Cadence of Conflict: Asia, October 14, 2019

You can’t bring a pot to boil forever. While the conventional narrative for Hong Kong warns, “Retribution is coming,” a better understanding would be, “The Chinese are coming if Hong Kong doesn’t level up.” The protests must either “level up” or otherwise change, or else the PLA will indeed march and smash.

While the situation in Hong Kong is deteriorating into a cultural war—a defense against an invasive culture of Sinicization—talks between the US and China took a similar cultural detour for the worst. China doesn’t want so-called “interference” with kidnapping 1.5 million Muslims in Xinjiang, in Beijing’s view “internal matters”. By that definition, “internal matters” violate international Human Rights laws.

Trump’s words, that all is well in Hong Kong, elude Hong Kongers and Chinese as much as the American media. On the surface Trump appeared to praise the doctored press reports coming out of Hong Kong. He also praised Supreme Justice Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Ford, days before mocking her. Not one main news agency reported Hong Kong’s October 4 de facto declaration of independence with plans for rebellion elections. Praising evidentially censored reports from Hong Kong surmounts to little.

Still, Trump knows the ramifications of his words. By playing along with propaganda China would normally get resistance from, and by staying hands-off, Trump was indirectly telling Beijing that he knows Hong Kong is worse than reported while also letting Hong Kong learn the hard lesson that independence starts with expecting no help from the outside. Over the weekend we saw just that, including smaller flash-protests and perching the Hong Kong “Goddess of Democracy” atop Lion Rock in Kowloon. “Careless Carrie” Lam even cancelled a meeting with Senator Ted Cruz—after his 10+ hour overnight flight landed.

Trump’s words could lead to the very “level-up” game-changer the Hong Kong protesters must make in order to survive. One should guess that Trump doesn’t want Hong Kong to “just be okay”, but to earn whatever independence they get on their own. It feels like rejection at first, but being abandoned to earn one’s own victory—and the spoils with it—is the greater gift of a friend. Trump never said he would squash Hong Kongers’ call for independence; he simply refused to steal their thunder.

The Chinese probably won’t pick up on Trump’s subtlety because Confucianism—especially Communist Confucianism—doesn’t believe anything can happen without outside “help”. This is the only reason Beijing suspects supposed “Western interference” without a shred of evidence.

So, the trade agreement seems to be okay, this week. But, China doesn’t want to be told to let its economy play by the same rules as ours because that too is “internal”. There is one key flaw with China’s thinking: entitlement.

Of course, America should not dictate what type of economy is best for China or any other nation. At the same time, trade is a privilege not a right. By America requiring a free market as a condition for trade with another free market, America is not interfering, but refusing to be interfered with.

Just the same, Beijing claims to reject a “zero-sum game” deal. What they mean is that they want a zero-sum game in China’s favor because they believe being better than everyone else is their right. If America doesn’t lose so that China can gain, China will reject the deal as unfair, just as they did with Britain in the “silver-for-leaves” trade that led to the Opium Wars. Nothing has changed.

The virtue of compromise doesn’t work in dealing with China, whether as an American trade negotiator or as a citizen of Hong Kong. When China demands 100, then we compromise at 50, China will demand another 100 again tomorrow. If we compromise again, it would be 100-0, and it would happen all over again the next day and the next. China will keep demanding to expand and overrun everyone else. By China’s China-favoring standards, the only compromise stands on how fast China takes you over, either ultra fast or slowly. For Beijing, there is no room for the words in the Book of Job where God told the ocean, “Here, and no farther.”

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, October 7, 2019

Hong Kong has declared independence! On Friday, October 4, thousands peacefully gathered in Ma On Shan at New Hong Kong City Centre and read aloud a manifesto. This manifesto included basic arguments similar to the US Declaration of Independence, along with basic steps for a provisional government until the new government takes over. In the eyes of China, this will be treason, just as the US Declaration of Independence was treason in the eyes of Britain.

There has been no bigger news in almost 200 years. No nation has stood up to a world superpower so great since the American Colonies defied the world-dominating British Empire in 1776. Suspiciously, mainstream news agencies were utterly silent about this all weekend.

The next question is whether Hong Kong will be able to resist China’s military. That question can only be answered by historians who have studied asymmetric warfare, such as the First War of Scottish Independence in 1270, the American Revolutionary War of 1775, or Vietnam’s August Revolution of 1945.

Britain would be wise to help because that might allow the Crown to hold Hong Kong among the Commonwealth afterward. The UN is calling for an investigation into how China has handled the four months of protest, so it would seem that the world is on Hong Kong’s side. But, investigations always follow long after a crime, even against Human Rights, while the people are left to defend themselves until help arrives. Can Hong Kong join the successful revolutionaries of history?

The string of anti-extradition protests began March 31, this year, 190 days ago. The protests have been in a state of ongoing outbreak since June 9. Hong Kongers have lived and fought in unrest in their own home for 120 days straight. They have overpowered a 32,000 troupe police force the entire time. Hong Kongers have thus become formidable and battle-tested with inferior weaponry. The impossible odds—fighting with bamboo sticks against guns—make the typical Jackie Chan movie prophetic. If China’s PLA soldiers think they will have an easy time suppressing Hong Kong, they have news in store. It’s not impossible. Only history will tell.

Unrest turned to turmoil on October 2, when China held its 70th Anniversary parade for the Communist Party. America will soon join Hong Kong’s objection to China in its own way.

In Beijing, showing off the old-news, well-known DF-41 hypersonic, “can-hit-America-in-30-minutes” 10-nuke-warhead missiles was a miscalculation. America is not afraid because we don’t expose the limits of our tech in parades. Most of our most-advanced military tech isn’t known to the general public, which is somewhat how the American people want it to be, kind of. Seeing this flagrant, open threat will motivate the inventors and businesses in the wealthier, higher-tech America to neutralize China’s open threats ASAP. Some are calling it a “Sputnik moment”.

China is a nation that thinks itself to be stronger than it actually is. If it rises to even a quarter of the world domination it hopes, it would be the first time a superpower rose from a nation so ancient. Since Persia, all world superpowers of history rose from new nations built on the encouragement of new ideas, legal limits of government, and rights for citizens. China is not on a quest to defy the world; it is on a quest to defy history. Hong Kong has history on its side.

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Encore of Revival: America, September 30, 2019

The latest assault against Trump for a supposed conspiracy with Ukraine is pure demagoguery fluff. Combining a few scary words in a few scary sentences, attaching the label “whistle blower”, then the usual “resistance is futile” Borg propaganda—it wreaks of playbook rehashing. Leftovers chef surprise reheated and re-served might fool dinner guests once or twice. But, triggering alarms that have been often false before won’t sway Trump’s base for one big reason among many: China.

America faces larger threats than what is being alleged with Ukraine. The accusations aren’t alarming to ears that favor Trump. Even if they were serious, Democrats have cried wolf too many times to be taken seriously. If a real scandal actually did hit the presses with Trump, no one who mattered would care. That is the greater danger the Democrats are creating. Just how an award is only as valuable as those who receive it, false alarms make people ignore alarms we shouldn’t. We haven’t ignored real alarms yet, but Democrats are laying in the groundwork for it. Maybe that is the real alarm.

Republicans have nothing to lose in playing along because the truth will win in the end anyway. Of course, Democrats mistake Republican “play-along” for Republican “support”—a miscalculation likely to make a Republican 2020 even bigger.

With bigger issues looming, and with the lines blurring between “whistle blower” and “wolf bellower”, the American public is more focused on supporting the president who is stopping China from taking over… well, taking over everything. Whoever can stand up to China these days deserves an acquittal, so the voters think, especially an acquittal for doing nothing wrong.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, September 23, 2019

China is dipping into its pork reserves while America is largely unaffected by the surge in oil prices. The pork crisis in China started with an outbreak of the African Swine Flu and has been exacerbated by the trade war. China doesn’t have energy independence like America does. Soon, China will have a crisis of both food and energy. Wars have started over less.

Taiwan is ready and on high alert. Though there is a surrender movement in Taiwan as always, Taiwan stands ready with the advantage. Projecting power for an invasion is not as easy as defending an impossible island. With a coastline of either cliffs or marshes and jungle mountains everywhere else, Taiwan is no walk in the park. Taiwan’s president is wise to the bullying of China and believes in taking a stand. This is why she supports Hong Kongers as she does.

The situation in Hong Kong is past dire. As foreseen, the protests turned violent because of a deaf government. “No” means “no”, but China and its puppets can’t bring themselves to accept that, and Hong Kongers won’t let “no” mean anything else. Chinese Confucian Communism now faces the determination of the West. The great showdown between the Shame culture of the Far East and the self-determined culture of the West has begun. It’s only going to escalate. And, all those people who preached “capitulation to the bully” and the “invincibility of Chinese Shame” are about to be proven drastically right or fatefully wrong.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, September 9, 2019

The missile issues in North Korea have too much unknown about them to formulate a clear opinion. From reports, Kim has indeed kept his promise, though he has violated seemingly less significant UN sanctions. Japan is on alert. Trump doesn’t seem to care. If we made a stack of American clothes made in China, then stacked what we don’t know about the North Korean missile crisis, the stack of what we don’t know about North Korean missiles would be higher. It’s unsettling, but sometimes we just don’t know.

Carrie Lam’s response to the “five demands” from protestors will not bode well in Hong Kong. She withdrew the controversial bill. The best illustration from Hong Kongers is a bandaid on a scratch after it turned gangrene. “Too little, too late” is what most are saying. Expect riots and burning buildings in the weeks to come.

Some Hong Kongers will indeed be satisfied with her speech, dare we say thrilled, but others will be enraged that she waited until after three months and a leaked recording. That recording included Lam’s claim that she couldn’t resign and that she had two masters, one of them Beijing. This is contrary to the autonomy required by the contract allowing China to claim Hong Kong as its own. If true, that recording could return Hong Kong to Britain merely in court. The stakes are high. Beijing cannot allow the public to believe that the recording demonstrated any truth. And, apparently Lam can’t either.

If that recording was inaccurate as she said, then she wouldn’t be so angry. Not only did she admit that the recording was real, it made her angry. Her objection to it is the recording’s greatest notoriety. But, Confucian Beijing-minded Chinese don’t understand that evidence speaks louder than spin. They only bake the cake they’ll have to lay in.

Withdrawing the bill will be seen by many as an attempt to counter evidence that Beijing interferes regularly, violating the Basic Law and the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984. But, the evidence remains, and there are greater grievances.

Lam’s speech fails to address the protests’ demand for her resignation, which is the very subject of the leaked recording, which came just before her sudden withdrawal of the bill. The protestors insist on her resignation and will continue to. When she said that she never considered resigning, she further incriminated herself by proving that Hong Kong does not have its required universal suffrage and that she is part of the reason why.

Some will stop protesting, but those who continue will do so with more veracity. Apart from withdrawing the bill, everything in Lam’s video ignores and insults the protest demands, essentially telling the people what they ought to want.

Telling people what they should want is widely accepted in Confucian society. But, it mixes with the West like water with oil. Lam wants to investigate to find out why Hong Kong rejected what are essentially Confucian values. But, there is no disturbance or interference or social trend to investigate. The conflict arose because the Confucian minds controlling Hong Kong, namely Lam and Beijing, are incapable of recognizing that Hong Kong already was Westernized. The question now is whether William Wallace can defeat Mao Tse-Tung.

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Encore of Revival: America, September 9, 2019

British Parliament is essentially attempting to filibuster the Brexit referendum. PM Boris Johnson has been ordered by Parliament to agree with whatever decision comes from the EU—in which Johnson gets a vote and a veto. Maybe British Parliament should have gone on to instruct France not to veto an extension. The problem with this law is how non-specific it is, which is typical of posturing. Perhaps that’s the best way for Johnson to legally “interpret” it. Johnson’s main goal is to get a Brexit deal, which he believes will only be best if real fear of real failure is allowable. But, that’s up to the British, so the rest of the would should grab a popcorn, not tell others what to do, and see how the theatrics end.

Why is America arguing about weather? Sabotage. Someone at NOAA gave the president a ridiculous forecast, that a hurricane would plow through a wall of heat and high pressure, which doesn’t happen. Of course Dorian would turn right. But, someone advised him otherwise.

The president, who is not a meteorologist, then Tweeted caution and concern for Alabama, because someone at NOAA so advised, when everyone else at NOAA knew better. This is the work of someone trying to undermine the president. He’s fired people who were wrong in the past, he should also fire the advisor who made the prediction that was as wrong as it was ridiculous.

The economy is doing well, contrary to the best efforts of the bank. Don’t blame Trump for the Chinese trade war prices; blame the companies. Over 80% of our clothing and over half of our shoes are made in China. Whatever happened to cause that, Trump is fixing it. If we don’t like the road of all things made in China, then don’t do it again, and don’t blame the cleaning lady.

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