Cadence of Conflict: Asia, January 19, 2016

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, January 19, 2016

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 takeā€”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.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, January 11, 2016

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, January 11, 2016

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.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 28, 2015

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 28, 2015

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.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 21, 2015

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 21, 2015

Tensions intensify in the China seas. Beijing knows it. Washington knows it. Everyone knows it.

Japan delayed a US cooperation step-up due to popularity issues. The Japanese public is tired of the US war machine in their back yard, however increasingly necessary Chinese patterns make such cooperation. Perhaps Japan suffers from US-imosed affluenza. Japan’s Diet is holding off until the public “figures out” that cooperation with the US is a good idea. Do they know something we don’t? What exactly is it that will happen to convince the Japanese voters to change their minds? The Diet seems to think that we’ll find out soon enough.

Taiwan’s historic election is fast approaching. Debate formats have been agreed to. The new likely party is recognizing progress from the sinking establishment. China’s answer to a new political power remains unknown.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 14, 2015

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 14, 2015

As elections push forward in Taiwan and Malaysia, China faces it’s own political issue: Military reform.

The report from Reuters demonstrates two things. Firstly, we see that China’s military does, in fact, need reform. This is evidenced by the 300k military jobs cut since September. With an obviously larger shakeup coming, it is clear that the change is necessary, given China’s implied military status quo.

Secondly, we learn that China needs to sell the need for reform to its own military, thereby implying that, while the reform is necessary, many remain yet to be convinced that it is.

Generally speaking, growing assertiveness while implementing reform where there is no current invasion underway is typically an attempt to spread oneself too thin. This not only relates to the failing political establishment in Taiwan and Malaysia, but generic maritime strategy in the Pacific.

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