30 July 2022

WRONG TIMING ON CHINA

There is a near-universal chorus shouting “We can’t back down now,” in the face of threats and aggression, but in the case of Nancy Pelosi’s planned trip to Taiwan it is lunacy to tempt fate with a conflict that we are currently ill-prepared for. Even the Pentagon knows this. We have a lamentable pattern in this country of stumbling into war without fully thinking out the consequences. We are ever prone to short-term thinking in long-term situations. 

The Chinese do not suffer this handicap. They pursue long-range strategies with careful consideration, while we tend to react precipitously. Thus the Chinese Communists have long planned to bypass the USA in terms of world power, and further, to undermine us at every possible opportunity, which we have yet to fully grasp. All this time, and especially since the rise of the current leadership in China, they have in fact been engaged in a subtle, low-intensity war against this country. They have penetrated and compromised many of our institutions, including universities, corporations, and and politicians themselves, the extent to which we still barely recognize. In fact, the next big scandal to erupt in this country’s likely to be “the great betrayal;” i.e. degree to which we have been seriously compromised by an inept, greedy, and rotten elite. 


The Chinese Communists know a lot more about us and our vulnerabilities than we do in reverse. This is a result of chronically short-sighted leadership across the board, and a near total inability to develop and maintain a long-term strategy about anything. This has been brought about by the ephemeral nature of our politics; ever shifting and always subordinate to the “issues of the day.” 


With regard to Taiwan we have put ourselves in an untenable position.  We have, all along maintained that it is part of China, which of course is the Chinese position, which puts us on shaky ground in any potential conflict. At the same time it is true that Taiwan has been democratically self-governing long enough to have developed into an advanced democracy, with an increasing identity of its own, just as Ukraine has developed over the space of a few decades a comparable identity, or sadly, the way Kabul had changed in Afghanistan before they were shamefully abandoned. 


Furthermore we are currently in a position where we and the western world are have become dependent on Taiwan for some advanced technology and can ill afford to see that gone before it has been relocated, duplicated, or otherwise secured. Furthermore the acquisition of Taiwan will certainly put China on top in short order as things currently stand. These are hard-core, amoral realpolitik concerns. At the same time there is the basic reality that an island this close to home is clearly much more in the core interests of the Chinese, and they will go after it in total while we will at best be half-hearted about a place on the other side of the globe. The smart move would have been to simply arm the Taiwanese to the point where they could act in their own self-defense; but not enough has been done.


The problem is that we are currently woefully  ill-prepared for any sort of military conflict with China. It is one thing to not “back down” when you have the advantage, and another to do so from a weakened position. That doing so would send a bad signal to allies is just short-sighted, because it would only be temporary and the wise thing is to step back until we are prepared and have the power to prevail and strike at the right time. They think that way and we don’t, and if we don’t become more Machiavellian, or even godfather-like in our strategies we will be in deep trouble. There are just two many things wrong at this time, namely:


  1. Incompetent leadership. Does anyone want to get into a military conflict with Joe Biden as commander-in-chief? 


  1. A military that has been badly damaged by idiotic “woke” policies and vaccine dismissals and is simply not ready for any kind of serious conflict at this point. 


  1. In even entertaining any kind of conflict have we tightly coordinated with allies like Japan and Australia to have a joint strategy and preparation for conflict?  Unlikely. 


  1. Can we enter a full-blown military conflict, which will rapidly supersede everything else, without serious damage at home? 


  1. We have no clear idea of the extent to which the Chinese Communists have penetrated our society, taking advantage of our political divisions and disarray.


  1. Have we done anything substantial enough to decouple from China without harming ourselves?


  1. Do we even know who has managed to penetrate our defenseless, abandoned southern border?


  1. Do we know what the Chinese are up to in buying up farmland near military bases?


  1. Do we have any inkling of how many self-serving elites have been bought by China?


Changing Pelosi’s schedule is hardly “backing down.” In fact it removes any pretext for China to act under conditions that are currently favorable to them. That doesn’t mean we surrender or give up; it is a tactical move to enable us to finally begin to take this threat seriously and prepare, with the rest of our allies, for circumstances that will be more in our favor. Furthermore, short of that we haven’t even done anything to try and undercut Chinese influence around the world, in places like Africa, whose inhabitants are increasingly chafing under Chinese domination, or to respond in kind to continuous covert aggression against our country. We have allowed ourselves to be played. 


This is currently a country where a scoundrel like Eric Swallwell was found to be sleeping with a Chinese spy on his staff, but instead of being expelled from congress, Pelosi put him on the intelligence committee!  Yet we are supposed to not “back down” on behalf of Pelosi. We have been asleep at the switch, oblivious to the threat right in front of us while facing internal disintegration that leaves us ill-prepared for anything serious. It is vital we get our own house in order before adapting  a posture that is oblivious to our own sorry condition. It is time to get our act together before it is too late.