Cadence of Conflict: Asia, June 18, 2018

Trump has stopped military exercises near North Korea, but he has not initiated any plans to withdraw troops. His reason for stopping the exercises is that they are provocative and expensive. He has a point: If the heads of state are talking then we are less in need of fighting practice in a scenario where heads of state are not talking.

The military exercises with South Korea are expensive and provocative, as Trump explains. Frankly, they should stop. With healthy conversations and progress toward peace already behind us, there won’t be a need for those drills any longer. Rehearsal for conflict that might never exist can often provoke the very conflicts we otherwise would not need to prepare for. As for the “expense” defense, few accountants will argue in favor of nickeling and diming away money as fiscally responsible and no one believes that taxpayers’ pockets are infinitely deep except pundits with portfolios in public funding.

The Western news is that Trump is wrong, specifically with regard to China that China wins. According to this week’s Western news narrative, China wins because of troop withdrawals that haven’t happened, because a friend of China will de-nuke, and because over 30k US troops will be free to go home—or go to Taiwan, Mischief Reef, Vietnam, the Philippines, Japan, or any number of other Pacific island-nations China doesn’t get along with.

Economically, China “wins” because manufacturing is leaving China—which must therefore mean that China’s innovation and science is the new source of manufacturing elsewhere. Perhaps that includes innovation and science like the Chinese government now trying to track every car with a chip as of 2019. The “Mad Scientist” theorem of the experimental police state research moving from North Korea to China continues to play out.

Just remember with everything: There’s more going on than anyone can see. Deals between governments are never fully explained to the public. They shouldn’t be. But, as peace develops in one part of the western Pacific, hostilities move around and every pundit seizes opportunity to say, “I was right.” No conflict is without news profiteering.

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Encore of Revival: America, June 18, 2018

The meeting between Kim and Trump has been twisted into a bet over Iran. Canada and Iran believe Obama’s Iran deal is the model. They are staking their reputations of knowing what kind of deals lead where in the fate of the Kim-Trump summit. The results will speak for themselves.

In the aftermath of Summit Kim-Trump, Trumpists see the glass as 3/4 full while while Anti-Trumpists see the glass as 3/4 empty. No sitting president has met with the leader of North Korea and received concessions. The Iran deal was arguably as bad as Anti-Trumpists claim Kim-Trump was, and Iran involved cash payments while Kim-Trump did not. The only conclusion we can draw is that people support whomever they already support, our favorites can do no wrong and our disfavored can do nothing right.

Now, Giuliani is calling for an investigation of the investigators. There used to be a department in the federal government that did that. It was called the FBI until Comey got involved. But, those days are behind us.

The US is polarizing, but the poles are also shifting.

Some LGBTQAYKXYZYTBA folk are moving to agree with the old Conservative position on the value of individual gun ownership. It will have a unifying effect in the United States and will ensure the eventual downfall of both the Republican and Democrat parties for having failed so miserably in their scripted prognoses of the American voter. With taxes being lower and the Federal Government making more revenue, Democrat-dependent myths about taxes are being exposed, but that doesn’t indicate a nation moving toward a Republican establishment.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, June 11, 2018

The historians and experts are all hysterical about the historic meeting between Trump and Kim. They warn that JFK appeared too week while Nixon’s aggression didn’t intimidate. No one can win in the eyes of the hindsight expert who sees himself as the smartest guy in the room. But, history has already been made: Trump brought Warmbier home and Kim to the table. No one has done either before as a sitting president.

For the record, former President Bill Clinton did bring home Lisa Ling’s younger sister from North Korea under Kim Jong-Il, but he wasn’t president at the time and he wasn’t dealing with the same leader. Still, Clinton deserves kudos. Presidents Clinton and Trump should have a victory cigar together at some point.

Kim Jong-Un is a kid who has never known the free world. Though there are rumors of him having attended school as a kid in Europe, it would have been just enough to gain an appetite, not an understanding. Donald J. Trump is an old, wealthy man. With talk of a McDonald’s and a Trump resort in North Korea being on Kim’s wish list, everyone should expect the conversation to be that of the young kid eagerly asking daddy for gifts. Trump’s answer will likely be similar to his response to Senator Feinstein, “Sure we can do that…” with the added, “But, those things aren’t given by eternally rich countries since no country is eternally rich. Those things are part of a world culture of people coming in and going out, but your father and grandfather wouldn’t let people go in or out. If you just let people go in and out, you can get those things yourself without having to ask me.”

In all likelihood, no one has ever told those things to Kim Jong-Un before, not even South Korean President Moon who began the current outreach. Everyone has his role. Moon was the charm, Trump may be the evangelist who delivers the good news no one else could. This meeting is not about a hashed-out, jig-sawed “deal”; it’s about the only man in the world with both the power and the words to explain life and love to the only man in the world who can’t receive those ideas from anyone else.

As Trump and Kim prepare to meet tomorrow, the main news in the Western press about China is China possibly spying on the Trump-Kim summit, that and flashbacks to Nixon and Mao. The rest focuses on the old script of news in China: economics. The SCO summit includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Russia, China, and India. They basically met to agree that they agree. Clearly, China and its neighborhood is solidifying a stark alliance to contrast morphing alliances in the West—and the West’s growing alliance with some nations to China’s east.

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Encore of Revival: America, June 11, 2018

Reciprocal trade is the trend of everyone. Canada charges 270% tariffs on US dairy in the midst of the NAFTA “free trade” agreement, Trump threatens to charge other tariffs if trade isn’t even, and Trudeau objects to reciprocal tariffs and threatens them at the same summit. If the results were allowed to speak for themselves, it would be hard to know if anyone wants free trade or reciprocal tariffs or if people just want to argue. But, the results aren’t in yet. Until they are, we don’t know.

Trump left a G7 summit, wishing it were a G8 summit to include Russia, making it a G6 summit while he left for his own G2 summit in Singapore with Kim Jong-Un. Trump solidified the certainty of that summit by canceling it. Reciprocal trade will almost surely be on the shelf. The Western press can’t not speculate, especially with the old wives tale that investment is the primary source of economic stimulation—generally overlooking hard work, balancing free markets with regulation, and ingenuity.

The reason Russia is not at the G 7/8 summit is because it took back Crimea via referendum. Khrushchev gave Crimea to the Ukraine in 1954, which was a controversy all to its own. The Obama administration’s response was to alienate Russia. Russia’s main faux pas in the recovery of Crimea was flying its Russian flag over a government building taken by Russian soldiers prior to the referendum, but that received little attention. The West’s opinion at the time was largely limited to who should own what territory in Ukraine and Russia.

Amazon is listening and respecting the religious needs of its Muslim workers in the Twin Cities. Fasting is hot work and the Muslim immigrants need a cooler, slower-paced work environment during Ramadan. No word in the news, however, on reciprocal trade working conditions, such as whether Amazon has negotiated for disposable barbecue celebrations for Taoists on Chinese holidays or fish Friday for Catholics who have so generously immigrated to Muslim countries.

Talk show news punetdom is losing, in life, a lion of the mind, Charles Krauthammer. When the other talking heads from the Potomac beltway and NPR niggled over opinions of the press and heads of state, Krauthammer explained the three step process of delivering a nuclear weapon and where Kim Jong-Il had made progress within those steps. He resented terms like “Washington establishment” and also objected to Trump for fighting against an establishment he deemed mythical. He represented a sobering voice of reason and calm, disagreed with almost everyone about something, politely held to his own opinions, and remained courteous in discussion. He shared a letter within the past few days that cancer is ending his life and he has only weeks to live. The world of ideas and politics already misses him.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, June 4, 2018

North Korea inches further and further toward talks with the US. China fears this. If Kim Jong-Un get in the same room as the man who wrote The Art of the Deal, North Korea could become a stronger ally to the US than even South Korea overnight. That would likely lead to a quick reunification of the Korean Peninsula, as well as other shifts in power, even before any alliance might be formalized. But, Trump’s deal-making reputation should bring no shocks to what is about to transpire in the Singapore Summit.

Then, there’s China, about to be left behind. The hardline crackdown on free speech throughout China won’t be without consequence. Symphony has been saying so for years; Albert Ho effectively said the same, quoted in a Bloomberg article dated June 4. Party power is getting brittle. But, the consequences of brutal brittality are rarely explored. So, here goes.

Hong Kong won’t shut up anytime soon. The whining, whimpering bratty students of Hong Kong may be wrong to demand rights when freedom was largely handed to them by the British. But, those bratty students sure are drawing a press load of attention to China. That alone should be a heavy factor in logistics calculation. Hong Kong is a megaphone for any anti-China sentiment because the world reads about Hong Kong every day. After all, Hong Kong is “Asia’s World City”.

But, then there’s the problem of cracking down within “China proper”, the Mainland governed directly by Beijing, not a SAR like Hong Kong or Macau. If China considers friendly sarcasm to be a threat within China—that means tech companies and hardware manufacturers won’t have candid conversations about quality control and competitive design. Once free speech becomes a minefield, people will divert mental resources away from fee and open brainstorming toward making sure that they don’t say anything offensive. The key to good brainstorm sessions and innovation is that nothing is off the table and no one is allowed to take offense at anything whatsoever. That’s can’t happen in China anymore. Bye-bye Western manufacturing paradise. It’s only a matter of time before Western outsourcing brands figure it out. One little story, like an innovator being locked up for a tech suggestion because it was interpreted as “opposing to the Party”, might plunge Chinese factory stocks into the void below.

“Single-Party Rule” is the key topic now, at least according to Western papers. That’s the protest mantra in Hong Kong. It’s the talking point of headlines and marches. It is the so-called “problem” as is being presented to the world. The Western press is on a path for reporting a narrative that stirs sentiment for two-party rule in China. Whether it’s a typhoon, an earthquake, a solar flare, or some other “act of God”, if China suddenly adopts a two-party system, Western newspaper readers will have already been prepped to think it is a good thing.

Then, there’s Vietnam, exploring foreign investment “zones”. Deserved or unfair, distrust is stirring against China as a place of investment. This will have a double-edged effect in Vietnam. Firstly, Western manufacturing will flock to Vietnam as a way of fleeing the newspaper villain, China. But, with a Communist Party having total rule in Vietnam, Western investors will demand certain assurances before dumping too much money into yet another single-party market. Sooner or later, we could be looking at Vietnam adopting a friendly two-party system as a stronger strategy of competing with China. That will only add to the momentum of change in East Asia.

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