Prelude to Conflict: Asia, February 23

Prelude to Conflict: Asia, February 23

Muslims wanted attention… They got it. Japan authorized millions in aid to fight terrorism. Myanmar calls on China to help them fight against terrorist attacks, ostensibly being launched from inside China. Beijing may not like being asked to turn their attention away from the great threat it feels from Taiwan. But, the terrorists in Myanmar don’t have yellow umbrellas. And President Xi is internationally considered to be almost as “great” as Chairman Mao himself! So, Myanmar may not get as much attention as Hong Kong. China is also being asked to help with Afghanistan.

Taiwan’s economic relationship with Beijing may have been an attempt to exploit Beijing’s greed, biding their time and getting rich off of China until unification with Taiwan would work in Taiwan’s interest and against China’s—and probably never happen at all. Perhaps Beijing will learn: There is more to international magnanimity than targeting the most peaceful and defenseless of Pacific islets.  · · · →

Prelude to Conflict: Asia, February 16

Prelude to Conflict: Asia, February 16

Propaganda turn of the tide. For years, Chinese have attended international circles, promulgated their talking points, and convinced others to unwittingly do the same. But, recent reports explain that having traffic lights and convincing drivers to stop at them are two different things.

China’s military has some technology, flaunts technology it does and doesn’t have, but lacks the first-world culture necessary to support its technology. The US has better technology, conceals the technology, “reveals” technology it wants China to know about, and certainly has the organized culture to make its technology work.

This week, China prepares to celebrate the Chinese New Year, which commemorates the creation of the KMT-Nationalist-controlled Chinese government 104 years ago, which is not the government founded by the Communist Party, but the government of Taiwan. Taiwan celebrates the same New Year that Beijing still recognizes, though China has not been reported to give homage to the 104 year old government that has been in exile since 1949.  · · · →

Prelude to Conflict: Asia, February 9

Prelude to Conflict: Asia, February 9

Three trends spanned the Pacific this week: journalism, entrepreneurs, and 2016 elections. News of ISIS spreads across Asia Pacific, including videos of a man being burned alive. China barks at century-old Taiwanese government leaders about standing up to the young Communist regime. Taiwanese local leaders respond that Beijing should learn to move past the past and just get along. A former US official, Richard Bush, unofficially speculates (without actually speculating) on China’s yet-to-be-seen reaction to Taiwan’s 2016 likely election swing away from the floundering, grossly unpopular, de facto pro-China, incumbent KMT-Nationalist party. The recently acquired economic powerhouse, Hong Kong, receives more lectures from Communist Beijing, which only alienate the upcoming generation; though there is little to suggest that Hong Kong’s successful entrepreneurs have been invited to lecture new Chinese businesses on how to catch up to the former British colony. Beijing’s solution to the Umbrella Movement is to change high school curriculum to remind students how much they need China.  · · · →

Prelude to Conflict: Asia, February 2

Prelude to Conflict: Asia, February 2

Hong Kong is back at it, this time marching on local elections. Japan is outraged over Muslims beheading one of their own, Asia is watching. Taiwan’s President is ever less popular and now with more proof than ever. Little news happened this week, but much analysis and beautiful night pictures of Hong Kong and Taiwan are going viral. The media would have us think that life in Taiwan sure is great. Is war near? Taiwan will be a major question, arguably the linchpin because of both reputation and regional strategy.

When Shang Kai-Sheck fled to Taiwan in 1949 during China’s Communist revolution, Beijing had a golden opportunity.  They could have declared victory.

The Communists knew that they would not be able to pursue the KMT-Nationalists because taking Taiwan is nearly impossible, even today. If Beijing’s goal was reunification, they should have declared a Machiavellian victory, pretended to recognize Taiwan as a nation, and normalized relations.  · · · →

Prelude to Conflict: Asia, January 26

Prelude to Conflict: Asia, January 26

US Congress questions HK: Beijing vets HK politicians; is HK not China? “Experts” say Washington appeases Beijing, but the big issue: Don’t pee in the international pool, consider HK’s Hague membership. Washington and Beijing have only found excuses to raise Pacific tensions, including China’s nine-dash line and Kerry’s extradition request of espionage witness, Snowden. Appeasing Beijing would mean Congress not raising the HK question at all.

It was wise to release HK Umbrella Movement leaders without pressing charges (yet). Even wiser would be if Beijing made one change years ago: Rather than vetting HK politicians before elections, vet HK policy after—free elections, but anti-Beijing policy would automatically impeach a HK CEO. That would have given Beijing the power they want (and arguably deserve since China provides HK’s military) and given HK residents what they want without asking.

Beijing can no longer hope Taiwan would accept so-called “Beijing democracy” after rejecting the HK Umbrella Movement.  · · · →