Lithuania has become the “Taiwan of Europe”. Since WWII, Americans never again struggled with the concept that a problem abroad is a problem at home. This is how we Americans can vote to interfere around the world that we know so little about. We think every squeal from another continent indicates a personal assault on our freedom to watch Netflix.
Europe wasn’t quite there, but not anymore. While Europe watches Lithuania sustain hostile diplomacy from China, Europe is getting the same idea as America. France—oh, the French!—just came to Lithuania’s defense. It’s hard to disagree when the French take sides. They say they aren’t sure why China is angry at Lithuania—okay. But, they make a very good point. China should not have a special group of 17 states it communicates with concerning Europe; it should have all 27. Lithuania was a great opportunity for France to say so. Bravo for French math!
So, now Lithuania is to the EU what Taiwan is to the US; to China, both are bad press.
A recent election in Taiwan’s central city of Taichung gave one more legislative seat to the progressive DPP party—this is the party that doesn’t bow to China’s passive aggression, nor to China’s aggressive aggression.
Yes, that party just got stronger. China won’t be happy. But, what’s new. Just look at Lithuania and do the math.
China has been told, then told again. This week, China was told again again again. The EU gave a blistering rebuke to China’s unsolicited three cents about what other governments call their offices. Specifically, Taiwan is labeling it’s representative office in Lithuania as “Taiwan”. China recalled and expelled diplomats with Lithuania in wake of the matter.
Moves like this show the disturbing psychology guiding the Chinese. Reducing communication does not improve China’s position; it diminishes China’s position. So, why would China do that for anything other than histrionic reasons? The recall of its office in Lithuania resembles Napoleon storming out of his own cabinet meeting just before he fell from power. Moreover, analysis such as this does not cause the Chinese mind to reconsider; the Chinese see the warnings as conjured propaganda without substance.
As if the EU’s response over Lithuania wasn’t enough, US Secretary of State Blinken told Chinese Foreign Minister Wang where the bear crapped in the buckwheat. China’s been aggressive; that’s bad. Single-sided—AKA “unilateral”—action to alter the status quo with Taiwan—AKA “invasion”—is unacceptable. The US will intervene. This may be news to the ears of those in China’s echo chamber where selective listening is the norm. Yes, China may be unaware that the US plans to respond if China invaded Taiwan, even after all that has happened. China’s frame of mind could come partly from three decades of countries letting China push them around. But all of a sudden, a fresh wind blew through the G-20.
Taiwan was thrust into a position without being asked. In 1971, the United Nations removed the Taipei-seated government known today as “Taiwan” and switched to recognizing the Beijing-based government known as “China”. The Taiwanese were elbowed out of the global forum. Now, the US is working to bring Taiwan back in, but not the same way as in 1971. If the trend continues, China and Taiwan would both have a place in the General Assembly, though no government would admit that outcome quite yet.
At the same time Washington swoons the world and Taiwan toward each other, we hear the old fashioned, non-Trump, typical vibrato from the Biden administration. Biden’s own China ambassador nominees says China can’t be trusted. That kind of diplomacy is rooted in neither Trump’s success-at-any-cost focused strategy nor the moderate go-along-to-get-along mantra. Washington Democrats have read the polls and calculated that hating on China is popular with the electorate. This administration will blame and shame China more than Trump. Expect a WWI style war reparations ending to the coming scuffle, not the rebuilding WWII effort MacArthur did in conquered Japan.
Afghanistan’s failure is a false signal to China, but the Beijing echo chamber sees it as a true sign the US is weak. They don’t get it. America wanted out of Afghanistan. And, Americans won’t want post-Afghanistan disaster to hit Taiwan. China is an election campaign whipping boy, but can’t figure out that because China doesn’t know what an election really is.
Taiwan continues to shine. Aide sent to Haiti after a devastating earthquake combines growing ties with Lithuania. China objects—and those are bad optics that China’s speech-control can’t control outside its borders.
China has been rewriting religion for years. Hymnals already read love for government rather than love for God. Now, we see more investigations against Hong Kong demonstrators who sought to uphold China’s agreement to democracy. In essence, China is investigating itself, indicating that China is divided against itself.
As a representative office exchange between Taiwan and Lithuania moves forward for this Fall, so do Taiwan’s de facto ties with the rest of the EU. China would rather object to this than be supportive of earthquake victims in Haiti. That is the obvious news narrative to take from what happened this week.
What’s not obvious is Taiwan’s prejudice against foreigners. Taiwan is having trouble building its submarines because of a shortage of engineering talent. Taiwan’s solution is to recruit more foreign talent. However, neither the problem nor the need for recruitment would exist if Taiwan had reciprocal regulations concerning immigration: protection of foreigner’s rights, five years leads to full citizenship, and dropping Taiwan’s ban on dual citizenship. To become a Taiwanese citizen, one must renounce original citizenship. America doesn’t require that. Taiwan does, then complains about losing allies to China. Does Lithuania’s government know how Taiwan treated its immigrants even to this day?
Had Taiwan treated others how they want to be treated, they wouldn’t have the trouble they do. And, Taiwan would not look like such a delicious target for war-thirsty China. The big danger is that US failure in Afghanistan on Sunday will encourage China’s calculus that an invasion of Taiwan is feasible. Combined with Taiwan’s self-inflicted weakness from discrimination against foreigners, China’s invasion question is more of a likelihood.
But, looking at even deeper strategy, we must consider China’s accusation that the US is playing games. If that were so, then failure in Afghanistan was staged by the US to provoke China into viewing the US as weaker than it is, and the US allowing non-reciprocal treatment of its own citizens in Taiwan would be intended to weaken Taiwan for strategic purposes as well.
Regardless of China’s conspiracy theory—which Chinese strategists never imagine to such length—the peaceful path would be for China to not take the invitation for attack and for Taiwan to treat others with respect. Like Jesus wanting to die on the Cross, a power that welcomes disrespect is up to something. But, the devil is none the wiser.
Let’s look past the fact that Chinese state media doesn’t know what it means to be “cowardly”. Pompeo rejecting Chinese Communist preferences on US policy with Taiwan is not “cowardly”, at worst it would be “foolish” or “over-confidence”; but “cowardly” would mean letting someone else tell the US what to do. Likewise, China is not “cowardly” either; it is “foolish” and “over-confident”. But, the Chinese don’t know the difference, just how they don’t know this decision on Taiwan is meant to provoke China to commit strategic folly. Let’s look past all that.
What is Trump doing? Biden’s strings held by China were well known before they were secluded by the socialist-minded media in the US. By lacing up ties with Taiwan, Trump forces any future White House attempts to let China dictate policy to be seen for what they are. No president or secretary of state would be politically allowed to back down on Taiwan relations without being exposed as a Chinese manchurian candidate.
In the past, socialist media in the US—which is nearly all media in the US—acted as mouthpieces for Communist Russian propaganda. Now, they act as Communist Chinese tools to install a president owned by China—Biden—all the while publishing bad news about China. From the US perspective, there is a pregnant need to protect the US government from saboteurs—shoes which fit Biden and the primary failure Harris perfectly. Trump taking action that would force Chinese-owned saboteurs to tip their hands only makes sense. But, that still doesn’t explain what is going on.
We must not assume that America is in a peaceful transition from one undisputedly elected president to the next. But, of course China hoped for that. The bipartisan-orchestrated chaos in Washington and state capitals comes as a surprise to the Chinese. If they knew what was coming, they wouldn’t have wasted their time snuggling up to Biden last month. So, because they think this capital chaos was a surprise to them, it was therefore not part of a rouse to make them think America is weak. But, that still doesn’t explain what is going on.
Follow the money. Who makes money off China thinking America is vulnerable? Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics. They don’t need to be part of any conspiracy; only a few stakeholders do—perhaps not even shareholders, perhaps only suppliers of suppliers. However things play out in the dual-fated cities of Washington and Taipei, it will happen that American weapons contractors make the most profit. We are looking at a short and costly skirmish where neither those weapons contractors’ customers are defeated, nor are their profitable enemies. The South Sea is the perfect place. And, China is the perfect dupe to take the bait.
The Chinese make one huge gamble based on two doubtful conclusions. They think Biden will be inaugurated in January. They think they have deterred the US military in the Pacific. Both notions have been carefully feigned and crafted by the US. The pieces are in place and China moves its queen to attack the baiting pawn. The US wants China to initiate its own military embarrassment.
Over the years, America has stirred unneeded trouble throughout the world. America will pay the consequences for that, but not according to any itinerary set by China. Something similar could be said for Taiwan concerning its own internal systems of justice, both for the Taiwanese and for resident foreigners. Taiwan will pay the consequences, but not according to any itinerary set by China. We all answer to God, and God the Judge will not share space on His bench. If China—or anyone else—wants to take God’s bench, God may send in His bailiff.
China wants the results of innovation—which come from free thinking—which comes from free speech. But, free speech and rights respected are the two things China will not accept. So, China indirectly rejects the good results which only follow good choices. Trying to live without the very shame the continue to create—trying to defeat the countries with military technology they could only steal from those countries—trying to absorb economies with innovation that only thrived without their tyranny—China only knows how to miscalculate. The embarrassment China is about to bring upon itself is nothing any good person would wish for. That the Chinese wish for it says more on this matter than anything else.