Military budgets—that’s the talk of the Taiwan Strait. China wants its budget to grow so it can play with the big kids by 2035. China’s apparently not ready to play with the big kids, at least since India just ate China’s lunch. So, with China trying to bulk up even more, people are asking what the heck is going on with Taiwan.
Israel spends 5% GDP on asymmetric defense; Taiwan only spends 3%. So-called “experts” want Taiwan to spend more. The US wants Taiwan to spend more. Apparently even the newspapers want Taiwan to spend more because military budget is the talk of the week.
It was a strange week, though. So many things have gone peaceful in the East Pacific. China and India are suddenly getting along. Taiwan and China talk more about the need to talk. Threats and vibrato from Beijing haven’t stopped, of course. But, things are getting a bit quiet, and it seems somewhat eerie.
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.
Who does Pat Roberson think he is? Who gets to say whether or what America’s “mandate from Heaven” is? We can talk about Kurds and allies and defending the defenseless. But, once we start using grandiose terms like “Heaven’s mandate”, that opens a whole new discussion.
If we’re going to go all Bible-thumping Bible-happy about America and Heaven, we need to look at what John saw in Heaven in Revelation 12, where a woman and her newborn baby are given eagle’s wings and saved from a dragon. The woman giving birth is Israel. The eagle’s wings could only be America. If anyone is going to argue that America even has a mandate from Heaven—which may or may not be true—it would be to protect 1. Israel and 2. the unborn. But, that’s assuming that America even has such a mandate. Syria, as much as we all should love all people, is not part of Revelation 12 and should be left out of this melodramatic “mandate from Heaven” freak talk.
Yes, America—and every other country—should all look after human rights and the good of all people—not only Christians, but non-Christians as well. Pat Robertson presumes the old, classic, “us four and no more” thinking we have come to sadly expect from Sunday morning culture. As for Syria, Russia is there and should be able to police wild stuff. America is spread too thin. And, the world would be safer if more nations hunkered down and stayed home. Scary and unpopular as it sounds, America needs to pull out of Syria because we don’t have the unlimited resources of God and because we are indeed needed elsewhere.
Who should look after the Christians in Syria? The Christians should. Rather than playing on old superstitions, such as that America exists to favor Christians or that “good Christians” squabble over petty differences, Christians should act like the family they are. Jesus told Peter, “Those who live by the sword die by the sword.” Military might is not how God works with Christians. He uses military to direct global politics, but shooting enemies of the Sunday crowd is not God’s mode of operation, no matter how much Mr. Robertson thinks so. Heaven cares about Christians, but its strategy for Christians is to love each other and spread love—that is Heaven’s mandate for how Christians should be looked after.
When we face our challenges, some leaders cower in fear, too scared to give an answer that should seem obvious. When asked the trap-question, “Should the president ask a foreign government to investigate a political rival?” the obvious answer is, “If the rival broke the laws of that government, of course! Otherwise no Republican or Democrat would be able to enforce laws against the other.” Why can’t Republicans say that? When one finds oneself with power one didn’t earn, one won’t know how to beat the toughest problems, no matter how obvious things may seem to everyone else. Congressional Republicans will either level-up their game or pack up and go home. This isn’t pee-wee politics anymore.
Democrats in Congress seem to have forgotten all about looking after Americans, though. The House is trying to impeach a president who won’t be removed by the Senate—it’s pointless. But, to understand Democrats, one must understand the Democratic voters. They might not know that impeachment is pointless, just how Mr. Robertson doesn’t know that a “mandate from Heaven” comes from Heaven, not sensationalist TV. But, sensationalism is the trend, for now.
The nation is polarizing even more. The anti-Israel sentiment from some members of Congress is only one part. The Russianewsgategate scandal surfaces more evidence every day, but no one changes heart or mind on the matter. Portland protests have the same non-effect on persuading people to change sides, only mobilizing everyone.
Chris Cuomo is grossly annoyed by Limbaugh’s nickname for him. Perhaps he thinks he’s the only one allowed to get offended. Senator Lindsey “Gramnesty” wore his like a badge of honor and Andrea “Tarantula” Tantaros welcomed Rush as a guest on her show to explain the good humor of it all. At this point, it’s unlikely Rush will be able to grace the ratings of Chris, who seems to be the only one with a nickname the rest of us aren’t allowed to use.
While protests and extreme voices raise their volume, the only thing provoking people to switch sides are Liberals in the spotlight. It’s not all—neither those in the spotlight or those switching sides. But, some of the dumber and loudest among the Left have made themselves such an embarrassment that many social-minded voters are starting to think that they will get more social justice from the Right.
The election has always been and remains in Trump’s favor. China will lose the trade war, as well as the other war it was always going to instigate. Gun laws and abortion laws will strengthen in both directions. While the Right seems to have the advantage for now, neither Right nor Left has any clear path towards domination, only further polarity. There’s no stopping it. Buckle up, grab your popcorn, and stay safe.
Xi Jinping announced yet another new policy for China: Blaming other countries is wrong, each country must deal with its own economic and environmental issues without the problem being someone else’s fault. While this 180° new direction should be welcoming to foreign companies whose intellectual property was taken by China, along with the neighboring lands that China has no presence in, yet threatened to invade, such as Taiwan, Xi gave no particular details as to how he planned to adjust China’s current action plan. In fact, Xi’s announcement came as if it was not any change at all, but a continuation of the current policy, that taking unoccupied territory and accumulating foreign technology without payment was necessary for China’s economic and environmental well being within its borders. Perhaps his intention was to further confuse the West about China’s international policy or perhaps he has made himself even more understandable than he ever has before. We’ll have to wait and see what actions follow to interpret Xi’s meaning.
China is growing its ties with Israel, for the time being. An infrastructure deal is said to be the kind that will irritate US President Trump. China, however, should be more concerned. Israel has some of the best counter-intel gathering in the world. If China does use the building contracts as an opportunity to spy, after Israel has a chance to respond, it might be the Chinese who break contract. Israel is one nation that China won’t be able to bully. As stubborn as ancient Asian worldviews can still be today, Israeli culture can be more stubborn. It’s not about race, it’s about two cultures about to collide. ‘Tis folly to double-cross a nation whose name means “wrestles with God”; and the name is not a reference to wrestling with China.
This week, Taiwan and Hong Kong did what they do best more than they have done before. When a Financial Times writer is banned from Hong Kong because he intends to interview an author—and that author’s speaking engagements are shut down after Chinese requests—the wisdom of Roger Branigin returns to the western readership: “I never argue with a man who buys ink by the barrel.” China wasn’t satisfied to argue with an author who is more famous for it, but now wants to argue with more in the ink business. But, that wasn’t the most significant development of the week. Taiwan is labeled as the “island of hope” for Asia at an international forum for Human Rights hosted in Taipei.
Beijing continues rattling prototype sabers over Trump’s talk and his walk. The Trump cabinet will be packed with savvy Secretaries who are wise to bad deals. People who want good deals will be supportive. People who want bad deals will object. Everyone has made his own position clear. Now, it’s time to see whose ideas will work and whose will produce change, not mere talk of change.
At the close of WWII, General Eisenhower ordered that as many pictures be taken of the Jewish Holocaust as possible because, so he explained, “some bastard will say this never happened.” Soon, Trump’s opponents, both in America and around the world, will try to claim that they “always supported” him. But, they are already on record.
The WWII Jewish Holocaust came up in Taiwan, however. Probably innocence fueled by ignorance and driven by anti-Simetic propaganda led teachers to approve a Nazi-style parade in a Taiwanese school courtyard at an assembly. The students didn’t know how bad it was. The teachers at the private school probably didn’t know either—even though it was their job as teachers to know history. It is worth mention that private schools in Taiwan usually are a “lower quality” than private schools in the West, which are considered for the “elite”. Taiwan is very misunderstood, but now Taiwan has misunderstood Israel. Outrage sparked across the nation.
Taiwan’s president is taking heavy action, demanding apologies to Israel and cutting whatever funding the private school received. But, therein lies the new dilemma. Since Beijing objects to Taiwan’s president giving a common courtesy call to America’s new president, will Beijing object to Taiwan apologizing directly to Israel for selectively portraying events in WWII? That would paint Beijing as anti-Simetic. If Beijing does not object, then their own objection to the Tsai-Trump phone call would be self-invalidated by mere precedent. If Beijing says nothing, it will surely face more opposition from anti-Semitic groups.
But, then we have Israel’s position. Israel does not recognize Taiwan as a state. Israel has its own dissident states that refuse to recognize Israel. So, the golden rule, “love your neighbor as yourself” raises interesting questions about whether Israel has a double standard. Taiwan has suffered its own holocaust—though on a much smaller scale—from the Chinese Nationalists who seized Taiwan assets and slaughtered Taiwanese. Remember, “Nazi” means “National-Socialist” and German National-Socialist seizure of Jewish property paid for 30% of Germany’s action in WWII, according to studies. There are many other striking similarities between Taiwan and Israel, though the two are nowhere new identical.
Now, with Taiwan’s honest-innocent mistake facing fierce self-correction, Taiwanese support for Israel is seen loudly throughout the globe. We are now at a point where Beijing’s policy toward Taiwan is a catch-22 and it is now in Israel’s self-interest to formally recognize the island that bears such relevant likeness to itself. No matter what the decision is, the people will know, and public support will swing more toward both Israel and Taiwan.