sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Monday, July 29, 2019

Various Topics

A European Army?

There is talk in European capitals about how Europe needs “strategic autonomy.” And the solution seems to be a species of vanity project without substance. The British have said "no" and passed on the suggestion while they are now planning to spend 2% GDP on defense as specified by NATO.

The only external threats to Europe's peace, prosperity and stability: Russian mischief and the Middle Eastern rot, dancing across European borders in the form of millions of military age Mohammedan males. It's an external threat, but Europe (not Eastern Europe) has welcomed the invaders/refugees with open arms and gave them free stuff in the hopes that it would all work out.

There is also the problem of Iran and Europe's energy needs. The Europeans don't seem to be able to work out the metrics on that one. Buying oil and energy from Russia (a threat of sorts) on one hand and the Middle East, on the other, to keep the ball rolling, doesn't portend well. Norway is oil independent, but that doesn't translate to other European nations. France runs on 80% nuclear energy, but they get their uranium from Africa, and while they've kept the supply, it's ...in Africa.

The best hope for European security into the future is a transatlantic solution that works for everyone.

Bilateral trade between the US and Britain will soon become a reality as the old allies renew their special relationship on an even deeper level. There is a lesson for Europe in this - if they're willing to listen.

Will Hillary and Barack form a Dream Team?

I know that Barack served two terms but the donkeys would like to change the law.

Naturally it would backfire and usher in the Trump Dynasty. When The Donald dies, it would likely be Ivanka Trump and so forth.

Mail Call - The Hong Kong Dilemma:

Fredd Said: Once you get a little bit of freedom, you want lots more of it. Things will not get easier for Beijing in trying to sprinkle a little freedom here and there. Freedom is like crack cocaine: once you try a little, Katy bar the door...
And occasionally, if one looks at history, they fire the shot, heard round the world and the ungrateful oligarchs need to start killing people and creating martyrs. Civil wars are messy, expensive and the other colonies who didn't trust you, REALLY don't trust you.
Hong Kong was free for 97 years, and the place is a cash cow for the PRC. They should just suck up the taxes and leave everyone alone. But governments don't like to do that, and that goes double for communists.
LSP Responds: Good advice -- fix the PRC. I'd imagine the mandarins have their hands full on that score.
You know, they actually are trying, LSP, but they like to fiddle with the switches like a monkey, looking for the one that will dispense the banana. Power is like that, you often do it because you can. You jumped on that half wild Arab woman because you could  (at least I hope that it was a woman) and she threw you like a judo master ---- because she could.
WSF Suggests: There is always the invasion of Formosa to distract the population.
They have the plans all fleshed out. But I think that they want to complete the Belt Road Initiative first. The Chinese are bad neighbors, and since they are celestials, every idea they have, no matter how outrageous, is correct. It's great being a Mandarin until it all falls apart.
Old NFO postulatesTheir 'probable' response is going to be 'quietly' stacking bodies. If that doesn't work, they will do so loudly
They aren't afraid to break a few eggs to make an omelet.
LindaG states: God's will be done in Hong Kong.
As always. However the human suffering done along the way is best minimized.
Pajama Party at the White Wolf Mine

My granddaughters, 10, 6 and 2 are visiting the mine this week. Tomorrow, we're going to the Mogollon Rim in the Toyota FJ, and then I have a Commission meeting at the Blue Ridge Fire Department in the afternoon to deal with a minor crisis. But tonight, the girls are in the living room, having roasted marshmallows and constructed 'smores', and they're watching Disney films on the TV. Yes, that's how it is. Family - family - family.

The Hong Kong Dilemma

Three consecutive days of rallies, marches and clashes represent another escalation of the unrest. Many of the protesters carried American flags. Many of the protesters are said to be demanding a Bill of Rights, modeled on the American Bill of Rights, which is even more freedom than the people of Hong Kong enjoyed under British Crown rule. And that's really not what the Central Communist Party (CCP) on Mainland China wants. As a result, some in the PRC/Worker's Paradise blame the United States for the protests and for putting these notions of fair laws and freedom into their heads.

Let's break down the protests: On 26 July, demonstrators occupied the entrance hall of Hong Kong International Airport. They said that their task was to inform tourists about the situation in Hong Kong.

Demonstrations were held at Yuen Long on the 27th. The police denied permission for a public rally at Yuen Long, but activists held one in defiance of the police order. They said their purpose was to exact revenge for the white shirt attack on 21 July. Riot police fired tear gas at the demonstrators at Yuen Long after they began throwing bricks, umbrellas and bottles at the police.

The demonstrations on 28 July were a continuation of the day before’s protests. Once again, a peaceful rally morphed into an attack against civil order with multiple mobs of demonstrators marching down unapproved routes and clashing with police. Police fired tear gas and other crowd control devices. The protests continued all night into the morning of 29 July. 

Today, Monday, The Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO) under the State Council, China’s cabinet, held a press conference in Beijing to give “its stance and views on Hong Kong’s current situation”, according to a central government notice. This will be the first time the HKMAO has held a press briefing on Hong Kong city since the UK transferred sovereignty back to China in 1997.

Leaders of the protests seem to believe that provoking authorities will result in an overreaction that will cause international pressure on the Beijing government to accept protestor demands. The People's Republic won't be swayed by international pressure. They can't give in. No communist government can give in and still survive.

Editorials in the Global Times indicate Chinese leaders already have concluded that the US and others are using the protests to weaken China. 

The editorials are wrong. The US is weakening China by not giving them trillions in unfair trade as we now see under President Trump. The US is also not allowing China a free reign globally in other trade and tech theft that they enjoyed for so long. The problems in Hong Kong are the result of free people wanting to retain freedoms and rights. British King George could commiserate with the Beijing Mandarins were he still alive.

The Core Problem 

There is more travel from the People's Republic of China (PRC) to Hong Kong now. Chinese see in Hong Kong, a system set up by the British with fair laws that work and a culture that also works in ways that don't seem to work on the mainland. That sort of thing infects the PRC with dissatisfaction. As a result, the Beijing government is trying to make Hong Kong more like the PRC, rather than the other way around.

Don't get me wrong. China has made HUGE STRIDES to curb what was rampant corruption and to modernize China. The goal is to make China a modern society by 2047. Anyone who knows China now and then can see that it's a serious goal and the oligarchy that runs China under the communist rubric is trying. But the divide between China and Hong Kong is still significant and it strains the one country-two systems situation.

When 20% of any population actually hits the streets to protest, one may reasonably infer that the other 80% have many of the same feelings, so the protests in Hong Kong are not a small thing. Neither is Hong Kong, Tiananmen Square, where you can roll the tanks in and start killing people for shits and giggles (The June Fourth Incident). 

I was on the phone to friends in the area last night and the locals are seeing other things that the oligarchs in Beijing see on the television. The Hong Police don't really have their hearts in breaking heads of demonstrators. They all live in Hong Kong...their families live in Hong Kong, and Beijing feels as if there may be members of the police who sympathize with the demonstrators. (you think?) 

What to Do?

My advice to Chinese oligarchs is to back off and leave Hong Kong alone. Reassess the situation in 2047 and try and fix the PRC in the mean time so that it will be more like Hong Kong.