Cadence of Conflict: Asia, January 6, 2020

The West has been at odds with the Far East for centuries. It began before the Opium Wars, laws and treaties were made and broken, but the issues remain the same old same old. Chinese stare down their noses at the rest of the world, regardless of the imbalance it causes for their end of the teeter-totter we all stand on. They believe China getting richer and expanding its borders is fair for them, and whatever may or may not be unfair for the rest of the world doesn’t matter because justice is only a matter of importance in whether Chinese receive justice. Everyone else can either become Chinese or die—which would do their miserable existence a favor. That is the ancient worldview driving the Far East to do what it has always done—what it continues to do today.

But, one thing is different now: Not all Chinese speakers go along with Chinese supremacism. Previously, dissidents who had been crushed by Chinese supremacism were either Uncle Toms in their own rite or too scared to object, but not anymore. Hong Kong is standing up to old generation arrogance, so is Taiwan. People within Hong Kong and Taiwan are standing up to that arrogance even within their cultures, families, social circles, and societies at large. That old supremacism is collapsing at the hands of free-thinking, self-motivated, self-initiated Chinese-speakers themselves, Cantonese speakers of the same historic culture notwithstanding the least. The “Revolution of Our Times” is much deeper that Hong Kong political identity; it’s cultural, regional, and even global. Consider Chinatowns and Chinese churches across America—which won’t be any kind of exception.

Soon, Trump will have something to hang over everyone’s head—Democrats and Chinese Communists alike. It’s a power stronger than any missile. Next week, China is sending a delegation to sign the infamously famous “Phase 1”. Woohoo!

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, October 14, 2019

You can’t bring a pot to boil forever. While the conventional narrative for Hong Kong warns, “Retribution is coming,” a better understanding would be, “The Chinese are coming if Hong Kong doesn’t level up.” The protests must either “level up” or otherwise change, or else the PLA will indeed march and smash.

While the situation in Hong Kong is deteriorating into a cultural war—a defense against an invasive culture of Sinicization—talks between the US and China took a similar cultural detour for the worst. China doesn’t want so-called “interference” with kidnapping 1.5 million Muslims in Xinjiang, in Beijing’s view “internal matters”. By that definition, “internal matters” violate international Human Rights laws.

Trump’s words, that all is well in Hong Kong, elude Hong Kongers and Chinese as much as the American media. On the surface Trump appeared to praise the doctored press reports coming out of Hong Kong. He also praised Supreme Justice Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Ford, days before mocking her. Not one main news agency reported Hong Kong’s October 4 de facto declaration of independence with plans for rebellion elections. Praising evidentially censored reports from Hong Kong surmounts to little.

Still, Trump knows the ramifications of his words. By playing along with propaganda China would normally get resistance from, and by staying hands-off, Trump was indirectly telling Beijing that he knows Hong Kong is worse than reported while also letting Hong Kong learn the hard lesson that independence starts with expecting no help from the outside. Over the weekend we saw just that, including smaller flash-protests and perching the Hong Kong “Goddess of Democracy” atop Lion Rock in Kowloon. “Careless Carrie” Lam even cancelled a meeting with Senator Ted Cruz—after his 10+ hour overnight flight landed.

Trump’s words could lead to the very “level-up” game-changer the Hong Kong protesters must make in order to survive. One should guess that Trump doesn’t want Hong Kong to “just be okay”, but to earn whatever independence they get on their own. It feels like rejection at first, but being abandoned to earn one’s own victory—and the spoils with it—is the greater gift of a friend. Trump never said he would squash Hong Kongers’ call for independence; he simply refused to steal their thunder.

The Chinese probably won’t pick up on Trump’s subtlety because Confucianism—especially Communist Confucianism—doesn’t believe anything can happen without outside “help”. This is the only reason Beijing suspects supposed “Western interference” without a shred of evidence.

So, the trade agreement seems to be okay, this week. But, China doesn’t want to be told to let its economy play by the same rules as ours because that too is “internal”. There is one key flaw with China’s thinking: entitlement.

Of course, America should not dictate what type of economy is best for China or any other nation. At the same time, trade is a privilege not a right. By America requiring a free market as a condition for trade with another free market, America is not interfering, but refusing to be interfered with.

Just the same, Beijing claims to reject a “zero-sum game” deal. What they mean is that they want a zero-sum game in China’s favor because they believe being better than everyone else is their right. If America doesn’t lose so that China can gain, China will reject the deal as unfair, just as they did with Britain in the “silver-for-leaves” trade that led to the Opium Wars. Nothing has changed.

The virtue of compromise doesn’t work in dealing with China, whether as an American trade negotiator or as a citizen of Hong Kong. When China demands 100, then we compromise at 50, China will demand another 100 again tomorrow. If we compromise again, it would be 100-0, and it would happen all over again the next day and the next. China will keep demanding to expand and overrun everyone else. By China’s China-favoring standards, the only compromise stands on how fast China takes you over, either ultra fast or slowly. For Beijing, there is no room for the words in the Book of Job where God told the ocean, “Here, and no farther.”

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, September 16, 2019

China is running into one of the problems of Communism; once the government controls a company, what that company buys is fair game in treaty negotiations. China’s government owns a lot of Chinese companies. The world already knows this, but Trump is the first president to figure it out.

Neither Trump nor Xi are attempting any kind of long term trade deal. Xi will only accept a deal where China can grow enough to eradicate the English language from Western culture and the Magna Carta is forgotten, in which case a trade deal wouldn’t be necessary anyway. Trump will only accept a trade deal in which that can’t happen.

No deal is anticipated by either. Both are vying for time and ways to milk money away from the other to fund their own goals, which are already known, though not everyone has figured them out because not many people want to. We’re on a collision course with war and no one wants to admit that.

Delaying the October 1 tariffs because 1. the Chinese premier asked for it and 2. because of the 70th Anniversary celebrating the Chinese Communist Party will only embolden the Chinese Communists. The Chinese love parades, and if they think America respects their parades, they will think it proves that they are invincible. This is a part of Chinese thinking Americans struggle to understand.

Equally, the Chinese struggle to understand Trump. In his Tweet announcement, where he delays the tariffs, but also reminds everyone how bad they will be just two weeks later—it’s a mind game that Beijing can’t grasp. Even reading this article won’t help the Chinese get wise to how much they are being played. The only reason they are so easy to play is because they make it so easy by refusing to abandon their Confucian values. Ironically, those are the very values they want to impose on the rest of the world by Sinicizing the rest of the world.

So, mid-October has become the big date. That’s when Trump slaps more tariffs on China, and that’s when Taiwan is expected to finalize its purchase of 66 brand-new, shiny, American F-16Vs.

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Encore of Revival: America, August 26, 2019

The news media can’t understand Trump. One of the reasons he uses so few words and repeats himself so often is to “sound-bite-proof” his statements. It’s difficult to twist his words when he only spoke two of them in a 30 second period. The news media doesn’t like not being able to cut and paste together a president’s words to make him out to say whatever they want him to have said.

Since sound-bite clipping didn’t work the last four years, this past week the media tried a new strategy: Pretend that they don’t know what sarcasm is.

CNBC tried to paint Trump’s sarcastic “I’m the chosen one” comment as self-aggrandizement. His sarcastic tone clearly communicates that the self-aggrandizement came from the presidents before him who thought themselves incapable of not funding China’s Sinicization of the world. Anyone could and should have stopped China. Trump knows that. His tone said that. And, no less than 2 million Hong Kongers have risked their lives to prove just that.

Then we have “regrets”. Does the president “regret” his trade dispute with China? Why shouldn’t he? Everyone regrets everything, at least for some amount of time, given enough time. The news media keeps asking silly questions that deserve silly answers. Think about the question itself.

Is there a concrete reason to believe that President Trump has regrets about how trade is going with China? Did he say something attempting to reverse the dispute? Did he send a letter apologizing for something he did? Did he suddenly offer China massive concessions out of nowhere? What basis is there for thinking that Trump has “regrets” with China, other than the hope of succeeding with passive-aggression to paint Trump to be someone he is not?

Trump’s “order” that American companies explore alternatives to China is not a power-grab, but a shot across the bow. As if fattening China in the first place didn’t indicate enough lack of brains, most companies with half a hand at the helm should have long steered clear of China for all the chop. For those stragglers who still can’t put two and two together, Trump’s warning is a lighthouse. Danger lies ahead; adjust your course. This is gonna’ be a big one.

But, all the media can do is complain about the lighthouse. We’ll see.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, June 10, 2019

Chinese rhetoric spiked over recent weeks. They made threats. Trump made threats. They made more threats. Trump and Xi are BFF, just like Xi and Putin, but Xi and Putin are BFF-er. Now, we move toward quiet action. If China stops exporting “rare earth metals” to the US, the US would simply get them from somewhere else. “Rare” means many countries can get them, but few actually do because China does it so much.

The US is selling several tanks and tank-buster rockets to Taiwan. Beijing isn’t happy—about the $2 Billion in weapons sales to Taiwan, but also because of the people who publicly express memory of what happened 30 years ago at Tienanmen Square.

Around the time Taiwan’s primaries finish, the US launches its first Ford-class carrier in October, larger than a Nimitz. It still has a year of training and won’t be commissioned until 2022.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, May 13, 2019

Trump knew the Chinese all along, all too well. The “trade war” never risked creating a real war; the “trade war” was a ploy the whole time—part of an elaborate scheme to provoke the Chinese into striking too soon. He says talks are going well with China—he can’t not say that. China is indeed willing to have another talk. Trump announced tariff hikes and they still showed up. That’s not exactly bad on the part of the Chinese.

Trade might never go well, but the talks certainly are for now. When has talk in politics ever looked bad?

But, don’t make the mistake of thinking for even one second that negotiations aren’t going exactly as Washington planned, whether with China or North Korea. The US provoked Japan through trade wars and embargoes leading up to WWII. This isn’t just a strategy, it’s a proven playbook tactic, and China’s irritability is performing right on cue.

As Symphony said previously, the war will start when the US is ready to field-test the F-35 in an actual combat situation that we really need to win. The F-35 was made for this and, like nuclear technology at the end of WWII, if the US doesn’t use its fifth-generation fighter jets before Russia and China perfect theirs, it will have failed its initial purpose. Japan is ready to buy the worlds largest non-US fifth-generation F-35 fleet. They want the Marines’ vertical take-off model for their helicopter carriers. Perhaps those carriers also had a purpose all along.

Talk isn’t deteriorating, not with China anyway, but trade suddenly is. That’s because the F-35 is ready to make its entrance onto the world’s stage. Taiwan’s election could prove to be a convenient lynch pin.

Businessmen are the presidential trend. Foxconn Chair and Founder Terry Gou is running under the KMT, a political party whose platform is “Chinese-Taiwan re-unification”, yet he demands that China recognize Taiwan’s history of de facto existence; China never will. Moving some production from among Foxconn’s twelve factories in China back to Taiwan in Kaohsiung shows that his loyalties don’t reside in Beijing nor in Nanjing as KMT old-hats still pine for. He’s also beefing up supply in Houston, Indianapolis, and Mexico, atop his newest plant in Wisconsin. That will make the US less dependent on China and better ready for war. As an accomplished businessman, Terry will tear up the inexperienced populist Mayor Han of Kaohsiung in the primaries. After all, he brought jobs back to Kaohsiung.

Even if Gou loses primary or presidency, his campaign rhetoric, though less unacceptable to China than others, could force all other viable candidates to sympathize with Taiwan independence, if that proves to be the only electable platform. That’s more than likely. Equally likely, China will see no way to “talk” its way toward absorbing Taiwan. Talk would thus breakdown and “the military option” would be the trigger in the gas tank known as the South Sea. Then, F-35 moves to centerstage.

Trump says China has one month. If we make it that long, then China would be stupider than we thought because the F-35s would have more time to fuel up.

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