sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Emerging Situation with China

China, and by that, I mean the mandarins in the politburo who pull the levers in the government, almost always reacts with an underpinning emotion that is difficult to see unless you have met some of these folks in person. They are not Americans. Not even close. They have a difficult time understanding Americans. To his credit, President Trump nominated Iowa Governor Terry Branstad as the next U.S. ambassador to China, choosing a longstanding friend of Beijing. His choice of Rex Tillarson as Secretary of State is a choice of a reasonable, intelligent, tough but fair man who has a keen understanding of international affairs. Those are not the choices of a mad man, but of a negotiator who wants the best team in play. It's a stark departure from the Obama Years when political functionaries and buffoons represented Barack. China gets all of this, but still, they are confused and worried in an emotional way.

Two days ago, the government-run newspaper China Daily published a terse and threatening restatement of China’s official reaction to President-elect Trump’s comments about “one China.” The article begins with a summary of the action-reaction cycle.

This is important for those of you who are China watchers.

The map includes Taiwan as being part of China...
China’s first reaction was to blame Taiwan for maneuvering an inexperienced president-elect into taking a phone call from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen. The Chinese called this a "trick".

After the President-elect’s second comment that “one China’ is negotiable, Chinese officials played down the remark as a misunderstanding or bluster. China reacted to this with a carefully phrased clarification of China’s position that acceptance of “one China’ is the bedrock of China’s relationships with the US.

On 13 January, the President-elect restated that “one China’ is negotiable. Since that remark, the Chinese leadership has concluded that the President-elect means what he said. The 13 January article carries the message that China also means what it said. The final five paragraphs follow.
“,,,It seems wishful thinking to assume Trump and his team's remarks on Taiwan have been based on bluster or miscalculation. On the contrary, it appears the next administration is intending to use the one-China policy as its trump card.”

“Taiwan has been off limits in China-US diplomacy thanks to the understanding that it is a Pandora's box of lethal potential, and that opening it may upend the hard-earned, firmly held fundamentals governing the relationship.”

“If Trump is determined to use this gambit on taking office, a period of fierce, damaging interactions will be unavoidable, as Beijing will have no choice but to take off the gloves.”

“It would be good if, after his inauguration, Trump can demonstrate more statesmanship. But Beijing should not count on his raising the stakes being a pre-inauguration bluff, and instead be prepared for him to continue backing this bet.”

“It may be costly. But it will prove a worthy price to pay to make the next US president aware of the special sensitivity, and serious consequences of his Taiwan game.”
The threat statement was spun by the corrupt, elite mainstream media and intermixed facts with opinions. They all but obliterated the meaning, so it is for you to make sense of it as best you are able without their "take" on the message.

The message conveys that the Chinese already have prepared their retaliation campaign. Early preparation for the worst outcome is a distinctive feature of Chinese crisis management style. They prepare the most damaging actions for the worst possible outcomes and then wait and see whether events dictate that they must apply them all or only some of them. 

The Chinese work backward from the worst outcome to the most benign outcome. They also always warn their target multiple times to afford opportunities for the target to mend its ways or manners.

The China Daily article indicates that only contingency decisions have been made. The implementation of the campaign depends on “use of this gambit,” in other words, on what the new administration does, not what it says.

The article contains the most direct language of threat by the Chinese leadership that I have read. Even before the Chinese invasion of northern Vietnam in 1979, the Chinese did not warn the Vietnamese in language as blunt as that above. 

The Chinese are not certain what the President-elect means by the assertion that “one China” is negotiable. That sentence is ambiguous. For example, it could mean that the US accepts the principle of “one China,” but the new administration wants more cooperation on the terms of trade and investment in China. 

However, the Chinese are concerned that the language means that the principle itself is up for negotiation and might be abandoned. They are prepared for either eventuality. On the principle of “one China”, China is prepared to use military force and sustain whatever costs it takes to preserve “one China.” 

They are prepared to hold Taiwan and its population hostage to the principle of “one China” and pay severe costs to prevent a declaration of independence by Taiwan.  That is a propaganda indicator of military action.

The emerging crisis has not reached that point yet.

30 comments:

  1. Not good. Collision course ahead. I'm not looking forward to one of those cheesy Chinese nukes coming down my chimney, making a mess and then not exploding. Ruins my day every time.

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    1. If that should happen, salvage the fissile material and get Hillary to help sell it to the Russians. She has the contacts and the experience.

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    2. Look, if I could get that stuff out of my carpet, I'd redistribute it directly to one of Hillary's refrigerators at Chappaqua. Maybe the swimming pool. She can keep the change.

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  2. Agree with all, the 'precision' of the language in that article says to me they are serious about maintaining their position(s). Add this to the ramp up of building in the Spratleys, Parcels and Senkaku sitation, and I'm betting C7F is going to be busy!

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    1. C7F will indeed have his hands full. Hopefully Trump will push Congress to authorize funding for maintenance. We need that and a clear vision forward in the aftermath of the ObamaNation when global warming was job one.

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    2. First thing would be to get the carriers and strike groups back underway.

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  3. Somehow I don't see Taiwan sitting passively waiting for the superpowers to decide what is to be.

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    1. They don't have much choice. If the PRC crosses the Straits of Formosa there's not much that Taiwan can do. The US needs the fleet forward deployed to do anything short of creating a nuclear holocaust from silos in North Dakota.

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  4. I imagine intelligence assets are burning the nighttime candles on this, too.
    Not good, but hopefully nothing more than saber rattling will happen.

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    1. It doesn't take that much in the way of assets. China is laying it out in terms of cause and effect and they do this all the time so that there is no ambiguity on their position. The language they are using is very plain, and the US knows what their military capacity is to accomplish goals.

      As I mentioned above, China knows that they've been screwing the US on trade for many years and they are willing to accept changes in those arrangements. They can NOT be flexible when it comes to Taiwan because if they are, China will balkanize. It will be a signal for Shanghai and the Guangzhou region to leave the PRC as well. They are playing for very high stakes in this regard.

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  5. Trump's 'one-China policy is negotiable' is just the way he sets up the conversation. Ask for the moon, settle for what he had in mind in the first place: equal trading terms.

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    1. That's obviously what he's doing. China isn't really happy about it...which is ok.

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  6. Never trust a Chinaman. You only have to look at their takeaway menus.

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    1. Yet you have the Chinese B & B there in Nottingham??? ;^)

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    2. Very good point. Just so I can keep tabs on them for the sake of world peace.

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    3. You are equipped to track them and report to U.N.C.L.E.

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  7. And here is what worries me. We have elected a man who, rightly, and forthrightly, rejects the disarmament and criminally negligent policies of his predecessor. How long will it take us to rebuild? And why should our enemies give us the time?

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    1. Even in our weakened state, we're formidable.

      It takes years to build a warship or to design, build and field a new fighter. President Trump has things to say about that, but you can't do it overnight.

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  8. "Political functionaries and buffoons."

    Some say that Joe Biden is a buffoon, others say that he's a malfunctioning DAARPA 'droid.

    I'm no expert but I think he might be both.

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    1. Or perhaps Slow Joe escaped from the old folks home where he was eating the checkers and pinching the butts of the nurses. He arrived to work with Barack and found that he was the smartest man in the room.

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  9. How would they like: "The United States is firmly and unambiguously committed to the 'One China' policy. We recognize the democratically-elected government of the Republic of China as the sole, legitimate representatives of the people of China. The mainland territories are illegally ruled by the grasping hegemons of the so-called 'People's Republic' who are in fact exploiters and enemies of the people, and thus both de facto and de jure in rebellion."

    Is Taiwan still doing that thing where they select "representatives" for mainland territories over which they have no control? (I am neither a fan nor supporter of the PRC, but that's about as silly as England appointing royal governors for the rebellious US states in this day and age.)

    >Never trust a Chinaman. You only have to look at their takeaway menus.
    Hah. We used to go to this little hole-in-the-wall Chinese place. Food was good, and they had this huge (I'm talking yuuuge) menu of several hundred dishes. One day we decided to see what was up and ordered IIRC 4 similar, but supposedly different, chicken dishes. Lo! Fifteen minutes later four identical chicken dishes appeared, borne by a pained-looking waiter. The dishes were good however; you couldn't even taste the rage-spit from the cook.

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    1. The PRC got caught up in a philosophical thing with Taiwan and this is the source of all of the acrimony. The PRC buys almost everything that Taiwan exports and they have a close trading relationship. It's all about who is king and for the last sixty years, the US has been the guarantor of peace. If both sides could back the f*%k down and just live and let live it would be a lot easier. But that's not to be.

      Good call on ordering the cat at the Peking Moon Restaurant.

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    2. Cat at the Peking Moon may be safer than going back to the Chipotle down the block from my office. So I just got out of a meeting and decided to grab a quick late lunch from said Chipotle. There's a new counter guy who has an astonishing physical resemblance to ickle Bradley Manning -- back when he was ostensibly a dude at any rate. Almost-Brad says to me, all pleasant-like, "We're out of white rice today; we only have brown. Sorry."
      MC: Okay, I'll have that. With black beans and chicken please.
      A-B: So you do want rice then.
      MC: Yes, of course I want rice -- I'm Chinese.
      A-B: [...gives me a "church-lady" style dirty look]
      MC: You're allowed to laugh at that you know. It's okay, really. [...dirtier look...] You're not amused? That's okay, because I'm amused.
      A-B (reproachfully): Well, I guess you can be amused for me then.
      MC (laughing): You really are offended! Wow.
      Almost-Bradley actually stepped out of the counter line and went into the back. Looking for his lilac-scented crying pillow or something I guess. No, I don't routinely torment people in service jobs, because it's crappy enough without someone being a jerk. (Plus only a total idiot messes with someone who handles their food.) But in this case of prissy disapproval? Bwahaha!

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    3. Wow. I've heard of people acting like that, but never actually encountered someone so.. I think prissy does indeed fit here.

      I hope your lunch was at least enjoyable!

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    4. You need to buy a few crying towels and hand them out at appropriate times. ....ok, not really, it's not worth the money. Progressive tears were rare during the era of ObamaNation but they're more common than rain now.

      A-B will likely spit (or worse) in your burrito in the future. I'd find another place to go and avoid the "secret sauce". He likely has HIV and Hep C too, so, yeah, move on.

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    5. Thanks, Linda; I was just happy to get around some food seeing as it was after 3pm by that point. I don't know much about how prevalent such prissiness is down in your neck of the woods, but here in Boston, in a college area yet, well, let's just say it's not rare. A (black) Zimbabwean friend put it well: "Of course I dislike being the object of racism. But I find people who presume to be offended on my behalf, without knowing or caring whether I am offended, even more irritating."

      LL: Good advice. They assemble the burritos in front of you, so secret sauce is unlikely, but you never know. (Oh gawd. Now I am disturbed by the thought that some guy - for values of "guy" - is furiously abusing himself while thinking of me. I think this calls for drinking myself into unconsciousness tonight. Ugh.)

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    6. Well, I do understand, Mike, since our oldest seems to have abandoned his conservative part to settle in Chapel Hill, NC. Even asked us not to discuss politics when we visited last time.

      As for the latter (burrito man) I did have to chuckle at that, but yes, it would be disturbing.

      Hope you all have a blessed weekend, and may God bless America tomorrow and always!

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    7. Progressives will continue to threaten to move to Canada rather than Mexico because they are racists. Tomorrow will be a sad day for them, but as Race suggests in response to a subsequent blog post than this one, they'll eventually find that a prosperous America will have them working rather than complaining.

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