Keep an eye on China

The Chinese have surreptitiously removed oil from their list of goods from America subject to tariff.  Though conditions have improved hugely in China, the leadership hasn't changed much outside the limited sphere of economics.  Communists still run the show with an iron fist, perhaps inside a silken glove.

Unlike American commies, Russian and Chinese leadership live in the real world.  If past practice of communist systems is any guide, they'll unembarrassedly take products off the list and add others without explanation.  Pushed hard enough, their pushback will range from self-imposed famine and army attacks on their own to war with outsiders (North Korea, Taiwan). 

First among these would be NoKo, for three reasons: one, to demonstrate Chinese resolve and capabilities; two, to warn everybody else about messing with China; three, because everybody's worried about Kim, and it's a cheap way to get free advertising for one and two.

Second would be Taiwan, for two reasons: one, China has claimed it since the beginning and has never stopped claiming it; two, in taking Taiwan, the Chinese necessarily have to take the Spratly Islands and control the South China Sea, which they covet anyway for oil.  In taking Taiwan, they'd get much more than just Taiwan.

Such a move would put them at war with just about everybody, including America and all the countries of the region.  India could get sucked in, with Pakistan attacking India for her own reasons while India was distracted with China.  All three are nuclear powers, so this scenario would get ugly real fast.

A whole lot depends on just how cocky the Chinese are.  They know how touchy everybody is over there because they themselves have been touchy for over a hundred years.  For centuries they ducked behind the Wall, trying without success to keep their culture clean of corrupting Western influences.

No more.  Today, Chinese science and technology are right there with the best in the world.  China's engineers toil throughout the Third World on gigantic projects.  Chinese businessmen own large tracts of valuable real estate in the West.  China's army would welcome a chance to strut its stuff, and Xi's been working up the gumption to burst upon the international scene.

Historically, the Chinese have valued careful, face-saving, behind-the-scenes diplomacy over the possibility of miscalculation resulting in humiliation, so the willingness of Donald Trump to hog the spotlight doesn't bother them much.  But when they do make their move, expect it to overcompensate for past discretion by pretty much throwing caution to the wind.

It could also come about that an attack on NoKo would be coordinated with an attack across the South China Sea on Taiwan.  This would show just how far China's self-confidence has risen since her days of humiliation by the West and then the Japanese.  She has long wanted revenge and, having now the capability, could decide to wreak her vengeance all at once.  If unlikely, this scenario is not unrealistic.

Right now we're in an interim, preparatory stage.  All this will happen in time; the real issue is when.  Stay tuned.  Stay ready.

The Chinese have surreptitiously removed oil from their list of goods from America subject to tariff.  Though conditions have improved hugely in China, the leadership hasn't changed much outside the limited sphere of economics.  Communists still run the show with an iron fist, perhaps inside a silken glove.

Unlike American commies, Russian and Chinese leadership live in the real world.  If past practice of communist systems is any guide, they'll unembarrassedly take products off the list and add others without explanation.  Pushed hard enough, their pushback will range from self-imposed famine and army attacks on their own to war with outsiders (North Korea, Taiwan). 

First among these would be NoKo, for three reasons: one, to demonstrate Chinese resolve and capabilities; two, to warn everybody else about messing with China; three, because everybody's worried about Kim, and it's a cheap way to get free advertising for one and two.

Second would be Taiwan, for two reasons: one, China has claimed it since the beginning and has never stopped claiming it; two, in taking Taiwan, the Chinese necessarily have to take the Spratly Islands and control the South China Sea, which they covet anyway for oil.  In taking Taiwan, they'd get much more than just Taiwan.

Such a move would put them at war with just about everybody, including America and all the countries of the region.  India could get sucked in, with Pakistan attacking India for her own reasons while India was distracted with China.  All three are nuclear powers, so this scenario would get ugly real fast.

A whole lot depends on just how cocky the Chinese are.  They know how touchy everybody is over there because they themselves have been touchy for over a hundred years.  For centuries they ducked behind the Wall, trying without success to keep their culture clean of corrupting Western influences.

No more.  Today, Chinese science and technology are right there with the best in the world.  China's engineers toil throughout the Third World on gigantic projects.  Chinese businessmen own large tracts of valuable real estate in the West.  China's army would welcome a chance to strut its stuff, and Xi's been working up the gumption to burst upon the international scene.

Historically, the Chinese have valued careful, face-saving, behind-the-scenes diplomacy over the possibility of miscalculation resulting in humiliation, so the willingness of Donald Trump to hog the spotlight doesn't bother them much.  But when they do make their move, expect it to overcompensate for past discretion by pretty much throwing caution to the wind.

It could also come about that an attack on NoKo would be coordinated with an attack across the South China Sea on Taiwan.  This would show just how far China's self-confidence has risen since her days of humiliation by the West and then the Japanese.  She has long wanted revenge and, having now the capability, could decide to wreak her vengeance all at once.  If unlikely, this scenario is not unrealistic.

Right now we're in an interim, preparatory stage.  All this will happen in time; the real issue is when.  Stay tuned.  Stay ready.