President Trump’s response to Kim Jong-Un’s recent missile party neither shows lack of a plan nor lack of respect for Japan; it show patience and insight. Gaining and maintaining trust and respect in difficult situations requires sureness in action and slowness in harsh words. Talk is cheap. These are politics, after all.
Trump has taken no action nor signed any orders giving Kim more permission. Many pundits and opinion commentators have speculated that Trump will have difficulty with Abe because of his patient words for Kim, but all of this speculation is speculation only. They are presenting a model to analyze Trump’s decisions, but that model is devoid of a grid of using “kind words” in the face of betrayal. Kim’s strategy has not deviated: provoke a US response. Trump’s words “defuse” that strategy, so to speak. Trump is no pretentious fool, more of a patient father.
The situation in China, however is heating up, obviously for the same reasons. Trump and Xi exchange similar words as Trump gives in response to Kim’s actions. They promise to prepare for talks while rallying their own citizens against each other. Rumors of peace are the surest sign that there is none just as provocation indicates a peace not easily broken.
Taiwan is gearing up for war, its war machine in full motion. Taiwan is beginning mass production of strategic strike responses. Taiwan is renaming one of its offices to include both “US” and “Taiwan” in the name, which is a first. These are not actions that have any intention of appeasing Beijing.
Then, there’s Hong Kong. Responses from the American government would view the SAR as no longer capable of diplomatic ties if the extradition law on the table is passed. This extradition law would likely isolate Hong Kong from North America and Europe. We know war is close, but “how close” will be known by whether Beijing allows “Asia’s World City” to internationally isolate itself.
Those promised and prepared talks between Beijing and Washington will only serve as size-ups, if they even happen.
China is taking a turn for the better over North Korea’s “Rocket Man”. Stronger sanctions, limits on trade, cutting off oil, halting banking—it was all a wise move on China’s part.
At the United Nations, North Korea made no new friends. They made no indications of any change of heart. North Korea shares the same view of President Trump as the American Left: that he is crazy and irrational and should be called the types of names expected on an elementary school playground.
Even China’s new best buddy, Russia, is concerned for stability in the region. It’s not a threat. It doesn’t sound like a threat. Russia is genuinely concerned. Conflict with North Korea is, indeed, a nosedive and it does affect all Koreans, both North and South, as well as Japan, Russia, and, of course, China. Ending trade is the best bet.
Keeping North Korea alive and kicking as a China-Russia buddy is no longer a reasonable “hopeful”. Now, it’s about damage control. China is being urged to consider cleaning up the dismembered parts of a soon-to-be-former North Korea to avoid other problems.
Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, is expected to call an election. There’s no better time to get re-elected than when the backyard “Rocket Man” is firing missiles over your country and Russia and China won’t do anything about anything except cut off trade with “Rocket Man”. So, from this week’s ongoing drama with North Korea, Japanese Prime Minister Abe is likely to remain in office and China got more involved.
With TPP’s immanent floundering in the Pacific, China attempts to step into America’s shoes. But, those are big shoes to fill. As big of a deal as Asia thinks itself to be, any trade deal needs to include the Americas or it really isn’t worth writing headlines about—or even the agreement papers. China’s current proposal to replace TPP with a pure-Asia trade agreement is called “Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)”—again, with an introspective worldview evident in the name, not identifying which “region” is involved because the region is presumed by those in it. RCEP won’t even make a dent in the ocean.
Instead, Trump still dominates the headlines. Japanese President, Shinzo Abe thinks Trump is “trustworthy”. He met with the president elect at Trump Tower.
Other than Trump and trade, the rest of the news reset itself to stories questioning China’s economy. Metal is up for suspicious reasons. Apple isn’t that great and wasn’t going to be that great anyway. And, China is already spying on us through their cell phones. It almost seems that newspapers agree with Trump about having more mobile phones made in the USA.
Since Taiwan’s election, China and the KMT-Nationalists have been largely silent. While the Chinese aren’t spending as much money at home, and while the Chinese economy looks evermore shaky, Xi Jinping has no problem dealing with Egypt or declaring all but war against Israel. Historically, talking ill of Israel is bad political luck. Perhaps China thinks itself the exception to many things.
Taiwan’s pro-China KMT-Nationalist party is out for the count. Defeated. Wind knocked-out. Humiliated. It’s over. And, it is surprising. Not only did the KMT respond by acknowledging their defeat; its members showed no awareness of how their pro-China policies would dissolve their power at home nor how their mismanagement of domestic disarray from poor policies would make their aspirations untenable. There was no way the could win, yet the only seem to have seen this in retrospect.
That hindsight realization could have a contagious affect and spread to US policy. The Obama administration has made a Trump nomination and victory ever bit as inevitable as how Taiwan’s DPP opposition victory owes thanks to Taiwan’s Ma administration. Tsai couldn’t not have won in 2016 just how Obama couldn’t have lost with George W. Bush’s foreign policies and refusal to respond to the press. Maybe the West will get wise. This year, there were no Chinese missiles fired across Taiwan, as there was in 1996. Few things indicate that Beijing is learning like this.