India has an aircraft carrier. It just finished its maiden voyage in China’s backyard. Those shipping lanes—one third of ocean-faring trade traffic—which China wants to claim by planting islands next to—most of them pass India. If any of them have traffic trouble, India will have reason to sail to the South Sea and clear up the cause of traffic congestion—or what some might call trade blocking.
India isn’t the only nation with a navy on the rise. Britain has its new aircraft carrier in the area. Germany wants to join the party. South Korea will join a scheduled US Navy exercise. And, the Japanese want to hire the British carrier builders to make their helicopter carriers F-35-ready. India’s carrier was built by a collection of 500 companies. If anything went nuts in the Taiwan Strait or the South Sea or the Sea of Japan, moving over to the Indian Ocean wouldn’t be a wonderful option since India already has its patrol.
Navies are snowballing in the East. If there’s money to be made in a Pacific scuffle, the convenient logistics of already having so many at the party could push the timing. Those islands-nations are in tumultuous waters.
China has been had. It has been had by Western freedom. It has been had by its own culture’s psychopathology. It has been had by the concept of a promise—something the Chinese can’t understand, let alone keep. It has been had by Marxist propaganda. And, it is still being had by its obsession with power.
British officials are turning their eyes toward Hong Kong. This is a move of revival in the English-speaking world. The English have a conscience. It is more than political smoke-blowing. Britain fully intends to protect the people of Hong Kong. And, they can do it because China has already reneged on a treaty registered with the United Nations.
China has difficulty understanding the concept of a promise. Living fully and wholly by the psychopathology of Gorgias—that all statements are lies and only rhetoric matters—the Chinese truly believe that their promise to not interfere with Hong Kong until 2047 is irrelevant trivia. They truly believe that if the world distrusts China for breaking treaty, it would be the world just looking for ways to be mean to poor, suffering, victimized China. They truly believe that any “distrust” from the West, citing broken promises, would be pure propaganda from any and all, everywhere on Earth.
The British dealt with China for centuries. They must have at least suspected that China would break treaty. In fair honesty, by allowing a fifty year window, they showed high hopes that China would at least be capable of pretending to have a conscience for half a century. If China could lie to the world for fifty years and conceal its spite for any race lacking Han blood—if China could at least pretend to be nice for fifty years—then perhaps Hong Kong would be safe long after 2047. Britain gave China the benefit of the doubt.
But, China didn’t make it fifty years, not even half that.
Call it temptation. Call it the “Tienanmen fix”. China can’t not oppress and boss and dominate. From Beijing, Hong Kong calls, begging, “Oppress me! Oppress me!”
From Xi Jinping’s perspective is one of power. He believes that the Russian Communist downfall of 1989 happened because the Communists didn’t oppress enough. It never occurs to him that people do not overthrow governments that they trust—but to a psychopath, all statements are lies and all protests are propaganda. People would only hate an oppressive government, so they think, because someone told them to.
Hong Kong knows differently. Though they do not have complete self-rule, they do have free speech, free markets, free press, and free religion. To them, China stinks, and not only from the pollution of mismanagement.
Still, China wants to force its embrace upon the free people of Hong Kong. The legal justice system has a term for criminals who force their love on unwilling victims. In that scenario, everyone knows who everyone is.
Like an alcoholic claiming that alcohol is the medicine, China sees voluntary support as a threat—as a lack of power—and that power is the cure for power resisted. China has been had by everyone, its own vices above all else.
China has out-shined. In the game of power, that’s an execution wish. With an aging population, an irritated neighborhood, a loudly whining generation of kids in Hong Kong drawing media attention, and the taste of freedom provided by trade with the outside world, China’s Communist party is trouble where the West is concerned.
China’s ruling party has not courted support from any territory either under its control or that it aspires to control. Some old school idealists in the retiring generation will support old empire methods, but they aren’t the muscle of the future. The gray-head Communists who dye their hair black don’t understand what a mess adult children can make when someone takes away their toys because that never happened in China before. Allowing their people to do business with the West injected those Western ideals and China can’t go back.
Now, with the massive assertions of power in China, those assertions are about to get stronger. Watch for greater power grabs by the Communist Party. But, even with the power grabs of recent weeks, the rest of the world—including Asia and the West—is on high alert. Russia’s only interest in China is to disrupt the rest of the West, not to have a new rival that changes as fast as Beijing does, in its own back yard of all places. These tariffs from the US and Trump signing a pro-military and otherwise Liberal omnibus spending bill from Congress indicate American resolve to halt China in its tracks—at least the Communists.
As for the ongoing “freedom of navigation” sail-bys in the poetically appropriately named Mischief Reef, Britain is also on board, as it were. The US just did another this week with the USS Mustin. China reacted in predictable anger as if on cue.
So, the assault against China’s Communism has begun. The West think they can win by using rage to control the “bull in the China shop”, as the saying goes. All it would take is one, small Western ship being disrupted by the Chinese and the fury of America’s democracy would stand up—with the greatest military budget in history already approved for the next two years.
Chinese President Xi has been hailed with a personality cult akin to support for Chairman Mao, at least in some circles. As if the Xi personality cult wasn’t enough, China also saw a bloodless victory in the Philippines. In an effort to seek their own so-called “independence”, Philippinos’ new choice of a president has thrown-off many ties with the US in exchange for more dependency on China. China still patrols disputed Philippine islands, but fishing boats don’t get harassed any more. It probably makes sense in the Philippines every bit as much as it made sense to France and Italy 80 years ago.
The Pacific resembles pre-WWII Europe with more and more likenesses every week. NPR reported that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will stop swearing as much. That headline probably made sense to NPR, given the situation. As for swearing and the Pacific, Hong Kong, with no military, is putting up the greatest fight against China. Lawmakers “swore” during their swearing-in, contrary to some stipulations that no Hong Kong lawmaker can object to Chinese rule.
The Philippino “switch” was always going to happen. Their desire for “independence from other countries” will eventually drive them to fly China’s flag above their own, just how China’s desire for respect provoked Beijing to provoke the West, just how “America and her interests” drove the US to fly its flag at military posts in countries across the globe thereby frustrating Beijing and Milan.
With Taiwanese public continuing strong objection to Chinese patrol expansionism (75:18%), with Hong Kong (under China) wanting out from China, with the Philippines shifting sides, and with Cambodia cozying up to Beijing, we could see more jersey swapping in the coming months. Japan and South Korea are standing against North Korea on nukes—by cooperating with the US. That coalition could very easily extend to Taiwan, as far as N Korea nukes are concerned. The islanders of Taiwan oppose nuclear “anything”, just like post-Fukushima Japan.
Taiwan also has a close cooperation with the US military, the kind of cooperation the Philippines just renounced. The Pentagon has yet to give an elaborate position on the Philippines’ wave-making. In war, if the Philippines violates any alliance agreements, the Pentagon could declare the Philippines as “rogue” and get the excuse they need to use force. Who knows what would happen then.
China’s “no-objection” policy for HK lawmakers has given Great Britain whatever excuse the Crown needs to anchor the Royal Navy in Hong Kong, much like Queen Victoria did against China via Taiwan. When Southeast Asian Islands start spitting at each other, Hong Kong could could get snatched-up in a Pacific-West coalition. Having no military could be the only reason Hong Kong can court sympathy from the West. Guarded by mountains between the New Territories and Shenzen, Hong Kong would be strategic. The West would then see Hong Kong as the “trump card” while China would come back with the Philippines as the “wild joker”.
The Philippines and Hong Kong don’t seem to have figured out that every island is just another pawn. The Pacific Daily Times Symphony Editorials take no sides, except the side of foresight: It was all predictable.