usa-china

By John Ruberry

Building upon Peter Ingemi’s RH’s spectacular Trump’s China Call is a Deliberate Overreach from yesterday, it’s my turn to add my two yuan into the discusssion.

The media loves to dismiss Donald Trump as a showman–as if there was no showmanship with Barack Obama–but those under 45 first encountered our next president as a real estate developer, albeit a flashy one. Developers are many things, including, yes, deal makers, as well as a negotiators. In regards to that last one, when you are sitting across someone you are negotiating with, or as it usually turns out, haggling with, a strategy that has worked since the Babylonian era is to get the person sitting on the other side of the table from you off of his script and on to yours. One tactic is known as “getting-yourself-inside-their-heads.”

And that’s something that Trump may have accomplished by accepting a telephone call last week from the president of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, which has caused a kerfuffle. Because the United States recognizes communist China as the legitimate government off all of China, including Taiwan, a president hasn’t spoken to a Taiwanese leader since 1979. Of course we still have extensive trade relations with the island nation–oops, breakaway province–and we still sell Taiwan weapons. If they are ever fired in defense it would very likely be against the Chicomms.

Oh, Taiwan and China are major trading partners.

Trying to understand international relations is a descent into madness.

Trump made the re-negotiation of what he calls bad trade deals a central campaign promise. Of course those bad deals with China, if they really are awful, are good ones for the Chinese. If Hillary Clinton won last month’s presidential election China could look forward to at least four more years of crony socialism from the former secretary of state. Since then China has been bracing itself for a return to the bargaining table, preparing for difficult deal making with this New York capitalist.

John "Lee" Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven
John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

But Trump, who was a very good baseball player when he was young, threw a curve ball at the Chinese.

He accepted a phone call.

He got inside their heads.

Trump knows what he’s doing.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Update (DTG): I’d like to take credit for the piece that John is referring to but that one was written by RH (NG36B) one of the newest additions to our magnificent 7 writers. I’m delighted to have both John & RH on the team

trump_china
Trump’s recent phone call with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen has sparked a not too surprising response from Beijing:

“We must point out, there’s is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inseparable part of Chinese territory,” read a statement posted on the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s website Saturday afternoon.

Anyone who has been watching Chinese-American relationships in the past decade isn’t surprised by this.  To an American, Taiwan has been de-facto separated by China, and many people don’t understand why they don’t just give it up at this point.

trump_taiwan

The biggest problem with this thinking is that China has sold itself on the reunification with Taiwan.  It’s not just a lot of press, it’s written into their constitution:

Taiwan is part of the sacred territory of the People’s Republic of China. It is the lofty duty of the entire Chinese people, including our compatriots in Taiwan, to accomplish the great task of reunifying the motherland.

To put it into American perspective, it would be like giving Florida back to Spain, despite it being an American state for so long.

Although the phone call appears almost random, I’m guessing it’s not, and that it’s a deliberate overreach by Trump.  He knows that President Obama has too often gotten the snub by China.  China plays the long game, and doesn’t deliberately piss people off unless it feels it has the upper hand.  After watching the US fumble foreign policy with China and give them essentially what they want, China feels like it can push the US around to a certain extent.

Trump gets better deals negotiating from a position of power.  If he approached China in a normal manner, they would seize upon every diplomatic way they could to undermine his legitimacy as President.  So instead, he hits them between the eyes by pounding on a very sensitive diplomatic button.

I predict the following:

  • China will do something to show they still “control” Taiwan.  A military exercise, shoot off missiles, cyber attack…something like that.  Enough to get attention, but small enough to be diplomatically written off by the US if they want to.
  • This action will let China reassure its people, and plenty of people will advise Trump to just let it go.
  • Trump won’t, because he knows if he does, he starts off at a place of weakness.  So, he’ll do something out of the box that will scare the Chinese:
    • He could dismantle the alliance China has built up over the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.  If the US stops the UN from helping the bank, it would be a massive blow to Chinese pride.  Trump could selectively woo countries away from the bank and leave China holding a large bag of debt.
    • He could conduct a military exercise that would scare China.  A freedom of navigation drive-by would be too lame.  If President Trump practiced a maritime blockade of China, and deliberately built an alliance (think Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia, all of whom have reasons to hate China), it could rattle the Chinese.  They want to win in a short, sharp conflict, and know that a long, drawn out blockade could strangle them in the long run.
    • He could buy off Chinese overseas investment.  China has put considerable money in African and Asian countries to try and break out of the First Island Chain.  Trump is the master deal maker, and if he dismantled those deals one by one, it would damage the international image that China wants to portray.

Make no mistake, Trump is walking into the China-Taiwan situation deliberately, and it’ll be interesting to see what he comes up with to negotiate from a position of strength.


This post represents the views of the author and does not represent the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other organization’s viewpoints.


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The Terracotta Warriors from the creation of China
The Terracotta Warriors from the third century B.C. underscore the longstanding power of China. (Photo by Chris Harper)

For the United States to have an effective policy with China, Americans have to stop buying iPhones. Or Apple has to move some of its production facilities from China. And a whole lot more.

The trade imbalance between the two countries is so out of whack, amounting to a deficit of more than $300 billion a year for the United States, that the American government cannot put any significant pressure on China. Moreover, the Beijing government owns more than 7 percent of the U.S. debt. China has a lot of leverage.

Sanctions and tariffs usually don’t work. It would help if Apple would move its production plants from China to South Korea, for example, but educating consumers about the implications of buying Chinese products might also work.

After visiting and teaching in China during the past two years, I offer a few insights:

–President Xi Jinping is the most powerful, politically savvy and intelligent leader in recent history.
–The pivot toward Asia under the Obama administration has been laughable, including alliances with some dreadful regimes in Vietnam, Laos and the Philippines.
–China’s so-called “belt-and-road” program to build infrastructure from mainland Asia to Europe has been a resounding success despite U.S. naysayers. For more about the economic plan, see https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/asia/china-s-infrastructure-play
–The presidential election has made the United States a laughingstock among Chinese.

President Obama’s recent Asian excursion underlines how poorly the United States is doing. The Chinese made him disembark from the back of the plane. The government restricted his access to the media, and officials got into a shouting match with his aides. The president then got dissed by the government of Laos and the Philippines.

These incidents don’t bode well for any resolution to China’s desire to control economic and military sway over the South China Sea—an issue that does matter. That route controls access to billions of dollars in fishing, minerals and petroleum for a range of Asian countries.

The most recent U.S. policy has been to confront Chinese vessels—an approach that is likely to heighten tensions rather than lessen them.

Neither presidential candidate offers much hope in dealing effectively with China. Clinton is likely to continue gunboat diplomacy, while Trump wants tariffs against Chinese products. These inept approaches are troubling because China is the leading competitor of the United States for the hearts, minds and pocketbooks of the rest of the world.


Christopher Harper, a recovering journalist with The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times, teaches media law.

 

 

 

 

Official map of China from the Ministry of Education. To be disseminated to all educational facilities and government offices in the People’s Republic of China. August 26, 2014.

China plans to control Hawaii and Antarctica.

Far-fetched?  Not entirely.  China’s Ministry of Education published a new world map with extensive Pacific Chinese, and is already starting the narrative about discovering Antarctica.

If it seems crazy, it’s not. Just how Donald Trump’s seemingly random declarations mask his master persuasion campaign, China has a deliberate strategy to slowly march over the world:

  1. China declares a territory as “contested” or “disputed,” no matter how dubious.
  2. China begins using non-combatants to challenge territorial sovereignty.
  3. China then stations military units nearby to shift the balance of power.
  4. China will then create a scenario where another nation “provokes” China.
  5. Once provoked, China militarily seizes control and establishes a perimeter.
  6. China normalizes territorial control over time.


Chinese-fishing-vessel-clamsPhilippine Navy photo of Chinese fishermen illegally harvesting giant clam by Scarborough Shoal, from Inquirer.net.

China worked this process with Scarborough Reef, which caused the Philippines to seek a United Nations ruling that recently came back in their favor.

In the South China Sea (SCS), China is on step four.  The recent deluge of Chinese propaganda about defending against aggression in the SCS isn’t for show; it’s a setup for step four to have “justification.”  Just wait until a Chinese fisherman collides with a US Navy destroyer and a selectively edited film appears on Chinese TV.


south-china-sea-map-back-page
Notice that Subi, Fiery Cross and Mischief create a triangle that can support branching out against all other outposts. Guess where the most reclamation has been? Image from South China Morning Post.

China even tested this on the mobile drilling platform Haiyang Shiyou 981 in 2014.

And now China is on Step 1 with Hawaii, Micronesia and Antarctica.  And should the United States continue to show weakness, China could keep employing this strategy until it reaches our borders.


The views expressed in this blog post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense, or U.S. Government.


NG36B is a military blogger who regularly blogs at The Navy’s Grade 36 Bureaucrat. If you love your kids and America, you should buy his Kindle book about the Navy and read it to them every night.

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We have all watched the news and seen week after week of commentary on the Iran nuclear deal. The coverage has gone everywhere from “walk away,” to “the best deal anyone could get.”

Walking away isn’t a good idea in this case, but ok I get it. I understand the sentiment.

This being the best possible deal isn’t a great way to approach signing onto something either. I mean seriously, if you walk onto a Hyundai lot and they want you to pay the same price as a Mercedes S series (north of $100k) you walk away quickly, despite the fact that it is the best deal you can get, but admittedly here we can’t really walk away.

To the President’s statement that the alternative is War, I’m not sure I believe that either, but ok I get that alternative is a possibility as well.

Here is the real deal, and I have this from multiple sources.

We have had sanctions in place for a long time which has stifled Iran’s economy in a lot of ways. Economic conditions have slowed their development programs on a number of government projects including those designed for military use.

Well, I have been talking to some folks in Washington and it appears obvious that the United States had two choices, sign the deal, or never get any concept of what is going on there again in any fashion. This deal isn’t much better, but one step at a time.

Who would have told us that?

Russia and China.

If there are international sanctions on Iran from all over the world these things work well. If Russia and China drop their sanctions and we keep ours what is the impact of our sanctions? In reality, if that were to come to pass, very little.

It is becoming more obvious every single day that there is an alliance growing between the Iranians and the Russians.

Don’t think that is right?

The Washington Free Beacon broke a story yesterday titled: Russian Warships Dock In Iran for War Training.

So now we have Iran wanting newer weapons, including ICBMs, all manner of enhanced military developments including a missile shield, the Russians who need an economic boost and would love to sell these things to someone (for oil perhaps?) working together.

Well, we had two choices. Sign this deal or have the old deal become so meaningless that it wouldn’t matter.

Now before someone calls me names I am not saying we should have signed it.

Let me rephrase the situation.

If we didn’t sign the deal President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry would have been left looking like the “uncool” kids on the international stage who wouldn’t let the big guy do whatever he wanted. They wouldn’t or couldn’t stand up to the Russians and say niet (no).

Why might that be?

Debt. Our national debt may be what has driven this. Could it be that the Russians and the Chinese threatened to dump US debt quickly for pennies on the dollar if we didn’t go along with it?

Hmmm. Perhaps.

The federal government currently is roughly $18 Trillion in debt. That’s a lot of zeroes. Put another way that is $18,000,000,000,000 in debt (give or take).

We currently owe China $1.2T.

With Russia it isn’t nearly as bad its only $115B.

Combined that is over $1.3T.

If they dumped that much in US debt on the market at 50 cents on the dollar our economy would go into a tailspin like no other. The US dollar would have almost no value internationally and we would be in a worse place than ever before.

Perhaps this is the world’s first case of economic terrorism. I could be wrong about that, it might not be the first.

When I wrote the book The Last World War, a fiction novel about the world as Iran sets off its nuclear arsenal I never would have envisioned that we allowed it to happen. It appeared to strange even for fiction. The rest of the novel has been called horrific and given people nightmares at what could happen, but the initiation of that situation being us is just strange. The world does appear to be stranger than fiction.

In this case it becomes obvious that the United States is being told to do something or else. There is very little other reason to do this deal that is obvious in the evidence. Accusations can be made about the President being a sympathizer, or any of another dozen things we can throw around as conspiracies but I don’t think that is the case. This is a clear case of economic international pressure. It appears our inability to get our fiscal house in order has prevented us from having much influence internationally. The US is weak, and it is a problem that must be solved immediately. We have to get our economic house in order.

Two headlines at Real Clear World today:

Desperate Chinese Turn to Mass Suicide – Robert Hunwick, Global Post
Why Cubans Are Still Fleeing to America – The Economist

The common thread between the two stories is that both countries live under stifling Communist systems.

Communism crushes the individual and the human spirit; indeed, it could be said that the word itself, communism, describes the erasing of the individual. Nowhere is this more simply and starkly explained than in the words of one of the Chinese workers who committed mass suicide:

“Our use of death is simply to testify that we were ever alive at all.”

The incidents of mass suicide in China, a closed society, are now frequent enough that they are making the international news.

Cubans in the island-prison at least can find easier means to escape. The Economist explains (emphasis added),

. . . in fact it is the Castro regime that bears final responsibility for the flood of migrants, because its policies—though admittedly exacerbated by the embargo—have produced the poverty and crippling lack of opportunity in Cuba that motivates many migrants in the first place. A series of reforms adopted since 2011 have allowed limited private enterprise on the island, and have sought to spur foreign investment. Yet a gap between the haves and have-nots is growing. As few as one-tenth of the labour force have their own businesses; the rest work in state-owned firms earning pitiful wages. State rations of basic staples like rice and beans add a meagre supplement to incomes, leaving remittances as the only meaningful option for households hoping to increase their earnings. Remittances from abroad are currently estimated at about $3 billion a year. Cubans who make the perilous journey to America are often on a survival mission for their families back home.

Scott Rae and Austin Hill, in their book, The Virtues of Capitalism: A Moral Case for Free Markets explain that the societies whose economic systems have helped a large percentage of its citizenry to enjoy social and economic success are those societies founded on classic Judeo-Christian virtues.

In the absence of those classic Judeo-Christian virtues, and lacking any other alternative, the individual’s only way out is death. In the words of Patrick Henry,

Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s blog.

UPDATE:

Linked to by NewsZing. Thank you!

Linked to by Babalu. Thank you!

barking dogby baldilocks

woof tickets

a slang phrase meaning a verbal threat, criticism, or insult used to intimidate an opponent. The phrase originates from woofing, meaning aimless talk, an onomatopoeic reference to the sound of dogs barking.

(It’s a sad day when Wikipedia has a better definition for a black slang phrase than does the Urban Dictionary.)

Victor Davis Hanson says aloud what many observers of everyday-life already knew:  in the run-up to a fist-fight, the one who talks the loudest and who talks the most feces is the one to fear the least. This is an over-arching aphorism in that it’s applicable to brewing bar fights as well as to brewing global conflicts—and to nearly every other type of tussle in between.

President Obama’s pivot has now joined his stable of deadlines, red lines, step-over lines, and “I don’t bluff” and “I’m not kidding” assertions. The problem with such rhetoric is not just that it is empty, but that it is predictably empty. If Obama cannot lead, can he at least keep quiet about it?

A Russia, China, North Korea, or Iran is not just unimpressed but encouraged, seeing such sermonizing as an assurance of nothing to follow. Obama’s threats are like a gambler’s involuntary tic, which astute poker players read always as a forewarning of a bluffed empty hand to follow.

He does this because that is what he thinks is expected of him: to talk. He thinks the presidency is about saying the proper set of words under a given set of circumstances. (Anything else is too much like work.)

Examples:

Racial issue involving black person? Make speeches implicitly blaming the other party, especially if the other party is white.

Crappy program promoted by the Obama administration or by the Democrat Party? Make speeches promoting the program and/or bribing an interest group into accepting said program.

And for the topic at hand, war not involving USA? Make “don’t make me come over there” speeches while shaking your finger at the “children” in this manner

…the president or his secretary of state lecture an aggressor about its unacceptable 19th-century behavior, the Third World about its homophobia, or the world about the dangers of climate change.

Vladimir Putin knows that the Obama Administration will do nothing and will continue to treat him like a little yappy dog as long as that latter keep running his mouth. (I would imagine that this gives Putin no joy. Guys like that prefer to match wits with an able foe, rather than a specially-abled[i]  one.)

Professor Hanson spells out the price we will pay for electing this simpleton of a leader: another war. But this time I fear it will be right in front of us, and I don’t mean on the device.

There will come a point in time for all Americans during which each of us will be unable to ignore the folly of sending Barack Hussein Obama to the White House—an illuminating moment.

 


[i]I’m sure that the specially-abled are indignant at the comparison.

baldilocksJuliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in early 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

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As crazy as this sounds, bear in mind that four years ago Thomas Friedman wanted the US “to be China for a day,” to “authorize the right solutions”:

UN Climate Chief Praises Communism, Dismisses Democracy

The Costa Rican executive secretary with the UN Convention on Climate Change, Christina Figueres, said in an interview on January 13 that democracy is a weak system to fight global warming, and instead praised China’s communist model.

Even though the Asian power is one of the biggest emitters of carbon dioxide, the country is “doing it right” in the fight against global warming.

Ms Figueres asserts that, being a Communist dictatorship, China approves laws and reforms with less struggles than occur in the US republic, where laws are debated.

(Unless, of course, Nancy insists that “you have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it.” Maybe Ms Figueres is copacetic with that, but she could not be reached for comment.)

How right is China “doing it” in the fight against global warming? The smog has become so thick in Beijing that the city’s natural light-starved masses have begun flocking to huge digital commercial television screens across the city to observe virtual sunrises.

“Doing it right” in Beijing

But then, if you’re a high official at the UN, you may have risen to your exalted position by proving that your head is buried far into a body cavity where the sun don’t shine, which probably explains a lot.

On the other hand, should we thank China for the 8″ of global warming that needs to be plowed off my driveway?

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on Latin American and US politics and culture at Fausta’s blog.

On Thursday Glenn Reynolds linked to this story on China:

On December 3, The Beijing Times reported that Chinese experts are discussing whether the People’s Liberation Army could establish a missile base on the Moon. Per the Taiwan-based, English-language site Want China Times:

An expert from the China National Space Administration’s Lunar Exploration Programme Center told the [Beijing Times]that China plans to send its first astronaut to the moon by 2030. By 2050, the moon could become a base from which to send the country’s manned spacecraft to explore deep space, the source said. [Want China Times]

Innocent enough, right? But the source added that the Moon could be transformed into a deadly weapon. Like the Death Star in Star Wars, the Moon could be used as a military battle station, bristling with ballistic missiles that could be launched against any military target on Earth.

Now you must remember that for decades we heard our friends on the left about the militaristic US but the bottom line is when we had sole access to the moon it didn’t become a military base nor did we begin any process to do so.

But perhaps there is nothing to worry about after all as Cox & Forkum reminded us years ago Communist (like the Mullah’s in Iran) can be trusted
You fool North Korea

…can’t they?

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In an effort to lead a healthier life, I decided to go vegan 3 weeks ago.  I’ve ended my long-lasting affair with ice-cream, meats and cheeses.  It hasn’t been easy, but I definitely eat more fruits and veggies than normal and have found I have more energy than I used to.

Yesterday I decided to try out a vegan restaurant in the Dallas area, so I discovered Veggie Garden in Richardson (north-east of Dallas).  It is only the second vegan place I’ve been able to find so far (the first being the Loving Hut in Addison which turned out to be very tasty).

I walked into Veggie Garden not sure what to expect given that it is really just part of a strip mall and there is nothing much on the outside.  The interior was pretty basic, too.  But, the food ended up being quite good.  I ordered the Kung-Pao Soy Chicken with white rice and my sister ordered the Soy Chicken burger with French fries:

picture043

 

 

 

 

 

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However, the humorous part of this adventure was the political overtone which we were not expecting.  First, we asked to get the password for the wi-fi and were given this piece of paper with the password:

 

picture040

 

We wondered if they were part of the original protest (see pictures of the Dallas OWS protest here).

 

 

 

We also noticed this sign was hanging on the wall:

picture047

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, in the corner they had a little area with books and literature containing a combination of vegan and political messaging.  Next to “how to become a vegan” is a sign-up for the Green Party (with no sign-ups so far).  They had Michael Moore’s book Stupid White Men and a flyer that said, “You can’t be all you can be if your dead” advocating not joining the military.

 

picture050

 

 

 

 

 

The bottom says that there are other ways to be patriotic than serve in the military.

 

 

 

picture053

 

 

Notice Stupid White Men towards the right.

 

 

picture056

 

 

Sign-up for the Dallas County Green Party.

 

 

picture048

 

Resources on how to be a vegan and Foreign Policy magazine, not the literature I was expecting.

 

 

 

I would have engaged the owners in a discussion about what exactly their message is supposed to be, but we had a hard time conversing with them (English not being their first language.  Our waitress was from China, but she only works there and doesn’t own the place).  I wanted to ask what these small business owners are trying to say and how they feel oppressed exactly given that it appears they travelled to the United States vs. choosing to stay in their country of origin.  I wanted to ask what type of justice they are seeking while living in a country and a state that allow them to make whatever type of statement they wish and live their lives the way they wish (Obamacare aside).

The food was good and the wi-fi was free, so being capitalists, they won me over with a great product and I will definitely be back.  I also humorously realized that my veganism may lead me to meet some interesting characters.  This will be fun.  My conservatism is non-negotiable, but I do enjoy engaging with those that have different points of view, especially as they espouse a position that is contrary to the very life they live and freedoms they enjoy.

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Here is their website in case you want to visit sometime:  http://www.theveggiegarden.com/

Lisa @ AmericaisConservative.org