Cadence of Conflict: Asia, March 23, 2020

China’s in trouble—deep trouble. America pauses with the same hush of silence that swept the country from the outskirts of Washington to New Orleans in 1812, gathering around the radio in 1941, or staring at the same TV images on repeat in 2001. While America pauses and reflects, China accuses, taunts, and threatens, as if the world wasn’t already angry enough about the jobs lost to a Communist country that promotes leaders for party loyalty rather than governing competence.

There is no PR campaign, no cooperation, no compensation that can buy back decades of ill will. That ill will against China was only fueled by governments and leaders who allowed themselves to be trodden on, quite an evil thing the West did to set China up for such embarrassment. But, the Communist Chinese do themselves no service by fitting the stereotype handed to them.

While China faces Western scorn, Taiwan shines like Venus at twilight. They have the breakout under control almost as much as they have public panic on mute. The Taiwanese premier jokes about everyone having only one butt hole, then encourages everyone to buy, buy, buy—it helps the economy, after all, and there is plenty of supply. While Taiwan clips right along, clamping down as needed, China’s jealousy only simmers and froths. The Communists across the Straight want the results of capitalism and competence, without any of the actions or guiding virtues.

When scorn and jealousy mix and reach a critical boiling point, like fudge, China will start to harden. If these are the days when China invades Taiwan, a roused and ready America won’t be the only thing stopping them. Taiwanese are already well-stocked at home from a virus that China perceivedly  caused. They can stay at home. They have the defenses and pantries to hold out for America, who is alive and well and hungry to kick someone’s butt.

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Encore of Revival: America, March 23, 2020

Revival has returned. It’s not in the streets yet and evil hasn’t fled. But, revival has landed and is making its way across the country. Chicago rings church bells five times a day. Everywhere, Americans look up and ask whether God is trying to get our attention.

Duh.

As they were once called in the 80s, the “Kansas City Prophets” always said that God’s judgments are merely intended to help us love more. Pain removes everything that limits our capacity to love and receive love. When crisis hits, we examine our priorities and look deep inside, hoping to have the one thing that matters most. And, we find it in our hearts. Of all the things we gain and lose in the world, the one thing we hope to have when everything else is shaken is our ability to still love. Once we find that we still have that ability, no matter how small, we feel like the richest in the world, having remembered that truly, all that matters is love.

Revival has returned.

The Communist Chinese thought that by refusing to supply America with pharmaceutical ingredients, panic would spread across America. But, they were as wrong as the Grinch who thought he could steal Christmas from Whoville.

As crisis rises, not from a virus as much as our overreaction to it, America is returning in full swing to its core. Maybe we’ll learn to ditch our drama. Maybe we’ll learn a happy medium between our two favorite poles of fear and apathy. Even as we decide, small companies and neighbors are helping each other. We’re seeing America at its best, just as it is during any time of crisis. We return to God, revival returns in return, and, like a giant rousing from its sleep once again, the American machine of love-in-crisis is in full swing.

Revival has returned.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 16, 2019

China is desperately grasping for straws. While German parliament is planning to ban Huawei against the will of their head of state, Chancellor Merkel, a Chinese ambassador sends a message that “there will be consequences”—when diplomatic channels go to the head of state, not parliament. The Chinese ambassador is like a dog barking up a tree; German parliament doesn’t care what the Chinese ambassador says. But, in China different branches of government don’t matter because that’s just a “silly Western thing”. So, the Chinese don’t know how German government works because the Chinese presume that Germans lie as much as the Chinese do.

Moreover, the Chinese Communists have overlooked one blaring flaw—if Huawei isn’t controlled by China’s government, that would make it the only entity in China not subject to passive-aggressive threats under pain of organ harvesting. Moreover, if Huawei were the independent company China’s government claims it is, China’s government wouldn’t be so defensive of Huawei being banned from Germany.

China has many weaknesses, self-contradicting diplomacy being the least. Its labor force is shrinking. Its economy is much more dependent on exports than America’s. Its tech sector is even more dependent on importing American-made components. Tit-for-tat tariffs don’t favor China in that regard. The Chinese don’t spend as much on their military as America does, regardless of the hype from State-run Chinese news outlets. And, it doesn’t own a very big piece of the pie when it comes to US Treasury bonds—the greatest liquidation threat China could make there is to offer a temporary discount price to willing investors. The cost would be China forfeiting any leverage it had by owning such a small part of America’s debt, while America’s economy might skip two beats at most, then nevermore.

Then, we have the anti-Trump camp. Many economists who haven’t a clue where wealth comes from despise America’s president. Everything needs to pay for itself, otherwise it will die in a suicide cult of bankruptcy. Maybe NATO shouldn’t be in Germany, maybe it should, but the answer—one way or the other—will only surface if NATO requires Germany to pay for its own national defense. Bowing down to China may have made a few American companies rich—regardless of making a few million Americans poor—but it was never going to last long. Even though China took American money and started bullying their neighbors, those who profited from those greedy companies in particular are angry. But, most Americans aren’t fooled anymore.

Trump played his cards well, and he’s still got plenty of chips left to ante up for many rounds to come. That isn’t good news if you’re a member of the Chinese Communist Party, hoping to help the party dominate America.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, November 18, 2019

America and China are getting fed up with China and America being fed up with each other. Americans tried patience and negotiations; that didn’t work. China hid its agenda for global domination, denouncing so-called “interference” except when China did the interfering. Now, China’s true colors are showing and it looks like a lot of debt. Municipalities and local governments are buried in debt, which is eating at China’s central economy like Asian ants on a morning worm.

Amid riots and threats, encroachments by police on university campuses and by China upon Hong Kong rule, the primary issue in Hong Kong is the upcoming revolution election in March. On October 4, Hong Kongers declared the current government already nullified and that interim government elections would take place in March. That election is not the primary concern for most reports coming out of Hong Kong, if it gets mentioned at all. But, that election should be the primary concern of China, the United States, and the current—and denounced—Hong Kong government. Perhaps those upcoming elections have not been taken seriously, and, if so, that would be perhaps the most serious miscalculation.

But, rather than carefully calculating the right way forward, China is more concerned with optics—not with causing good optics, but with countering bad optics with more mere optics.

The same Plague from the Black Death has re-emerged in China’s Inner Mongolia province. Historically, whether in 541, 1347, or 1894, the Plague always had its origins in the Far East. Rather than promptly confronting the source, the Chinese are basically doing what the San Francisco government did in the early 1900s: covering it up.

Even Chinese soldiers play the optics game. Chinese Communist PLA soldiers are not allowed to leave their garrisons in Hong Kong without a formal request from Hong Kong’s government. But, they did anyway—to clear streets blocked by protestors. They didn’t clash with protestors, they simply picked up stuff in the street, mostly bricks. They weren’t armed nor did they wear fatigues; they wore running shorts and OD-green T-shirts, the same that they exercise in on a daily basis. But, they weren’t invited by the Hong Kong government. As a result, their presence was technically illegal, though seemingly helpful in the minds of some residents who want to drive down the street.

Interestingly, the unarmed, seemingly-harmless soldiers were accompanied by cameras; it was a publicity stunt. Voices in the British Commonwealth are especially concerned because this beautiful, warm, kindhearted photo-op sets a precedent of PLA soldiers breaching Hong Kong illegally. Chinese thinking puts logic before law, which feels like justice at first, but then operates with no standard of conduct, deciding right and wrong from one moment to the next. In other words, Beijing thinks that China’s soldiers must not enter Hong Kong uninvited—unless they want to.

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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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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.

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