The war with China is becoming the war with Russia and China, it’s economic, it’s culminating, and Britain is double-involved.
Since the strike on Syria, Russia is angry and thumping the drums. They promised retaliation before. After, they really promised really retaliation next time. It almost seems that Trump is testing Russian and Chinese leadership—and North Korea and Republican and Democrat—and has called their bluff. That’s coming at the US via Europe. But, Germany is also taking rhetorical shots at China, bringing Europe back into the Pacific conflict.
Britain is in contemplating trade talks with Taiwan. The UK is already involved in the Pacific conflict with Hong Kong’s exit status—that China will have no involvement in Hong Kong matters for fifty years as a condition of Hong Kong not being British. With Britain “friending” up to Taiwan, we see more involvement from the Crown.
But, the main fuel in the Pacific conflict is economics. US sanctions are successfully driving Kim to the table; China is eager to work with Japan before a Kim-Trump talk disarms the North. So, the US sanctions are also driving China and Japan to do at least something.
Then, there’s China’s own economics. Germany is angry about Chinese investments in Europe. More news stories this week talk of Chinese using money as a hostile takeover tool in Sri Lanka and Pakistan. China’s ability to stand against a US trade war goes back to US Treasury bonds and the direct devaluing of China’s own currency. While different “experts” have differing opinions, money is the talk—everywhere.
Taiwan has received a license from the United States to build its own submarines. Wang, a legislature who sits on the Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee said that friendliness from the US is the highest it has ever been. Japan just commissioned its first marine force since WWII. 1,500 troops are ready, specifically to repel invasion of Japan’s islands. Thanks to China’s inspiration and initiative, many nations in the region are also making their contribution to peace and stability in Pacific Asia.
The US is re-evaluating trade with China. While much is just talk, Trump maintains friendly rhetoric. The shakeup with trade will force countries to reinvent and reevaluate trade policy. While a looming “trade war” remains the talk of many so-called “experts”, the long-term benefit will be the overall rebirth of trade throughout the world. Everyone will need to rethink trade. Any kind of thinking is good, especially in these times.
China and the US have fixed their rudders on a ramming course. The only remaining question will be over whose hull is stronger.
The “yuge” US trade deficit with China is purported to be $375B USD. Bloomberg was sure to point out that the figure is inflated, some way or another. Xinhua news reports that a more accurate figure is a mere $298B USD deficit. Trump sent a “Section 301” notice of unfair trade tactics to China along with $50–60B USD in tariffs, depending on which news source you read. Trump also asked China to reduce the deficit by a whopping $100B USD and China says that the US is being unfair, placing tariffs on US food.
Asian markets are up, but a Caixin market index—something like a DOW Jones average in China—isn’t up as much as hoped. Everyone has an opinion on what all that means.
Companies in America believe that tariffs harm the consumer. Some voices argue that the US has a “service” trade surplus with China, but still a deficit overall. Trump argues that trade deficits harm the worker and the overall economy. Basic macro-economic theory would say that workers would afford higher prices with much higher pay.
Trade deficits initiated the Opium Wars with China when China welcomed a one-way flow of silver from Britain for tea, but would not allow the eager Chinese population to import British goods. The Opium Wars ended with surrender of several lands to Britain, including Hong Kong. China’s current and main land dispute is over Taiwan. The stage is set for history to repeat and so far it has.
Taiwan is certainly chumming up to the US as China attempts to endear the Taiwanese. Most recently, Taiwan is buying more advanced missiles from the US while two Senators advocate selling F-35s to Taiwan—a sale more likely since Taiwan’s current administration is unlikely to set up secret talks with China as the rival party attempted nearly four years ago. China banned Taiwanese movies casting a purportedly pro-independence Taiwanese actor, Lawrence Ko.
China has out-shined. In the game of power, that’s an execution wish. With an aging population, an irritated neighborhood, a loudly whining generation of kids in Hong Kong drawing media attention, and the taste of freedom provided by trade with the outside world, China’s Communist party is trouble where the West is concerned.
China’s ruling party has not courted support from any territory either under its control or that it aspires to control. Some old school idealists in the retiring generation will support old empire methods, but they aren’t the muscle of the future. The gray-head Communists who dye their hair black don’t understand what a mess adult children can make when someone takes away their toys because that never happened in China before. Allowing their people to do business with the West injected those Western ideals and China can’t go back.
Now, with the massive assertions of power in China, those assertions are about to get stronger. Watch for greater power grabs by the Communist Party. But, even with the power grabs of recent weeks, the rest of the world—including Asia and the West—is on high alert. Russia’s only interest in China is to disrupt the rest of the West, not to have a new rival that changes as fast as Beijing does, in its own back yard of all places. These tariffs from the US and Trump signing a pro-military and otherwise Liberal omnibus spending bill from Congress indicate American resolve to halt China in its tracks—at least the Communists.
As for the ongoing “freedom of navigation” sail-bys in the poetically appropriately named Mischief Reef, Britain is also on board, as it were. The US just did another this week with the USS Mustin. China reacted in predictable anger as if on cue.
So, the assault against China’s Communism has begun. The West think they can win by using rage to control the “bull in the China shop”, as the saying goes. All it would take is one, small Western ship being disrupted by the Chinese and the fury of America’s democracy would stand up—with the greatest military budget in history already approved for the next two years.
Unlike much of the Western press, Pacific Daily Times does not side with governments, political parties, or socio-economic ideologies. The Times only sides with history, that by learning from history much of the future is foreseeable. Foreseeability, based on history, is the only bias at Pacific Daily Times.
Foreseeability is not preference, hopes, or will—good or ill—toward what will happen, only that the future can, to the extent history repeats, be reasonably anticipated. Too many news outlets seem incapable of understanding that predicting outcomes, within reason, is entirely different from hoping for outcomes. Predicting and hoping are nothing alike. Pacific Daily Times is apathetic and indifferent—uncaring and cold-hearted—for how the future unfolds, except that current events only surprise neglectful history students.
Right now, foreseeability in Asia—not what is hoped-for in Asia—points to the waring parties of China. The KMT-Nationalist party and the Chinese Communist Party seem to have a symbiotic relationship. Their fates seem tied like the villain and hero of some comic series, if the hero kills the villain then both die and vice versa. The KMT-Nationalist party imploded on its home field in Taiwan. It was so distracted with “reunification” with China that it neglected the priorities that kept its power. As a result, Taiwan is run by the de facto pro-independence Democratic People’s Party. The KMT failed to help its CCP friends across the Taiwan Strait because it was overly obsessed with that friendship.
Now, it seems that the CCP is headed in the same direction. Without fear or favor, only calculating predictability based on the past, it seems we could be looking at the beginning of the end of the CCP. Every party that rises too high tumbles, history has executed this with zero exception and will never accept rivals. History demands that history always be the only victor by making all others history.
Since the founding of the current Chinese government in 1912, which the “Chinese year” commemorates, China has confronted its own shame, which it still confronts to this day. The founder, Sun Yat-sen, was a Christian whose Christianity compelled him to the three pillars of Chinese society: nationalism, democracy, and justice for the people. Though the largest nation, China has never been the most powerful nation. Centuries of “leader power distance” touted oppression as “peace-making” virtue. Some say it worked for China, others say it failed for China. Actually, it was the only thing that happened in China, so there is no basis of contrast to prove definably whether that Chinese power distance ethic succeeded or failed except that it brought China to 1911 where Sun defeated it. While the power distance left in the form of a government “empire”, it has neither left the ideology nor the mode of operation in Chinese culture, as repeating history proves once again this month.
Xi Jinping’s thinking remains uncertain. What motivates him? We really don’t know beyond the evidence that his thinking reflects Mao and traditional pre- Sun Yat-sen power distance. He doesn’t want shame for his country and he believes that reclaiming all land from every “old turf war” dispute will make the world think China as worthy of being respected. The rest of the world will decide its own opinion, but Chinese history has its own opinion about Xi.
Xi, as many in China, have loudly declared that they neither import nor export their politics. But, Communism is itself form Europe. Chinese people study English and gladly import Western technology and money while exporting goods to the West. But, most importantly of all, Sun Tzu’s Art of War Ch. 8, ss. 12’s “five dangerous faults” include: 3. a hasty temper provoked by insult and 4. a delicacy of honor sensitive to shame. Whenever Taiwan hints at “independence” or the US sails through UN-international waters which member China disputes, an explosion of rage and demands plume from Chinese press offices. Then we have the insatiable need for respect, the motive behind China’s desire for reunification with many lands, only one of those being Taiwan. Sun Tzu warned against these ideologies nearly a thousand years ago.
China has often misunderstood Christianity. Just as with Confucianism, there is the essential belief and then the government exploitation of it. Most “missionaries” are advancing a government-corporate hybrid, usually known as a “denomination” with an administrative and monetary structure. Jesus did not teach this. Chinese often view Christianity as a religion between God and Man while Confucianism teaches relationship between one Man and another. But, Jesus taught that God and Man is the archetypal relationship guiding the equally important practical application of the relationship between one Man and another. The emphasis on the relationship between God and Man to the exclusion of peer relationships came from European imperial governments misinterpreting the Bible and exploiting people’s ignorance of Jesus’ true teaching.
The great mystery of how the West gained such power and success without the Confucian-preferred version of an “ordered society” remains in the real Jesus. The founders of America, the Pilgrims, studied the Bible to love God as individuals—free from European government misinterpretation and control of the Bible—so they would love each other. All of this Bible study was done as individuals who loved God and had zero government control.
The mess in the West today, interfering with China along with the rest of the world, is an attempt from old oligarchs trying to reassert their power over a free, Bible-reading people. Xi Jinping is fighting against that same old oligarchy as the American people are. Corptocratic chronyism of the West is a problem everywhere. Xi Jinping is trying his best, with good will, to overcome it. But, he owes more to Sun Tzu’s Chinese wisdom and he is trying to overcome ancient evils of the West without first seeking to understand what virtues of the real Bible made the West so strong in the first place. As for whether and how it works out, history will have the last word as it always does.