Cadence of Conflict: Asia, January 15, 2018

Jeffery Lewis at the Daily Beast has finally found a solution to the problem with North Korea: Kim Jong Un’s port-a-potty. By bombing the dynastic successor’s port-a-potty, the US would demonstrate both precision and presence. This would be the proverbial “arrow” from Robin Hood, conveniently shooting its way into the Sheriff’s chamber.

Though the “papers” have not been “supplied” to top “brass” at press time, the premise has merit: showing that the US means business by “denying entry” for Kim to do his. While the “move” would surely cause an “emergency”, their could be new security concerns about “individual privacy”. The strategic proposal does not clarify whether or not to strike the “facility” while it is “occupied” by Kim “forces”.

As for other port-a-potties in the region, China and Taiwan are deep in their own “potty” match. China is unilaterally opening new flight routs, reportedly in violation of agreements under the International Civil Aviation Organization. New flight routs are “required” to be coordinated first, but these were not. China simply “activated” them. The routs are very close to Taiwan airspace and Taiwan has made quite the buzz about it.

The US further complicated matters with a unanimously-passed bill from the House: the Taiwan Travel Act, which allows for high-level diplomatic visits between the US and Taiwan “under respectful conditions”. The bill serves to support a shared “commitment to democracy”. The House also passed HR 3320, which directs the Secretary of State to strategize for Taiwan to regain “observer status” at the World Health Assembly, which Taiwan failed to obtain in years past.

China made its own moves, particularly with doubts on the continued purchase of US Treasury bonds. That sent tremors through the markets in multiple directions.

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Encore of Revival: America, January 15, 2018

This was the week of rouses and houses. Trump called a bipartisan meeting from Congress at the White House and, to the surprise of many, much of the meeting showed on video. Everyone seemed to get along. Viewers could see real, actual video of leaders in real, normal conversation. It was somewhat unusual and not the least bit jarring.

Then began the rouse and purported fake news. The Wall Street Journal is accused of reporting that Trump claims a good relationship with Kim Jong Un rather than that he would have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un. This was one of the more obvious misreports. Another included Trump speaking vulgarly about unfortunate nations in his bipartisan meeting at the White House.

While there is no recording of his comments to members of Congress, there is a recording of what Trump said to the Wall Street Journal, which so far has refused to change the disputed quote.

Whether Trump actually spoke the dirty word as reported is left up to a whosaidhesaidit argument on Capital Hill. The big change: Republicans actually spoke in Trump’s defense, that he didn’t use such words. That should be notoriety enough, when someone receives support from his own enemies.

Then, there was the rouse in Hawaii with a false invasion alarm. Don’t worry, Hawaii will think through what any Product Manager worth half of his salt would have drawn-up for a product roadmap well in advance. They will make it harder to press the “panic” button and equip their system with a “cancel” button to turn off the panic. Of course, it was all an accident and a big misunderstanding, nothing anyone needs to lose a job over.

In fact, the slew of rouses that trailed after the video of the president getting along with leaders in Washington was all a complete and coincidental “aligning of the planets”, such a celestial event that does happen in nature, such as blue moons and Halley’s Comet, except that the unusual string of rouses itself doesn’t seem to be worth covering in the press—at least not elsewhere.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, January 8, 2018

The talks between South and North Korea are not at all what they are cracked up to be. While the world would love to believe that this is some grand exercise in “can’t we all just get along” diplomacy that always-only ever failed under Obama in any and every hemisphere, North-South talks are not what they seem. They are a distraction, a false pretense, an ostensible cover story, a smoke screen for something much, much deeper.

In all likelihood, the talks will include a very subtle Asian-style, excessively subtle (since it’s among Koreans) offer. Even bachelor’s degree students of business management study the science of talking to an employee in such a way that he doesn’t figure out he’s being fired until he gets home and takes his first bide of dinner. Leonardo explained the idea well in his movie Inception.

The meeting, capitalizing on participation in the Olympic games so strategically timed and placed, is more akin to the close of the series The Sopranos. A lieutenant of a rival family meets with the head of another family to plot the “offing” of his own boss in order to stop an ugly war that no one wanted, which started when that new boss came to power. The rival family “does in” their own boss at the gas station, the main character makes his hospitality rounds, and the story ends.

That’s what this seems like. The Trump administration is allowing it, taking partial credit in a preemptive expectation of due accolades, also reminding the Asian world that communication is a good thing. Symphony said the same two days before Trump sent his January 4 Tweet to the same effect: without pressure from the US there would be no talks.

If Kim Jong Un eventually disappears in the months ahead, remember that it all came from this meeting, purportedly about the Olympics. There wouldn’t be any moves in northern Korea without already having “certain assurances”.

But, don’t let that distract you. Taiwan is definitely playing its role in provocative and irksome “spitting matches” with China. As with the min-boss in The Godfather Part III, Taiwan wouldn’t do that without “backing”.

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Encore of Revival: America, January 8, 2018

American news has a culture of rhetoric. People in that culture rehearse the “I’m really serious about this” tone, mannerisms, and gestures. They genuinely believe that “serious” delivery and well-distributed reports are the primary cause of public opinion. They think Trump was elected by mere propaganda and so they fight back with mere propaganda as if mere propaganda was the problem and its own solution. Now, it’s more apparent than ever.

Since Trump announced, about 18 months ago, members of the “opinion class” have lived in a dream world that could not foretell the approaching train and cannot acknowledge the cause of the wreckage left when they wouldn’t get off the tracks. And now, it seems that they think maintaining that dream will cast some magical, mind-control spell on the public.

Disassemble Wolff’s comment, just as an example: “The economy is booming possibly because you’ll have someone who’s not capable of actually implementing any policies or regulation…” Since when did anyone in mainstream media believe that reducing government would help the economy? Then again, for people who think that rhetoric “trumps” results and that propaganda pulls rank over proof, such statements don’t seem like a contradiction.

Take Jake Tapper’s comment as he interrupted his guest, Stephen Miller: “I get it. There’s one viewer that you care about right now and you’re being obsequious… in order to please him.” That video has been reposted and shared across the Internet, being viewed thousands of times just in the last day. No way was Miller speaking to only one audience member. Some may remember the incident for using big words many in the audience don’t know, salacious and obsequious. But, few will notice that Tapper set a much more powerful precedent. By saying, “him,” Jake Tapper is on well-viewed and -documented record as believing that it is not insulting to use the masculine pronoun when referring to an individual who could be of any gender. That also is a reversal from the mainstream mass media.

Then, low ratings in the NFL are being blamed on having too many games for fans to watch, even though the NBA has more games than people can watch and it’s ratings are up through the roof. Since, as Wolff reports, the 25th Amendment is in discussion in so many places, perhaps it’s time to speculate the hypothetical that the NFL protests could have been part of some conspiracy to raise NBA ratings. Merely discussing hypotheticals is all that matters for something to be worthy of reporting, right?

While the Left takes their turn objecting in their own way to the opposing agenda pushing through the White House, the Right are more interested in the mass media meltdown. At least that’s how some people view it, but not everyone.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, January 2, 2018

China claims no part in the Hong Kong and Taiwan -related ships recently stopped by South Korean officials for illegally supplying oil to North Korea. China’s claim might be believable, but during the holiday week, China blocked a UN attempted to blacklist those very vessels caught in the act. By blocking the block of the “smoking gun” ships, as it were, China has defined itself as an accomplice. It’s a mere matter of fact and definition. There is no defense for China in regard to having some part to play with these two seized vessels.

Russia’s role, however, seems more dominant and should be more disconcerting. But, where does the attention from the press turn to blame but China. The press loves to make China the global scapegoat, but China’s responses don’t help its own disposition any.

Beijing made it clear that military exercises all around Taiwanese airspace are the “new normal” and Taiwan will just have to get used to it. Taiwan is re-focusing strategy for asymmetric warfare—politically correct military language for “fighting a bigger enemy”. Several Taiwanese companies are “rethinking” the presence of their factories in China after an entire zone was targeted for zone-wide shutdown. The catch to the zone shutdown story is that the entire zone is said to be targeted for a few blackout days because only some factories in the zone are polluting the environment too much. Factories that are within environmental regulations also have to shut down, argued to include Taiwanese-owned factories. Many factories in that zone are Taiwanese-owned. If China isn’t sending a message that Taiwanese aren’t welcome then Beijing could do a better job of not making it look that way.

Again, China’s actions indicate more and more that China is hostile toward democracies in the East Pacific, namely South Korea and Taiwan. From the perspective of Americans reading Western headlines, it is more difficult every day to come to China’s defense. That perspective among the masses is what the Pentagon is waiting for.

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