Category Archives: China

Why Palau is at the center of the latest U.S.-China saber rattling

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Like most people, you probably missed the recent news that Palau has invited the United States to build a military base there.

Chances are you have no clue where Palau is, and you also likely have no clue why the announcement is news.

Here’s the simple answer: Palau has chosen to side with the U.S., and not China, as it seeks long term safety.

Mind you, neither the U.S. nor China has any designs on invading Palau; if either nation did, it would make mince meat of the land and its roughly 18,000 residents in mere hours. However, Washington and Beijing know Palau is one of the many island nations in the Pacific that could define the 21st century military relationship between the world’s two superpowers.

The U.S. eyes locations like Palau as opportunities to limit any hopes China might have of expanding its military reach. China sees islands like Palau as necessary to ensure something akin to parity with the U.S. in the region. Put more bluntly, Washington doesn’t trust Beijing, and Beijing doesn’t trust Washington; as a result, a military game of chess plays out in locations that are mere dots on a world map.

By itself, the decision by the Palau government means little. However, much like the game of dominoes, once one falls, the pressure increases on the others to withstand the tide working against it.

Where Trump blew it

In two weeks, Americans should make clear they want Joe Biden to be the next president of the United States. Of course, polling numbers can change, and we certainly know they can be wrong, but the lead that Biden has over Donald Trump continues.

If Biden wins, he’ll have pulled off a surprise: Incumbent presidents aren’t supposed to lose when Americans believe the economy is moving in the right direction. In 2020 they’re indicating they believe it is and voters also say Trump would be better than Biden at handling economic issues.

Despite that optimism, you can find plenty of voters who say they’re doing well financially, but they’re not interested in returning Trump to the White House. The Boston Globe reported one such story this week.

So, where did it go wrong for Trump? The reasons are obvious: his awful handling of the coronavirus pandemic; numerous suggestions he’s at best prejudiced and at worst racist; neutering America’s image around the world; picking losing battles with China on tariffs, and the list can go on from there.

An argument for a second Trump term is a difficult one to make, and such a case is built around a flimsy idea that Democrats are eager to create a socialist utopia in the United States.

Serious followers of politics know Biden is no socialist. Sure, in comparison to Trump’s agenda, Biden’s policies are progressive. However, whenever one leader takes the country as far off the rails as Trump has done, his successor must immediately steer toward something resembling normal.

That should be Biden’s task beginning on the afternoon of Jan. 20, 2021.

Report: Russia planned cyberattack on Tokyo Olympics

If the latest media reports are to be believed, the Russian government planned a major cyberattack against the Tokyo Olympics, which were to take place last summer before being postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The question of Russia and cyber attacks is no longer if the country engages in such activities but how often it can be blamed.

The narrative is now quite familiar: A U.S. government agency (often supported by another Western ally) accuses Russia of a cyberattack. Names of the accused, who almost always are men, often are provided. Russia quickly denies the accusation. This kabuki theater play ends with all parties knowing that no matter what did — or didn’t happen — the accused will never be arrested because they live in Russia.

Monday’s announcement came on the same day the U.S. indicted six Russians amid accusations they tried to disrupt the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. It coincided with Russia making its own claim of being hacked.

Keep in mind that the U.S. is not innocent; it, too, carries out cyberattacks against its enemies. Iran often is the target, but China also has been in the U.S. cyber crosshairs.

Cyberattacks happen every single day. That statement is not meant to defend or criticize the action; the reality is they happen. But we’d be naive to suggest that liking the attack is determined solely by whether friend or foe is responsible for it.