Diplomacy done right for Taiwan and India

Image from: https://www.imrmedia.in/india-rattles-china-appoints-new-envoy-to-taiwan/

Perhaps the only country not having a horrible 2020 might be Taiwan. Taiwan was one of the few countries to fight the spread of COVID-19 well, despite its proximity to Communist China. Later in the year, multiple US Navy vessels transited the Taiwan Straits, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated that the US is “a good partner for security” for Taiwan.

Now, on the day that is celebrated as Taiwan’s Independence Day (10 October, or “Double 10” day), #TaiwanNationalDay is trending throughout India. Communist China tried to snuff it out in advance with a strongly worded “reminder” that there is only one China. Not long ago China and India were fighting each other along their mountainous border, so its no surprise that this “reminder” found its way to the press. The reaction by Indians is telling. Even better, the timing is great, with Secretary Pompeo meeting with top Indian officials at the end of the month to discuss how to deepen ties between India and the United States.

After taking Hong Kong, China showed the world it will weather any storm of protests to achieve its own goals. Anything short of hard military and economic power doesn’t work. People continue to protest the horrible maltreatment of Uighurs and development of South China Sea artificial islands, and yet nothing has changed. The only reason China hasn’t grabbed Taiwan is the risk it faces of US military action. To get over this, China has built a navy now larger than the US (at least in terms of number of ships) and modernized its ground and rocket forces.

Traditional thinking would condemn the US to build an even bigger military, and recently Defense Secretary Esper called for just that: a 500 ship Navy. That’s currently a pipe dream, because we can’t even man the Navy we have now. The Navy currently has roughly 350,000 Sailors; an increase to 500 ships would require gaining at least 200,000 more, not to mention ships and Sailors take time to build and train.

But India? India is already worried about China. India is already in conflict. If Taiwan brings India into any future conflict with Communist China, its a winning move. China doesn’t want to fight on two fronts. It might be able to hold off the US long enough to cement gains in Taiwan, but its not going to do well if India pushes into its western territories. Worse still, if a place like Tibet or Xinjiang decides to not rejoin China, that could drag any conflict out for years, dragging down the economy and the Chinese middle class in the process. That’s a double whammy, because Communist China has to provide a good economy in exchange for not being a democracy. If the economy goes south for too long, it risks revolt.

Deepening ties with India is a smart move for Taiwan and the US. Let’s hope we get more of this diplomacy to stave off future conflicts.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

30 (32) Tips to Stay Married 30 (32) Years. The Seven Second Delay

Miranda: Ummm that was incredible. Was it good for you?

Fletcher: I’ve had better.

Liar Liar 1997

Of all the tips you have read so far this is the one that the two of us have the had the most trouble keeping.

On Radio there is a kill switch or if you know you are dealing with something that can cause grief you will have a seven second delay to allow the engineer, to keep something off the air that will get you in trouble. Marriage is the one other place where that can be most useful.

A seven second delay between the time you think something and the time you decide to say it aloud can be one of the best ways to keep a marriage strong.

The most obvious application is during an argument when someone will blurt out something that they instantly wish they could take back, or in a social setting when one might embarrass one’s spouse but believe it or not it’s OUTSIDE of such situations that this rule is most applicable.

A lifetime of watching sitcoms has had a bad effect in the sense that the idea that a conversation ends with a “zinger” might seem to be the norm, but the reality is that while that a good thing if your goal is to get a laugh from millions of viewers if your goal is a good relationship such a statement to your spouse is more likely to cause grief and not just grief the type of grief that doesn’t get expressed right away and is stored ready to be remembered as a grievance at a time of trouble perhaps even at a critical time.

This is your spouse not your “straight man” and there’s a reason why you haven’t quit your day job to go on tour.

It might take some practice, but getting that kill switch “installed” in your head will pay dividends for years to come.

The 30 (32) tips so far

Streaming Downward

As the election churns to its finish, and as pundits and polls try to tell us who the winner will be, it’s useful to remember that, as the saying goes, culture is upstream from politics. Culture has a greater and longer-lasting effect on our lives and our families than whoever wins a single election. The product of our arts, our sports, our religion, our education, culture informs our values, our ways of seeing the world and the people around us.

When we study the past, few will ever remember what laws were passed when, or what votes were cast by whom. Instead, we tend to look at an era’s literature, at the architecture, at the music and paintings and sculpture to understand the people of the past. A quick traipse through western civilization and you’ll find such luminaries as Beethoven, Shakespeare, Moliere, and, uh, Cardi B.

It’s of course bad enough that something as low and base as the rapper’s “W.A.P.” would find popularity. But leave it to the Democrats and Joe Biden to confer legitimacy on the demeaning and classless pop star by giving her an interview with him. What an example to set for the American people.

In another recent interview, with Hollywood trade publication Deadline, the British comic book author Alan Moore, who created the popular graphic novels, “The Watchmen” and “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,” (both of which have been adapted into movies) lamented how pop culture has been overtaken by superhero stories.  “I have no interest in superheroes, they were a thing that was invented in the late 1930s for children, and they are perfectly good as children’s entertainment. But if you try to make them for the adult world then I think it becomes kind of grotesque.”

Unfortunately, our culture, especially our pop culture, has been overtaken by these grotesques. But then Moore points to 2016, when the infantilization reflected at the box office, when half of the top twelve movies featured superheroes, and sees a link to the voters of Britain and the U.S. electing that year to leave the EU and electing Donald Trump president, respectively — elections that, according to Moore, reflected the infantilization of the population.

But here I think Moore gets it wrong. The true infantilization of the population is reflected in policies that, for example, keep young adults up to age 26 on their parents’ insurance policies, policies that seek to establish an ever-more paternalistic state too watch over us, make sure we get the right foods, the right medicines, the right rental rates for our apartments.

Our pop culture is dominated by children’s stories and vulgarities. It’s quite a change from the days of Shakespeare and Mozart. Or even Hemingway and Ellington. It should come as no surprise our politics are in the shape they are in. The waters flowing through need filtering.