Cadence of Conflict: Asia, September 17, 2018

The US is not sending a contingency of Marines to Taiwan to protect it’s envoy. This announcement came after reports that the US had such plans. After discussing the non-existence of the plans for deployment, the State Department also discussed that it does not discuss plans for security or other strategies. Perhaps the real strategy not being discussed is that the strategy is not being discussed.

At any rate, the announcement that an announcement has not been made about the discussion of not discussing security strategy and the non-discussion about Marines who will not be deployed should make heads in Beijing spin as they try to figure out just what the US is not doing about what it’s not discussing. Fewer Marines in Taiwan would be more inviting for an invasion, if the discussion were under discussion, which it is not—reportedly.

One of the best kept secrets about the brewing trade war between the US and China is that US jobs departed to China. A trade war would move those jobs back to the US.

Consider a US company that set up shop in China. While the financial know-it-alls loose sleep over anything being less pleasant than an afternoon massage, including a US company in China being attacked hyena style as Chinese culture loves to do, the people in the US wouldn’t care about that company. That’s the company that forsook the American worker. In the mind of the average US working voter, the company that got in bed with China should stay around for the abusive marriage; so leave them to the hyenas! Any Americans who own shares in those companies would do well to keep that information secret from their working, voting neighbors.

The world doesn’t work how so-called “financial experts” think it does. The trade war will not hurt the US economy because economies flourish from jobs, not consumption. Claiming that lower consumption of off-shore goods will harm a market would be to measure a farm’s profitability based on how much the farming family eats other farmers’ food. The real issue with the trade war is a real war.

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Encore of Revival: America, September 17, 2018

Trump’s sanctions about elections are about the election. Turn all eyes to Texas. The seat of Senator Ted Cruz should not be in jeopardy. Democrats have no reason to dump such large amounts of money into a Texas race where senators are trending Republican—unless they are either crazy or they happen to know about other plans that could affect the vote. They aren’t campaigning against Cruz because they think he is weak, but because he is so powerful.

Without the additional sanctions on foreign interference, it would be much easier to meddle in your opponent’s election by asking a foreign power to do the meddling. Americans know better than to meddle in American elections because they have nowhere to run. Off-shore meddlers are another story—at least they were until Trump ordered his sanctions.

This is a shot across the bow, not so much deterring foreign powers from meddling as much as making foreign powers—and any domestic cooperatives—aware that the White House is aware that there are attempts to meddle. Only a fool would think Trump’s order is purely for the optics of pleasing his unusually loyal base, which cares more about jobs and walls than defusing accusations they have already decided are fraudulent. These sanctions from the White House could be what wins Cruz his second term. We’ll see.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley lives in a unit in the famed Waldorf Astoria. She originally had the $135k/month unit occupied by Susan Rice during the Obama years. Rice had ordered $52k worth of drapes and motors to close them, but the furnishings didn’t arrive until Haley had insisted on moving to a less-than-half-the-price unit of the lavish Obama ambassador, at only $58k/month. New York is an expensive place for everyone, but Haley also rejected the set of drapes. Of course, in New York newswriting, Obama’s bad decision must be blamed on Trump. It’s all Trump’s fault what Obama did.

Senator Feinstein should be impeached and Judge Kavanaugh should be approved Monday rather than Thursday. After a long and—according to Democrats—interesting career in the White House, an uncorroborated claim from a supposed victim of a so-called assault—much less severe than anything Clinton was praised for by his base—came to Feinstein in July. The accuser didn’t mention anything in all the other years of Kavanaugh’s career, nor did Feinstein mention the accusations in July or August. Everyone waited until the last possible minute.

If it is true that Democrats don’t mention important facts until time is almost up, they should be expelled from Washington. Many voters in the #WalkAway movement seem to agree. But, this looks more like something made-up. By doing this at such a late hour, Democrats have implied that there is nothing more meaningful to discuss. Democrats are still angry that they can’t read all the private memorandum that other people wrote to other people which Kavanaugh was the confidential delivery boy for. So, they pull an Anita Hill style accusation that looks fake in every time and manner they choose. The only credibility this accuser can gain at the bottom of this ninth inning would be for Feinstein to resign in disgrace for either trying to pull a fake “September surprise” or for exploiting a victim in doing so. Fat chance on a Democrat not exploiting the victims so desperately engineered into their voter base.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, September 10, 2018

Right or wrong, the US-China tariff war was always coming. Stupid American companies flew into the campfire of Chinese manufacturing like moths into a flame. China was smart inasmuch as they did not become dependent on the outsourced labor, which was always going to ever-only be temporary. China has wasted no time, building infrastructure, such as the highway between Hong Kong and Macau and the silk road, now gaining income by the well marketed tourist attraction.

But, this tariff war was always coming. The political situation in the Pacific indicates that it’s not about economics so much as it is about military. Pacific island nations grow more and more irritated by China. Little, small nations are speaking out, demanding China apologize for storming out of a PIF (Pacific Islands Forum) meeting when China’s diplomatic representative was told to wait to speak until after heads of state from member nations had their turn. China is not a member, only an attendee. This is not any demonstration of leadership that the region will accept, no matter how much it may have been bestowed by the territorial gods at the universe’s center, which is in China of course.

Then, there’s Taiwan. If last week was a week of firing off blanks and papers across bows, this week, cannonballs started splashing. Taiwan introduced three different bills amending existing law, stiffening restrictions and penalties concerning anything that could even remotely be construed as interference between Taiwan and China. As if that wasn’t enough, Taiwan is increasing its budget for both fighter jets and the navy. And, Taiwan’s military even moved up an annual naval exercise to rehearse an attack from China at an earlier date than usual.

In all of this, the rain continues to fall in Taiwan, now flooding different parts of the island than saw torrents over three solid weeks of cloud cover. Not to worry, though. City governments are closely monitoring just how many millimeters of water can drain away how quickly, revamping any old sewer system that can’t keep up. Taiwan just seems to have its hands full, as well as its rivers.

Then, there is the tsunami of US diplomacy. Trade wars often prelude military wars. While Taiwan’s dwindling allies flip to support China, the US is breaking ties with any country that breaks ties with Taiwan, more or less. Solidarity with Taiwan seems to have bipartisan support in US Congress. With trade alliances shifting, when war breaks out, it will be a financial calculation as a convergence of China’s revenue and US dependence on Chinese-made goods both bottom out.

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Encore of Revival: America, September 10, 2018

Assuming Jeff Sessions does not recuse himself again, if and when he investigates the mole undermining the will of the people now elected to the White House, he should look for someone akin to a spotless East Coast grad with a sense of personal duty, a history of “high grad” military status over real life, reverence for sailors like John McCain, little time in life to have acquired entrepreneurial startup bearings, and knowing how to correctly use the word “lodestar” along with a proper em dash—. In other words, they should look for someone similar to John Kelley.

As for the economy, it’s the economy stupid. Republicans should win the midterm. Everything else is just excitement about excitement. Blue collar union workers usually vote blue, but don’t count on it with them getting higher pay. As if that wasn’t enough, this little maritime-savvy maverick hero from the White House just might bring out the vote enough to boost the republican electorate participation. Then, we also have all those #walkaway peeps, who are snowballing against the snowflakes.

The biggest mistake in Woodward’s book was spelling Trump’s name correctly. All press is good press, especially when the economy is clipping along.

As for Elon Musk’s fall in stock prices, that sure does fit with his goal of making the company private again. If prices fall below his promised $420/share, his offer would seem attractive.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, September 3, 2018

China is in trouble. We don’t know why, but we know the indication: Trump will be absent from ASEAN. He was absent from a funeral this week and his support grew. He was absent from a Republican debate, then he won the Republican nomination. By not meeting Xi face to face, Xi won’t be able to read his emotions. No one knows exactly what Trump has planned, only that he’s spending a lot of time on the golf course—a luxury banned by China’s Communist Party—a luxury that just so happens to be Trump’s favorite place to mull things over and get new ideas.

In the rainy season of August, Taiwan enjoyed almost three weeks of cloud cover. Whatever went on in Taiwan, it was difficult to see from above, and China never likes not being able to see from above. There’s nothing like a little conveniently bad weather to irritate the away team. But, that wasn’t the end.

The US is looking at a contingency of Marines to defend its unofficial embassy in Taipei and a former chief suggests simulating attacks on China’s Soviet made, diesel powered aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, if it gets close enough to Taiwan. Such a statement is purely provocative and no chief, former or sitting, would make such provocation without sitting in counsel. This all compares to the Scottish flashing each other before a battle of the kilts. This week, the Taipei Times published numerous insulting and blatantly disrespectful stories from Taiwanese politics, spitting at China. Taiwan wouldn’t do without backing.

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