Age of provocation. China warned everyone, this week. Soros had better not declare war on Chinese currency—or else. Taiwan had better not do a lot of things. The US had better not do a lot of things. Basically, the world “had better not”.
The Pacific conflict is reaching the point where China expects a Wold v China scenario. Whatever China is doing to make enemies is so powerful that not even Obama can stay low key—whether he wants to or not. Beijing’s “magnetic” personality is drawing all guns to point east.
Taiwan is beginning its political transition, not without its own rumors. The DPP opposition took the legislature today. The new president won’t be sworn in for a few months. But with the vast majority already in power in the legislature and local governments, the lame duck, Ma, is strung up by his webbing. All anyone can do about Taiwan is quack; the president, president-elect, and even Beijing.
Since Taiwan’s election, China and the KMT-Nationalists have been largely silent. While the Chinese aren’t spending as much money at home, and while the Chinese economy looks evermore shaky, Xi Jinping has no problem dealing with Egypt or declaring all but war against Israel. Historically, talking ill of Israel is bad political luck. Perhaps China thinks itself the exception to many things.
Taiwan’s pro-China KMT-Nationalist party is out for the count. Defeated. Wind knocked-out. Humiliated. It’s over. And, it is surprising. Not only did the KMT respond by acknowledging their defeat; its members showed no awareness of how their pro-China policies would dissolve their power at home nor how their mismanagement of domestic disarray from poor policies would make their aspirations untenable. There was no way the could win, yet the only seem to have seen this in retrospect.
That hindsight realization could have a contagious affect and spread to US policy. The Obama administration has made a Trump nomination and victory ever bit as inevitable as how Taiwan’s DPP opposition victory owes thanks to Taiwan’s Ma administration. Tsai couldn’t not have won in 2016 just how Obama couldn’t have lost with George W. Bush’s foreign policies and refusal to respond to the press. Maybe the West will get wise. This year, there were no Chinese missiles fired across Taiwan, as there was in 1996. Few things indicate that Beijing is learning like this.
Victory! Taiwan finally defeated the old enemy of the East that the Chinese Communists could not. The KMT-Nationalist party has rarely faced such a stunning defeat. The enemy of the revolution, murderer of Taiwanese and thieves of Asia’s greatest assets, the witch of the East met her end at the hands, not of soldiers and explosives, but of democracy.
Beijing would have worldwide respect in declaring victory and normalizing relations. But the land of Sun Tzu seems to have forgotten the basics of war: If one government controls an entire region, then an enemy only need take-out the central government for the entire land to fall. If Taiwan were a Chinese province, China would be less safe. As an ally that China itself could not take—an attack against China would be unwise for any adversary. But, again, Beijing seems more bent on delusions of pride than real safety. The best kept secret about respect is not that it must be earned and not bestowed, but that those who state their respect rarely mean it. Having respect of others and having others show respect are entirely different things. This is a lesson the KMT-Nationalists still haven’t seemed to learn.
China had it’s own streak this week. More than one teary-eyed apology cross the air-waves. The world continues to see China for what it is while Beijing counts more ill will an indication of progress. Perhaps Beijing is right.
Taiwan’s confidence in voting overwhelmingly for a political party that will not cow-tow to China’s hostile takeover agenda sends a message to China. While the messengers in Beijing may not deliver, the people of China read it loud and clear, perhaps for the first time: A single government can have a new political party and the people do not need to bend to the dictates of the old establishment.
China’s economic shaking may have had more of a placebo than newspapers let on. Devalued Chinese yuan does not contribute to lower oil prices as much as the decisions of the Arabs. Even if it has a factor, lower oil prices are healthier for economies as it keeps costs lower. Perhaps China’s slowdown is good for everyone except China, and of course, Africa.
The disappearance of Hong Kong bookseller, Lee Bo, has Hong Kongers in a tizzy, still not as severe as the Umbrella Movement that ended just over a year ago. Much like the Umbrella Movement, while protests will result in little change concerning Beijing’s Hong Kong SAR policy, the world is evermore aware that there is not change.
Taiwan is set for a historic election. The opposition DPP is likely to win the presidency and likely the legislature, which would be a first. Wanting to be “friends” with Beijing has so far been the goal of the DPP and the Taiwanese, but would be seen as an insult of Beijing which wants “reunification” instead. The consequences could echo Taiwan’s first presidential election in 1996 when China shot a missile across the island.
With the tensions in the area, particularly the flyovers and bomb testing in the Koreas and protests in Hong Kong, the foreseeable diplomatic response of the White House would be in spite of an American public that is evermore aware of China’s methods and nonetheless more determined to answer.
China steps up its game again. While companies won’t be required to give Beijing power to indiscriminately snoop the web, they are on notice to cooperate with coming procedures if they are asked. This time wasn’t the first, but it’s a little more clear, a little more friendly, and a little more toothy than the last.
Taiwan’s likely Presidential victor party, the DPP, has adopted a policy effectively outlawing the KMT-Nationalist party practice of owning for-profit businesses. The policy is wise by many measures, respect from the US and an even greater increase in voter support notwithstanding.
Since the US stepped up its own game, $1.8B to Taiwan, China is not happy.