Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, October 22, 2018

By not labeling China a "currency manipulator", the US is extending an olive branch to Beijing. But, things aren't as they seem. On every level, China is reaching—almost grasping—to save face.

This new artificial moon is honest and runs deep in Chinese culture. As part of being the center of the universe, Chinese culture arguably orbits the moon. The Lunar New Year is celebrated far more, in Chinese culture, than the Western calendar New Year. While the Western press tells of the man-made moon from China as a kind of narcissism, it's genuine and normal interest. The threat is US strategy.

While the US throws olive branch after olive branch, the forest yields other fruit than olives. China is losing money fast. Trump tariffs are gobbling up China's reserves behind the reserves. No matter how friendly China tries to play at this point, the US will continue to deliver one provocation after another until China retaliates with basic human instinct. It won't matter how many "encounter codes" China and the US agree to. The US has decided that China is an enemy and has determined to convince the world as much.

This is not the first military provocation campaign from the US. But, if China wins, it would be a first naval victory for China. Calculate the odds.

continue reading

Standard
Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, October 15, 2018

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.

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 24, 2018

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.

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, September 3, 2018

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

China is in trouble. We don't know why, but we know the indication: Trump will be absent from ASEAN. He was absent from a funeral this week and his support grew. He was absent from a Republican debate, then he won the Republican nomination. By not meeting Xi face to face, Xi won't be able to read his emotions. No one knows exactly what Trump has planned, only that he's spending a lot of time on the golf course—a luxury banned by China's Communist Party—a luxury that just so happens to be Trump's favorite place to mull things over and get new ideas.

In the rainy season of August, Taiwan enjoyed almost three weeks of cloud cover. Whatever went on in Taiwan, it was difficult to see from above, and China never likes not being able to see from above. There's nothing like a little conveniently bad weather to irritate the away team. But, that wasn't the end.

The US is looking at a contingency of Marines to defend its unofficial embassy in Taipei and a former chief suggests simulating attacks on China's Soviet made, diesel powered aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, if it gets close enough to Taiwan. Such a statement is purely provocative and no chief, former or sitting, would make such provocation without sitting in counsel. This all compares to the Scottish flashing each other before a battle of the kilts. This week, the Taipei Times published numerous insulting and blatantly disrespectful stories from Taiwanese politics, spitting at China. Taiwan wouldn't do without backing.

continue reading

Standard
Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, August 27, 2018

The Pacific is heating up bigtime. Just after Kim Jong Un meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump calls off a cabinet member's visit to Pyongyang the day after the new North Korean envoy was announced. What was that all about? Consider China.

China has been moving in on Taiwan aggressively, both through marketing and through international relations. The TOEFL test given in Taiwan lists Taiwan as a province of China, using the controversial, "Taiwan, China" nomenclature. Taiwanese were furious because the US government requires tests such as the TOEFL, which is administered by ETS, a nonprofit organization based in New Jersey. How does a US government recognized US-based English testing organization come to list a testing market contrary to how the US State Department does? The answer is: pressure from China.

Companies around the world have been strong-armed by China into listing Taiwan as a province of China. In the past weeks and months, airlines were required to comply in order to continue flying to China, many waiting until the last possible moment. This week, a PhD candidate at the University of Salamanca in Spain Tweeted a letter from China last October essentially demanding that the university shut down "Taiwan Cultural Days".

Now, Taiwan ended ties with El Salvador for recognizing China instead of Taiwan. This came after Taiwan declined for a year to make a sizable investment in the Port of La Union. Taiwan was concerned about debt for both countries. Senator Marco Rubio wasn't happy and a bill has already been amended to cut US funding to El Salvador.

While North Korea doesn't seem to be making as big of strides as expected in denuclearization, China is cozying up to North Korea while soon-to-be-former US allies cozy up to China and while China and Taiwan exchange lobbing spit wads. The overall situation doesn't look good for the pro-US side. But, there's always more than meets the eye.

continue reading

Standard
Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, August 20, 2018

The silent war between the Koreas is shifting to family reunions. Families split by the war are having a get-together today in the North. Trump has a deal with Kim Jong Un. Peace is moving forward, and Korean reunification along with it. Reunification is one of China's values and things look great as they are. So, why does Xi Jinping need to go to North Korea? Does he also have family there? Perhaps he's trying to market himself.

China has been busy marketing itself around the world as of late, as has Taiwan. So goes the other silent war—the silent war between China and Taiwan, though it's becoming not quite so silent. Taiwan's President Tsai Ingwen traveled this week. While in California, she did one of the most controversial and disrespectful things a president could do: She visited a coffee shop. Oh, China is so angry! How dare she do that!

The Taiwanese coffee chain, 85°C, has a few locations in California and Tsai Ingwen went to one of them. They even gave her a bag. She did that just to spite China! That's all she ever thinks about. It's not that great of a coffee shop anyway. Don't visit there and try any of their lattes or cappuccinos or any of their many desserts. There are better things to do than just trying to spite China.

China protested, of course, as they rightly should for such a disrespectful thing Tsai Ingwen has done. Taiwan's Premier, William Lai, lashed back, as did Tsai Ingwen. They think China's not marketing itself rightly by objecting to evil things like visiting coffee shops. They want China to have a good image, but right now they think China's doing it the wrong way. What the heck do they know anyway?

Taiwan has its own marketing problems. Former AIT director, the envoy from America to Taiwan, William Stanton says that Taiwan needs to market itself better. While things cool off in the Koreas, the marketing battle between the China's is just warming up.

continue reading

Standard
Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, August 13, 2018

China's situation isn't getting easier. Taiwan now has tested a new missile, boasting ability to fire within China's mainland, being capable of destroying military targets on both land and sea. This is no laughing matter. On the economic front, Beijing has a hard-headed counterpart in the White House, Donald Trump. He shows no indication of backing down on any front, including Beijing. Now, China is going after Muslims.

While it can be politically incorrect for the West to pursue terrorists if they are Muslim, China doesn't have that problem. Military states rarely do, which is one advantage China has over the West. Terror cells may be in hot water since China is on high alert in all directions. If Taiwan were to create trouble on its eastern coast, Beijing would not want more trouble from its western borders. So, any earlier preemptive action from Beijing is likely to be westward, toward Muslim nations. Those Muslim areas could be in greater danger than Taiwan.

Taiwanese have been busy, though. When anyone uses the "Taiwan, China" format, Taiwanese go berserk. That's raising a lot of attention about a little island in the Pacific which now has missiles capable of attacking China. These are interesting times.

continue reading

Standard
Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, August 6, 2018

Apple sales are up in China, which creates a problem on two fronts. First, the doomsayers were wrong about tariffs crashing economies. If the tariffs aren't making a difference according to the globalist economists, then why did they object? They're the "experts", after all. Shouldn't they have foreseen that tariffs wouldn't matter? The second problematic front is that an American company's success seems to be a problem for the Chinese.

Apple doesn't filter and censor content from personal users, but Chinese state-media outlets seem to think it should. Even though Apple proved that China is good for business, someone had to find fault. Good news just won't do these days.

So, now it's Apple vs China rather than Apple in China. It seems Apple was also duped by the globalist economists into vesting one fifth of its sales in a relationship that wasn't going to last. Watch. This looks like a preemptive step to take action against Apple, who would do well to start pulling out of China before its assets get appropriated for the benefit of the Chinese people.

The swelling trade war between the US and China isn't going away. Dating back to the Opium Wars, the West will push and push as long as most of the money flows downhill into China. While China compares tariffs, Trump balances cash flow.

More importantly, China could be entering another "danger zone" of its own. Painting Trump as an enemy in China's own newspapers could inspire dissidents within China that they have support from the US. The best response for China's own stability would be to report that Trump's tariffs were intended to help China's economy more than the US. That would be more likely to promote unity among the Chinese people. But, the state didn't think of that before press time and the newspapers can't be recalled, even when owned by the state.

China is, indeed calm, just as it claims. There should be no question that China believes the flow of money into China is fair. Chinese don't want to be unfair, after all. China should only have favorable trade because China deserves it. Beigjing isn't out to hurt anyone, unless they are denied the extra favor that the world owes to China. So, don't let the Western press convince you that China is more of a monster than it actually is. We can all be monsters at times.

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
Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, July 23, 2018

Central planning has only so much room for slight of hand tricks to keep up its sleeve. When the going gets tough, everyone goes home. For China, that means devaluing its currency, a complaint Trump has long lobbed against the trade giant.

Maintaining good relations with Apple and almost achieving the manufacturing capability long held by Samsung is quite the accomplishment for the Chinese. Good job. Everyone owes them a hand. China's BOE company hopes to be able to start manufacturing the flexible, "organic" LED displays by 2020.

Devaluing currency as a response to trade tariffs from the US, however, is likely to make those tariffs higher, considering that devaluation of its own currency was one reason Trump argued for tariffs before his election. This, and turning to Africa, means that the international bite is felt. Silicon Valley also has its eyes on Africa, meaning that Apple and China may meet again in Africa, as well as Google. But, doing more of the same things that initiated tariffs is likely to cause more tariffs than tariff problems it alleviates.

China has a hard set of choices ahead and as those choices narrow, the tiger will feel more and more like its been backed against a corner. This path doesn't endure entirely peacefully.

continue reading

Standard