Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, October 14, 2019

You can't bring a pot to boil forever. While the conventional narrative for Hong Kong warns, "Retribution is coming," a better understanding would be, "The Chinese are coming if Hong Kong doesn't level up." The protests must either "level up" or otherwise change, or else the PLA will indeed march and smash.

While the situation in Hong Kong is deteriorating into a cultural war—a defense against an invasive culture of Sinicization—talks between the US and China took a similar cultural detour for the worst. China doesn't want so-called "interference" with kidnapping 1.5 million Muslims in Xinjiang, in Beijing's view "internal matters". By that definition, "internal matters" violate international Human Rights laws.

Trump's words, that all is well in Hong Kong, elude Hong Kongers and Chinese as much as the American media. On the surface Trump appeared to praise the doctored press reports coming out of Hong Kong. He also praised Supreme Justice Kavanaugh's accuser, Christine Ford, days before mocking her. Not one main news agency reported Hong Kong's October 4 de facto declaration of independence with plans for rebellion elections. Praising evidentially censored reports from Hong Kong surmounts to little.

Still, Trump knows the ramifications of his words. By playing along with propaganda China would normally get resistance from, and by staying hands-off, Trump was indirectly telling Beijing that he knows Hong Kong is worse than reported while also letting Hong Kong learn the hard lesson that independence starts with expecting no help from the outside. Over the weekend we saw just that, including smaller flash-protests and perching the Hong Kong "Goddess of Democracy" atop Lion Rock in Kowloon. "Careless Carrie" Lam even cancelled a meeting with Senator Ted Cruz—after his 10+ hour overnight flight landed.

Trump's words could lead to the very "level-up" game-changer the Hong Kong protesters must make in order to survive. One should guess that Trump doesn't want Hong Kong to "just be okay", but to earn whatever independence they get on their own. It feels like rejection at first, but being abandoned to earn one's own victory—and the spoils with it—is the greater gift of a friend. Trump never said he would squash Hong Kongers' call for independence; he simply refused to steal their thunder.

The Chinese probably won't pick up on Trump's subtlety because Confucianism—especially Communist Confucianism—doesn't believe anything can happen without outside "help". This is the only reason Beijing suspects supposed "Western interference" without a shred of evidence.

So, the trade agreement seems to be okay, this week. But, China doesn't want to be told to let its economy play by the same rules as ours because that too is "internal". There is one key flaw with China's thinking: entitlement.

Of course, America should not dictate what type of economy is best for China or any other nation. At the same time, trade is a privilege not a right. By America requiring a free market as a condition for trade with another free market, America is not interfering, but refusing to be interfered with.

Just the same, Beijing claims to reject a "zero-sum game" deal. What they mean is that they want a zero-sum game in China's favor because they believe being better than everyone else is their right. If America doesn't lose so that China can gain, China will reject the deal as unfair, just as they did with Britain in the "silver-for-leaves" trade that led to the Opium Wars. Nothing has changed.

The virtue of compromise doesn't work in dealing with China, whether as an American trade negotiator or as a citizen of Hong Kong. When China demands 100, then we compromise at 50, China will demand another 100 again tomorrow. If we compromise again, it would be 100-0, and it would happen all over again the next day and the next. China will keep demanding to expand and overrun everyone else. By China's China-favoring standards, the only compromise stands on how fast China takes you over, either ultra fast or slowly. For Beijing, there is no room for the words in the Book of Job where God told the ocean, "Here, and no farther."

continue reading

Standard
Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, September 16, 2019

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVX4-DCHYXw

China is running into one of the problems of Communism; once the government controls a company, what that company buys is fair game in treaty negotiations. China's government owns a lot of Chinese companies. The world already knows this, but Trump is the first president to figure it out.

Neither Trump nor Xi are attempting any kind of long term trade deal. Xi will only accept a deal where China can grow enough to eradicate the English language from Western culture and the Magna Carta is forgotten, in which case a trade deal wouldn't be necessary anyway. Trump will only accept a trade deal in which that can't happen.

No deal is anticipated by either. Both are vying for time and ways to milk money away from the other to fund their own goals, which are already known, though not everyone has figured them out because not many people want to. We're on a collision course with war and no one wants to admit that.

Delaying the October 1 tariffs because 1. the Chinese premier asked for it and 2. because of the 70th Anniversary celebrating the Chinese Communist Party will only embolden the Chinese Communists. The Chinese love parades, and if they think America respects their parades, they will think it proves that they are invincible. This is a part of Chinese thinking Americans struggle to understand.

Equally, the Chinese struggle to understand Trump. In his Tweet announcement, where he delays the tariffs, but also reminds everyone how bad they will be just two weeks later—it's a mind game that Beijing can't grasp. Even reading this article won't help the Chinese get wise to how much they are being played. The only reason they are so easy to play is because they make it so easy by refusing to abandon their Confucian values. Ironically, those are the very values they want to impose on the rest of the world by Sinicizing the rest of the world.

So, mid-October has become the big date. That's when Trump slaps more tariffs on China, and that's when Taiwan is expected to finalize its purchase of 66 brand-new, shiny, American F-16Vs.

continue reading

Standard
Symphony

Encore of Revival, America, August 26, 2019

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mp6585eIw70

The news media can't understand Trump. One of the reasons he uses so few words and repeats himself so often is to "sound-bite-proof" his statements. It's difficult to twist his words when he only spoke two of them in a 30 second period. The news media doesn't like not being able to cut and paste together a president's words to make him out to say whatever they want him to have said.

Since sound-bite clipping didn't work the last four years, this past week the media tried a new strategy: Pretend that they don't know what sarcasm is.

CNBC tried to paint Trump's sarcastic "I'm the chosen one" comment as self-aggrandizement. His sarcastic tone clearly communicates that the self-aggrandizement came from the presidents before him who thought themselves incapable of not funding China's Sinicization of the world. Anyone could and should have stopped China. Trump knows that. His tone said that. And, no less than 2 million Hong Kongers have risked their lives to prove just that.

Then we have "regrets". Does the president "regret" his trade dispute with China? Why shouldn't he? Everyone regrets everything, at least for some amount of time, given enough time. The news media keeps asking silly questions that deserve silly answers. Think about the question itself.

Is there a concrete reason to believe that President Trump has regrets about how trade is going with China? Did he say something attempting to reverse the dispute? Did he send a letter apologizing for something he did? Did he suddenly offer China massive concessions out of nowhere? What basis is there for thinking that Trump has "regrets" with China, other than the hope of succeeding with passive-aggression to paint Trump to be someone he is not?

Trump's "order" that American companies explore alternatives to China is not a power-grab, but a shot across the bow. As if fattening China in the first place didn't indicate enough lack of brains, most companies with half a hand at the helm should have long steered clear of China for all the chop. For those stragglers who still can't put two and two together, Trump's warning is a lighthouse. Danger lies ahead; adjust your course. This is gonna' be a big one.

But, all the media can do is complain about the lighthouse. We'll see.

continue reading

Standard
Symphony

Encore of Revival, America, August 26, 2019

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mp6585eIw70

The news media can't understand Trump. One of the reasons he uses so few words and repeats himself so often is to "sound-bite-proof" his statements. It's difficult to twist his words when he only spoke two of them in a 30 second period. The news media doesn't like not being able to cut and paste together a president's words to make him out to say whatever they want him to have said.

Since sound-bite clipping didn't work the last four years, this past week the media tried a new strategy: Pretend that they don't know what sarcasm is.

CNBC tried to paint Trump's sarcastic "I'm the chosen one" comment as self-aggrandizement. His sarcastic tone clearly communicates that the self-aggrandizement came from the presidents before him who thought themselves incapable of not funding China's Sinicization of the world. Anyone could and should have stopped China. Trump knows that. His tone said that. And, no less than 2 million Hong Kongers have risked their lives to prove just that.

Then we have "regrets". Does the president "regret" his trade dispute with China? Why shouldn't he? Everyone regrets everything, at least for some amount of time, given enough time. The news media keeps asking silly questions that deserve silly answers. Think about the question itself.

Is there a concrete reason to believe that President Trump has regrets about how trade is going with China? Did he say something attempting to reverse the dispute? Did he send a letter apologizing for something he did? Did he suddenly offer China massive concessions out of nowhere? What basis is there for thinking that Trump has "regrets" with China, other than the hope of succeeding with passive-aggression to paint Trump to be someone he is not?

Trump's "order" that American companies explore alternatives to China is not a power-grab, but a shot across the bow. As if fattening China in the first place didn't indicate enough lack of brains, most companies with half a hand at the helm should have long steered clear of China for all the chop. For those stragglers who still can't put two and two together, Trump's warning is a lighthouse. Danger lies ahead; adjust your course. This is gonna' be a big one.

But, all the media can do is complain about the lighthouse. We'll see.

continue reading

Standard
Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, June 10, 2019

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LmAmHTuDbE

Chinese rhetoric spiked over recent weeks. They made threats. Trump made threats. They made more threats. Trump and Xi are BFF, just like Xi and Putin, but Xi and Putin are BFF-er. Now, we move toward quiet action. If China stops exporting "rare earth metals" to the US, the US would simply get them from somewhere else. "Rare" means many countries can get them, but few actually do because China does it so much.

The US is selling several tanks and tank-buster rockets to Taiwan. Beijing isn't happy—about the $2 Billion in weapons sales to Taiwan, but also because of the people who publicly express memory of what happened 30 years ago at Tienanmen Square.

Around the time Taiwan's primaries finish, the US launches its first Ford-class carrier in October, larger than a Nimitz. It still has a year of training and won't be commissioned until 2022.

continue reading

Standard
Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, May 13, 2019

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9jmNHc2RqM

Trump knew the Chinese all along, all too well. The "trade war" never risked creating a real war; the "trade war" was a ploy the whole time—part of an elaborate scheme to provoke the Chinese into striking too soon. He says talks are going well with China—he can't not say that. China is indeed willing to have another talk. Trump announced tariff hikes and they still showed up. That's not exactly bad on the part of the Chinese.

Trade might never go well, but the talks certainly are for now. When has talk in politics ever looked bad?

But, don't make the mistake of thinking for even one second that negotiations aren't going exactly as Washington planned, whether with China or North Korea. The US provoked Japan through trade wars and embargoes leading up to WWII. This isn't just a strategy, it's a proven playbook tactic, and China's irritability is performing right on cue.

As Symphony said previously, the war will start when the US is ready to field-test the F-35 in an actual combat situation that we really need to win. The F-35 was made for this and, like nuclear technology at the end of WWII, if the US doesn't use its fifth-generation fighter jets before Russia and China perfect theirs, it will have failed its initial purpose. Japan is ready to buy the worlds largest non-US fifth-generation F-35 fleet. They want the Marines' vertical take-off model for their helicopter carriers. Perhaps those carriers also had a purpose all along.

Talk isn't deteriorating, not with China anyway, but trade suddenly is. That's because the F-35 is ready to make its entrance onto the world's stage. Taiwan's election could prove to be a convenient lynch pin.

Businessmen are the presidential trend. Foxconn Chair and Founder Terry Gou is running under the KMT, a political party whose platform is "Chinese-Taiwan re-unification", yet he demands that China recognize Taiwan's history of de facto existence; China never will. Moving some production from among Foxconn's twelve factories in China back to Taiwan in Kaohsiung shows that his loyalties don't reside in Beijing nor in Nanjing as KMT old-hats still pine for. He's also beefing up supply in Houston, Indianapolis, and Mexico, atop his newest plant in Wisconsin. That will make the US less dependent on China and better ready for war. As an accomplished businessman, Terry will tear up the inexperienced populist Mayor Han of Kaohsiung in the primaries. After all, he brought jobs back to Kaohsiung.

Even if Gou loses primary or presidency, his campaign rhetoric, though less unacceptable to China than others, could force all other viable candidates to sympathize with Taiwan independence, if that proves to be the only electable platform. That's more than likely. Equally likely, China will see no way to "talk" its way toward absorbing Taiwan. Talk would thus breakdown and "the military option" would be the trigger in the gas tank known as the South Sea. Then, F-35 moves to centerstage.

Trump says China has one month. If we make it that long, then China would be stupider than we thought because the F-35s would have more time to fuel up.

continue reading

Standard
Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, February 11, 2019

Trump fell a few dots shy of declaring all out war against China in his State of the Union address. He spoke kindly of China, then brought back Cold War era talk of "defeating Communism". He also said he wanted China to have to play by the same rules as Russia and the US where nuclear missiles are concerned. The Chinese won't like that because they genuinely believe they are better than everyone else.

China's ancient, recently best-kept-secret, aspiration of saturating the world with the "Han" bloodline is in full swing. The recent spotlight has been the Han migration that threatens to dilute and eventually eliminate Uyghurs from the Xinjiang Uyghur "autonomous region" in China—one of many "provinces under protest" that reject forced assimilation into China's bossy political ideology—an ideology Trump threatened in announcing his goal that China come down to the lowly level of having to play by the same rules as everyone else.

Then, there was military defense. Trump's speech was patriotic. He celebrated "American exceptionalism" and the US's role in helping save people in other countries from tyranny. Some call it a "messiah complex". Some call it "American charity". Whatever it was, Trump stirred the hearts of Americans to remember their roots of militarily helping those in need, announcing massive military investment, and reviving America's old war on Communism.

The US is already preparing for war with China—in the old fashioned, soft, "humble" way, according to its Christendom roots of Chivalry. Without the pomp and parade, China's imperialistic culture may not even notice. But, war drums are sounding on the horizon. Trump's trade talks are either an irritant or a stall tactic—probably both.

continue reading

Standard
Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 31, 2018

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5Gv7F2e-6Y

China and the US—more specifically Xi and Trump—are talking more and more about talking more and more about trade. China has drafted legislation to propose making China a fair country to outsiders. What a great proposed Christmas gift, just before the New Year.

In light of everything, China seems to be making other concessions to US demands. But, one issue lingers in the back-of-the-room shadows: Taiwan. The US is bound by near-treaty to defend Taiwan if China were to invade. And, Taiwan just keeps taking pot shots. And, China doesn't seem to notice the conflict on the US side of the talks.

continue reading

Standard
Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 10, 2018

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBKrheGIxY4

The "Huawei arrest" sends yet another a irritatingly mixed message to China. China believes that a "strong response" concerning Taiwan will convince the US to back away from support for Taiwan. Conveniently for China, the recent provincial elections in Taiwan seem encouraging and Beijing has reached out to Taiwanese cities that just elected pro-Beijing party candidates.

Premier William Lai intends to resign at the "right time". Could that time be what is necessary so he can run for president? Taiwanese politics are quite unpredictable. All we should expect is a series of surprises before, during, and after 2020. Considering where things stand in the world, we must remember that there is no way the UK could be on Taiwan's side, especially since the UK has concerns about Taiwanese fisherman illegally killing dolphins as shark bait. With opportunity seeming to open, and the increased possibility of the loud-spoken, pro-independence William Lai to run for office, Beijing may be feeling put in an ever tightening situation that compels action.

As concerned as the Chinese are about security, they are far more concerned about insult. Without any sympathy from Western news audiences, an extradition of the Huawei executive from Canada to the US could push China over the edge. China believes that its horrific past justifies its conduct today. It is only a matter of time before Beijing decides that a strike against Taiwan, supported by cooperation with Taiwanese city governments, would send the US out of the region. Taiwan may not be seen by Beijing as the irritant of tensions, but the solution to them. The US might have a different opinion.

continue reading

Standard
Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, October 8, 2018

China's political, socioeconomic worldview is that of a zero-sum game. It has played it's socioeconomic game that way for decades. Now, it must empty its reserve coffers to keep its zero-sum game strategy from sinking too fast. This means that it can't use those coffers if a military conflict arose. The United States knows this.

Don't be fooled. The US strategy is to provoke China into a conflict sooner than it wants. In the Western view, China has shown how it will behave by having shown how it has behaved more and more. This is enough to warrant preemptive agitation for the Western taxpayer. In China's view, the world has failed to bestow on China what China deserves; because China rightly deserves what it deserves, China can't lose.

Interpol has now gotten whatever international attention against China's favor that Hong Kong malcontents did not. With the disappearance of Interpol's president into China, whoever didn't care about so-called "Chinese aggression" does now. China's government thinks they sent a message to the world. They did, but the message received is probably not the message that was intended.

As the Pacific conflict escalates, the US-Taiwan aggravation strategy moves into more military cooperation. "Unprecedented" was the word of the week. And, everyone knows what it means just as much as everyone knows why.

continue reading

Standard
Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, October 1, 2018

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQ769JqU3xs

When China cancelled a meeting in Washington, the Chinese thought they were sending a message; Washington thought they wouldn't be sending any more messages at all. The Chinese government wants mutual respect, trade that results in equal numbers, and that countries not be bullied into taking sides in a China-US disagreement. Though China lobbed this new policy in a complaint against the US, there have yet to be steps or specific commitments on how China will hold up its side of this new policy. It will be difficult to get clarification without communication.

US tariffs are unfair. It's so obvious that it doesn't need to be proven. China has a right, after all—and everyone should agree—to develop itself as a nation. China's right to have any and all resources given to it from everywhere in the world, to whatever extent is needed for development, is an entitlement China has by birth and is already universally accepted around the world. Those in the US who oppose this obvious consensus are a rogue fringe not deserving of academic mention.

But, Taiwan is being a big bully—a meanie-face. By not rebuking the US for considering a third of a billion dollar arms sale to Taiwan, the Taiwanese are spitting in Beijing's face once again. As if that bullying wasn't enough, Taiwan is also planning a new place to park its helicopters. Of all the audacity!

Hong Kong, however, stands no chance against the great and mighty China. By banning a pro-independence party, the Hong Kong government sure showed them! There's no possible hope for any kind of backlash or rise in sympathy, once the rightful leaders have made their all-powerful will known in the fully self-governed special administrative region of Hong Kong.

continue reading

Standard
Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, September 17, 2018

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTzNYYL9Gg8

The US is not sending a contingency of Marines to Taiwan to protect it's envoy. This announcement came after reports that the US had such plans. After discussing the non-existence of the plans for deployment, the State Department also discussed that it does not discuss plans for security or other strategies. Perhaps the real strategy not being discussed is that the strategy is not being discussed.

At any rate, the announcement that an announcement has not been made about the discussion of not discussing security strategy and the non-discussion about Marines who will not be deployed should make heads in Beijing spin as they try to figure out just what the US is not doing about what it's not discussing. Fewer Marines in Taiwan would be more inviting for an invasion, if the discussion were under discussion, which it is not—reportedly.

One of the best kept secrets about the brewing trade war between the US and China is that US jobs departed to China. A trade war would move those jobs back to the US.

Consider a US company that set up shop in China. While the financial know-it-alls loose sleep over anything being less pleasant than an afternoon massage, including a US company in China being attacked hyena style as Chinese culture loves to do, the people in the US wouldn't care about that company. That's the company that forsook the American worker. In the mind of the average US working voter, the company that got in bed with China should stay around for the abusive marriage; so leave them to the hyenas! Any Americans who own shares in those companies would do well to keep that information secret from their working, voting neighbors.

The world doesn't work how so-called "financial experts" think it does. The trade war will not hurt the US economy because economies flourish from jobs, not consumption. Claiming that lower consumption of off-shore goods will harm a market would be to measure a farm's profitability based on how much the farming family eats other farmers' food. The real issue with the trade war is a real war.

continue reading

Standard
Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, September 10, 2018

Right or wrong, the US-China tariff war was always coming. Stupid American companies flew into the campfire of Chinese manufacturing like moths into a flame. China was smart inasmuch as they did not become dependent on the outsourced labor, which was always going to ever-only be temporary. China has wasted no time, building infrastructure, such as the highway between Hong Kong and Macau and the silk road, now gaining income by the well marketed tourist attraction.

But, this tariff war was always coming. The political situation in the Pacific indicates that it's not about economics so much as it is about military. Pacific island nations grow more and more irritated by China. Little, small nations are speaking out, demanding China apologize for storming out of a PIF (Pacific Islands Forum) meeting when China's diplomatic representative was told to wait to speak until after heads of state from member nations had their turn. China is not a member, only an attendee. This is not any demonstration of leadership that the region will accept, no matter how much it may have been bestowed by the territorial gods at the universe's center, which is in China of course.

Then, there's Taiwan. If last week was a week of firing off blanks and papers across bows, this week, cannonballs started splashing. Taiwan introduced three different bills amending existing law, stiffening restrictions and penalties concerning anything that could even remotely be construed as interference between Taiwan and China. As if that wasn't enough, Taiwan is increasing its budget for both fighter jets and the navy. And, Taiwan's military even moved up an annual naval exercise to rehearse an attack from China at an earlier date than usual.

In all of this, the rain continues to fall in Taiwan, now flooding different parts of the island than saw torrents over three solid weeks of cloud cover. Not to worry, though. City governments are closely monitoring just how many millimeters of water can drain away how quickly, revamping any old sewer system that can't keep up. Taiwan just seems to have its hands full, as well as its rivers.

Then, there is the tsunami of US diplomacy. Trade wars often prelude military wars. While Taiwan's dwindling allies flip to support China, the US is breaking ties with any country that breaks ties with Taiwan, more or less. Solidarity with Taiwan seems to have bipartisan support in US Congress. With trade alliances shifting, when war breaks out, it will be a financial calculation as a convergence of China's revenue and US dependence on Chinese-made goods both bottom out.

continue reading

Standard
Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, July 30, 2018

The "China miracle" was nothing more than smoke and mirrors as big companies of the West took advantage of Chinese people seeking a living and Western consumers seeking lower prices. Everyone lost. There was no "miracle".

The fad for cutting costs and quick investment returns nickeled and dimed away quality, eventually pushing bean counters to fall in love with China's underpaid labor force. When China opened for business in 1978, the shipments rolled in. Wealth wasn't made, it was only rearranged. A large shipping freighter made a large wake, some sunbathers had to move their towels on the beach when the wave wrecked the sand castles, and the global economist footsie-frat claimed that the sea levels had permanently risen.

Perhaps the label was wishful thinking, perhaps it was a malicious deception, but it wasn't Chinese propaganda; it was globalist propaganda. China's "growing economy" was fueled by an exchange between a planned economy and the free markets of the world. Whatever wave came, it would lower, eventually balance out, and could never have endured any more than spilled crude oil mixes with wildlife on the beach.

The mainstream Western press kept reporting on the "Chinese miracle", encouraging Beijing that China's new economy was here to stay. Western globalist economists should have known better, maybe they did, maybe they didn't, but China is paying the price of the inevitable. Eventually, either the Western economies would collapse—then the one-way flow of cash into China would stop as it did after the opium wars—or a Donald Trump would come along and stop the flow before it got that far. But, it wasn't going to last. The biggest victim of the bean-counter coupon-clipper culture of the West is China. And, making victims reaps nothing more than ill will.

continue reading

Standard