Lithuania has become the “Taiwan of Europe”. Since WWII, Americans never again struggled with the concept that a problem abroad is a problem at home. This is how we Americans can vote to interfere around the world that we know so little about. We think every squeal from another continent indicates a personal assault on our freedom to watch Netflix.
Europe wasn’t quite there, but not anymore. While Europe watches Lithuania sustain hostile diplomacy from China, Europe is getting the same idea as America. France—oh, the French!—just came to Lithuania’s defense. It’s hard to disagree when the French take sides. They say they aren’t sure why China is angry at Lithuania—okay. But, they make a very good point. China should not have a special group of 17 states it communicates with concerning Europe; it should have all 27. Lithuania was a great opportunity for France to say so. Bravo for French math!
So, now Lithuania is to the EU what Taiwan is to the US; to China, both are bad press.
A recent election in Taiwan’s central city of Taichung gave one more legislative seat to the progressive DPP party—this is the party that doesn’t bow to China’s passive aggression, nor to China’s aggressive aggression.
Yes, that party just got stronger. China won’t be happy. But, what’s new. Just look at Lithuania and do the math.
China has been told, then told again. This week, China was told again again again. The EU gave a blistering rebuke to China’s unsolicited three cents about what other governments call their offices. Specifically, Taiwan is labeling it’s representative office in Lithuania as “Taiwan”. China recalled and expelled diplomats with Lithuania in wake of the matter.
Moves like this show the disturbing psychology guiding the Chinese. Reducing communication does not improve China’s position; it diminishes China’s position. So, why would China do that for anything other than histrionic reasons? The recall of its office in Lithuania resembles Napoleon storming out of his own cabinet meeting just before he fell from power. Moreover, analysis such as this does not cause the Chinese mind to reconsider; the Chinese see the warnings as conjured propaganda without substance.
As if the EU’s response over Lithuania wasn’t enough, US Secretary of State Blinken told Chinese Foreign Minister Wang where the bear crapped in the buckwheat. China’s been aggressive; that’s bad. Single-sided—AKA “unilateral”—action to alter the status quo with Taiwan—AKA “invasion”—is unacceptable. The US will intervene. This may be news to the ears of those in China’s echo chamber where selective listening is the norm. Yes, China may be unaware that the US plans to respond if China invaded Taiwan, even after all that has happened. China’s frame of mind could come partly from three decades of countries letting China push them around. But all of a sudden, a fresh wind blew through the G-20.
Taiwan was thrust into a position without being asked. In 1971, the United Nations removed the Taipei-seated government known today as “Taiwan” and switched to recognizing the Beijing-based government known as “China”. The Taiwanese were elbowed out of the global forum. Now, the US is working to bring Taiwan back in, but not the same way as in 1971. If the trend continues, China and Taiwan would both have a place in the General Assembly, though no government would admit that outcome quite yet.
At the same time Washington swoons the world and Taiwan toward each other, we hear the old fashioned, non-Trump, typical vibrato from the Biden administration. Biden’s own China ambassador nominees says China can’t be trusted. That kind of diplomacy is rooted in neither Trump’s success-at-any-cost focused strategy nor the moderate go-along-to-get-along mantra. Washington Democrats have read the polls and calculated that hating on China is popular with the electorate. This administration will blame and shame China more than Trump. Expect a WWI style war reparations ending to the coming scuffle, not the rebuilding WWII effort MacArthur did in conquered Japan.
Afghanistan’s failure is a false signal to China, but the Beijing echo chamber sees it as a true sign the US is weak. They don’t get it. America wanted out of Afghanistan. And, Americans won’t want post-Afghanistan disaster to hit Taiwan. China is an election campaign whipping boy, but can’t figure out that because China doesn’t know what an election really is.
Taiwan continues to shine. Aide sent to Haiti after a devastating earthquake combines growing ties with Lithuania. China objects—and those are bad optics that China’s speech-control can’t control outside its borders.
China has been rewriting religion for years. Hymnals already read love for government rather than love for God. Now, we see more investigations against Hong Kong demonstrators who sought to uphold China’s agreement to democracy. In essence, China is investigating itself, indicating that China is divided against itself.
As a representative office exchange between Taiwan and Lithuania moves forward for this Fall, so do Taiwan’s de facto ties with the rest of the EU. China would rather object to this than be supportive of earthquake victims in Haiti. That is the obvious news narrative to take from what happened this week.
What’s not obvious is Taiwan’s prejudice against foreigners. Taiwan is having trouble building its submarines because of a shortage of engineering talent. Taiwan’s solution is to recruit more foreign talent. However, neither the problem nor the need for recruitment would exist if Taiwan had reciprocal regulations concerning immigration: protection of foreigner’s rights, five years leads to full citizenship, and dropping Taiwan’s ban on dual citizenship. To become a Taiwanese citizen, one must renounce original citizenship. America doesn’t require that. Taiwan does, then complains about losing allies to China. Does Lithuania’s government know how Taiwan treated its immigrants even to this day?
Had Taiwan treated others how they want to be treated, they wouldn’t have the trouble they do. And, Taiwan would not look like such a delicious target for war-thirsty China. The big danger is that US failure in Afghanistan on Sunday will encourage China’s calculus that an invasion of Taiwan is feasible. Combined with Taiwan’s self-inflicted weakness from discrimination against foreigners, China’s invasion question is more of a likelihood.
But, looking at even deeper strategy, we must consider China’s accusation that the US is playing games. If that were so, then failure in Afghanistan was staged by the US to provoke China into viewing the US as weaker than it is, and the US allowing non-reciprocal treatment of its own citizens in Taiwan would be intended to weaken Taiwan for strategic purposes as well.
Regardless of China’s conspiracy theory—which Chinese strategists never imagine to such length—the peaceful path would be for China to not take the invitation for attack and for Taiwan to treat others with respect. Like Jesus wanting to die on the Cross, a power that welcomes disrespect is up to something. But, the devil is none the wiser.
Let’s look past the fact that Chinese state media doesn’t know what it means to be “cowardly”. Pompeo rejecting Chinese Communist preferences on US policy with Taiwan is not “cowardly”, at worst it would be “foolish” or “over-confidence”; but “cowardly” would mean letting someone else tell the US what to do. Likewise, China is not “cowardly” either; it is “foolish” and “over-confident”. But, the Chinese don’t know the difference, just how they don’t know this decision on Taiwan is meant to provoke China to commit strategic folly. Let’s look past all that.
What is Trump doing? Biden’s strings held by China were well known before they were secluded by the socialist-minded media in the US. By lacing up ties with Taiwan, Trump forces any future White House attempts to let China dictate policy to be seen for what they are. No president or secretary of state would be politically allowed to back down on Taiwan relations without being exposed as a Chinese manchurian candidate.
In the past, socialist media in the US—which is nearly all media in the US—acted as mouthpieces for Communist Russian propaganda. Now, they act as Communist Chinese tools to install a president owned by China—Biden—all the while publishing bad news about China. From the US perspective, there is a pregnant need to protect the US government from saboteurs—shoes which fit Biden and the primary failure Harris perfectly. Trump taking action that would force Chinese-owned saboteurs to tip their hands only makes sense. But, that still doesn’t explain what is going on.
We must not assume that America is in a peaceful transition from one undisputedly elected president to the next. But, of course China hoped for that. The bipartisan-orchestrated chaos in Washington and state capitals comes as a surprise to the Chinese. If they knew what was coming, they wouldn’t have wasted their time snuggling up to Biden last month. So, because they think this capital chaos was a surprise to them, it was therefore not part of a rouse to make them think America is weak. But, that still doesn’t explain what is going on.
Follow the money. Who makes money off China thinking America is vulnerable? Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics. They don’t need to be part of any conspiracy; only a few stakeholders do—perhaps not even shareholders, perhaps only suppliers of suppliers. However things play out in the dual-fated cities of Washington and Taipei, it will happen that American weapons contractors make the most profit. We are looking at a short and costly skirmish where neither those weapons contractors’ customers are defeated, nor are their profitable enemies. The South Sea is the perfect place. And, China is the perfect dupe to take the bait.
The Chinese make one huge gamble based on two doubtful conclusions. They think Biden will be inaugurated in January. They think they have deterred the US military in the Pacific. Both notions have been carefully feigned and crafted by the US. The pieces are in place and China moves its queen to attack the baiting pawn. The US wants China to initiate its own military embarrassment.
Over the years, America has stirred unneeded trouble throughout the world. America will pay the consequences for that, but not according to any itinerary set by China. Something similar could be said for Taiwan concerning its own internal systems of justice, both for the Taiwanese and for resident foreigners. Taiwan will pay the consequences, but not according to any itinerary set by China. We all answer to God, and God the Judge will not share space on His bench. If China—or anyone else—wants to take God’s bench, God may send in His bailiff.
China wants the results of innovation—which come from free thinking—which comes from free speech. But, free speech and rights respected are the two things China will not accept. So, China indirectly rejects the good results which only follow good choices. Trying to live without the very shame the continue to create—trying to defeat the countries with military technology they could only steal from those countries—trying to absorb economies with innovation that only thrived without their tyranny—China only knows how to miscalculate. The embarrassment China is about to bring upon itself is nothing any good person would wish for. That the Chinese wish for it says more on this matter than anything else.
The US has has taken a hardline on NATO. Of course, NATO members love to criticize the nation that pays the bills that their economic policies can’t afford—or perhaps that their economic priorities refuse.
Germany wants an American debt-funded military and complains like a cat when something is taken away. Everyone wants to negotiate with an Iranian government that actually issued an arrest warrant for the American president. It’s not that those nations believe negotiating is an answer; they don’t know what the answer is. For them, negotiation is nothing more than their ongoing career habit that guided them through fundraisers and elections.
Europe is largely Liberal anymore. It’s like a nest of baby birds whose economic theory is that mamma and pappa bird need to give them more worms—and this is the way to keep the economy going. None of these baby birds demonstrate awareness that worms don’t just appear; the adult birds must go find them! The solution is for baby birds to grow up and learn to hunt for worms of their own. But, tell that to European Liberal leaders these days and you’ll get a response of aloof entitlement and condescension.
There are ways in which things must be done so that cash flows. Money doesn’t move merely because the government told it to. People are driven to invent and pursue dreams and healthy ambitions. Keep them from killing each other, stay out of their way, and then they will gladly generate profit on which they gladly pay enormous taxes.
Ambition is unimaginable to a baby bird who thinks it will never be able to fly simply because it never has. Lucky for us, many Americans are growing up. But, Europe might not grow up in time.
China received two-and-a-half slaps in the face this week: financial sanctions against a few Chinese and Hong Kong leaders, who don’t have money in the US anyway, and the first formal diplomatic visit from America to Taiwan in over 40 years. To add “insultlett” to insults, the purported reason for the US visit was to discuss health and disease cooperation in the face of the Wuhan-famed pneumoniavirus, with Taiwan being the safest place in the world from the disease.
All of these actions from the US are perfectly understandable.
Countries should visit each other. The US is wrong for not having visited Taiwan over the last two score, just as North and South Korea are wrong for their tensions. The world needs people to talk to each other, whether in government, religion, or otherwise. At least Taiwan and the US seem to be getting along much better than Democrat and Republican voters in America.
Sanctions over Hong Kong’s turn of events are also understandable. Beijing doesn’t have jurisprudence over the world, but certain people in Beijing seem to think so and aren’t afraid to put their opinions in ink and law. No, Americans shouldn’t do business with such folk; no one should, no matter what country they’re from.
As understandable as US actions are, they are nonetheless provocative. We can’t expect Beijing to be happy. America found the perfect storm, and bet the bank that people in the Pentagon know what’s going on. But, something seems different in this week’s volley of cross-Pacific insults: Beijing didn’t pop a hernia like it usually does.
Could the Chinese Communists be learning to not feed taunts from the US? Or, more likely, has Beijing read the clear message of actions and decided to quietly plan retaliatory “messages” of action in ways other than rhetoric? The next few months will tell us.
The words of US President Trump set an unsettling policy for Communist China: "We're also getting our allies, finally, to help pay their fair share." This is far-reaching.
By having multiple nations with multiple militaries operating with appropriate budgets, China faces an enclave of opponents, not just one. There is no single head to decapitate. If you're in Beijing, sitting in a room filled with Mandarin speakers who agree that they are entitled to make the world their servant, Trump's words scare you.
While Beijing fights the virus it tried to cover up, Taiwan had recorded 10 deaths from that virus. Yet, China reported 13 in Taiwan, then told the United Nations that China speaks accurately for Taiwan, still arguing that Taiwan should not enter the WHO—even taking offense, still, at any suggestion of entry. Taiwanese Foreign Minister Wu pointed out that the WHO has referred to Taiwan by at least three different names in reporting on China's Wuhan outbreak. This week, even the US spoke up for Taiwan's request to join the WHO; China was all the more offended.
The outbreak isn't fairing well for China's credibility in governing Hong Kong either. Supermarkets are full of empty shelves.
While China's central government will continue the playbook strategy of blaming the very local governments it dominates, the central government's solution to the failure of a centralized government will be to centralize more government. In Confucian Communism, control is the solution to every problem, especially the problems that control causes. So they themselves believe even more than they purport, the reason that China has so many challenges within its vast stretches of land is that it doesn't have even more land. The Chinese Communists believe that their number one problem is that they don't control the world.
The "Symphony Asian Mad Scientist Theorem" continues to play out. Trump engaged North Korea in talks that led to a calm without North Korea changing its DNA. Trump eventually reminded North Korea what everyone knew would be necessary to reach an agreement and North Korea stomped off.
Now, Trump comes off a marathon of wider-scope talks with China and continues to talk about talk, while the message is sent more clearly to China every day. China already knows what will be necessary to reach an agreement, its ambitions otherwise are classic Imperial-Confucian wishful thinking.
Over the weekend, the US and China exchanged insults at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Singapore. America isn't gonna' tip-toe around China anymore! And, China will risk any and every cost and will defeat everyone who stands in the way! They sure told each other! We can't say China didn't warn us, just like China warned the world before the victorious Korean armistice and before China's great and splendid invasion of Vietnam.
Don't think for a second that Trump doesn't care about Japan. If he really didn't care about Japan—if he truly enjoyed the missiles recently launched by "Rocket Man"—he wouldn't say so on camera. Remember, everything he says is being closely watched by a large and volatile North Korean neighbor which believes that everyone believes everything published in the press.
No matter how much anyone warns China of the dangerous pinball machine game it's bouncing around inside of, they won't change because China only ever and always remains true to its Imperial-Confucian values. Those values can and will never include "capitulating to outside demands". China just won't change, you see.
China is less and less popular in the news. It's almost conspiracy-like—how much negative news comes out against China in the Western press at once.
The Trump administration backs Micron with legal action against Fujian Jinhua, an American company vs a Chinese company, over tech theft. At the same time, Jeff Sessions suddenly decides to appear in front of cameras and decry China for cyberspying on the US—a completely unrelated matter except that it is bad press for China. Then, the Taipei Times runs a front page story on illegal Chinese crabs being imported, but not passing a health inspection, with involved companies given a hefty fine, while pushing a North Korean nuke "restart" story to page five! The Taipei Times ran another front page story of China creating fake social media accounts to meddle in Taiwan's upcoming midterm election.
The truthfulness of this flood of anti-China news is not as important as its timing and priority among headlines. Popular sentiment is more powerful than missiles in a conflict between nations. On that front, the West has already won. Don't think for a moment that missiles won't follow to secure what the war of words already won by a deck stacked in the news.
It happened this week. The US finally said outright exactly what Cadence has been saying for years, the strategy in play. According to a Reuters article via Yahoo News, US security adviser John Bolton said, "If they're put back in the proper place they would be if they weren't allowed to steal our technology, their military capabilities would be substantially reduced. And a lot of the tensions we see caused by China would be reduced."
The US wants to put China "back in the proper place". If it weren't for one-sided trade deals over the last to decades and an accumulation of technology that China neither researched, conceptualized, nor paid for, Bolton thinks China would be as friendly as a cute, little house cat, not the bossy tiger it has grown into.
Specifically, the US would need to humble the diesel-powered aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, from which China's other aircraft carriers in the making were reverse-engineered. Taiwan held rehearsals against the Liaoning this week. In other areas, Taiwan isn't backing down, but announced 30 new international flight destinations this week.
Looking at things in this broader context, the escalating military conflict will not result from a trade war gone awry. Rather, the trade war was but a small part of a much larger scheme to provoke China into a military conflict sooner than it wanted. Tech and money has already been cut off. New weapons have been developed and prepared. Now, the US hopes to put China "back in the proper place". In Beijing culture, that means an attempt from the US to shame China on the seas.
We should be preparing for an insulted, post-defeat China and long-term strategists should being their review of the psychological atmosphere in pre-WWII Germany.
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.
Google has gone off the deep end. The level of insanity matches The Bridge over the River Kwai. Actually helping China spy—Are Google execs loopy? From a Chinese company inside China that would make sense. But, Google is American. As if helping a non-ally spy isn't enough, social media giants are already in trouble over censorship in the US. Google could be in bigger trouble with the White House than Wall Street is.
Taiwan hasn't wasted any time irritating China. Now, a temple that was bought seven years ago by a Taiwanese business man, which was then converted into a "shrine to Chinese communism", is having the lights and water turned off as the local government prepares to demolish the whole place. That won't wash over well for anyone hoping to court friendship with China.
China seems to be taking the hint and finally getting offended. Beijing cancelled a trip to talk trade with Washington after figuring out that tariffs were set by imbalance and retaliation rather than rhetoric. As for the two steering factors—imbalance and retaliation—China shows no indication of making concessions. But, it's not the tariffs or trade talks that deserve the headlines as much as the insults mounting against China.
The US is going after Russia for selling weapons to China. That's even more irritation. And, China is even more angry. If we were to analyze the events of the past few months, even years more subtly, it could seem that angering China was an accident. But, the recent past makes more sense, just as events are more easily anticipated, if we consider that the US is irritating China on purpose. Expect more insults from the US, along with Taiwan.
And, Korea. Yes, the two nations are getting along. That won't work well for any nation or pundit hoping to argue that Trump doesn't know how to make a difference in the region.