Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness – Taiwan’s Democracy, the U.S. Pledge, and the Chinese Communist Party’s Constant Nightmare – “Freedom”

Regarding the editorial in the Sunday Taipei Times (“The Liberty Times Editorial: Opportunities and independence”, Jul 16, 2017 – Page 6), and speaking of the U.S. position on Taiwan’s independence, the paper notes “Therefore, arms sales to Taiwan, but failure to support its independence is a curious mix-and-match of action and rhetoric.”

Actually, if one thinks about it, this is not so curious. Failing to support independence out loud is not opposing it, even if those words come out of some official’s mouth at some point, because at its root, opposition to independence is not the policy of the U.S., it is merely a tool aimed at defusing a flash point with an arch enemy with nuclear weapons.

However….there is a time to every purpose, and war between the U.S. and China is the potential result of a declaration of independence by Taiwan unless it is the right time, so it is a matter of great importance that the time be right.

What does that mean? It is not so easy to define the right time, or pinpoint. It does depend on the steady progress of Taiwan towards being de facto recognized around the world out loud as a democratic nation on its own, and it could also depend on the resolve of the people of Taiwan. Few believe Taiwanese are willing to take up arms and fight Chinese soldiers in the streets of Taiwan. They say, this is 2017, who does such things, or would want to?

In history, including recent history, there have been very few declarations of independence not accompanied by bloodshed – no country’s overseer will so easily give up its captive.

The U.S. fought a long and very bloody Revolutionary War 241 years ago propelling the U.S. into history and George Washington into the Presidency. In the course of the 8 years of war against England, over 30,000 civilians lost their lives, and there were over 200,000 military casualties. The result was “We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” The bloodshed and resulting democracy has served as a beacon of freedom for billions in the centuries following. Are Taiwanese willing to shed their blood for this?

I think in civil society today, we do everything we can to avoid such conflict, though evil revels in blood and gore, as Tiananmen Square, the Cultural Revolution, the Great Leap and so many other horrific events in Communist China have shown. It also revels in intimidation.

The result? The “One-China policy” that acknowledges that this is what Communist China says, and that the U.S. has its own idea about that. And the purpose of the ambiguity is to allow the U.S. to stand behind Taiwan, firmly, and between Taiwan and Communist China, firmly, and protect Taiwan with the full power and beauty of the U.S. Constitution and the principles of freedom and democracy now inherent in Taiwan’s system of government, and wait for the right time to help bring Taiwan into the family of recognized democratic nations, which it truly already de facto is.

All of the machinations dealing with Taiwan’s de facto independence are designed to avoid a war between two nuclear powers, especially with a North Korean powder-keg sitting just a few clicks away. We have seen how Communist China deals with resistance historically, by its brutality in Tibet and Hong Kong. The U.S. did not stand behind Tibet and wag its finger, having just completed the Korean War a few years earlier. Genocide through eugenics has ensued in Tibet. The U.K. does not have the muscle to stand behind Hong Kong even though Communist China recently stated that the 50-year agreement between the UK and Communist China no longer applies – in other words, England has no power to enforce it, so too bad, Hong Kong’s One Country-Two Systems system is now One Country-One System.

But the U.S., recognizing the tremendously important role that Taiwan plays in ensuring Asia’s democratic existence, and the beauty and grace in having its democracy flourish, and having the same freedoms as exist in the U.S. in Taiwan for its 23 million people, does stand behind Taiwan and wag its finger at Beijing and say “don’t even think of it, buddy”. It has not yet become “Make my day, punk,” but it is implicit in the military presence in China’s neighborhood, and projection of the U.S. military might around the world.

Despite the bellicosity of PLA (People’s Liberation Army) generals, China’s military is no match for the battle-hardened U.S. military might, and for all those nay-sayers in the U.S. who complain about its defense budget, it is like the defense budget for the entire free world (because as we know well, Europe is not going to mount a military that can fulfill that role) and that gives the U.S. power to keep democracy vital and dominant, protecting the freedoms of the people of the U.S., and its friends, despite the efforts of the world’s worst totalitarian regimes, from Communist China to Russia, to Iran to North Korea to Venezuela to Cuba to  those in the Middle East.

Were the U.S. to back off Taiwan, I don’t want to think of the consequences. Our law provides support for Taiwan, laws which always pass with overwhelming support in Congress. Presidents follow diplomatic niceties, but the U.S. Congress does not have to follow suit. Few in the U.S. speak glowingly of a unified Communist China and Taiwan. An overwhelming majority acknowledge that Taiwan is already a democratic nation whose own Constitution provides in Article One it is a nation with a government “of the people, by the people and for the people.”

That is the basic foundation of Taiwan today. And it is the basic foundation of Charter 08, offered in 2008 by Liu Xiaobo and his co-writers as the foundation for a future China. Imagine that. Taiwan is the example of what the people of Communist China can look forward to. No wonder the Chinese Communist Party is so damn afraid of tiny Taiwan. And no wonder the Chinese Communist Party is so damn afraid of India, a great U.S. ally and a democratic nation of more than one billion people – demonstrating that the Chinese Communist Party’s argument that China is too big for democracy is nonsense.

To answer the question inherent in the editorial, the democracy and independence dance is not only a dance between Communist China and Taiwan, truly of necessity for Taiwan’s benefit and survival. If it were, it would be a very short and painful dance. It is a very complicated dance and the dance floor is quite crowded, and Communist China is by far not the dancer with the biggest footprint and most destructive kick, and while the U.S. is dancing far from home, Communist China knows that doesn’t mean a thing after over 100 years of projecting power for good across the oceans and seas to stand behind freedom against oppression whenever and wherever it is found.

Also, while the dance is going, and it is going, Taiwan is evolving, and as the pro-Communist China KMT is in steep decline, Taiwan is edging closer and closer to fully realizing the power of those words above…life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in a nation “of the people, by the people and for the people.”

Assimilate that, Chairman Xi and your Chinese Communist Party, anachronisms of despair from the 20th Century, and hollow wraiths in the shadow of Taiwan’s massively free and beautiful society.

Obamunism is a thing of the past – undiplomatic President Trump is hard to take, but putting the US back on the right track is necessary for the world to survive the likes of an impotent Europe, Communist China, Russia, Iran and North Korea

The temptation to compare President Trump with President Obama is rampant, especially in the press. However, President Obama was widely liked outside the United States because he followed an ideology which was markedly different from what the US had followed since the end of the Second World War, and his calculation that a kinder, gentler apologetic United States would create an atmosphere of peace and goodwill throughout the world instead created chaos and war, aggression by the world’s worst regimes, and mass migration and refugees fleeing the results of his utter failure to act. He completely eschewed the power of the United States in favor of weakness, totally miscalculating the extent to which the strength of the U.S. in fact is the peace.

Yes, the world believed Obama was “such a nice guy” (so much in fact he won a Nobel Prize even before he earned it). But in truth, that is not the role of the United States for the last 70 years, and far from ushering in an era of peace, Obama fomented divisions that will take decades to heal. So, while so many people are apt to say that Donald Trump is isolating the United States, he is doing that which Obama should have done, asserting the positions of the U.S. with determination and backing it up with action. Despite his having fallen into the old North Korea-Communist China chess game, President Trump has ruffled feathers because he has not followed Obama’s Oppeasement policy. It is not his role to be well-liked, only well-understood. Whether or not he can do that remains to be seen.

Irrespective of the arguments for and against the science of climate, the “Paris Climate Accord” was Obama’s gift to China and India, and to Europe, and over a hundred countries, giving away billions to those who should have taken the responsibility for their own climate policies, such as China, which keeps passing itself off as a developing nation despite it having the second largest economy in the world, and too much economic blackmail power as a result. As I mentioned before in prior posts, China in fact under the accord will actually keep increasing its emissions until 2030, and the U.S. is supposed to pay billions for it having gained that competitive advantage while the U.S. reduces its footprint by impossible degrees. I believe when negotiating the Paris Accord, President Obama through Kerry must have said “Wait, let me bend over for you first…”

Obama’s negotiating policy of “take me, take all of me” was naive and stupid (and Iran is another example of his asinine approach, as well as almost the entire Middle east). President Trump is not the brightest bulb in the marquee of life, but he is hopefully better at negotiating than Obama was. Of course, so far, President Trump’s tangles with Xi have not been stellar, as he appears to have been led down the garden path by Xi on North Korea, once again (as has every other president since Clinton was first bamboozled 25 years ago).

The press is fond of painting the U.S. as becoming isolationist under Trump, but in fact, the President is merely reversing Obama’s Oppeasement foreign policy, which at its core, involved making every single other country happy at the expense of the U.S., as though that was what was needed, as opposed to a firm and steady hand.

Having rejected the notion that the U.S. has a role to play as the leader of the free world, Obama just went about smiling, shaking hands, singing songs, and being a gentler, kinder America. Let’s see how that worked out. Russia (whom President Obama laughed about during his first campaign) goes crazy around the world, takes Crimea, invades Ukraine, teams up working with Iran and supporting Assad in Syria, and Obama did what? Wagged his finger? China builds artificial military islands in the South China sea, props up North Korea while promising assistance stopping its nuclear program, cracks down on human rights, oppresses Taiwan at every opportunity, and Obama did what? Wagged his finger (maybe he wagged it, but I am doubtful, since the alleged pivot was in fact a pirouette). Kerry goes on a hate fest directed at the greatest ally of the U.S. in the Middle East, Obama pushes Israel on every front and gives Abbas a free pass on every front, and this benefited the world how?

The US is not the timid mouse of the free world. When the U.S. is timid, bad people rape and pillage. When the U.S. is a tough son of a bitch, the bad people run and hide, as well they should. This has been the only policy in the last 70 years that has kept the world spinning, liberal ideology of peace and happiness notwithstanding. In fact, liberal ideology of peace and happiness does not exist without a strong United States. Peace and happiness is the end goal, but is not achievable against evil by the U.S. sitting on its hands singing Kumbaya (keep in mind that under the rules of engagement established by President Obama, the U.S. was in fact sitting on its hands time and again (even on the battlefield), creating the notion that in the pinch, the U.S. would not act, red lines notwithstanding). I can’t believe I am writing this again….”All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Doing nothing should not be an option.

Taiwan is free now because the US has not sat on its hands since the six assurances, though Obama did a pretty good job of doing just that. I don’t trust what President Trump will do, but I do trust the U.S. Congress which supports Taiwan against China nearly 100% (back in 2000, in the last year of Clinton’s administration, a bill to strengthen military ties with Taiwan passed by 370-60 – opposed by President Clinton and some of his Party, but not enough to kill the bill – Clinton and his supporters argued that “ambiguity” was useful, while the proponents of the bill argued they wanted no ambiguity about support for Taiwan by the United States). In December 2016, the defense budget, including references to enhancing military engagement with Taiwan (“Sense of the Congress on Military Exchanges between the United States and Taiwan), was passed 92-7 in the US Senate (only 6 senators and Bernie Sanders voting against it) and 375-34 in the House of Representatives). The Congress fully supports Taiwan. The President, constrained by diplomacy, often cannot be as direct as the Congress. But the will to protect Taiwan from Chinese aggression is quite clear.

I suspect the U.S. will continue to work towards cleaner energy, perhaps not with the complete abandon President Obama would have liked. But the Paris Accord was a hell of a haircut the U.S. took under Obama.

North Korean Nuclear Debacle is Iran’s Debacle in Waiting

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” – Edmund Burke.

President Clinton was so eager to resolve the Korean nuclear threat, I believe he was willing to sign an agreement with North Korea written in snow and accept mist in promises. It would seem the negotiating team (part of whom were also amazingly brought in by President Obama for the Iran negotiations) were outclassed, outsmarted and outwitted. To the extent any person outside China actually believed China had or has any interest whatsoever in ending North Korea’s program, they are sadly misinformed. Communist China has directly benefited from North Korea’s bad acts for twenty years, and has continued to expertly play US presidents like fiddles, including Clinton, Bush, Obama and now Trump.

If there is no diplomatic solution now outside Communist China, one can look to the previous administrations for blame, each having to some degree allowed Communist China to have its way with them instead of taking steps to actually put an end to Korea’s nuclear program. It is too late now. With an ICBM in the oven, and hardened facilities under mountains and underground, there is little that can be done short of decapitation or immediate regime change, and even in that case, there is no telling what would follow the end of the Kim dynasty.

North Korea violated its Agreement during negotiations, while it was being drafted, moments after it was signed, and every day since then.

The trouble is, at the beginning, there was far more of a chance to take military action to stop North Korea from actually developing nuclear weapons technology and the weapons themselves, and with each succeeding year it became more difficult. Nothing was accomplished during the Bush Administration, and the final nails in the nuclear coffin were put in place during President Obama’s Oppeasement foreign policy debacle, repeated in rushed negotiations in horrible detail with Iran before Obama left office, a gift so to speak that will keep on giving for decades, and the full effect of which has not yet been felt around the world when Iran becomes a nuclear power (as it will under the dubious agreement).

Communist China and North Korea have played this game well for such a long time. CCP leaders pretend to call out North Korea, even vote in favor or abstain from heavy sanctions, but secretly violate those sanctions almost immediately. They call for patience, negotiations, peace in the region (for instance calling for cessation to joint military exercises between the US and South Korea), all as part of this grand scheme and game. Whenever Communist China needs a threat, it just winks at North Korea, and missiles are aloft, and dire warnings come from Beijing (“Woe is us, woe is us, what are we to do? Peace, negotiate, leave it to us”). This is usually followed by laughter in the CCP’s lair.

China will continue to prop up North Korea, secretly or otherwise, because it is the most useful tool in keeping the US in check, achieving its goals regarding Taiwan, Hong Kong, Tibet, the South China sea, human rights, and a host of other issues it wishes the US to stay away from.

The longer we play this game of loser’s chess, the worse the situation grows. Pretending to be the peacemaker (and the environmentalist and the voice of reason and the next great source of trade and money) is China’s long term strategy to relegate the US to a back seat to its hegemony and intentions to remake the world in its own totalitarian image. North Korea is simply a tool in that game.

Just as Clinton did 25 years ago, Obama began the game with Iran several years ago. It does not end well. It never does, particularly when it is played by the JV team (led by President Obama whistling Kumbaya, Kerry and his merry band of fools and appeasers) and the quintessential flim-flam men from Iran. There was no contest. And now, President Obama, having been intent on singing Kumbaya instead of ending Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons, and having prevented destruction of Iran’s facilities after developing the weapons to do so while it was actually possible, has ensured we are stuck with a nuclear Iran, something that can lead to disaster.

Good men doing nothing. This is the hallmark of diplomacy for the past twenty five years. When will anyone learn?

Project Syndicate still pushing for a Communist China led world.

Project Syndicate, the brainchild of George Soros has continued its love-in with China, promoting Communist China over and again as the new alternative to the United States as world leader. It is sickening, but Soros has shown his strong dislike for the United States, and his preference for totalitarian Communist China. So much for the preferences of billionaires.

In the Project Syndicate article “Multipolarity and the global order” (written by Javier Solana and published in the Taipei Times on June 28, 2017, page 8), Solana actually writes these words: “Rising powers such as China are equipped to act as responsible stakeholders.” What? In what possible world is that sentence true? Unless by “responsible” Solana means “brutal, totalitarian, ruthless, uncompromising, murderous, unfree, anti-human rights, bereft of due process, completely censored, and allies with the worst enemies of humanity on earth”.

Solana also said this: “The Belt and Road Initiative — which Xi has described as “the project of the century” — is a true reflection of China’s strategic choice to strengthen commercial links with the rest of Eurasia and Africa, taking advantage of the opportunity to accumulate “soft power.” What?!! Has Solana been drinking Beijing Koolaid? Taking advantage to accumulate soft power? Either Solana naively does not know that One Belt One Road is Communist China’s long-term strategy to infect Europe and Asia with Kommunist Kash and Kommunist Trade, Beijing’s Kommunist Party political philosophy and requirements (One China and other “core” issues) and its plan for a world of “democracy with Chinese characteristics”, which of course means “no democracy” under any circumstances, or he is so eager for Spain to benefit from Communist China’s “politiks 4 Kash” that he ignores it.

When he served as EU high representative for foreign and security policy, and as NATO secretary-general, Solana always impressed me as highly anti-American. His thesis in his article that the US has withdrawn from its traditional role as the only international superpower, appears to be based on the first 150 days of Donald Trump’s presidency. This thesis is faulty because if anything, Trump has done more in the first 150 days to assert the US footprint than Obama did in 8 years. All of the things Solana refers to as indicia of America’s withdrawal occurred on Obama’s watch, and that includes emasculating the US, singing Kumbaya with America’s worst enemies, and deferring to everyone else and his brother, including tragically Russia and Communist China.

There is no chance the EU will emerge as a prime actor on the international stage, except as a brake on getting things done. The EU members cannot agree among themselves what to call a bagel, much less decide on the burning issues of the day. And in fact, Solana, while mentioning the US in passing, really means that China can fill that role.

Does Solana not understand the UN has been paralyzed for decades because Russia and China have veto power? And that they always use that veto power to protect the evil flavor of the month?

There is an insidious propagada at play by those in countries where Kommunist Kash is most welcome to blithely promote China’s rise, and America’s demise. This should be troubling to any person supporting democracy, justice, and human rights.

A second Project Syndicate article “Looking for a candidate to fill the US’ shoes” by Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations published in the Taipei Times (June 28, 2017, Page 9) also discusses the alleged withdrawal of the U.S. from international leadership. Less ebullient about China, the article nevertheless assumes the US will not lead in the foreseeable future: “As a result, the US will no longer play the leading international role that has defined its foreign policy for three quarters of a century, under Democratic and Republican presidents alike.” Mr. Haass pulls no punches and makes this statement sound like a matter of fact. This is quite presumptuous, and betrays a disconnect caused by doubt in President Trump’s leadership, but actually missing historical rhythms which have been in place for decades.

Mr. Haass discusses how the US has abandoned its leadership with Trump’s America First policy, but truthfully the situations discussed are more the result of 8 years of President Obama’s international incompetence than Mr. Trump’s first 150 days.

And as Tony Giamporcaro correctly points out in his post at the Taipei Times regarding the article by Mr. Haass, pundits who keep promoting the notion the US is no longer the primary international force in the world, blaming it on President Trump, purportedly because of his non-traditional relations with allies and enemies, completely ignore the fact the US has been unable since World War II to really rely on its allies to actually pull their weight in facing real conflicts in the world, the EU and other allies more likely to act according their selfish or political economic interests than human rights or doing what is right. NATO is basically little without the participation of the United States.

And there is another point. Those same pundits seem also to ignore President Obama’s compete abandonement of all diplomatic precedent, booting allies and embracing enemies, his Kumbaya diplomacy and utter failure, leaving behind a world in flames and chaos.

But Mr. Haass does rightly conclude that the world’s wishful thinking that the US has withdrawn leaves a vaccum that cannot be filled by any other country in the world, nor by the EU collectively (“However, it is clear that there is no alternative great power willing and able to step in and assume what had been the US role.”) This has always been the case, and always will be the case. But Mr. Haass goes off on a tangent and imagines a combine of countries that together can fill the shoes of the US. but he concludes the world is more likely to regret the US is not back in that role.

I believe the US has gone it alone before and likely will continue to have to go it alone again to face sticky issues that no one else in the world has the wherewithal or courage to face. Responding to Syria’s chemical weapons attack is an example. And the irony is that whereas the red line was drawn by Obama, he was paralyzed to actually enforce it. Trump decisively enforced it within the first 100 days, and that sends a strong message to any country entertaining heinous actions.

I was somewhat heartened by Mr. Haass’s approach, though he arrived at his conclusion the world would miss an absent US in a somewhat fanciful and circuitous route.

We still need to be aware every time we read a Project Syndicate article just what Soros is selling us. There is a serious disconnect with the good the US does, and the outright evil inherent in strategies employed by Russia and China.

 

 

A Father’s Day Tale For my father, the wizard of conundrums: The Conundrum

 

The man sat before the gate. He had been there a long, long time, waiting for it to open. He had knocked, he had banged, he had called out, he had waved (to no one, for no one was there, as far as he could see) and he had tried to climb over (impossible, alas, as the gate was so high, the top could not be seen). The man sat down on the ground near the gate and sighed, tired and frustrated. He cursed the gate, and threw his shoe at it. There was no sound, just the continuing wind, at times whistling through the gate.

Beyond the gate, he could see trees, and lakes, birds flying gracefully, frolicking in the water, lazy clouds drifting in a perfectly azure sky, and a huge sun floating in the sky like an orange balloon. The man looked around him. The ground was rocky, the grass coarse and brown, the trees burnt and gnarled. The sky was a continual ominous gray, thunder rumbling constantly, the wind chilly and penetrating. The man turned his collar up against the elements, and banged with his shoe against the gate once more, calling loudly. “Will someone open this damn gate?!!”  No response just made his blood boil all the more. He sat again, and buried his face in his hands.

After some time, the man heard the rustling of rocks, and looking up, noticed a figure walking towards him from behind the gnarled trees, along the rocky path, picking his way carefully among the stones and harsh grass. He was obviously cold, his clothes fairly wet. As he approached the man at the gate, the stranger smiled.

“Hello. Didn’t expect to find anyone here,” the stranger said.

“Where’d you come from?” the man said.

“Over the hill. Seems like I’ve been walking for days, or months, don’t know really. Just found myself here. Nasty rain back there. I’m afraid we’re in for a real storm pretty soon. Damn cold. Goes right through you.”

“It’s not so bad over there,” the man said, pointing to the other side of the fence.

“So it is,” said the stranger, “so it is.”  He walked toward the gate and peered through the shiny, golden bars towards the other side. “Seems like it’s a different world over there, really. Damn nice gate, this is too.”

“Damn annoying gate, if you ask me,” the man said. “Can’t get it open. Nothing will. We’re stuck here, that’s what.”

“Well, I can’t believe there isn’t a way over there. There must be. Have you looked around?  Thought of anything?”

“Well, I’ve hung around this gate for it seems like eons already. Doesn’t budge, not one bit. No one around either.”

The stranger looked around. He could see the gate itself was quite high, so high he couldn’t see the top. He stood back and just looked straight up. “Fascinating isn’t it? Who could’ve built such a marvelous gate?”

“Marvelous?  I wouldn’t call it that. So marvelous no one can get in. How marvelous is that?”  The man made a rude noise at the gate.

“Well, I suppose that’s its purpose, of course – to keep people out. So, from that standpoint, it is marvelous, isn’t it?  So high and mighty, no one could even dream about climbing over or breaking in through this gate.”

“Well, I’m glad you’re so interested in praising the thing that is standing between you and what looks like a very pleasant other side!”

“Yes, well, I’m just admiring someone’s handiwork. But, I suppose someone who had the talent to build this amazing obstacle, must have designed a way for people he’d want to get in to pass through.”

“Why would you say that?  Maybe the purpose of this damn gate in the first place is to just keep everyone out, period!!”

“Well, certainly could be true. But, I still think there’s an answer here, if only we were to look for it.”

The man looked at the stranger. “Well, suit yourself. I’m not wasting my time trying to figure out how to get past that gate. I’ll just keep pounding on it with my shoe until someone answers the damn thing!”

The stranger looked at the man, and shook his head. “Well, I’m going to give it a try.” He turned and walked away, down along the fence that led away from the gate towards their right. The fence extended to the horizon, seemingly for endless miles, until it faded into the distance, merely a faint line. Soon, the stranger came to a part of the fence that appeared a little different. The fence there seemed to dip a little bit, and wasn’t as high, though it was too high to climb. But there was some artwork near the top, and some vines creeping down the fence at that point.

The artwork was too high up to see, but he could faintly make out words – some kind of inscription. He looked at the vines, and put his foot on one to test whether it would support his weight. It did, easily. He began to climb towards the top of the fence so he could see the writing there. As he climbed, he noticed that as high as he climbed, he came no nearer to the top. It seemed to loom high above him as far away as when he was on the ground. The vines did not go all the way up, and he saw as he went up that he could not climb over the fence here. Still, the stranger wanted to know what the writing said. As he rose high above the ground, the stranger felt close enough to the artwork to now see it more clearly. Towards the top of the fence, which bore pointed spears sharp enough to thread a needle, there was a white marble sign, carved in intricate script, the letters virtually etched into a floral design of incredible beauty. Two exquisite white unicorns held the sign aloft on either side. He stopped climbing and read it.

“To All Who May Come This Way – Curiosity and the Quest for Knowledge May Be Your Guide. While Others May Not See What Hidden Value Lies Within A Conundrum’s Supple Walls, You Need Only Inquire, and an Answer May Appear”.

The man thought to himself, what a curious message to carve into artwork truly too high up to see from the ground below. He looked down, and realized he was quite high up. He looked around to see if there was any other writing, and finding none, he quickly descended to the ground. He thought about the message, and searched his mind for what the clues hidden there might mean. Something about the sign seemed familiar to him. He turned back to the way he had come, and retraced his steps to the massive gate. When he arrived there, he found the man asleep near a pillar of the gate.

The stranger stood back and looked at the gate again, trying to see if there was any message engraved in it. The gate bore only the shiny golden finish, and some very beautiful etched carvings. He searched each bar, each cross strut, and the ground around the gate. No solution suggested itself. He began to think of other possibilities. He stood back and looked at the fence, and then at the pillars themselves, massive stone columns.

It was then he noticed for the first time that the pillars had shape to them. He stepped back a bit more, and saw that each was the massive leg of an even more massive unicorn, partly etched, partly in bas-relief across the gate, and along the fence. The stranger walked slowly towards the gate, glancing at the pillars, up and down, bringing his face close to first one, then the other. He stood considering them. Then, abruptly, his face twisted, his eye twitching into a wink, as he had a sudden realization.

He laughed to himself, and then walked to the left column, and ran his hand along the smooth surface feeling the minute indentations. His fingers traced along an intricate design, and came to rest just at the juncture of what appeared to be the etching of two small unicorns. First he stroked the etching, and when nothing happened, he pushed it.

A voice cascaded from the direction of the gate, though no one was there.

“May I help you?” the voice intoned.

“May I come through?” the stranger asked.

“Certainly,” the voice replied, and the gate swung open. The stranger strode through the gate, and it closed behind him. He smelled the freshness of the air, and felt the sunlight on his skin, which was already losing its chill. He followed a marble path towards a hillside, and found himself standing in the center of a great hallway. A tall man with a white robe stood against a unicorn statue.

“Any questions?” the tall man asked.

“Many,” the stranger replied, “and none,” he finished. The tall man smiled.

“Your favorites were Sunday Times?” the tall man asked.

“Definitely, but the London Sunday Times were the hardest” he replied, not sure why he understood so clearly. “This one was particularly interesting.”

“It is the inquiring mind which brought you through” the tall man said. “You were trained to think creatively, look for solutions, not pine about obstacles. This was just another great puzzle for you.”

The stranger paused, thinking. “Why hasn’t that poor man outside come through?” the stranger said.

“Oh, him. He’s been there for ages. Just keeps banging that damn shoe on the gate.”

The stranger shuddered. It was so simple, and yet so powerful. He looked at the azure sky, and the perfect, blue sea. Behind him, back through the gate, crawled the mist and fog, the thunder and storms. He glanced at the man curled against the column, huddled and shivering, and turned back to the birds and butterflies frolicking along the green arbor, and walked on.

The man sat before the gate. He had been there a long, long time, waiting for it to open. He had knocked, he had banged, he had called out, he had waved and he had tried to climb over. The man sat down on the ground near the gate and sighed, tired and frustrated. He cursed the gate, and threw his shoe at it. There was no sound, just the continuing wind, at times whistling through the gate.

Despising the Chinese Communist Party and supporting Taiwan independence doesn’t bar affinity for the Chinese people

An editorial in the Taipei Times (“China to blame for cross-strait divide” June 13, 2017, Page 8) discusses recent comments made by Southern Taiwan’s Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) regarding his affinity for China, though it is widely known he supports Taiwan independence.  Taiwan’s Chinese Nationalist Party’s (“KMT”) inability to understand Mayor Lai’s comments, and the responses by KMT adherents and Ma’s acolytes proves the KMT is bereft of any sense any longer about the differences between China and Taiwan, or of the relationship between the two. Former President Ma Pantu (Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九)) for so long had his head inside China’s buttocks that he could no longer see Taiwan, and the KMT followed him in there, and has been rotting inside for years now. Former KMT Chairwoman Hung opened an office in there, and considers herself a KMT Chinese.

The trouble with the KMT, since it first invaded Taiwan, raped, pillaged and occupied it, is that it never left China, and never allowed any space in its heart for Taiwan, which it considered at best a temporary parking place to be left behind when it gained back its rule over China.

Taiwanese are not Chinese citizens. The KMT, like China, believes all people of Chinese race are citizens of China, which is completely wrong. People have traveled the earth for thousands of years, and have become citizens of the places they now inhabit, not just people of Chinese descent, but of all races. Communist China is too weak to understand or accept this. Race has been diluted a thousand thousand times throughout history in many cases by having mingled for thousands of years among the peoples of the world.

In my posts the past fifteen years I have made it clear I harbor no ill feelings towards the people of China, I respect their long history, and sympathize with their downtrodden plight, even if they do not understand the depths of iniquity to which the Communist Party have dragged them, through no fault of their own. That I despise the government over which they have no control has nothing to do with them.

It is reasonable for someone who supports Taiwan independence to speak of affinity for China. We would all love to see a world where neighbors work together for a better world, not where one huge neighbor seeks to convert all who fall under its spell to its evil brand of tyranny. The KMT cannot see this, it can only see its lost seat at the head of a long gone imperial table. It is blinded by greed, avarice, racism and corruption, and it is not fit to rule (just like the CCP is not fit to rule).

This attack on Lai by the KMT is not only unbecoming, it shows the KMT’s complete disconnect between being Taiwanese and having a relationship with China. I sympathize with the KMT minions, trying to judge the weather outside while having been locked inside the buttocks of a giant troll. I’m sure most Taiwanese agree with me on this.

“Terrorism blowback” is just a convenient excuse – the causes and the solution come from within Islam only

I ran across Professor Brahma Chellaney’s article on the Strategist website entitled “How to stop terrorism in Europe” from September 2016. When I read his article published here today (Taipei Times, June 10, 2017, P. 9), I thought of the two articles together, and thought I would address Professor Chellaney’s propositions, which while detailed are simplistic.

 First, one proposition in the former article caught my attention. Professor Chellaney says: “The problem is not Islam, as many populists claim…. Today, that threat results from radical Islamism—a fundamentalist vision of society reordered according to Sharia law.” I can agree with this, for the most part.

 Going further, Professor Chellaney would seem to agree with one of the principal tenets of the Trump administration: “Beyond enduring untold suffering and violence, many of today’s refugees, from war-torn countries … have imbibed radical Islamist ideology and, specifically, calls to jihad. Some might be Islamic State fighters who have disguised themselves as asylum-seekers, in order to carry out terrorist attacks in Europe. US intelligence officials have repeatedly warned of this possibility.”

 The solution? Well, Professor Chellaney says “To many in Europe, these factors suggest that the key to keeping Europe safe is controlling the flow of refugees, including through improved vetting procedures.” But he rightfully observes that “…not even constructing a Fortress Europe would eliminate the terrorist threat. After all, some attacks, including in Brussels and Paris, have been carried out by Muslim European citizens who became radicalized in their own bedrooms.”

 And thus the simplistic answer: “The only way to address the threat of terrorism effectively is to tackle the radical Islamist ideology that underpins it.” Easier said than done, but there is something in there that Professor Chellaney overlooks that is absolutely correct. Professor Chellaney focuses on Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and then suggests launching an information campaign to discredit the ideology, and then compares this to the success the West achieved against communism.

While there is something that seems correct about this (ignoring the vast distinction between Communism and deeply rooted religion), there is still one determinative thing that is missing.

Professor Chellaney rather simplistically concludes “To take down the terrorists requires delegitimizing the belief system that justifies their actions.” This is completely accurate. As if the West can do anything to discredit this extreme form of Islam (especially when the far left cannot even bring themselves to say the words “Islam” and “terrorism” in the same sentence).

 No, the point missing is this. Discrediting radical Islamist ideology is the only solution, and that must come from inside Islam itself, not from the West. Until Muslim leaders around the world stand up against radical Islam, there can be no solution. Until there are speeches and fatwahs by these leaders against terrorism, there can be no solutions that do not involve war and fighting and many innocent deaths. Until the ideology underpinning the ISIS rise is demonized from within Islam itself there will continue to be a long line of those willing to kill brutally in its name.

There are valuable insights in Professor Chellaney’s earlier article, but only half a solution, somewhat timidly presented, avoiding the real issue, can Islam learn to police itself and rid itself of this extremism? We have no business bringing down this hateful violent ideology from the outside. Islam must cleanse itself of this cancer.

 The article today “The age of blowback terror from Western interventionism” is just another Project Syndicate anti-America anti-West piece (from deep within George Soros’ viewpoint, I suppose). I bridle at the notion that liberal thinkers love to blame liberal Western democracies for the ills in the Middle-east, ignoring the fact that those conflicts actually predate the United States by at least 500 years. The Iraq war did not cause terrorism, it resulted from terrorism. Saddam, Ghadaffy, these men were brutal dictators who murdered hundreds of thousands of their own people.  To weep on one hand when we do not give aid to the Castros’ Cuba, which also has murdered many of its people, but decry helping the people of Iraq and Libya throw off the shackles of madmen is hypocritical, at best.

 It is true however that Iraq spawned ISIS, when President Obama ran away. Had he not, it is doubtful ISIS would have sprung from Al-Qaeda in Iraq, or at least there would have been a greater chance to contain it.

 “Blame America” is Project Syndicate’s favorite mantra. However, I am perplexed by Professor Chellaney’s final thought: “As the US and its allies continue to face terrorist blowback, it is hoped that Trump comes to his senses, and helps to turn the seemingly interminable War on Terror that Bush launched in 2001 into a battle that can actually be won.”

 Is he referring to the ideological battle to kill the underpinnings of radical Islam, or something on the battlefield, or both? As I said before, the ideological battle must take place within the confines of Islam itself. The Muslim world must decide for itself whether it wants war or peace. Trump went directly to Saudi Arabia and began the dialogue to face this threat to peace. What follows remains to be seen.

 Golda Meir said it best so very long ago (60 years ago?), that “we won’t have peace until the Arabs love their children more than they hate us.”  It still seems true today.

Don’t believe everything you read in Project Syndicate articles, particularly those regarding China.  I do thank Professor Chellaney for his two articles which provided the very thoughtful and detailed discussion which invited my comments here today. I can always appreciate an erudite argument from which to form an opinion.