Cadence of Conflict: Asia, March 23, 2020

China’s in trouble—deep trouble. America pauses with the same hush of silence that swept the country from the outskirts of Washington to New Orleans in 1812, gathering around the radio in 1941, or staring at the same TV images on repeat in 2001. While America pauses and reflects, China accuses, taunts, and threatens, as if the world wasn’t already angry enough about the jobs lost to a Communist country that promotes leaders for party loyalty rather than governing competence.

There is no PR campaign, no cooperation, no compensation that can buy back decades of ill will. That ill will against China was only fueled by governments and leaders who allowed themselves to be trodden on, quite an evil thing the West did to set China up for such embarrassment. But, the Communist Chinese do themselves no service by fitting the stereotype handed to them.

While China faces Western scorn, Taiwan shines like Venus at twilight. They have the breakout under control almost as much as they have public panic on mute. The Taiwanese premier jokes about everyone having only one butt hole, then encourages everyone to buy, buy, buy—it helps the economy, after all, and there is plenty of supply. While Taiwan clips right along, clamping down as needed, China’s jealousy only simmers and froths. The Communists across the Straight want the results of capitalism and competence, without any of the actions or guiding virtues.

When scorn and jealousy mix and reach a critical boiling point, like fudge, China will start to harden. If these are the days when China invades Taiwan, a roused and ready America won’t be the only thing stopping them. Taiwanese are already well-stocked at home from a virus that China perceivedly  caused. They can stay at home. They have the defenses and pantries to hold out for America, who is alive and well and hungry to kick someone’s butt.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, March 16, 2020

News around the world has blacked out. Everything is about this new virus that should be called the “pneumoniavirus”, also known as Wuhan’s 2019-nCoV, everything—the news, the politics, the economy, the maps, organ harvesting. But, that wasn’t the only Western bad news on China. Canada had a brilliant solution to the Huawei controversy: go public. So far that hasn’t happened. But, Indonesia is buying American F-35s.

As the world goes into panic mode over a glorified common cold, death by economy will be greater than death by disease. People are afraid because people are afraid. Once they freak-out to full-freak capacity, they will look for someone to blame for all their fear. That takes us to China.

China doesn’t like being the villain of the world. The Chinese Communist Party doesn’t like looking bad. Who does? Most of that bad image throughout the world—including among the Chinese people themselves—comes from unedited videos of what the Chinese Communist government is doing to its own citizens. Other than uncut videos, people are irritated by reports of signs of organ harvesting along with appointing Communist Party bosses to new leadership positions also hurts China’s image, both foreign and domestic.

Then, China blames the US Army—not the military, not the Marines, Navy, Air Force, nor Space Force, and not something more sensible like CIA. A Chinese official said that the US Army took the virus to China. A video is going viral in East Asia of Congressman Harley Rouda at a House Oversight Committee hearing questioning CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, “So, we could have people in the United States dying from what appears to be influenza, when in fact it could be the coronavirus or COVOID-19?” to which the director responds, “Some cases have been actually diagnosed that way in the United States to date.” And, this is being used in China, and even among the Taiwanese, to argue that the pneumoniavirus existed in the United States long ago, wasn’t noticed because it was misdiagnosed long ago, but the US Army then took the virus to China. Chinese speakers easily misunderstand because they don’t know how democracy works. They believe this proves the pneumoniavirus originated in the US, even though there haven’t been any epidemics of death-by-pneumonia in the US since the bacterial pneumonia epidemic of 1918.

As things progress, China is being pushed to the point of acting on an ancient psychotic belief that all of China’s problems exist because China doesn’t control Taiwan. If the Chinese PLA military attacks Taiwan, however, they won’t be strong enough to deal with their own dissent at home. If China doesn’t invade Taiwan, it is because the Communist Party has been rendered catatonic, not knowing what to do. Read More

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, March 9, 2020

Things are fairing worse and worse for China, but better and better for Taiwan.

The KMT-Nationalist party is abandoning its long-standing agreement to cooperate with the Chinese Communists, much how the American Democratic party is abandoning socialism within its ranks. Taiwan’s handling of the 2019-nCoV Wuhan virus is top notch, possibly the best in the world. The irony is that Taiwan is not a member of the WHO, for mere reasons of political pressure from China. The world will interpret Taiwan’s absence from the WHO through the poor response to the virus from WHO members. And the world will, accordingly, blame China not only for the virus, but for the lack of Taiwan’s valued input in the WHO.

This week, when things seemed as though they couldn’t get worse in China, a hotel collapsed, which housed many people being observed for the virus. Not all had been diagnosed, but at least 10 are dead from the collapse.

Interestingly, this does not fair well for Taiwan. The more respect Taiwan earns from the international community, and the more spite China earns from the international community, the more envy will boil and bubble as China froths with rage against Taiwan. China’s government is not functioning with any trace of sobriety. Recent events are pushing the Chinese government over the edge in their ancient desire to invade Taiwan. While that would leave them vulnerable at home and hated even more throughout the world, such things never stopped them before and certainly aren’t stopping them now. Read More

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, February 24, 2020

There isn’t news this week. More countries hate China. More people are sick with Wuhan nCoV. Cases rise in the Far East. Taiwan is one of the safest places to be—in terms of the virus, that is. Friends of Taiwan continue to be punished; this week regarded Czech in particular with the Senate chair planning a visit to one of the safest places to be in the Far East—in terms of the virus, that is.

The trend in Western journalism is to look down the nose toward China. Media censorship, mismanagement, discontent, and incompetence are part of the narrative. The US president has a different take.

Satellite-based data has been used to suggest that China may be burning thousands of bodies in Wuhan. The site that aggregated the data that was separately used to make this suggestion was windy.com—a Czech company. Go figure. Windy.com did not make the suggestion; it visually animates data already available to the public. There is no news here, only everyone’s data and someone else’s speculation. The interesting part is how quick the Western public is to jump on any excuse to think something bad about China.

Certainly, cynicism toward China is not without cited history. China remains indignant. Nothing is new, except Czech’s name in the headlines. China’s spite for Taiwan and friends only grows as spite for China and friends snowballs all the more. Perhaps next week will yield something new in the news. But, when so many people are so bound to make history repeat, there just might not be much to report—except for those who only read what repeats.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, February 17, 2020

The 2019-nCoV Wuhan virus isn’t doing any good for Xi Jinping’s public trust. Dissidents inside China are silenced and their social media accounts scrubbed. Joshua Wong issues a call to arms from Hong Kong. Taiwan closes its border and plans to evacuate its citizens from the quarantined cruise ship, Diamond Princess. Yet, the Philippines blocks entry to Taiwanese airline passengers while in-flight because World Health Organization information reports Taiwan as part of China. And, Xi tells Trump that everything will be okay after April’s hot weather kills the virus.

It looks like the world wants a fight. Why did evacuation plans for this cruise ship take so long? Why doesn’t China close its border to Hong Kong as an act of good faith to at least pretend to want to earn public trust? China locked down Wuhan and Huanggang, why not Shenzhen?

The WHO praised China’s efforts, claiming they bought the world time. That doesn’t stack—information control started the problem, China’s clampdown on information only grows, the Philippines close their border to a country run by a completely different administration on account of the WHO reporting in denial. Is the WHO controlled by China, does the WHO just want to start a war, or could it be that the WHO wants to start a war because it doesn’t like being controlled by China?

Fear of the virus may be overrated. Initial figures suggested that the seasonal flu may be more deadly. But, panic is panic. And, with Chinese cities going on lockdown, countries closing borders, and hundreds of people getting sick on a cruise ship after it was quarantined, nerves are on edge. Chinese State control of information has been exposed for the hoax it is; no Chinese people will trust China’s government again. Even those who support the Communist Party can’t expect the public to believe them anymore, no matter what they say. In the middle of the breakdown of Chinese trust and control, Xi’s solution is to fly bombers around Taiwan.

Nothing re-elects a president like a war someone else started and nothing fires a president like an outbreak or a failed economy. If Xi invades Taiwan, Trump’s re-election will be even more certain and Xi’s own party could be doomed along with him. Nothing would weaken China’s People’s Liberation Army at home like the decision to boost its political image by invading one of the best responding WHO-non-members in the world, Taiwan. Xi is so addicted to failing, self-destructive decisions, invading Taiwan might be the ultimate fatal flaw of failure that he just can’t refuse. While this viral outbreak isn’t quite enough to push Xi to the point of desperation for distraction, it’s another bail of hay on the camel’s back.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, February 10, 2020

The words of US President Trump set an unsettling policy for Communist China: “We’re also getting our allies, finally, to help pay their fair share.” This is far-reaching.

By having multiple nations with multiple militaries operating with appropriate budgets, China faces an enclave of opponents, not just one. There is no single head to decapitate. If you’re in Beijing, sitting in a room filled with Mandarin speakers who agree that they are entitled to make the world their servant, Trump’s words scare you.

While Beijing fights the virus it tried to cover up, Taiwan had recorded 10 deaths from that virus. Yet, China reported 13 in Taiwan, then told the United Nations that China speaks accurately for Taiwan, still arguing that Taiwan should not enter the WHO—even taking offense, still, at any suggestion of entry. Taiwanese Foreign Minister Wu pointed out that the WHO has referred to Taiwan by at least three different names in reporting on China’s Wuhan outbreak. This week, even the US spoke up for Taiwan’s request to join the WHO; China was all the more offended.

The outbreak isn’t fairing well for China’s credibility in governing Hong Kong either. Supermarkets are full of empty shelves.

While China’s central government will continue the playbook strategy of blaming the very local governments it dominates, the central government’s solution to the failure of a centralized government will be to centralize more government. In Confucian Communism, control is the solution to every problem, especially the problems that control causes. So they themselves believe even more than they purport, the reason that China has so many challenges within its vast stretches of land is that it doesn’t have even more land. The Chinese Communists believe that their number one problem is that they don’t control the world.

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