Cadence of Conflict: Asia, October 29, 2018

The Pacific Ocean has become a chess board of moving pawns, castling kings, bluffs, and propaganda. China offers the moon to small countries, the US warns that no “free” gift comes without strings attached. When Trump pulled out of the INF treaty for supposed Russian violations, Russia went on high alert at home and called it “preparing for war”. Russia being ready for war means China feeling more confident about busting a move.

Given regional instability, Japan and India are talking big. They want cooperative military exercises. They will also need passage through that section of the ocean—the South Sea—that China drew a nine-dash line around. America won’t be the only challenger to China’s new notion of “ocean ownership”. As China gets more and more assertive, even the British are on edge. Nothing happens in the Western Pacific unnoticed.

Is China strong enough to win a military conflict? A Chinese rocket failed at launch. In the news, it’s reported as a “private company”, but there is no such thing in China, by Western understanding of a “private company” anyhow. The reason it failed is probably rooted in the sister controversy to trade: reverse engineering and technology copying. China couldn’t launch the rocket, in all likelihood, because too much of the technology used by China wasn’t invented by China, but invented by someone else, made in China, and copied by China—but not understood by China. Such is the tech of this “private company” and the tech that made China so big as it is today and the tech it would use in battle. Russia would be wise to not depend on that tech. And, small countries would be wise to remember that the “great China” was made great by a tilted-trade, copied-tech cash cow that is no longer making milk.

China’s National Tourism Administration suspended group tours to one of China’s many coveted destinations in Taiwan. The delay is scheduled to last from early November into April. November is an election month for both the US and Taiwan. It’s a big month for expos in Taiwan, especially a flora expo in the city where tours were suspended, Taichung. November is also when a large group from the US Navy will make a show of force near China’s man-made islands.

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Prelude to Conflict: Asia, March 9, 2015

Prelude to Conflict: Asia, March 9, 2015

China was doing great. They had it “goin’ on”. Then, they made some choices over the last few years. Now, the Pacific region is foreseeably destabilizing. But the least of those concerns, and arguably the most overrated, is the situation in Hong Kong. Before we review the facts, read clearly; Hongkongers have nothing to fear. Here are the facts: China promised a kind of “contained autonomy” to Hong Kong as a precondition for Britain leaving the former colony.

As history repeated in Hong Kong as in the American British colonies, when Britain left, the former colony prospered. Now, in being consistent with old school Asian rhetoric, China is omitting key phrases during rhetoric that relates to its own promise. Beijing speaks more and more about their power over Hong Kong and less about Hong Kong’s power within its own territory.

The uninformed West, including westernized Hongkongers, misunderstood this old school Asian rhetoric as being a threat.  · · · →