Cadence of Conflict: Asia, April 10, 2017

Xi Jinping’s poker face waned. He’s not happy, though the reasons elude most Western readers. Though not democratic, Xi is a politician. He must balance wisdom with pleasing the veiled powers that overshadow the goings on of China. Those powers won’t hesitate to give the ax to any leader who fails to deliver on their expansionist ambitions. Xi has fought corruption and sought infrastructure. Xi was gaining momentum. Now, the US and Russia are rumbling in both of China’s back yards weeks after Xi announced that, where military tech is concerned, China needs to play “catch-up” or become “ketchup”. This can’t be good for Xi’s inside politics with Chinese elections approaching.

Trump certainly isn’t pulling any punches. Striking Syria while dining with China’s Chairman wasn’t unintentional. Remember, Trump has dealt with the Chinese on many occasion. Xi is difficult to read, except to say his rehearsed Asian smile is waning. A micron might as well be a mile in an Asian smile. In the weeks ahead, remember that Xi is half himself and half the hidden hand that controls all that goes on in China. That’s true of every Chinese president. In all this, Xi met with Trump and all went well. No matter when or how Xi’s career closes, no matter what his true ambitions were, China will go on and history will remember Chinese President Xi as the builder of bridges, inroads, aircraft carriers, and islands.

Xi wanted to remind the US of its Capitalist values: Don’t blame others for your problems. Yet, China clearly doesn’t share those values. Neither does North Korea, the stray dog that has adopted the doorstep at China’s northern back yard.

From China’s vantage point, North Korea is a nuisance and an excuse for an unwelcome US presence. Kim Dynasty narcissism has over-played and pushed the envelope with Beijing. Watch for Chinese heads of State to bark, then look the other way, much how the US does when Israel responds to Palestine.

So, why is the media announcing and discussing the possibilities of dealing with North Korea? True military tactics never make it on television—unless the reporter finds himself accused of a frivolous-like sexual crime and holes-up in an Ecuadoran Embassy to avoid extradition for espionage. It’s discussion on US military options like we saw over North Korea this week that makes it difficult for a US prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian “Espionage” Assange to seem believable from any angle. “Assassination, nuke-up, or surgical strike” are only media talking points to make the greater point: Knock it off or else.

Assassinations are illegal for the US according to the US’ own law, viz Executive Order 12333. It is doubtful, even in Trump’s stock-up on signing pens, that he plans to wipe out that order for North Korea alone—if he does, Assad is his next target and Kim was just an excuse. The US hopes to finish this situation in Korea before a nuclear buildup has time to grow moss. So does China. A “nuke-up” wouldn’t be grand strategy. An internal strike inside North Korea would illicit an avalanche. Anti-Iraq II Donald J. Trump won’t want to create another “vacuum”. A surgical strike would be an assist to something else. What’s really going on? Don’t think for one second that the media does know or that CIA doesn’t.

There’s joker in the North Korean deck and it is stacked to favor the West. We’ll just have to keep watching.

Read More

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, February 6, 2017

Zuckerberg, king of messages and speaker of Mandarin, fails to get China’s main message. China doesn’t want Facebook’s mission. Facebook helps people talk to each other and know what’s going on. With all that’s already going on, China sees information as a serious threat to its goals.

JP Morgan manged to get a deeper foot in China, with a license to loan more money. Perhaps they think there is a market for that. It is unclear whether the reason this made headlines was because JP Morgan got a deal in China, because an American company thought it was safe to get a deal in China, or because there wasn’t much else in the news about China.

With Trump dominating the news, China didn’t help sell too many newspapers. China’s primary headlines this week came after the “Rocket Force” tested its relatively new medium-range DF-16 ballistic missile, which replaces older, shorter range DF-11. It carries up to three warheads, weighs up to one ton, and can deliver a nuclear bomb. It can adjust to strike slow-moving targets and to supposedly evade anti-missile systems like the US Patriot system, though the best kept secret about China’s military is that it is inexperienced in combat, let alone has any history in a conflict with the US.

Trump’s administration made it clearer this week: Head to head, China loses. The US isn’t joking. Trump’s staff understand Chinese culture well, specifically how important “face” is. But, it seems that China still doesn’t understand how determined Irish redheads can be, whether they make loud claims in Beijing’s style or not. Experts pipe in that the US and China can both have a win-win, but they also fail to understand that there is no such thing as win-win in old school Far East.

Read More