Trump visited China in friendship and peace. His granddaughter sang in Mandarin. Her video was played at a high profile state banquet. Everyone seemed happy.
In South Korea, President Moon, likely to go down in history as a failed diplomat-wannabe, rehashed South Korean hard feelings against the Japanese. His country— threatened by his enemy to the north, backed by its ally, China—is cozying-up with China.
Trump was en route to visit the DMZ in Korea, but heavy fog forced Marine One to turn around. The US president returned home and China sought to strengthen relations with North Korea.
Regardless of whatever happens in and between the US, Japan, China, and North Korea, South Korean President Moon will go down in history as a capitulator who let a century-old vendetta guide him into the friend of his enemy. While the Western press narrative is to paint China as the bad guy, Moon is the real bad guy because he is the only leader in Asia who shows weakness.
China would do well to learn from Moon’s errors. Every bit of progress China makes with Korea comes from pressing forward and abandoning revenge campaigns of the past. Everything South Korea stands to lose comes from reviving revenge campaigns of the past.
Korea, both North and South, has become an arena. With North Korea’s dependency on China and Moon’s capitulation, Koreans are no longer players in the game. Either the US or China will be the one to bring peace on the peninsula and the region. The winner will be whoever looks to the future and forgives the past.
The cycle of history is becoming more of a cyclone. Not much changed at this year’s G20: Posturing, “sovereignty” subjectively defined to excuse nearly everything and everyone’s self, money used as the looming threat to scare each other into cooperation. There wasn’t much mention of the larger pending threat: Islam.
Whether any brand of “militant” or “peaceful”, Islam does one thing G20 should discuss, but doesn’t: Islam grows.
Various forms of Islam stand on China’s doorstep. The Chinese are aware of hostile takeovers, but not very much, it seems. The game-changer in the Pacific conflict will be Islam in Southeast Asia. Eventually, treaties, strategies, alliances, and battle lines will re-form around the topic of Islam.
This coming presence will likely stay fights between America and China as China defines another “enemy”. The ever growing—especially this week—Hong Kong dissent toward China may suddenly value the armies of Beijing. Cookie-cutter statements about the US, Taiwan, and China won’t receive the time of day.
The one thing we learn from G20 is that the largest topic in world news was totally ignored by the world’s 20 largest national leaders. But, it won’t stay that way. We’ll see what happens by next year.
The battlefronts are solidifying. China has expanded into cooperation with Russia, aircraft engine manufacturing, and diplomatic arenas.
G20 is a hoped-for tool that could make China an international giant. China wants in on Syria, just as the US and Russia may be reaching something to label as an “agreement”. While China has managed to insult and be insulted by many of the G20 countries, Beijing still believes that the important G20 diplomatic moves wait on the road ahead instead of in the past.
The timing of launching its own aircraft manufacturer should raise eyebrows. Taiwan, a US customer of the market-dominant F-16, which the US has not delivered on in the last several years, held secret talks with China, which the US wasn’t even invited to. This happened under the KMT-Nationalist administration, which just saw a crippling defeat, except for recent, small election on Taiwan’s east coast. The opponent, DPP, took control of both Taiwan’s presidency and legislature over the last six months. Now, with China’s secret-talk door closed to a US F-16 customer, China starts manufacturing its own engine parts. Why now? Did China get all the technology plans they were ever going to, one way or another? Is it just coincidence? Why is China also snubbing Russia?
The greater suspicion is the vaguely-defined cooperation between Russia and China. If the two countries are such great friends, why is China not buying more aircraft from Russia? Why go into competition with the US’s aircraft competition?
All of these questions point to a demonstrable worldview inside Beijing. The what and why and means can be largely debated and rarely proven. But, all paths lead to a path-based worldview. China sees cooperation with Russia just as it sees cooperation with nearly everyone else: Just another stepping stone. And, the stepping-stone builders are literally building rocks to walk on in the sea.
China’s motive is known only to the Chinese puppet masters and God Himself. But, no one should think for a moment that China plans—for good or ill—to stop with control of their nine-dash line in the South Sea.
While Taiwan accepts yet another slow-delivery weapons deal, one of the slowest to date, China continues to build on the ocean to face off against the United States. It’s pure war strategy, East to West.
The argument goes that China carefully times its strategic “stepping on toes”. The next purported toe will be the site of the next man-made islet, deep within Philippine water and economic defense zone. China, according to reports of anonymous sources, plans that these toe steps occur after G20 and before the US election. This is where Beijing’s miscalculation shows.
Supposedly, during the US election season, Americans will be distracted with Trump v Clinton headlines and won’t have the time to worry about what China does in the Philippine’s back yard pool. However, this overlooks the topics surrounding Trump and Clinton, specifically the long history that both have with China and that opinion about either candidate is largely shaped by China’s actions.
If and when China steps in it in the Philippines, that “when” would serve China’s shrewdness better if postponed until after the election, lest China give American’s the excuse they need to elect the candidate most outspoken against China. Beijing’s timing would be more respected from one adversary to another if the Philippine islet reclaiming began after the US election and before the inauguration—after it’s too late for the American people to change their minds. But, once again, Beijing is likely to demonstrate that, while it has the courage to stand up to the US, it doesn’t have the listening ability to know the very enemies it chooses.
Beijing wants a deal with the Philippines. They know how to make a deal when they want to. What transpires over the coming months will be as foreseeable as it is by choice for all involved.
In times when China wants to dominate the water, Michael Phelps proved otherwise, for the third time in a row.