Cadence of Conflict: Asia, August 29, 2016

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, August 29, 2016

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.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, August 22, 2016

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, August 22, 2016

There really isn’t much news this week in the Pacific. China and Russia practice war games in the disputed South Sea while the US and South Korea practice their war games near the Korean Peninsula. Taiwan’s government continues what is expected of the new regime: Status quo, strength, and corruption crackdowns—two of which don’t exactly please China.

Status quo is exactly what China will not accept. Taiwan and the US object to the objection to status quo. No big changes are coming from the countries China opposes. China is determined to break the mood. Beijing sees the West as “already having” upset status quo and wants to revert to history—well, a specific part of history anyway. So, “status quo” has become a relative term, as has “perp”. We’ll have to leave conclusions in the hands of the people.

That conclusion may be soon as much as it may be well-informed. The world slowly becomes more and more aware of what is happening in the South Sea. When someone busts a move to make headlines, there won’t be any surprises.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, June 13, 2016

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, June 13, 2016

Taiwan has a new Sheriff. Former President Ma, whose regime pursued secret talks with China, wanted to visit Hong Kong just after leaving office. Remember, on the books, Taiwan is still at war with China. Since 2003, former Taiwan presidents must file 20 days before international travel as a matter of national security. Ma filed 14 days before and cited a 2000 visit as an example of why the policy should not apply to him. The new president’s office, held by the other political party, denied Ma’s tardy request, citing lack of cross-straight and interpol cooperation—cooperation China has promised to diminish in recent weeks, since Taiwan’s new president took office. Accusations of democracy and grandeur flew in all directions.

The highly-coveted “blue crab” lives in some controversial waters. South Korean fishermen towed Chinese fishing boats from the South Korean waters to the South Korean authorities. A few days later, the South Korean military drove more Chinese fishing boats out of the same waters. North Korea claims the waters and referred to the incident as an “invasion”. The United Nations recognizes the South Korean map. Seoul asked Beijing to watch its own fishermen more carefully.

Germany also asked Beijing to ensure rule of law, this time over NGOs not being involved in politics. Human rights and abuse of new police authority over NGOs were mentioned. Historically, NGOs are a tool of human rights advocates, which China has been known to view as political.

Few policies in Europe create fewer problems than they invent, NGO governance in China being one example, European immigration being another. There seem to be many satellites orbiting the headline reasons for Britain’s immanent “brexit” from the EU. The “brexit” would have financial repercussions—sooner and smaller as opposed to later and larger, so the narrative goes.

Britain and Europe would not normally be mentioned in an editorial on Pacific-Asia, except for Britain’s continued agreement with China concerning Hong Kong—a territory that could lose its financial status in Asia and, interestingly also, a destination recently denied to a former and distrusted president of a US ally in the Pacific. Neither HSBC’s headquarters nor the former Taiwan president will be going to Hong Kong anytime in the foreseeable future.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, May 2, 2016

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, May 2, 2016

Last week’s unreported US military exercises in Taiwan’s southern city of Kaohsiung, along with the neighboring indictment of the minority party’s legislative control through vote-buying, no doubt sends an unreported message to Beijing. What we see in the headlines more or less tells the same story. The Asian establishment feels threatened.

Every man’s defense is another man’s offense. If “we” own it, it’s a “missile defense” system. If “they” own it, it’s a “missile attack” system. If you ask the Chinese and Russians, the American people don’t like their government. If you ask the Americans, the Chinese and Russian people don’t like their governments. In “Boilerplateville” everyone is right.

China and Russia don’t want an early-stop anti-missile system close to the loose nuclear cannons in northern Korea. The United States sails anywhere and everywhere that anyone anywhere says is able to be sailed—violating nonunanimous claims of both foe and friend. No disputes are exempted. When it comes to allies in Asia Pacifica, Japan debates a lame duck in Taiwan over a fishing boat.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, April 18, 2016

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, April 18, 2016

Historically, Socialism has been great until the State runs out of other people’s money. In the case of China, it will continue to be great until China’s banks run out of their own loans. China’s debt-driven “miracle” is a bubble expected to pop somewhere just over the horizon.

China doesn’t mean to burst Trump’s bubble, but when bubbles are bursting, the more the merrier. While the international spokesmen (AKA pundits and news writers) tell readers what they want the readers to know they should believe, China understands two things: 1. Trump’s ideas are unconventional, 2. US election rhetoric is usually “trumped” up. Economics will likely shift across the Pacific due to a plurality of causes. China says everything will remain more or less the same. So, everything remains more or less the same.

North Korea gears up for a fifth nuke test. The South sees it as more of a power move in lieu of Northern isolation. Russia and the US clashed sheathed sabres; China piped-in as was opportune. The Japanese had some of their own problems, though none them nuclear, which is more than can be said for Korea. Japan’s earthquake was the largest since 2011 and seemed to coincide with Ecuador’s broken record of 1900. This was definitely a week of shake-ups.

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