Tag Archives: PRC

U.S.-China relations get even stickier

As if relations between the United States and China needed to get even more prickly … we have this bit of news.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is visiting Taiwan, the country that the PRC considers to be a “renegade province.” Taiwan has no official diplomatic relationship with virtually the entire world, which essentially recognizes a “one-China” policy.

Well, let me stipulate one point.

I have visited Taiwan five times dating back to 1989. I have seen the country up close. It is a vibrant, successful and energetic democracy. It is far from being the “renegade province” the PRC says it is.

It did break away from the PRC after a bloody civil war in 1949, when the communists seized power from the ruling nationalist party. It operated under martial law for decades in the years since then. It lifted the martial law a few years back.

Taiwan operates as an independent nation. It just has declined to declare its independence, concerned about a possible military reaction from Beijing were it to do so.

Over time, Taiwan’s population has become more native to the island nation, with far fewer citizens with roots in the PRC.

It’s an independent nation. Still, Secretary Azar needs to take care that he doesn’t say something that will rile the commies on the mainland even more than they no doubt already have become.

This, I submit, China-Taiwan is one of the world’s most complicated relationships. Tread carefully, Mr. Secretary.

Trump team unveils its xenophobia

Ahhh, so this is how the 2020 presidential campaign is going to proceed.

The Donald John Trump re-election team is going to fabricate straw men, prey on people’s xenophobia and then suggest that a true-blue, red-blooded American politician is actually an agent representing a hostile power.

The Trump campaign has released a minute-long ad that implies that former Washington Gov. Gary Locke, who was born in Washington and who served as U.S. ambassador to China during the Obama administration, is a Chinese government agent.

Oh, I should mention that Locke is Chinese-American. He also is a friend and ally of Joseph R. Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

This is, as former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, described it, “utter garbage.” He said also that “Gary Locke is as American as the day is long.”

The ad is intended to suggest that Biden is more loyal to China than he is to the United States, that he and his son, Hunter, have business dealings in the People’s Republic of China … which I guess in Trump’s vacuous noggin makes him disloyal.

It’s reprehensible in the extreme. The campaign’s effort to cast a native-born American as a foreign agent makes it even worse. Wherever he is, the late U.S. Sen. Joseph McCarthy — the infamous commie-hunter of the early 1950s — must be nodding in approval.

Disgraceful.

POTUS needs to work on his comedic timing

“It was sarcasm.”

That’s how Donald Trump has described his much-derided remark that he is the “chosen one” to deal with China and to wage a knock-down trade war with the Asian economic powerhouse.

Critics have said the remark revealed some sort of “messianic complex” in the president, given that he did look to the sky when he made the statement to a gaggle of reporters at the White House.

I’ve seen the incident in question a few times. I don’t yet know what he meant when he said it. Was he joking or was he making some sort of statement about being selected by God Almighty to wage a trade war with China?

I’ll just offer this observation. If the president was “joking,” he needs to work on his comedic timing. The humor of the statement was lost on many of us who saw it.

Yep, the biggest threat to the nation is its president

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee drew the biggest round of cheers tonight with what might have come off as a quip, but which — the more I think about it — now sounds like the brutal truth.

He and the nine other Democratic presidential candidates gathered on the debate stage in Miami were asked to name the greatest geopolitical threat to the United States: Inslee said it is Donald John Trump.

Not Russia. Nor the People’s Republic of China. Or Iran. Or terrorist organizations. Or even climate change, which happens to be Inslee’s signature campaign issue.

He said the biggest threat is the president of the United States of America. I agree with him.

Donald Trump is systematically destroying our alliances with Europe, with Asia, with Latin America. He’s gone after Australia and Canada, for crying out loud!

Donald Trump has isolated the nation from the rest of a shrinking world. He cozies up to tyrants — Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin being the most notable. He challenges the nation’s intelligence network’s findings. He makes foreign and domestic policy pronouncements via Twitter, without advising his senior policy  advisers.

Trump has burned through two national security advisers. He is talking openly about possible war with Iran without a defense secretary on board. He is reportedly losing patience with his third White House chief of staff.

Yes, Gov. Inslee was right. Donald Trump has become the greatest existential threat to the very nation he was elected to govern.

Wow!

Earth to Beijing: Taiwan is a nation, not a ‘province’

The People’s Republic of China is engaging in what the White House calls “Orwellian nonsense.”

The PRC is angry at private commercial air carriers because they refer to Taiwan as a “country.”

Oh, brother.

It’s complicated.

Taiwan broke away from China in 1949 after a bloody civil war. The communists kicked the Nationalist Party out of power. The Nationalists moved to Taiwan and set up a separate government. The PRC runs the mainland; Taiwan has taken on a new identity, although it is not recognized throughout most of the world as a sovereign state. China calls Taiwan a “renegade province” and has vowed to take it back — by force if necessary.

Believe me. It is. I’ve been to Taiwan five times since 1989. It is a country.

Thus, the White House’s criticism of the PRC is on point. As The Hill reported: “This is Orwellian nonsense and part of a growing trend by the Chinese Communist Party to impose its political views on American citizens and private companies,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

Sanders also vowed that “China’s efforts to export its censorship and political correctness to Americans and the rest of the free world will be resisted.” 

“The United States strongly objects to China’s attempts to compel private firms to use specific language of a political nature in their publicly available content,” she said.

Sanders is correct to condemn China for seeking to dictate to private firms how it should refer to countries — and governments — with which they do business.

Taiwan operates in a sort of parallel universe with the rest of the world. The United States withdrew its diplomatic recognition of Taiwan — officially known as the Republic of China — in 1978. The United Nations expelled Taiwan at that time so that the PRC could join the body.

Yet, Taiwan continues to function as a de facto independent nation, although it has never officially declared its independence from the PRC. Taiwan has flourished and has become a vibrant state that functions with many of the trappings of sovereignty without the actual designation.

As for the People’s Republic of China, it need not impose its political will on private firms.

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.