Cadence of Conflict: Asia, September 28, 2020

There are no new developments with China, only old squabbles. China is shouting louder and louder, and Western media publish more in-depth stories outlining the many countries China has squabbles with. China is losing over the TikTok ordeal, as well as companies that helped build artificial islands which were not supposed to be military bases anyway, but somehow became military bases anyway. Sanctions fly from the US, as well as diplomats to Taiwan.

At the UN, Russia said a few words leaning in China’s direction, but that’s quite a tall order to expect Russia to devote resources helping China win every territorial squabble with India, Taiwan, the US, and Japan. Russia will more likely condemn the West with soft tones, then offer China moral support after its inevitable humiliation.

Humiliation is a funny thing. That seems to be China’s perspective all around. China feels humiliated and thinks humiliating others will solve its humiliation problems at home. China wants to own Taiwan because China feels humiliation for various and sundry reasons often created in attempt to escape humiliation.  China may even think a Taiwan “D-Day”, or “T-Day” would lead to victory—forgetting that Normandy was about free allies reclaiming lost land from expansionists. China has no alliance, China would be the expansionists, and the free people would be defending their homes. Humiliation blinds us and drives us to do crazy things. Russia knows this and plays for any opportunity—not to help China, but to manipulate China through the paradigm of humiliation China just can’t let go of.

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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, August 3, 2020

If ever there were a time when two nations didn’t want to get along, it is now. If ever there were a time when a growing group of nations decided that a single other nation never wanted to get along, it is now.

China’s security law affecting Hong Kong, defining what is a crime in every sovereign, non-China territory of the world—in a word “pretentious”. No nation’s government should ever allow a foreign government to define what is a crime within its own borders, especially a single government acting unilaterally and without counsel.

Human Rights involve laws that China directly agreed to in joining the United Nations. Human Rights sanctions over forced sterilization among Uighurs in Xinjiang in no way compare to Beijing dictating it is a crime for someone in New Zealand to voice support for free elections in Hong Kong. The Confucian-Communist Chinese don’t see the difference. They view sterilizing Uighurs as fair and international sanctions for doing so as unfair. It’s not a lie or polite statement—they really see things that way.

So, banning TikTok won’t give the Chinese any second thoughts about their aspirations and actions. Taiwan’s first democratically elected president passed away this week at 97 and the US lauded his achievement. China won’t see any need to change so as to cooperate with our democratic world today; they will only see it as an insult to China’s entitlement to greatness.

The Taiwanese chip maker TSMC provides 20% of the worlds microchips at quality of which China cannot produce any. If China invaded Taiwan and TSMC had to cease operations, China would suppose that the ability to make these chips would instantly transfer to China, where China could pick up the slack, so there would be no threat to the global tech industry.

Now, the US introduces a bill with bipartisan support for military action already approved for the US to defend Taiwan against China specifically. It’s not hard to know how China will respond. With every step, China has the same response: China’s right; the rest of the world is wrong. It’s not hard to know how the rest of the world interprets that kind of response.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, July 13, 2020

China and the US have shown their intentions to the world. The new “National Security Law”, passed and interpreted solely by the Chinese Communist Party, applies to the entire world. China made it illegal for Americans to support calls for change in Hong Kong. Germans wearing a Winnie-the-Pooh shirt could be guilty of a Chinese crime against China’s national security. This is no joke.

The US went hard line after China over Uyghurs in Xinjiang this week. 78 members of Congress petitioned President Trump from both parties to declare China’s work with the Uyghurs “genocide”. That is not merely rhetoric nor an attempt to insult, but a step to unlock later military permissions. The US is preparing for invasion, either to land US troops or to support some other military that does, such as India. This is no joke.

China clarified its understanding on two fronts.

Firstly, about Uyghurs in Xinjiang, China responded to America’s visa sanction and frozen asset action against Chinese officials with a tit-for-tat policy. By not responding with military preparation, or at least genocide declaration, China misinterpreted what the US is ultimately preparing.

Secondly, Chinese state media have commented how the new “National Security Law” for Hong Kong would apply if China could assert jurisdiction elsewhere. This means that, just as the US is laying in the groundwork for an invasion of China, China is laying in the groundwork for what would follow an invasion anywhere else. In all likelihood, the US’ response concerning Uyghurs in Xinjiang—paving a way for invasion—showed understanding of China’s plans for invasion, less likely not, but surely the sabers have been unsheathed and are no longer just rattling.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, August 7, 2017

If North Korea heeds China’s urges to back down on its nuclear program, it would be a welcome first. China requested the US back down its military activity in South Korea. Russia does not want North Korea’s economy to become worse. Much has been claimed about the purported, will-be effectiveness of new UN sanctions against North Korea, but history provides little to no basis that North Korea heeds any warnings or follows any step toward deescalation.

Though historically bleak, this effort from the international community is the best well-mounted push for peace ever seen for the Korean situation. Even Taiwan is urging North Korea to back off. While this may set the stage for some kind of “breakthrough” in negotiations, the bigger and less-acknowledged stage being set is war. With the best-made good-will effort having been made to stop North Korea’s nuke program, one missile launch would prove all the yea-sayers wrong. That threat could wake up North Korea to climb down out of the tree—the hidden threat of war that every peaceful stance veils.

Any peace offering indeed doubles as a hidden war threat by definition. But, fools don’t believe in what they can’t see. So, we’ll see.

Remember, though, how fools surrender: in childlike tears.

If North Korea fires even one more missile, buckle up and grab the popcorn for an immanent Trump “it didn’t work, so now we will” speech. If that happens, not only will North Korea’s position be untenable, but so will it be for everyone who claimed that negotiations would stop the missile launches.

In these tense times, China is making no new friends. Old border disputes with India are rehashing and ramping up. The VPN crackdown makes sense since no government should be circumvented, the most-ignored question is whether there should be a need in the first place. There are numerous reports of Chinese students being denied travel documents to study at universities in Taiwan. Of particular interest is National Cheng Kung University in Tainan. Tainan’s Mayor, William Lai is the most popular of any and in the same semi-pro-independence party, DPP, as Taiwan’s president. And, Tainan’s small airport was used by the US in the Vietnam war. Other than that, there’s little to explain why the third-top school seems to be a top target for denied travel from China.

With stronger rhetoric about military and not letting any China-claimed land go, with action concerning Taiwan, and militarized border crossings with India, it is clear that China intends to take a lead role in conflict on multiple fronts. All depending on how things develop in the Korea situation, China could face a clear third front.

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