Cadence of Conflict: Asia, January 28, 2019

The West ramped up rhetoric against China this past week. Even George “Socialist” Soros trashed the Chinese government, yet tried to court favor with the Chinese people. Such an attempt aims to divide government and people. Opinion pieces from renowned news outlets openly accuse China of aggression. We did not see such a harsh tone from the mainstream press in the West even one year ago. Today, it’s becoming commonplace to bash China.

The US sent two Naval vessels through the Taiwan Strait this week. Now, the US is preparing extradition of the Huawei executive currently in Canadian custody. With threats of turning the tariffs back on, it should be more apparent that the US never planned to grant China any of its ambitions in the first place. Not only has the US been playing China like a flute, the Chinese haven’t known—or have they?

Everyone seems to be biding time, both the US and China. China’s main focus has been readying government and military. The US focus seems to have been public sentiment against China. Perhaps both sides have been playing each other, but the US has been making a play of its own—that we can see.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, January 21, 2019

The US government shutdown is stalling Beijing’s action against Taiwan. With the US slightly less-able to respond and prepare, Beijing has an opportunity to bide time and grow its military. No doubt, Beijing will see advantage and seize opportunity.

At the same time, the US has zero intent of appeasing Beijing’s hopes for Taiwan. Whatever signals the US sends elsewhere and otherwise, the US government shows no respect for China and China shows a slow learning curve on understanding just how little respect it has thus.

The evermore desperate fight inside Taiwan continues. Taiwanese rally around their defiant president. Taiwan’s government is reaching for any friends it can find anywhere in the world, while policing dissidents and sources of pro-Chinese opinion within its borders. No doubt, Taiwan is headed for what Winston Churchill said of Great Britain, “this was their finest hour.” Though history has not written the end of that hour, the time is fast approaching.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, January 14, 2019

China is preparing for war. It has said so in public. It has demonstrated so with militarization of “Made in China” islands that didn’t exist a decade ago. It has shown intent by showing no sense of limits in cyber-warfare, technology acquisition, and oppression of the press. Facebook and Twitter users are only a “security threat” to those easily threatened.

Unlike China, the United States does not make a habit of announcing its newest military technology to the world. Whatever warfare breaks out between the US and China in the Western Pacific, China’s capabilities will have been known well in advance, but the US will likely employ weapons not yet known to the public. One needs no inside information to forecast as much, only a familiarity with the parts of history that tend to repeat.

But, we are not looking at WWIII, not yet. While the brewing conflict in the Western Pacific will likely involve many countries and islands, Russia is not yet ready for the big one. NATO’s presence in Europe is still too strong and Putin has not had enough time to amass his forces as he would like. Both Russia and the US would want things to quiet down rather quickly. Every effort from the White House to back away from conflicts with Russia suggests that a deal has already been struck with the Kremlin—that an expansionist campaign from China will not receive meaningful Russian help if squashed by the United States.

The question will concern how many Mainland China military supply installations Russia will allow the US to strike. But, if the US intervenes with Taiwan or razes the artificial islands on Mischief Reef, don’t expect China to receive backup from Russia. Moscow took Crimea with a favorable referendum and no bloodshed. The Kremlin would expect just as much success from Beijing in order to court respect and cooperation. Right now, things don’t look that way. 80% of Taiwanese rejecting reunification with China is a near flip to the support Russia received from Crimeans. Backroom Moscow secretly mocks Beijing, no matter how much money the Chinese pay them. Moscow would be fools if they didn’t.

In the supposed “Chinese invasion plans” for Taiwan, there are multiple phases, including opportunistic retaliation from India. But, those plans fail to anticipate retaliation from the insulted Vietnamese, who also hold a long-standing grudge against China. Then, there is the ancient ethnic spite between China and Japan. Mongolia also has border disputes. Tibet is not the only province that wants to break away. It is doubtful Sun Tzu would have advised an expansion campaign while surrounded by enemies, especially as a mere means of being respected.

It would take a miracle and a half to stay whatever makes the pluming smoke on the horizon of the last decade. But, it won’t last long. No one wants this to drag on. No, like “The Great War” (WWI) set the stage for WWII, the approaching war in the Pacific will set the stage for the big one that comes after.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, January 7, 2019

The US is working diligently to put Taiwan in the spotlight. It seems that Taiwan is being set up in the American public eye as the next Lusitania or Pearl Harbor—the punch that awakens the sleeping nation. It will be difficult, though, for an attack on foreign soil to provoke the public. That’s where China seems to be playing on cue.

By wanting to sink a US Navy vessel, China would make the final push. Beijing doesn’t understand American “exceptionalism”; it never has. Beijing doesn’t know what freedom does to people, how much it energizes a threatened people. Americans won’t respond as Chinese employees do to a boss who clears his throat; they will respond like William Wallace, just as they always do. But, when a nation isolates itself from Western free speech, that is difficult to know. We should expect China to not think that way.

Imagine China’s perspective: Large US Navy carriers trouncing around the backyard, intimidating to the point that provoked China to the point we see now. To them, sinking a US Navy ship would seem like a big “shock” action because those carriers are the biggest American structure China can see. But, to American voters and soldiers, those carriers are across an ocean and are nothing compared to the size of achievements and monuments Americans see every day. So, China thinks a provocation would be an intimidation.

While it may take a US battleship to take a hit—God forbid—Taiwan will certainly be involved because that’s the way the pieces are being set around the chessboard.

As for Xi Jinping and the Chinese, their resolve is absolute. Even pigs seem to be part of the attack on Taiwan.

A terminal disease specific to pigs seems to have swept Chinese pig farms. Taiwan has been going to great lengths to prevent Chinese pork from entering Taiwan for this very reason. This week, a dead pig with the disease floated ashore a Taiwanese island that sits just off China’s coast. Panic is starting to set in throughout Taiwan—that a pork crisis could crash Taiwan’s economy, cause the pro-US president to resign, making the perfect opportunity for China to invade. That’s how the theories go, anyway.

The concern among Taiwanese is exactly the kind of response China anticipates from a “shock and awe” action against America. But, Americans are different than that, having both the “Wallace Complex” and a Congress-backed law that would compel a retaliation. Taiwanese have tasted some level of freedom, making the Taiwanese response as unpredictable as Taiwanese politics.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 31, 2018

China and the US—more specifically Xi and Trump—are talking more and more about talking more and more about trade. China has drafted legislation to propose making China a fair country to outsiders. What a great proposed Christmas gift, just before the New Year.

In light of everything, China seems to be making other concessions to US demands. But, one issue lingers in the back-of-the-room shadows: Taiwan. The US is bound by near-treaty to defend Taiwan if China were to invade. And, Taiwan just keeps taking pot shots. And, China doesn’t seem to notice the conflict on the US side of the talks.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 24, 2018

China detains two Canadians with remark and in the wake of a single Huawei executive’s arrest. Given the surfacing connections the executive’s family had to Mao, China likely views the value of arrested people as equally balanced; the West merely views China as having committed three criminal acts.

Huawei has gotten into more and more trouble the more it has been in the spotlight. Now, Europe even has its doubts. China’s sources of money and influences are drying up more and more.

But, an opinion article from Bloomberg invariably proves that some car makers managed to keep their technology out of the hands of China—mainly by keeping it out of China until it was out of date. Moreover, China has made proposals within its government to allow foreign companies to keep their technology secret. So, that should end any and every doubt about what a wonderful place China is for any and all manufacturing.

On the military side, China is announcing that it is finally pursuing the same quiet submarine technologies that the US, Russia, and India are also pursuing. So, that’s it. The West should give up because, after all, China is going to win.

The US, however, is in a different position. If China were to initiate a conflict with the US, say by attempting to assert control over Taiwan “by force if necessary”, China might not get as much help from its rumored spy partner, Russia. Taiwan is unlike Crimea, which held a referendum with overwhelming favor to return to Russia. And, with the US out of Russian-interested territories, like Syria and Afghanistan, there is little Russia would have to object to in the US following its own law to defend Taiwan, already on the books. A recessed Congress is certainly willing.

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