Cadence of Conflict: Asia, October 11, 2021

Biden is creating a special center within CIA for China. Xi Jinping is irate. Biden knows China almost as well as Trump. He met with Chinese officials as Vice President. While Trump played a “good cop” routine on China, Biden is in a better position to be less diplomatic. After all, hating on China does well in the polls, which Biden desperately needs for Democrats.

The US has been secretly training Taiwan special forces for over a year. The revelation comes from a report, officially recognized by the Pentagon. This all comes in the context of the US reaffirming its dedication to Taiwan.

Is the US trying to deter invasion from China by affirming commitment to stopping China? Or, is the US trying to provoke China by affirming commitment under the guise of deterring invasion from China? Which is it? In geopolitical strategy terms, the answer is: yes. In military buildup, deterring is provocation and provocation is deterrence; but wars are started because people want them to start. Deterrence and provocation are merely measures we take to excuse what we really want.

If the US didn’t want a war with China, then shipping jobs to China would never have been allowed in the first place. But, coupon clippers and Washington big hats agreed on the path that brought us here. And, make no mistake about it: we are here. Now, the world only needs one foreseeable yet somehow unforeseen surprise to spin the accelerating wheel into going out of control.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 28, 2020

Anymore, it’s not only bad news about China, but continued action in both military and trade. The pressure Washington puts on Beijing keeps finding new ways to keep turning up. Sanctions continue to increase. Military attention rises. And, Japan puts pressure on Biden to decry the “aggressive China”, calling Taiwan the next, likely target.

Just the same, Taiwan continues as the poster boy, especially with the pandemic China takes the blame for. Just when the Chinese government thinks they get a break, the opposition simply moved and grew. Western powers have effectively sneaked up on the Chinese, whose policies isolate them from the experience necessary to understand Western thinking. Western news audiences are being conditioned to support military action against China, no matter which party advocates it. As news watchers, we must see this trend as it has snowballed over the last decade. The Western world is moving toward war against China as Russia remains safely out of the spotlight.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 7, 2020

A date which will live in infamy, 79 years ago. The Chinese warned the Japanese not to attack America for fear of waking a sleeping giant. Now, the Chinese are speeding against their own advice. The move will likely be against Taiwan as a remote and indirect attack on the US. But, the fight between China and Taiwan could have been avoided. The wise can learn from foreseeable history, even when that history has not yet happened.

Taiwan and China are both run by governments with histories of cruelty, corruption, and incompetence. Taiwan is an emerging and aspiring democracy; China resists democracy. Taiwan is cleaning up its cruelty of the past; China increases cruelty today. Chinese Communist tanks killed thousands of unarmed protestors at Tienanmen Square in 1989; that party remains in power through today. Chiang Kai-shek led an even larger massacre in Taiwan in 1947; his party remained in power throughout Western trade and still exists today, though without total control. Now, these two face war. Would either have the money to bloody the other had the West simply demanded justice and order within their borders proportionate to any agreements of trade?

American Congress continues to push a bipartisan and unanimous agenda for Taiwan. The US wants Taiwan to import meat from livestock fed with ractopamine, something Taiwanese want no part of. The US sells weapons to Taiwan to defend against China—which builds its weapons with money made from exports to the US. Has the US been friend or enemy?

If we look at US and Western policy toward China and Taiwan over the last 70 years, we see pursuit of money, with a blind eye toward massacre of their own citizens, xenophobia toward their foreigners, all trailed by escalation toward war. That has improved, but only in the last 4 years and too little, too late.

From 1947 through 1989, Taiwan should have had limited trade, China none. Had that been Western policy, today both might be much more progressed in technology, just, orderly, wealthy, and most of all peaceful.

Taiwanese continue to grow and mature as a democracy. China continues to pursue control and alienate its neighbors. They each have their lessons to learn. But, not all help is helpful. It might not have come to war if the West had sooner insisted that nations learn a few lessons before bestowing wealth which Taiwan and China could have gained on their own with simple justice and order 70 years ago. Instead, we’re nearing the end of a path that started with greed and finishes in war.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, May 4, 2020

The anti-China machine is in full gear. Western nations are cranking out new reasons to hate China every day. Some is true, some is not, all is justified because China chose to respond in control, concealment, and censorship. Much how George W Bush build a case against Iraq, which many believed to be fake from the get go, people will support action against China because of other indisputable things China has done.

The better road would have been to empower China with values rather than enabling China with money. Some foolishly thought, or at least claimed to think, that giving China Western money would teach China Western values. That’s as silly an idea as thinking that giving a child a birthday cake every day will teach the child to appreciate hard work. Instead of virtue, the West raised China be like Marie Antoinette who answered poverty by saying, “Let them eat cake.”

China’s solution to Western growth is to defeat the West with technology copied from the West. That’s not a nation that learned our values, but underappreciated our hard work to a point that they would go to war with great weakness: lack of ingenuity. Like a butcher prepares a cow, the West fattened China for the slaughter and China was all to happy to get fat and angry.

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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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