Cadence of Conflict: Asia, August 24, 2020

These days, Taiwan is the perfect poster boy in China bashing. Yes, China needs to be confronted. No, China can’t own the world. Yes, China wants to own the world. Yes, China responds to anything and everything like a friendless student carrying a Grandiosity complex. But, that doesn’t mean mindless China bashing will help.

We are engaged in mindless China bashing.

Learn from Germany. WWII developed because the free world punished and insulted Germany after WWI. We need healing, gentle leadership, and grace. Trouble maker countries must be coached and guided, not merely insulted and smeared. Whatever conflict we see with China on the horizon, it will only grow back with a vengeance if we fail to handle it correctly now.

In the China bashing narrative, Taiwan is the perfect innocent—the victim everyone pities. Poor little Taiwan struggles to stay afloat with the tsunami of Chinese conflict. But, as part of that narrative, don’t deify the poster boy.

Taiwan has many of its own problems that go unreported. It’s people are friendly in many ways, but also oblivious. Success with the pneumoniavirus developed a Royalty complex, where Taiwan has a higher regard for itself without understanding the foreign nations that struggle with relations, investment, and trade in these times. There is a growing reputation Taiwan’s government continues to set for itself and Taiwan will need to face that sooner or later.

Taiwan’s troubles are not uninvited. But, when we over-simplify global conflicts, brainwashed thinking wants pure villains attacking pure victims. There is no such thing. And, a peaceful future requires us to stop living a news narrative of fantasy.

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Encore of Revival: America, August 17, 2020

The ability to attain and maintain peace is special, especially these days. It’s what government should do, but doesn’t always know how. The police in Kalamazoo, Michigan did the right thing by being close enough to act if needed, but not being the “main event”. The role of the police is to preserve the peace, not to prevent the consequences of a radical group choosing to provoke another radical group. Conflict only lasted 10 minutes, then quickly calmed down. Less could be said for other parts of the nation.

Our president’s brother passed away at 71, God rest his soul. As the family grieves, business in the nation continues.

Israel now has formal ties with the UAE, which could mean direct flights between Dubai and Jerusalem. The Palestinians aren’t happy; the world isn’t surprised. This affects the Unites States on the international stage as well as the election. Foreign relations help at the ballot box.

Biden has all but formally announced the VP nominee. It won’t matter because he doesn’t stand a chance of winning. Headlines about the Democratic ticket doomed to fail do little more than distract Democratic voters who don’t know they have been duped by the media into a false hope based on false fears and slanted polls. But, those lies sure do sell newspapers!

Trouble is on the rise. It comes in spurts, but it is growing. People are moving out of Californian cities. Protests continue in Portland and Seattle. The trouble is complex, much of it is deserved, and much of it is necessary for our nation to confront the issues that keep us from healing from our past. The only way out is through. To do that, we’ll need to listen to each other.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, August 10, 2020

China received two-and-a-half slaps in the face this week: financial sanctions against a few Chinese and Hong Kong leaders, who don’t have money in the US anyway, and the first formal diplomatic visit from America to Taiwan in over 40 years. To add “insultlett” to insults, the purported reason for the US visit was to discuss health and disease cooperation in the face of the Wuhan-famed pneumoniavirus, with Taiwan being the safest place in the world from the disease.

All of these actions from the US are perfectly understandable.

Countries should visit each other. The US is wrong for not having visited Taiwan over the last two score, just as North and South Korea are wrong for their tensions. The world needs people to talk to each other, whether in government, religion, or otherwise. At least Taiwan and the US seem to be getting along much better than Democrat and Republican voters in America.

Sanctions over Hong Kong’s turn of events are also understandable. Beijing doesn’t have jurisprudence over the world, but certain people in Beijing seem to think so and aren’t afraid to put their opinions in ink and law. No, Americans shouldn’t do business with such folk; no one should, no matter what country they’re from.

As understandable as US actions are, they are nonetheless provocative. We can’t expect Beijing to be happy. America found the perfect storm, and bet the bank that people in the Pentagon know what’s going on. But, something seems different in this week’s volley of cross-Pacific insults: Beijing didn’t pop a hernia like it usually does.

Could the Chinese Communists be learning to not feed taunts from the US? Or, more likely, has Beijing read the clear message of actions and decided to quietly plan retaliatory “messages” of action in ways other than rhetoric? The next few months will tell us.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, January 27, 2020

Trying to be polite or indirect while not taking no for an answer does not give anyone a right to make trouble. When someone gives a decisive, “No,” decent people accept that answer, then move on somehow. But, China doesn’t seem able to do that. In Beijing’s thought, relentlessly pushing forward, no matter how many more thousands hate them by the day, China is being polite to Hong Kong. They are being indirect. By not giving up, the Chinese Communists believe they have very politely told Hong Kongers how things will be, thereby justifying whatever manslaughter China chooses to invoke.

It’s not as if China has a lot of time to worry about telling other people what to do. Hong Kong was designed in its Basic Law to be largely autonomous. That means that Hong Kong can take care of itself, should China need to put energies into other matters—such as stopping the African swing flu or the Wuhan coronavirus.

China’s choices led to a landslide re-election for the de facto independence president of Taiwan. She says there is no independence to declare because Taiwan can’t possibly be any more independent than it already is. Some in Beijing might think that means Taiwan has reached its limit; but anyone in the West knows that means Taiwan already has the fullest measure of independence as defined. Yes, many in Beijing might not know that.

Vietnam reached a similar vague point in gearing up for military strength in ASEAN. Buying boats from India is also on Vietnam’s agenda—yes, India is another country China has managed to aggravate.

Why do things unfold this way in China’s back yard? It’s not that China is so much evil as it is immature. But, we tend to stay immature when we age, if we won’t open up to the outside world. Rather than helping China learn, the West just dumped money and emboldened a brat, all so we could save a few pennies on our stuff. Who is really being the most unfair to who? Friends know when to accept a no because friends know when to say, “No.”

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Encore of Revival: America, January 13, 2020

The Iranian government’s alibi—or “explanation”, rather—of how it shot down a passenger jet from Ukraine is entirely believable. Barring some grandiose conspiracy, there would be no imaginable motive for any government—friend or foe, even a terrorist sponsor like Iran—to use government assets to kill civilians.

The Iranian military’s story is believable to any Westerner who has spend more than three years in a first-world or second-world country. Sadly, poorer parts of America have similar cultures, poorer White communities as well as minorities. Any autocratic, bossy, domineering culture can easily make severe miscalculations. They do it in Sunday morning congregations all the time.

According to CNN, according to Iran, their government was on high alert, then misidentified a plane from Ukraine as it turned toward a Revolutionary Guard base. In sum, that led to a snap judgment, what Iran calls “human error”. The Iranian government wants to put systems in place to avoid such miscalculations in the future. In the West, we call that “growing up”—learning how to not make rush judgements.

While Iran’s story is believable to any Western expat with experience in a developing country, most Americans don’t know the degree to which immature people run many governments of the world. Part of being a first-world nation means that people in the government need to be mature.

Iran learning from its mistake could be the most significant turning point where Iran’s government learns the “confident humility” needed to govern with maturity. If that happens, Sec. Mike Pompeo’s goal of Iran behaving “like a normal country” will come true. Iran claimed that their military was on high alert in the first place because of tensions surrounding the strike in Iraq. In short, killing Qassem Soleimani helped Iran.

Now, the task is for Americans to understand other people enough to understand why being immature cost the lives of 176 people. Whether at home, the office, or in government, immaturity is the source of much injustice—a lesson which Americans will learn, eventually.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 30, 2019

We are headed toward a massive inquisition of police. It could be known as the “Hong Kong Trials”, where each police officer who served since June is combed over and evaluated for every step taken at every single protest, then tried under international law. It’s not immediately around the corner, but the current powers governing Hong Kong are doing everything they can to make that day inevitable.

Over the holidays, neither protestors nor police took a break, except for a brief moment on Christmas at midnight, when protestors were the adults in the room to pause for a moment in honor of something greater. Many had Christmas dinner away from their families, largely due to East Asian culture’s dogma toward older family members. Authoritarianism generally drives away people who are self-motivated and take initiative, family being a least exception. Older generations in Hong Kong don’t understand that. Neither does Beijing. This Christmas, many middle aged and elderly parents faced the question posed by empty seats at many a dinner table: Do you love your children more than your desire for compliance? To some extent, families will be reconciled in due course; parents who refuse will lose even more.

Taiwan had its own drama over the holidays. An accused Chinese mole, formerly in Taiwan’s military, is being hung out to dry for purportedly recruiting more moles. Former president Ma is accusing the Control Yuan of interfering by questioning the judge who let him off scot-free. That stands to reason since the Control Yuan was effectively shut down during his tenure, which, unbeknownst to most, gave even greater rise the Sunflower Movement of 2014. As if Taiwan hadn’t its fill of holiday joy, US Congress is now working on a bill that will formalize the US envoy to Taiwan as a full ambassador—requiring presidential appointment and Senate approval. That is about as close to recognizing Taiwan as a country without recognizing Taiwan as a country as a country can get. China won’t be happy, but the Taiwanese sure thought it was a very Merry Christmas!

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