Cadence of Conflict: Asia, October 26, 2020

The flashpoint of Taiwan has become a pregnant possibility. Reportedly, a US military jet flew across Taiwan, and no one is fully certain over who claimed what and why. Taiwan’s government said something after the US government said something about the mission. Then the US government said that they weren’t saying what the mission was. So, the Taiwan government said that they weren’t saying what the US government wasn’t saying about what the US government said about why what happened happened. And, we’re not even sure what happened because the identifier tags could have been spoofed.

In the end, China fell for the bait as if on cue. The Chinese State-run Global Times then published a story sometimes written in the first-person stating that the US isn’t allowed to fly military operations over Taiwan and that China would send its military planes over Taiwan if the US did. The story went on to speculate that Taiwan didn’t have the unction—more or less—to fire the first shot at a Chinese plane in Taiwan sovereign airspace. That proves what China is really thinking about: pushing and pushing, trying to call Taiwan’s bluff, wondering who will fire the first shot—because China is hoping someone will fire the first shot.

After all the information China gave away about its intentions—after what seemed like a fluke between Washington and Taipei—don’t think for a second that said fluke was not a well-calculated fluke. The bigger takeaway is that China keeps falling for the bait while Washington learns to anticipate China enough to lead the Chinese Communist military right into its own defeat—and China shows the learning curve of a cat chasing a laser dot.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, October 12, 2020

China has gone effectively “NR”, a tech term for software being “non-responsive”. No matter what any nation says or does, China only digs in, tells the same lies no matter how increasingly obvious, and continues aggression as the solution to losing more friends over its aggression.

Why censor Mike Pence’s statement on China during the vice presidential debate? As an act of good will, China should replay Pence’s statement to correct for the ostensible “no signal please stand by” message during that part of the debate. If anything, letting a foreign vice president make bad statements would help prove that China does not engage in free speech censorship. In all likelihood, the Chinese have been censoring so many people and getting away with it that they thought censoring the American vice president would go unnoticed—it didn’t.

Besides, why keep a foreign vice president’s words away from the ears of their own people. The Chinese people won’t decide how the West will respond to Chinese aggression; the West will decide how the West responds. That’s something else the Chinese Communists don’t seem to understand.

Four nations held a strangely, vaguely-purposed meeting: Japan, Australia, India, and the United States. The reason went largely unexplained, though it was obviously about China. Japan said the meeting wasn’t about one, single country. Australia said no one tells Australia what to do. The US said China is dangerous. From a Chinese Confucian Communist perspective, the meeting seemed out of order. But, in the minds of Western voters, it is clear that all four countries dislike China without having to be told to. It was an unencrypted message China was sure to not decrypt.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, July 13, 2020

China and the US have shown their intentions to the world. The new “National Security Law”, passed and interpreted solely by the Chinese Communist Party, applies to the entire world. China made it illegal for Americans to support calls for change in Hong Kong. Germans wearing a Winnie-the-Pooh shirt could be guilty of a Chinese crime against China’s national security. This is no joke.

The US went hard line after China over Uyghurs in Xinjiang this week. 78 members of Congress petitioned President Trump from both parties to declare China’s work with the Uyghurs “genocide”. That is not merely rhetoric nor an attempt to insult, but a step to unlock later military permissions. The US is preparing for invasion, either to land US troops or to support some other military that does, such as India. This is no joke.

China clarified its understanding on two fronts.

Firstly, about Uyghurs in Xinjiang, China responded to America’s visa sanction and frozen asset action against Chinese officials with a tit-for-tat policy. By not responding with military preparation, or at least genocide declaration, China misinterpreted what the US is ultimately preparing.

Secondly, Chinese state media have commented how the new “National Security Law” for Hong Kong would apply if China could assert jurisdiction elsewhere. This means that, just as the US is laying in the groundwork for an invasion of China, China is laying in the groundwork for what would follow an invasion anywhere else. In all likelihood, the US’ response concerning Uyghurs in Xinjiang—paving a way for invasion—showed understanding of China’s plans for invasion, less likely not, but surely the sabers have been unsheathed and are no longer just rattling.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, January 14, 2019

China is preparing for war. It has said so in public. It has demonstrated so with militarization of “Made in China” islands that didn’t exist a decade ago. It has shown intent by showing no sense of limits in cyber-warfare, technology acquisition, and oppression of the press. Facebook and Twitter users are only a “security threat” to those easily threatened.

Unlike China, the United States does not make a habit of announcing its newest military technology to the world. Whatever warfare breaks out between the US and China in the Western Pacific, China’s capabilities will have been known well in advance, but the US will likely employ weapons not yet known to the public. One needs no inside information to forecast as much, only a familiarity with the parts of history that tend to repeat.

But, we are not looking at WWIII, not yet. While the brewing conflict in the Western Pacific will likely involve many countries and islands, Russia is not yet ready for the big one. NATO’s presence in Europe is still too strong and Putin has not had enough time to amass his forces as he would like. Both Russia and the US would want things to quiet down rather quickly. Every effort from the White House to back away from conflicts with Russia suggests that a deal has already been struck with the Kremlin—that an expansionist campaign from China will not receive meaningful Russian help if squashed by the United States.

The question will concern how many Mainland China military supply installations Russia will allow the US to strike. But, if the US intervenes with Taiwan or razes the artificial islands on Mischief Reef, don’t expect China to receive backup from Russia. Moscow took Crimea with a favorable referendum and no bloodshed. The Kremlin would expect just as much success from Beijing in order to court respect and cooperation. Right now, things don’t look that way. 80% of Taiwanese rejecting reunification with China is a near flip to the support Russia received from Crimeans. Backroom Moscow secretly mocks Beijing, no matter how much money the Chinese pay them. Moscow would be fools if they didn’t.

In the supposed “Chinese invasion plans” for Taiwan, there are multiple phases, including opportunistic retaliation from India. But, those plans fail to anticipate retaliation from the insulted Vietnamese, who also hold a long-standing grudge against China. Then, there is the ancient ethnic spite between China and Japan. Mongolia also has border disputes. Tibet is not the only province that wants to break away. It is doubtful Sun Tzu would have advised an expansion campaign while surrounded by enemies, especially as a mere means of being respected.

It would take a miracle and a half to stay whatever makes the pluming smoke on the horizon of the last decade. But, it won’t last long. No one wants this to drag on. No, like “The Great War” (WWI) set the stage for WWII, the approaching war in the Pacific will set the stage for the big one that comes after.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 10, 2018

The “Huawei arrest” sends yet another a irritatingly mixed message to China. China believes that a “strong response” concerning Taiwan will convince the US to back away from support for Taiwan. Conveniently for China, the recent provincial elections in Taiwan seem encouraging and Beijing has reached out to Taiwanese cities that just elected pro-Beijing party candidates.

Premier William Lai intends to resign at the “right time”. Could that time be what is necessary so he can run for president? Taiwanese politics are quite unpredictable. All we should expect is a series of surprises before, during, and after 2020. Considering where things stand in the world, we must remember that there is no way the UK could be on Taiwan’s side, especially since the UK has concerns about Taiwanese fisherman illegally killing dolphins as shark bait. With opportunity seeming to open, and the increased possibility of the loud-spoken, pro-independence William Lai to run for office, Beijing may be feeling put in an ever tightening situation that compels action.

As concerned as the Chinese are about security, they are far more concerned about insult. Without any sympathy from Western news audiences, an extradition of the Huawei executive from Canada to the US could push China over the edge. China believes that its horrific past justifies its conduct today. It is only a matter of time before Beijing decides that a strike against Taiwan, supported by cooperation with Taiwanese city governments, would send the US out of the region. Taiwan may not be seen by Beijing as the irritant of tensions, but the solution to them. The US might have a different opinion.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, October 8, 2018

China’s political, socioeconomic worldview is that of a zero-sum game. It has played its socioeconomic game that way for decades. Now, it must empty its reserve coffers to keep its zero-sum game strategy from sinking too fast. This means that it can’t use those coffers if a military conflict arose. The United States knows this.

Don’t be fooled. The US strategy is to provoke China into a conflict sooner than it wants. In the Western view, China has shown how it will behave by having shown how it has behaved more and more. This is enough to warrant preemptive agitation for the Western taxpayer. In China’s view, the world has failed to bestow on China what China deserves; because China rightly deserves what it deserves, China can’t lose.

Interpol has now gotten whatever international attention against China’s favor that Hong Kong malcontents did not. With the disappearance of Interpol’s president into China, whoever didn’t care about so-called “Chinese aggression” does now. China’s government thinks they sent a message to the world. They did, but the message received is probably not the message that was intended.

As the Pacific conflict escalates, the US-Taiwan aggravation strategy moves into more military cooperation. “Unprecedented” was the word of the week. And, everyone knows what it means just as much as everyone knows why.

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