Cadence of Conflict: Asia, May 3, 2021

Navies from across the globe are holding a slumber party in the East Pacific, namely the South Sea. British and other Europeans join the US, Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam, and of course China. Everyone says they want things to be calm and normal. But, the elephant in the slumber party living room is Taiwan. China maintains a policy of planning to take control either by hostile takeover or hostile invasion.

North Koreans aren’t happy with Biden. He says he will use the American-despised method called ‘diplomacy’. But, what diplomacy compares to the first president to meet with the Great Successor—twice? Biden and his team of wonderfuls are thrilled to be rid of divisive riff-raff like the first president to achieve diplomacy talks with North Korea head-to-head. Now that things are improving in America, we can get back to hostility as usual with the Korean peninsula.

If the other members of the East Pacific navy slumber party were serious about peace, they would freeze all Chinese assets until China renounced its Taiwan invasion policy and gave half of its navy to Taiwan as evidence. That won’t happen, but it just goes to prove that no one wants peace in the Pacific—they just want a navy slumber party. And, that’s what they’ve got. And, weapons manufacturers are thrilled.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, April 19, 2021

China is over the line. There is no way that a nation which knows its own military limits would act as China is acting. Chinese militarized ships anchoring near the Philippines provide just one example. If China had the power to invade, they would have already. Not having that power, the Chinese keep quietly pressing their luck, creeping sneakily as they have only ever been able to. This time, however, they sneaked too far.

China wants a fight more than anyone. News is the same week by week: More people hate China. China keeps pushing others around. Risk of military conflict escalates in the Western Pacific. So, the Chinese don’t think they need to change one, single thing.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, April 12, 2021

China’s getting more flack from more sides—Vietnam, Japan, the Philippines. Vietnamese are furious with H&M for depicting maps with Vietnam-claimed islands as part of China, even though H&M did that because the Chinese told them to. The noose of perceived nuisance tightens.

China won’t back off on military drills and presence. The greatest beneficiaries are Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics. They have every reason to hope China continues military drills. A Chinese aircraft recently radioed reference to airspace as “Chinese”, which Taiwan also claims. Weapons dealers are probably clanging champagne glasses over that.

Military activity in the Southeast Asia is on the uptick. No one plans to back down. The question is over which side is reacting how the other side expected. The accurate expector will likely win the next scuffle.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, March 29, 2021

China’s adversaries face a tightly closing decision. America needs to decide whether it can keep playing the role of the world-cop with only its B-game, or if it is ready to bust out its A-game not seen since FDR. More than ever, warnings of “rising China” smatter the presses. Will this result in Americans getting serious about the need to be serious—because they read about it? Or, is this intended to prepare the American public for some event that thrusts the West into an embarrassing scuffle with China?—embarrassing for China now, embarrassing for the West six years later.

Taiwan has its own choices. Many things inside Taiwan still reflect the thinking of Mainland China. While Taiwan’s government claims to seek democracy and a society where all people are respected with equal rights, their Confucian culture still succumbs to autocratic domineering, whether in the workplace, the classroom, or from government. If in their hearts, the Taiwanese want to retain the old ways of the Chinese, there is no American military big enough to help them against any adversary, even the smallest adversary. But, the factor of Taiwanese culture doesn’t seem to make its way into the military reports.

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Encore of Revival: America, March 29, 2021

America faces big changes, but not the changes our conventional political grid might assume. Public trust in cloud platforms like Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter failed with the massive censorship surrounding the 2020 election. This week, a new cloud provider, Digital Ocean, went public. The Times has used Digital Ocean for nearly seven years.

Digital commerce shifts while the global supply chain faces more disruptions. Not only do we still lack supplies that were made in factories that are closed. Not only is the cruise ship industry floundering. The Suez Canal is blocked.

What is Democrat-controlled Washington doing?—Business as usual. Binden wants to focus on infrastructure—a digression from the Obama years. Republicans have always been good at spending money while appearing not to, while Democrats appear to spend money when they tighten the purse strings. Marketing is one of the best-kept secret ingredients in American politics.

The one thing unusual about this Democratic Washington is its dedication to a strong military. Russia surfaced three subs in the Arctic this week and, now all of a sudden, Democrats want to do military the same way Trump did. Just how the Bush-Obama years held a contiguous policy progression, the Trump-Biden years seem to reflect the competence, military, and infrastructure of FDR. In many ways, it is as if Trump is still in office. We did get Trump’s $2,000 checks, after all.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, February 22, 2021

China is mixing its civilian population with military front lines. This new Sansha “City” probably should be called a province and not a “city”. Leave it to the Chinese and Taiwanese governments to garble province-level translation. It’s not anything the West considers a city. But, it was planted in the middle of international waters, is used as a basis for applying Chinese law in more places, is highly contested by neighbors like Vietnam, and has civilians.

At what point does a civilian population bear responsibility for the action of its government? Is it in supporting that government’s action? Is it in turning a blind eye to that government’s action, providing passive support? Is it in accepting one-sided gossip about other people they never met nor heard from? If so, all people across the world are guilty of every war.

China grew its power when Western consumers sent their jobs overseas to save pennies at the store. Western civilians built Sansha as much as Chinese civilians. When Sansha becomes a war zone, will there be such a thing as an “innocent civilian” anywhere in the world? All of us involve civilians in military matters; at least China is upfront about it.

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