Tag Archives: PRC

Donald vs. LaVar: Battle for the Ages?

It’s come down to this: The president of the United States, the commander in chief of the world’s mightiest military machine, is waging a war of words/wits with a loudmouth father of sons who aspire to athletic greatness.

That’s right. Donald John Trump and LaVar Ball are going back and forth via Twitter.

This is how the Leader of the Free World chooses to spend some of his time. He calls Ball “an ungrateful fool” because Ball said the president didn’t do what he said he did to obtain the freedom of one of Ball’s sons, who got caught shoplifting in China.

The president has made a stupid feud even more stupid by his engaging this blowhard bozo in a Twitter feud.

I know the president is hopelessly addicted to Twitter. I won’t call on him to quit engaging in this kind of petulance. He’s acting like an overgrown, overhyped pubescent punk. He can’t help himself.

The man is diminishing the high office to which he was elected.

Don King without the hair?

But … he “tells it like it is.”

Trump does the impossible yet again

Donald John “Smart Person” Trump Sr. has done the seemingly impossible one more time.

He has made LaVar Ball, the loudmouth “Little League father” of an NBA player and one of three UCLA students caught shoplifting in China, a (semi) sympathetic character.

LiAngelo Ball was one of the Bruin basketball players caught pilfering some goods at a high-end department store. The Chinese government tossed the boys into jail.

Then the president of the United States entered the picture and reportedly/allegedly finagled a deal to get the young men released and sent home; under Chinese law they faced a potentially lengthy prison sentence.

So, what does LaVar Ball do? He tweets something about Trump really not doing anything to help LiAngelo and his teammates.

Trump’s response? He tweeted back something about how ungrateful Daddy Ball is for what the president did to obtain the release of his son and his pals. The president tweeted this: Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail!

There you go. Presidential dignity has taken a hike from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Try to imagine any of Trump’s predecessors engaging in this kind of petulant pettiness.

Do not misunderstand me: Daddy Ball is far from a sympathetic character. He’s brash, brazen and bellicose. He earned his 15 minutes of fame through some kind of “reality TV” gig — that I have never seen. He has produced some sons with decent athletic skill and he’s trading on their prowess to advance his own agenda … whatever the hell it is!

As for the president, I have quit wondering whether Trump will outgrow his Twitter fetish and whether he’ll ever learn to stick to matters of statecraft and high-level diplomacy.

I know the answer to that. He won’t. He can’t.

Bizarre.

Government endorses notion that humans cause climate change

It’s called the “gold standard” of environmental studies.

It comes from the U.S. government and it goes directly against the president of the United States, who calls climate change a “hoax.”

The U.S. National Climate Assessment blames human beings for accelerating the planet’s changing climate. Trump, meanwhile, continues to parrot the line of climate change deniers by disparaging that idea that Earth’s climate actually is changing.

What fascinates me is that the report came out on the eve of the president’s visit to China, which he has said is responsible for perpetrating this so-called hoax. What might he say to Chinese political leaders’ face were they to challenge him on his ridiculous assertion?

This, too, is worth noting: Syria has just signed on to the Paris Climate Accord, from which Trump withdrew the United States, citing an alleged negative impact on U.S. jobs. Think of that for a moment. Syria isn’t exactly an internationally known champion of environmental issues; meanwhile, the world’s leading and most powerful nation has backed out of an agreement signed on to by the rest of the planet.

The Environmental Protection Agency, meanwhile, is rolling back measures taken by the Obama administration. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, another climate change denier, insists that President Obama lacked the authority to implement changes mandating cleaner air requirements.

What one never seems to hear from Pruitt is any commitment to protect the environment, which the EPA’s title would appear to demand of the federal agency.

Why in the world can’t we get past the notion that Earth’s climate is changing? I am open to debating the cause, although the latest government study likely would put the kibosh on any serious debate over whether human activity is the primary catalyst behind the planet’s changing climate.

Climate change is the real thing

Rising sea levels present a serious challenge to the entire planet. Same for the increasing ferocity of storms. Meteorologists tell us annually that the planet’s median temperature is increasing.

Can we stop the impact of all these elements? We cannot know the answer if we keep denying what is becoming painfully obvious.

Earth’s climate is changing. It is long past time we got busy trying to stem the damage that’s being done to the only planet we have.

 

Trump humiliates Tillerson

You’re the secretary of state, the top diplomat for the United States of America.

You are involved in discussions with officials from another great power, China, about what to do about North Korea and its desire to develop a nuclear weapons arsenal. Then you let it be known that you’ve opened “direct line” to North Korea.

That’s progress — yes? — in this game of diplomatic chicken we’ve been playing with the reclusive and dangerous communist regime in North Korea.

Then the president of the United States — your boss — fires off some tweets that says you’re “wasting your time” in seeking talks with North Korea.

Trump declared in a tweet that the United States is keeping its military options open. The president said: “Save your energy, Rex, we’ll do what has to be done.” Huh? What the … ?

There you have it. The president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, has undermined once again the secretary of state, Rex Tillerson. He has blistered his top diplomat publicly for seeking a constructive solution to a growing crisis that has no realistic military solution.

What’s the upshot of this? According to the Washington Post: “Humiliating for Tillerson, but worse, renders him useless. He’ll resign, today or after a brief face-saving interval,” predicted former Obama administration ambassador and National Security Council official Dan Shapiro, one of many foreign policy experts who tweeted about Trump’s Sunday comments, sent from his New Jersey golf club.

Read more from the Post here.

Should the secretary of state quit over this latest insult? You know, if it were me — and I’m just speaking for myself — I cannot imagine how Secretary Tillerson can tolerate this kind of continuing public humiliation from the president of the United States.

What does Kim Jong Un want?

USA Today has peeled away five key demands that North Korean dictator/goofball Kim Jong Un is making on the United States and the rest of the world.

I want to examine them briefly over the course of the next couple of days. I’ll do so one at a time in this blog.

Here is one demand: A peace treaty that ends the Korean War.

The carnage ended in 1953 after three bloody years on the Korean Peninsula. Kim Il Sung, the current dictator’s grandfather, decided to “unify” the peninsula by invading South Korea in 1950. The United Nations responded with a substantial military force dominated by — who else? — American troops.

The U.N. force pushed the North Koreans back across the 38th Parallel and got to China’s doorstep in the north. That’s when the People’s Republic of China intervened. The PRC deployed hundreds of thousands of troops against the U.N.

All told, nearly  50,000 Americans died in that struggle.

They signed a ceasefire. But no peace treaty. As a result, South and North Korea remain to this very day technically “at war.”

What does a peace treaty mean? Does it mean a unified Korea? Or might it put in place a permanent divide between the sovereign nations?

The PRC won’t tolerate a unified Korea under the guidance of a democratic Republic of (South) Korea. The Chinese will insist on having a fellow communist state along its border. And you can bet that there’s no way in the world that the United Nations, let alone the United States, is going to agree to a communist dictatorship governing the entire peninsula.

Remember, the North Koreans started the fight in 1950. Does anyone believe the U.N. is going to allow them to be rewarded by giving them the entire land mass?

I suppose the only solution is to keep the two Koreas separate, with the commies running the northern portion and the democrats running the southern area.

But who in the world can trust the North Koreans to remain faithful to a peace treaty after we take down the massive armaments on both sides of the so-called “demilitarized zone”?

A peace treaty, thus, remains a major impediment to resolving this serious crisis.

Uh, Mr. President, it’s Taiwan that’s the ‘Republic of China’

Donald J. Trump’s White House staff apparently has a lot to learn about geopolitics.

He left the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany and then issued some sort of statement that referred to the People’s Republic of China as the “Republic of China.”

To quote Energy Secretary Rick Perry: Oops!

I hate to be a stickler for details, but the Republic of China is the official name of Taiwan, the island nation that broke away from the People’s Republic of China in 1949 after a bloody civil war mounted against the ROC government by the communists led by Mao Tse-Tung.

Here’s the deal, Mr. President. The ROC isn’t recognized by the United States. We broke off relations with Taiwan in 1978 when we formally recognized the communist government in Beijing. We have this thing called a “One-China Policy” that prevents us from recognizing both nations.

I’m no expert on China-Taiwan relations, although I’ve had the honor of visiting Taiwan five times over many years. I’ve gotten the Taiwanese side of the story as it has evolved since the founding of its government.

The PRC is one government; the ROC is another. The president’s statement stepped mightily on the toes of both nations. The one that likely smarts the most is Taiwan, which struggles to maintain its place among the worldwide family of nations. Hey, it’s a vibrant, bustling country that has established its own identity during the past 67 years.

You might recall that shortly after being inaugurated, Trump took a phone call from Taiwan’s president, engaging in the first head of state conversation with that nation since we ended diplomatic relations. It was a no-no. The president later affirmed that the United States remains committed to its One-China Policy and that we won’t extend diplomatic relations to Taiwan.

To his credit, Trump sought to make nice with the PRC’s president, Xi Jinping, by referring to the trade relations between the United States and the PRC.

However, the White House communications staffer who blundered with the erroneous statement and then put Donald Trump’s name on it needs a rudimentary lesson in Far East geopolitics.

How might Trump persuade China to lean on North Korea?

This holy weekend seems like an odd time to comment on the possibility — remote as it seems at this moment — of nuclear war with North Korea.

Here goes anyway.

How might Donald J. Trump have sought to persuade Chinese President Xi Jinping to lean hard on North Korean dictator/madman Kim Jong Un?

Trump met with Xi this past weekend at the president’s posh Mar-a-Lago resort, where he said he was enjoying that piece of chocolate cake when he told Xi of the Syrian air strike.

I’m pretty sure, though, that North Korea came up. What might have Trump have told Xi? How might he have pleaded with him to do something — anything within reason — to persuade Kim Jong Un to avoid testing a nuclear device?

China is North Korea’s major economic benefactor. The People’s Republic is North Korea’s No. 1 trading partner. There would seem to be plenty of economic muscle that Xi could apply to Kim Jong Un to tell him — in no uncertain terms — that threatening the United States, South Korea and Japan is sincerely not in North Korea’s best interests.

Let’s remember, too, that North Korea is a desperately poor nation. Its people are starving while Kim Jong Un keeps spending nearly a quarter of the country’s GDP on military hardware.

The U.S. Navy is sending a strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson — a nuclear-powered attack aircraft carrier — to the Korean Peninsula. It’s a tremendous show of American military power that must not go unnoticed in Pyongyang.

Is the U.S. president capable of appealing to Xi to lay it all on the table with Kim Jong Un? Is he able to use the kind of language heads of state use with each other when talking about serious threats to international security? After all, whatever threat the North Koreans pose doesn’t just involve the United States, or China or any other single nation in the east Asia region. This is a worldwide matter.

My hope would be that Trump would plead Xi — if that’s what it would take — to lean very, very hard on Kim Jong Un, to tell him about the terrible price the world would pay if he pushes the United States to where many observers fear might occur.

That would be a pre-emptive strike on North Korean military targets.

Trump vows to “take care” of North Korea “alone” if China doesn’t do what it must. I do hope — and pray — the president is able to persuade the Chinese leader to step up.

Trumpkin to Trump: Don’t compare us to China!

I have a lot of friends in the Texas Panhandle who are Trumpkins, devotees of Donald J. Trump, 45th president of the United States.

No surprise there, eh? The Panhandle voted about 80 percent in favor of the Republican president, which is about normal for this region of the country.

One of those Trumpkins traveled recently to China, spending two weeks in the People’s Republic, touring the giant nation north to south.

We spoke about his trip upon his return to the United States and he offered an interesting and — to my ears — welcome rebuke of Trump’s longstanding assertion about the United States.

Trump insists he will “make America great again.” He peddles ball caps with that message on them. His ardent followers cheer for his exhortations while wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the mantra.

My friend said China in no way compares to this country. He talked of the massive cities containing tens of millions of residents in each of them. “Four hundred square feet” is considered a roomy apartment, he said. Chinese are stacked on top of each other. They ride around on packed buses. “I didn’t see any ‘neighborhoods,'” my friend told me.

“I don’t ever want to hear Trump try to compare us to China,” he said. “There is no comparison!”

As for the ongoing declaration about “making America great again,” my friend speaks with utmost clarity. “America is great!” he told, with his voice rising. Yes, pal. I get it! I agree with you! I disagree with you fella, Trump!

Well …

It seems that at least one Trumpkin hasn’t quite swilled the entire jug of Kool-Aid.

One-China Policy is OK, right, Mr. President?

Donald J. Trump now is ready to adhere to one of the more complicated elements of U.S. foreign relationships.

It’s called the One-China Policy, which recognizes only one China … and it’s not Taiwan.

Not long after being elected president, Trump took a phone call from Taiwan’s president and then declared the United States ought to rethink its decades-old policy that recognizes the People’s Republic of China.

Bad idea, you know? The conversation between a U.S. president-elect and the leader of Taiwan was the first that had occurred since the United States recognized the PRC as the “real” China.

Taiwan, China maintain complicated relationship

Taiwan is, in fact, a prosperous independent nation that broke away from the Chinese mainland at the end of a bloody civil war that erupted after World War II. Taiwan’s Nationalist government set up shop on Taiwan in 1949 and for three decades it was the recognized government of China.

That all changed dramatically in 1979 when the United States recognized the PRC, kicked out the Taiwanese ambassador. The United Nations booted Taiwan out, too, and welcomed the PRC.

Thus, the One-China Policy was born amid an interesting mix of economic and defense-related agreements that the United States still maintains with Taiwan. We trade with the Taiwanese, we pledge to protect them if the PRC decides to retake the island nation — but we do not recognize them diplomatically.

Trump spoke this week to Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, and reaffirmed out commitment to the policy that recognizes the PRC exclusively as the sole China.

As for Taiwan’s relationship with the PRC, that too, is a matter of delicate maneuvering. Taipei and Beijing allow travel between the countries; family members are allowed to communicate with each other.

Taiwan also believes in a “One China Policy,” but insists that the island nation — not the mainland — is the “real China.” Here’s the deal: Most of Taiwan’s inhabitants were born on the island and consider themselves to be “Taiwanese.”

The president, though, needs to settle down and stick with a policy that recognizes only one China. To do anything different is to insert the United States directly into the middle of a simmering dispute between China and Taiwan.

The world is watching a ‘great’ nation’s turmoil

I’m watching the news today and getting an eye and earful about how the world is reacting to Donald J. Trump’s inauguration as president of the United States.

I received this e-mail message from a friend of mine in Australia. He is a worldly fellow, a keen student of U.S. politics. My friend writes: “We’re all praying for you … and ourselves as well. We’re all in this together. For historical precedent, check out Germany 1918-1939 or the Cultural Revolution in China. I honestly thought the extent of Russian involvement in the election was grounds for treason, but clearly the rules have changed!”

No mention, of course, of the women’s marches around the world that are occurring today.

I’m guessing women marched in my friend’s city in South Australia.

I won’t elaborate on his statement regarding pre-World War II Germany or what happened in the 1960s in China.

Suffice to say that, though, that the world — if my friend’s message is any indicator, and I believe it is — cares deeply about what happens in the United States.

What does that mean? To me it means two things.

One is that we are in fact the world’s most indispensable nation.

The other aspect is that the United States of America continues to be “great,” despite what the brand new president has bellowed to the contrary.