Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 3, 2018

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-Wen apologizing after a mid-term defeat at the provincial level will not demonstrate strength on her part, but she shows respect and stability in maintaining her appointees and policy toward China. Having not stood her ground on information about proposal that would have set Taiwan’s team name at the Olympics in Japan as “Taiwan”, instead of “Taipei”, she lost important support from the Formosan Association for Public Affairs, a group that seeks to have Taiwan internationally recognized as an independent nation.

Taiwan’s premier, William Lai, does stand for Taiwanese independence, held remarkable popularity in his reelection as mayor, and is the shoe-in candidate if he were to run in 2020 instead of Tsai. Tsai’s re-election is uncertain. What happens will depend on Taiwanese politics, which are too adolescent to not be surprised by. Main matters at stake include Taiwan developing faster responses to correct disinformation given to the public and a focus on better quality with internal governance and infrastructure. Interestingly, information and governance—not China itself—are at the heart of resistance to China.

If Taiwan declares independence from China, or takes too many steps to join international bodies like the UN, as Beijing has stated, we could be looking at all out war. Some in the political “news-o-sphere” call Taiwan a “flashpoint”. China hangs onto hopes of retaking Taiwan like King John’s suicidal siege of Rochester Castle. All the US does is provoke.

The latest provocation came late last week when Japan opened the path to retrofitting “helicopter carriers” into fixed-wing aircraft carriers. Japan looks to acquire 142 F35s—42 As and now 100 Bs; the UK eyes 138, about half of them to go to the Royal Navy. There are too many high-tech American aircraft in China’s backyard for China’s comfort. And, the US did two more sail-bys—one near China’s man-made islands, the other through the Taiwan Strait. China lobbed another “demarche” protest with Washington, presuming the action to be “provocative”.

Then came the US-China 90 day cease fire between Trump and Xi at the G20 this past weekend. A lot can happen in 90 days, whether politically, economically, or militarily.

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Encore of Revival: America, December 3, 2018

Former President George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st president, is dead at 94.

While the Bush family and the nation mourn, politics continue as usual.

The “Mark Meadows Plan” for Congressional Republicans foreshadows political posturing of the next two years: Democrats will be a powerless foil supporting the re-election of Trump. Just how Democrats harassed the Regan administration with the Olly North investigations, harassed Supreme Justices Kavanaugh and Thomas with sexual harassment allegations—just how the House Republicans harassed Clinton with the Kenneth Star -led investigation—so will this Democratic House irritate the electorate over the next two years. Even if the House impeaches the president as it did Clinton, there isn’t foreseeable traction in the 52-seat strong Republican Senate.

The latest “shock and faux” campaign from the press attempts to scare readers with the notion that Russia did not exercise leverage over Trump—but they could have—because Trump decided not to build a project in Russia that everyone knew about him not building when he would have been allowed to build it anyway. The reason, as this latest “wow” campaign goes, is because Trump is now reported to be the center of the Mueller investigation. Really? That’s news?

The next two years will be as entertaining as watching a cat who thinks it’s a god, but just can’t figure out why it can’t get anyone to obey.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, November 26, 2018

Taiwan held something akin to a “mid-term” election this past Saturday. The people revolted against the previous revolt. When electing the DPP two years ago, the people were fed up with the capitulation policies of Ma. Now, they are fed up with bad management of infrastructure, also an “establishment culture” surfacing in what should be the “opposition party”, among other grievances. Taiwan’s government cautioned China to wait and see how the election affects cross-strait policy before jumping to any conclusions—because they think China can’t figure that out.

China’s government and the Western press are going head to head. China held the American children of an estranged father and money laundering defendant. The New York Times made sure to plaster the picture of the young adult brother and sister at the top of the story. Exploiting children to sway outcomes just isn’t fair.

But, it didn’t stop at children. The New York Times also posted about cheap labor building Chinese AI. And, Forbes published an article with a graph that makes it look like China’s economy has bottomed out. The battle between China and its great and powerful foe—the Western press—rages on. China is at an unfair disadvantage, but presses forward fearlessly and valiantly.

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Encore of Revival: America, November 26, 2018

The US faces politics within and without. President Trump refers to judges appointed by a president; Chief Justice Roberts rebuts, effectively, that judges aren’t owned by presidents. Trump never said they were, he was referring to who appointed them. Who makes an appointment is relevant, even in a court trial. Unless the question, “Who appointed you?” has never been answered by a plaintiff or witness in court, Roberts’ misunderstood. It would be best that the chief justice accurately understand the commander-in-chief’s “original intent”. As for Roberts’ claim that courts are impartial, that certainly is what we all hope for. Trump’s predication is that perfection is a humanly unreachable destination, which is why we need courts in the first place.

At the border, Mexico allowed the so-named “caravan”, now reported at over 8k people, to march through its country seeking immediate help, instant protection, urgent safety, emergency respite from political persecution—or some other timely need that is required to receive “asylum”. Asylum is not a fun thing to receive and often means never being allowed to leave the country once inside. Edward Snowden wasn’t allowed to walk from Hong Kong to Moscow, picking and choosing which country he could seek asylum from; he had to get it right where he was, before leaving the international terminal. If anyone in that caravan can prove that the kinds of protection an asylum specifically grants could not be provided by the many countries they marched through for many weeks, then they should be granted an asylum. They would also need to prove that they would never return to their home country to visit family, no matter what. That’s a tall order. But, if they can do it, they deserve it, but only if.

The Russianewsgategate scandal scandal is still barking and honking, predicting drama and awe, while quietly reminding audiences that there will probably be no indictment. ‘Tis no more than theater at this point, but an act that needs to be kept up so that the cast won’t be accused of having been pretending the whole time. After Kavanaugh’s unfair trial dubbed a “hearing”, avoiding the appearance of fakery in DC theater is important these days.

Whatever is going on in the US is a lot better than what’s going on in Europe. We are witnessing ancient, Biblical prophecy fulfilled in our day: The winged lion of Daniel 7:4 had the eagle’s wings removed and has now been given the sane mind of a human. While eagle’s wings internationally represent America’s mascot, the lion represents Britain’s. While Prime Minister May gave her speech about the Brexit status, she stood behind the crest of Britain’s lion. It is clear from her speech—by leaving the EU, Britain is no longer part of the madness festering in Europe.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, November 19, 2018

In Taiwanese politics, a mayor candidate’s comments about his own benefits from drinking honey-lemonade sparked retribution from the medical community. After a lump under his eye went away, apparently from a vegetarian and honey-lemonade diet, he actually said so. A professional from a hospital was quick to weigh in. It’s understandable. If people learned that honey could cure disease, hospital profits would plunge. More importantly, Taiwanese political debates would become outright boring without the ability to, as the saying goes, make lemonade from political debates.

But, lemonade really is important. Google search results even saw a spike after this essential talk of Taiwanese politics made news.

Meanwhile, at the ASEAN summit in Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called for nations to come together at a time when Southeast Asian stability was under threat. In anticipation of APEC after ASEAN, Mike Pence started talking tough, wanting results and genuine action from China concerning an even-flow of trade. He elaborated, that the US has a quarter of a billion dollars in tariffs and isn’t afraid to go twice as high as well as take more “diplomatic” action. It was a strong “they know that we know that they know what we think” remark, the kind that precedes otherwise objectionable action to make the action unobjectionable.

Later, at APEC, Pence warned of returning to a “cold war” while making plans for a US-Australian naval base in Papua New Guinea. Rather than dropping its tilted tariffs on goods, China has been openly gearing up for all out war three weeks. APEC ended without a written agreement between member nations for the first time ever because of the disagreements between the US and China.

This past weekend, Taiwan did something that China despises every bit as much as it cannot identify with: Taiwan hosted democratic election campaigns. With all the strong rhetoric concerning Taiwan, independence, and China’s loudly and often-spoken determination to invade Taiwan, there shouldn’t be any question where China’s war-in-preparation will start and why America will easily get involved.

America is already involved in Taiwan to quite an extent. AIT, the unofficial yet de facto US embassy in Taiwan, had an interview scheduled for release with a large TV network in Taiwan. But, after the interview, the TV network, TVBS, scrapped the interview. So, AIT shared the interview in its Facebook page, rather than relying on TVBS.

With the history lessons about Taiwan in almost every Taiwan-related story in the Western press, Americans will take an advancement against Taiwan as an advancement against themselves. China would be perceived as an aggressor and rightly so. Everything the US has done to provoke and irritate China would have only worked if China possessed the old school “Asian Pride” that Sun Tzu warned against, a pride that can’t be permitted in a world’s superpower because such pride is easily provoked just as much as it is easily shattered. Hardened pride makes for brittle peace. That’s something that the entire West won’t allow, the US notwithstanding.

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Encore of Revival: America, November 19, 2018

John Kelly’s failure to book seats for the first lady on Airforce One, thereby creating security snafus and other logistic problems, was no mere oversight. A military man made White House chief of staff doesn’t make security-logistic mistakes. Getting along with the first lady personally, then giving her a smaller staff than previous first ladies, refusing to promote her staff while promoting his own—all these were indications of something deeper.

Pacific Daily Times’ Symphony suggested on September 10 that the “mole” who wrote the infamous, and since forgotten, “New York Times essay” fit the profile of someone like John Kelly. The clashes leading up to his rumored replacement fit the profile even more. Similarly, is a DHS chief performing poorly—another non-accident—, then Kelly clashing with security adviser John Bolton when Bolton criticized the poor performance. Try this hypothetical scenario: The essay author was in cahoots with other saboteurs; when a fellow saboteur was called-out, the saboteur naturally got defensive. Such a saboteur probably didn’t storm out of the White House on October 18 from mere rage, but to perform apparently-needed damage control since his plans for sabotage were at risk. That scenario may not be true, but it would explain a lot. Does it seem all that strange that Kelly and the DHS chief he was so defensive of would both be on the radar for replacement?

Theories to fit the pieces together, however, are no more than theories. All we know from here is that a theory made Kelly’s departure all too predictable and that, to know the rest, we’ll just have to wait and see. Replacing a cabinet member should be easier with Governor Rick Scott having secured the fifty-second Republican seat in the Senate.

With rules of conduct in place for the White House press, it will be easier for reporters to have fair access to questions and easier for the White House to kick out reporters who want to take mic time from others. For suing the woman who worked at the White House who tried to take away the White House microphone from Jim Acosta—on camera—with no injury—when he wouldn’t yield the floor to his peers—CNN and Acosta should be ashamed.

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