Cadence of Conflict: Asia, August 26, 2019

The Hong Kong police have lost public trust. They’ve cried, “Victim!” after their injuries were proven to be from self defense when they were the assailants. They illegally shot tear gas canisters as harmful projectiles in violation of international law and from windows high enough to kill someone if a canister landed on someone’s head. One girl lost an eye because the police shot rubber bullets at the crowd at point blank range and one bullet passed through her protective face mask. Yet, the police claim that rubber bullets don’t cause harm.

Now, peace turns to instant violence just because these police arrive. Or, perhaps it’s because they arrive, then start pounding their batons against their shields as if they were Roman soldiers about to charge.

At the Yuen Long MTR Station in a somewhat remote part of Hong Kong’s New Territories, protestors were loud, but not violent, until the police showed up. From well-earned fear, protestors tore up the place to block the police from blinding someone else. Trash cans and other furnishings were turned on side, fire extinguishers made a smokescreen, and the students pulled down a gate to block the way between themselves and the violent police of Hong Kong.

The greatest mistrust of Hong Kong police isn’t their violence, but their inaction. The great criminals control the government. Perhaps protestors believe the police should enforce the Basic Law by forcefully unseating CEO Carrie Lam for violating the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984. But, they don’t because they have become a tool of Beijing’s interference, proven most by the usual Human Rights violations of Beijing.

But, Hong Kongers’ fears are still greater, sharing an overlap with US President Trump. China wants to Sinicize the world, as the 2008 Olympics opening ceremony showed—as Hong Kong and Taiwan show—as America’s economy shows.

As if Hong Kong’s problems haven’t shown enough about the greater threats looming over the world from the Far East, South Korea’s vindictive administration keeps making trouble. This week, South Korea ended an intel sharing agreement with Japan, then stepped up military drills near an island disputed by Japan.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, June 3, 2019

The “Symphony Asian Mad Scientist Theorem” continues to play out. Trump engaged North Korea in talks that led to a calm without North Korea changing its DNA. Trump eventually reminded North Korea what everyone knew would be necessary to reach an agreement and North Korea stomped off.

Now, Trump comes off a marathon of wider-scope talks with China and continues to talk about talk, while the message is sent more clearly to China every day. China already knows what will be necessary to reach an agreement, its ambitions otherwise are classic Imperial-Confucian wishful thinking.

Over the weekend, the US and China exchanged insults at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Singapore. America isn’t gonna’ tip-toe around China anymore! And, China will risk any and every cost and will defeat everyone who stands in the way! They sure told each other! We can’t say China didn’t warn us, just like China warned the world before the victorious Korean armistice and before China’s great and splendid invasion of Vietnam.

Don’t think for a second that Trump doesn’t care about Japan. If he really didn’t care about Japan—if he truly enjoyed the missiles recently launched by “Rocket Man”—he wouldn’t say so on camera. Remember, everything he says is being closely watched by a large and volatile North Korean neighbor which believes that everyone believes everything published in the press.

No matter how much anyone warns China of the dangerous pinball machine game it’s bouncing around inside of, they won’t change because China only ever and always remains true to its Imperial-Confucian values. Those values can and will never include “capitulating to outside demands”. China just won’t change, you see.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, May 20, 2019

Of course China wanted to “re-negotiate”. Chinese culture, whether in government or business, seeks to sign a contract first, then negotiate the terms after. In America it’s called “reneging”. In China is called “that strange, silly, sign a contract game the Americans require that makes no sense”. Trump has known that since he had his ties made in China, maybe earlier.

Now, the American provocation machine is in full-swing. An executive order banning Huawei and a DOJ prosecution of Chinese hackers—all while planning another meeting in Japan next month—this isn’t failed diplomacy. In the past month, China lobbed one too many objections to US action, thus providing the telemetry the US needed for the final calibrations on the Chinese irritation machine. That machine is up and running and won’t stop. It will keep producing irritation at the speed of a 5G network.

As said last week, the problem of the F-35 was already known because the US was no longer interested in searching. This week, we found out the specifics: a fuel tube. Now, we just need to wait for distribution and replacement to get set up.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, May 13, 2019

Trump knew the Chinese all along, all too well. The “trade war” never risked creating a real war; the “trade war” was a ploy the whole time—part of an elaborate scheme to provoke the Chinese into striking too soon. He says talks are going well with China—he can’t not say that. China is indeed willing to have another talk. Trump announced tariff hikes and they still showed up. That’s not exactly bad on the part of the Chinese.

Trade might never go well, but the talks certainly are for now. When has talk in politics ever looked bad?

But, don’t make the mistake of thinking for even one second that negotiations aren’t going exactly as Washington planned, whether with China or North Korea. The US provoked Japan through trade wars and embargoes leading up to WWII. This isn’t just a strategy, it’s a proven playbook tactic, and China’s irritability is performing right on cue.

As Symphony said previously, the war will start when the US is ready to field-test the F-35 in an actual combat situation that we really need to win. The F-35 was made for this and, like nuclear technology at the end of WWII, if the US doesn’t use its fifth-generation fighter jets before Russia and China perfect theirs, it will have failed its initial purpose. Japan is ready to buy the worlds largest non-US fifth-generation F-35 fleet. They want the Marines’ vertical take-off model for their helicopter carriers. Perhaps those carriers also had a purpose all along.

Talk isn’t deteriorating, not with China anyway, but trade suddenly is. That’s because the F-35 is ready to make its entrance onto the world’s stage. Taiwan’s election could prove to be a convenient lynch pin.

Businessmen are the presidential trend. Foxconn Chair and Founder Terry Gou is running under the KMT, a political party whose platform is “Chinese-Taiwan re-unification”, yet he demands that China recognize Taiwan’s history of de facto existence; China never will. Moving some production from among Foxconn’s twelve factories in China back to Taiwan in Kaohsiung shows that his loyalties don’t reside in Beijing nor in Nanjing as KMT old-hats still pine for. He’s also beefing up supply in Houston, Indianapolis, and Mexico, atop his newest plant in Wisconsin. That will make the US less dependent on China and better ready for war. As an accomplished businessman, Terry will tear up the inexperienced populist Mayor Han of Kaohsiung in the primaries. After all, he brought jobs back to Kaohsiung.

Even if Gou loses primary or presidency, his campaign rhetoric, though less unacceptable to China than others, could force all other viable candidates to sympathize with Taiwan independence, if that proves to be the only electable platform. That’s more than likely. Equally likely, China will see no way to “talk” its way toward absorbing Taiwan. Talk would thus breakdown and “the military option” would be the trigger in the gas tank known as the South Sea. Then, F-35 moves to centerstage.

Trump says China has one month. If we make it that long, then China would be stupider than we thought because the F-35s would have more time to fuel up.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 3, 2018

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-Wen apologizing after a mid-term defeat at the provincial level will not demonstrate strength on her part, but she shows respect and stability in maintaining her appointees and policy toward China. Having not stood her ground on information about proposal that would have set Taiwan’s team name at the Olympics in Japan as “Taiwan”, instead of “Taipei”, she lost important support from the Formosan Association for Public Affairs, a group that seeks to have Taiwan internationally recognized as an independent nation.

Taiwan’s premier, William Lai, does stand for Taiwanese independence, held remarkable popularity in his reelection as mayor, and is the shoe-in candidate if he were to run in 2020 instead of Tsai. Tsai’s re-election is uncertain. What happens will depend on Taiwanese politics, which are too adolescent to not be surprised by. Main matters at stake include Taiwan developing faster responses to correct disinformation given to the public and a focus on better quality with internal governance and infrastructure. Interestingly, information and governance—not China itself—are at the heart of resistance to China.

If Taiwan declares independence from China, or takes too many steps to join international bodies like the UN, as Beijing has stated, we could be looking at all out war. Some in the political “news-o-sphere” call Taiwan a “flashpoint”. China hangs onto hopes of retaking Taiwan like King John’s suicidal siege of Rochester Castle. All the US does is provoke.

The latest provocation came late last week when Japan opened the path to retrofitting “helicopter carriers” into fixed-wing aircraft carriers. Japan looks to acquire 142 F35s—42 As and now 100 Bs; the UK eyes 138, about half of them to go to the Royal Navy. There are too many high-tech American aircraft in China’s backyard for China’s comfort. And, the US did two more sail-bys—one near China’s man-made islands, the other through the Taiwan Strait. China lobbed another “demarche” protest with Washington, presuming the action to be “provocative”.

Then came the US-China 90 day cease fire between Trump and Xi at the G20 this past weekend. A lot can happen in 90 days, whether politically, economically, or militarily.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, April 23, 2018

The US is arming East Asia and disarming North Korea. China is a spectator in the Western game.

Reports and gossip about the latest North Korean promise to disarm ensnared many in the media. The South Korean Kumbaya singing President Moon Jae-in was quick to give his “peace in our time” report that North Korea has promised to disarm, with the connotatively-added meaning of “shortly after his election”. Trump Tweeted that disarming is great, “yuge” news, then the mainstream media ripped on Trump for an unverified report, particularly PBS. (Why does PBS still receive tax dollar money?) Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was more cautions about North Korean false promises, proving himself the most sober in the room.

Japan is looking into a stealthy F-22 F-35 hybrid from Lockheed Martin, in order to deter impedance from “Chinese” and “Russian” jets in its air defense zone. Taiwan is also looking at Patriot missile defense systems. The increased military talk in China’s backyard, particularly about China,  surmounts to the dogs fighting over who gets to eat the pheasant.

China is making so many flybys around Taiwan that scrambling jets over air defense zone approaches is a strain on the Taiwanese military budget. Taiwan might end up sending China a bill, likely by way of military money from the US and US tariffs on not yet mentioned Chinese goods. Also look for new Taiwan-favored trade deficits with the US in amounts similar to the cost of scrambling jets every few days.

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