law. Without Taiwan’s support, the largest—if not only—reason known to the public for the law has vanished. And, it’s all because of Taiwan.

One important factor in the “Taiwan schedule” is the upcoming election. Things seemed to be leaning toward Mayor Han of Kaohsiung for the KMT-Nationalist party. But, the events in Hong Kong over the past week have weakened Han and almost certainly assured a second term for Taiwan’s incumbent, President Tsai. That means only more delays in the “schedule”

If Beijing can’t get a grip on Taiwan quickly, Beijing will tighten its grip on Hong Kong even more.

But, Hong Kong is small and already attached to the mainland and doesn’t lend itself to much in the way of retaliation. Too many changes in Hong Kong law and countries will break treaty with Hong Kong and the “Asia’s World City” show will be finished. Once Hong Kong is no longer sufficient for Beijing to lash out over delays with Taiwan, the only retaliation left will be to invade Taiwan. That was Washington’s goal all along—a fight for Taiwan that requires Pentagon intervention—and long-term presence after—and China started it.

Beijing might be willing for a pro-unification candidate to win  Taiwan’s election. But, if other things crowd in too quickly—say the US normalizes with Taiwan—the 2020 election wouldn’t help the “Taiwan schedule” either way. Beijing needs to give Washington a reason not to formalize ties with Taipei, and so far they haven’t. G20 will decide a lot; China voting “absent” will decide a lot more a lot more quickly. Based on this Taiwan Schedule Theorem, expect more jeers and insults leading up to G20, from both sides, at the end of this month and expect Beijing to try every way to tighten its grip on Hong Kong.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, March 25, 2019

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.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, January 21, 2019

The US government shutdown is stalling Beijing’s action against Taiwan. With the US slightly less-able to respond and prepare, Beijing has an opportunity to bide time and grow its military. No doubt, Beijing will see advantage and seize opportunity.

At the same time, the US has zero intent of appeasing Beijing’s hopes for Taiwan. Whatever signals the US sends elsewhere and otherwise, the US government shows no respect for China and China shows a slow learning curve on understanding just how little respect it has thus.

The evermore desperate fight inside Taiwan continues. Taiwanese rally around their defiant president. Taiwan’s government is reaching for any friends it can find anywhere in the world, while policing dissidents and sources of pro-Chinese opinion within its borders. No doubt, Taiwan is headed for what Winston Churchill said of Great Britain, “this was their finest hour.” Though history has not written the end of that hour, the time is fast approaching.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 17, 2018

While China would attempt to send the US out of its backyard by shocking the US with an invasion of Taiwan, that motive in itself would not be enough to push China to war. Beijing believes that controlling more territory is the solution to current problems with its own territory. In urban terms, it would be like believing the reason you have problems in your home is because you don’t own the home nextdoor—you deserve to own it, after all; so take it, “by force if necessary.” That part of Chinese culture—needing to occupy more surroundings in order to solve problems at home, rather than after solving problems at home—is the part of the Beijing mindset that will actually push China to invade. The time of the invasion will come when Beijing believes that solving its problems at home—specifically with Western press and free speech—can wait no longer. Then, China will invade Taiwan while genuinely believing that all of China’s problems within its current borders will thus vanish over night.

But, the US doesn’t think the way Beijing thinks the US thinks. While many Americans will be surprised by China’s invasion of Taiwan, Beijing will be surprised even more by the American electorate’s response to support recompense against China.

In Chinese media, a Chinese Air Force colonel’s recommendation that PLA Navy ships ram US Navy ships is not an actual recommendation for strategy as much as it is an attempt at repulsive rhetoric. Chinese culture presumes that a public suggestion is an indirect warning with no intention of follow-through, and because it has no intention of follow-through, it is therefore a “powerful-polite” way of attempting to tell the US to leave. That is how cultural, indirect communication with the Chinese works. Though it is possible that the Chinese might become enraged enough to follow this action by ramming US ships at sea, it would take less rage for China to decide to invade Taiwan. From Beijing’s view, unlike retaking the well-deserved Taiwan, ramming a US ship would be an actual assault. If the Chinese-American war begins with a rammed ship, that would indicate a very angry China.

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