The US has has taken a hardline on NATO. Of course, NATO members love to criticize the nation that pays the bills that their economic policies can’t afford—or perhaps that their economic priorities refuse.
Germany wants an American debt-funded military and complains like a cat when something is taken away. Everyone wants to negotiate with an Iranian government that actually issued an arrest warrant for the American president. It’s not that those nations believe negotiating is an answer; they don’t know what the answer is. For them, negotiation is nothing more than their ongoing career habit that guided them through fundraisers and elections.
Europe is largely Liberal anymore. It’s like a nest of baby birds whose economic theory is that mamma and pappa bird need to give them more worms—and this is the way to keep the economy going. None of these baby birds demonstrate awareness that worms don’t just appear; the adult birds must go find them! The solution is for baby birds to grow up and learn to hunt for worms of their own. But, tell that to European Liberal leaders these days and you’ll get a response of aloof entitlement and condescension.
There are ways in which things must be done so that cash flows. Money doesn’t move merely because the government told it to. People are driven to invent and pursue dreams and healthy ambitions. Keep them from killing each other, stay out of their way, and then they will gladly generate profit on which they gladly pay enormous taxes.
Ambition is unimaginable to a baby bird who thinks it will never be able to fly simply because it never has. Lucky for us, many Americans are growing up. But, Europe might not grow up in time.
China received two-and-a-half slaps in the face this week: financial sanctions against a few Chinese and Hong Kong leaders, who don’t have money in the US anyway, and the first formal diplomatic visit from America to Taiwan in over 40 years. To add “insultlett” to insults, the purported reason for the US visit was to discuss health and disease cooperation in the face of the Wuhan-famed pneumoniavirus, with Taiwan being the safest place in the world from the disease.
All of these actions from the US are perfectly understandable.
Countries should visit each other. The US is wrong for not having visited Taiwan over the last two score, just as North and South Korea are wrong for their tensions. The world needs people to talk to each other, whether in government, religion, or otherwise. At least Taiwan and the US seem to be getting along much better than Democrat and Republican voters in America.
Sanctions over Hong Kong’s turn of events are also understandable. Beijing doesn’t have jurisprudence over the world, but certain people in Beijing seem to think so and aren’t afraid to put their opinions in ink and law. No, Americans shouldn’t do business with such folk; no one should, no matter what country they’re from.
As understandable as US actions are, they are nonetheless provocative. We can’t expect Beijing to be happy. America found the perfect storm, and bet the bank that people in the Pentagon know what’s going on. But, something seems different in this week’s volley of cross-Pacific insults: Beijing didn’t pop a hernia like it usually does.
Could the Chinese Communists be learning to not feed taunts from the US? Or, more likely, has Beijing read the clear message of actions and decided to quietly plan retaliatory “messages” of action in ways other than rhetoric? The next few months will tell us.
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.
The “Symphony Asian Mad Scientist Theorem” continues to play out. Trump engaged North Korea in talks that led to a calm without North Korea changing its DNA. Trump eventually reminded North Korea what everyone knew would be necessary to reach an agreement and North Korea stomped off.
Now, Trump comes off a marathon of wider-scope talks with China and continues to talk about talk, while the message is sent more clearly to China every day. China already knows what will be necessary to reach an agreement, its ambitions otherwise are classic Imperial-Confucian wishful thinking.
Over the weekend, the US and China exchanged insults at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Singapore. America isn’t gonna’ tip-toe around China anymore! And, China will risk any and every cost and will defeat everyone who stands in the way! They sure told each other! We can’t say China didn’t warn us, just like China warned the world before the victorious Korean armistice and before China’s great and splendid invasion of Vietnam.
Don’t think for a second that Trump doesn’t care about Japan. If he really didn’t care about Japan—if he truly enjoyed the missiles recently launched by “Rocket Man”—he wouldn’t say so on camera. Remember, everything he says is being closely watched by a large and volatile North Korean neighbor which believes that everyone believes everything published in the press.
No matter how much anyone warns China of the dangerous pinball machine game it’s bouncing around inside of, they won’t change because China only ever and always remains true to its Imperial-Confucian values. Those values can and will never include “capitulating to outside demands”. China just won’t change, you see.
China is less and less popular in the news. It’s almost conspiracy-like—how much negative news comes out against China in the Western press at once.
The Trump administration backs Micron with legal action against Fujian Jinhua, an American company vs a Chinese company, over tech theft. At the same time, Jeff Sessions suddenly decides to appear in front of cameras and decry China for cyberspying on the US—a completely unrelated matter except that it is bad press for China. Then, the Taipei Times runs a front page story on illegal Chinese crabs being imported, but not passing a health inspection, with involved companies given a hefty fine, while pushing a North Korean nuke “restart” story to page five! The Taipei Times ran another front page story of China creating fake social media accounts to meddle in Taiwan’s upcoming midterm election.
The truthfulness of this flood of anti-China news is not as important as its timing and priority among headlines. Popular sentiment is more powerful than missiles in a conflict between nations. On that front, the West has already won. Don’t think for a moment that missiles won’t follow to secure what the war of words already won by a deck stacked in the news.
It happened this week. The US finally said outright exactly what Cadence has been saying for years, the strategy in play. According to a Reuters article via Yahoo News, US security adviser John Bolton said, “If they’re put back in the proper place they would be if they weren’t allowed to steal our technology, their military capabilities would be substantially reduced. And a lot of the tensions we see caused by China would be reduced.”
The US wants to put China “back in the proper place”. If it weren’t for one-sided trade deals over the last to decades and an accumulation of technology that China neither researched, conceptualized, nor paid for, Bolton thinks China would be as friendly as a cute, little house cat, not the bossy tiger it has grown into.
Specifically, the US would need to humble the diesel-powered aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, from which China’s other aircraft carriers in the making were reverse-engineered. Taiwan held rehearsals against the Liaoning this week. In other areas, Taiwan isn’t backing down, but announced 30 new international flight destinations this week.
Looking at things in this broader context, the escalating military conflict will not result from a trade war gone awry. Rather, the trade war was but a small part of a much larger scheme to provoke China into a military conflict sooner than it wanted. Tech and money has already been cut off. New weapons have been developed and prepared. Now, the US hopes to put China “back in the proper place”. In Beijing culture, that means an attempt from the US to shame China on the seas.
We should be preparing for an insulted, post-defeat China and long-term strategists should being their review of the psychological atmosphere in pre-WWII Germany.