The Taiwan Election

I think I mentioned in passing last week that Taiwan was coming up on an important election. They had it last Saturday and re-elected President Tsai Ing-wen. A massive landslide actually with 58% of the vote. Bryan Preston at PJ Media has the story.

President Tsai campaigned on taking a hard line against the mainland and in favor of independence. Today she wasted no time in sending another strong signal that Taiwan is not interested in adopting the “one country, two systems” Beijing insists on. Tsai met with the head of the American Institute in Taiwan today.

Fresh from a landslide re-election victory, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met Sunday with the de facto U.S. ambassador to Taipei.

William Brent Christensen, a U.S. diplomat who is director of the American Institute in Taiwan, congratulated Tsai on her victory in Saturday’s election, and she thanked him for his support.

The meeting came as China warned that countries should stick with recognizing communist-ruled Beijing as the rightful government of “one China,” including Taiwan.

This follows a strong statement of support from the Trump administration.

Meanwhile, observers from Hong Kong were on hand to witness Taiwan’s vote.

At a raucous election rally for Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen, Hong Konger Karen Leung surveyed the huge crowd of excited flag-waving voters as a rap song blasted over the loudspeakers and sighed: “We want to have elections like this.”

Leung is one of scores of Hong Kong election tourists who have travelled to Taiwan this week to witness something denied to them – universal suffrage.

The entire Hong Kong Free Press story linked above is worth reading, [here] to get a sense of how Taiwan and Hong Kong now see each other. Hong Kongers recognize Taiwan’s long fight for independence and now democracy. Taiwan recognizes and is supplying Hong Kong as an ally, with gas masks, de facto asylum, and other support.

When Tsai appeared at a Thursday night rally, the crowd shouted the popular protest chant: “Free Hong Kong, revolution of our times.”

Hong Kong and Taiwan are separated by about 700 miles of water and together add up to about 30 million people. Up against mainland China’s billion, they would seem to have no chance. But Hong Kong’s potential impact on mainland China makes it the most important city on earth at the moment. China has not cracked down hard on the pro-democracy protesters, because it knows how much it stands to lose. At the same time, allowing Hong Kong to go its own way encourages Taiwan, and dissidents and anti-communists within mainland China itself, particularly Hong Kong’s neighboring province, Guangdong. China could lose no matter what it chooses. Hong Kong could break the last large communist empire. They know it, Taiwan knows it, and Beijing knows it.

And again we see the appeal of liberty, to those under the gun, Taiwan has been since 1949, and Hong Kong since 1997. We watched last year as the Hongkongers started with the old Hong Kong Colonial Flag and the Union Flag, and then borrowed the Stars and Stripes. I can’t say about you but I was moved. For all our problems, we remain the last best hope for liberty in this world, as we have been for centuries. And note that President Ing-wen was also quick to thank us for supporting her.

Not since the fall of the wall have so many clamored so loudly for freedom, not the artificial freedom that entities like the EU offer such as freedom from want, but real freedom to think and to say what one believes, you know American style freedom built on God-given rights.

This is what happens when America leads, people are empowered to seek their own freedom. We are seeing it in Europe, we are seeing it in Iran, and we are seeing it in Asia. Some call it the Trump Effect, and in truth, he is a focal point for it, as our president. But truly it is America and our history that produces this effect. The beacon fire in the city on the hill still burns brightly. May we keep it so.

Looking Back; Looking Forward

So, We made it. Happy New Year! That may be overoptimistic, but maybe not if we keep our eye on the ball, and attempt to do what’s right. I think we’ll start the year with some videos, some looking back in gratitude, and some looking forward in anticipation.

Seventy-Five years ago the Anglophone countries were liberating the world. Fifty years from now, they will still be the guardians of freedom.

Back first, from those great veterans at Black Rifle Coffee.

And

And one more

Isn’t it nice to see a company doing something like this, rather than the crap we’ve become used to!

And then there is the future, with the proper perspective reaching back to Nelson, Drake, and beyond.

Well, sailors will be sailors, I’ve seen ours behave far worse.

And now, Back to work…

A glitch, overcome, and on to New York, once the scene of the second largest British amphibious assault, now a very friendly city, and a chance to show how soft power follows the flag.

 

Hms Queen Elizabeth and soon after that HMS Prince of Wales will form the heart of two Carrier Battle Groups almost as strong as those built around our CVN’s This is a huge move back into power projection for the British. As you saw a bit of in the videos, they have had the cooperation of the USN, but it goes much further. Capt Jerry Kid, RN commanding HMS Queen Elizabeth was also the last commanding officer of HMS Ark Royal when she launched the last Harrier at sea, eight years ago, just before being decommissioned.

Eight years is a lifetime for the knowledge needed to operate a carrier, let alone a CBG. The USN has worked very hard to keep the ability current in the RN, to the point of embedding key personnel directly into USN squadrons.

Obviously, there are advantages to the US in the re-development of the strike carrier in our closest ally’s navy. But it is inconceivable that we would have done this with anybody but the British.

Our trust extends to the point that on occasion entire USMC squadrons are planned to be assigned to these ships, under British command, something we have never done.

Brittania may no longer rule all the waves, but she will where the Queen Elizabeth class is on-site. And that is an excellent thing for the free peoples of the world.

A queen in New York

 

Anglo-American Duopoly

This is in large measure a follow on to yesterday’s post, Anglo Saxon Resurgence, although it can stand on its own, they should be taken together.

Fritz Pettyjohn writing in American Thinker notes that for at least 28 years the American people have allowed ourselves to be played for suckers. Few of us minded the self-sacrifice while the Soviet Union’s baleful gaze overlooked Europe, but why now.

Globalization was the path to world peace, according to deep thinkers like the Bushes, the Clintons, and Obama. The welfare of the American worker was sacrificed for this higher cause.

The election of Donald Trump changed all that. The global project was out, and America First was in. The world took notice, quickly.

Have you noticed what happened? Trade deals with South Korea, USMCA, Japan, and even talks with China making some progress, as China realizes that Russia is pretty much an NPC in this world.

This is what happens when America fights its corner. I’d posit that the only reason we haven’t left the middle east completely is that Israel is an ally under siege, and we will stand with them. Other than that, it is pretty irrelevant. Remember when Columbus started out back in 1492, he was looking for a route to China that didn’t go through the middle east. Now, thanks to the US Navy, with a little help from American innovation and railroads it exists.

But the changes aren’t over.

With the election of Boris Johnson in the U.K., the tight circle of America’s closest allies will soon be complete. The upcoming trade deal with the United States is Britain’s best, and only, hope for better economic times. The transition will be painful for some sectors of the British economy. But the Brits have no better alternative. They have a special relationship with us, and we’ll give them the best terms we can, consistent with our own interests. They bring things to the table that no one else can — like a navy with two powerful supercarriers.

Add in Australia and New Zealand, and all the maritime nations of the world are comfortably under the American umbrella. Central and South America are included as well, as junior partners. India is a friendly affiliate, along with most of southeast Asia. The Dutch and the Danes will partner up in due time.

This is hard for the British, and we should not belabor the point. Brandon J. Weichert in American Greatness notes that…

Once the British Empire was no more, London was faced with the prospect of being a shrimp among whales. Caught in the dicey interplay between their American allies and their Soviet rivals, London could only attach itself—begrudgingly—to American power. And as that exchange between the British and American admirals showed, there was great humiliation involved for the British, as they not only endured the loss of their hard-won global empire, but also the rise of their former American colonies.

In the EU’s Totalitarian Vice-Grip

Recognizing the truth that a Britain without its empire would forever be consigned to a second-tier status, London hitched its political wagon to the European Union. British policymakers hoped that their involvement in the EU would give Britain the sort of expanded geopolitical influence that it had long enjoyed during its imperial heyday (without relying too much on their American cousins).

By 2015, it was clear that the theory was not working in practice. London had not enhanced its own power or status by joining the EU. Instead, it had hastened its relative decline by subordinating British national sovereignty to the supranational government in Brussels (and to the real power behind the EU, located in Berlin). […]

During the Cold War, British leaders feared that they would witness their nation go from being the head of a globe-spanning empire to being merely an American vassal state (a sort of reverse colony). That wound to pride was nothing, however, compared to the alternative they embraced. Because, unlike Brussels or Berlin, Washington did not and does not desire to override the sovereignty of Britain or the British people.

In short, they chose wrong, but I think we can all understand. The Monroe Doctrine, the very first American foreign policy statement, back in 1823 came about as we know it because the American government did want to appear “as a cock boat in the wake of the British Man-of-War.” Throughout the 19th century, it was enforced by the Royal Navy. Pride matters.

The creation of an Anglo-American duopoly not only would preserve the balance of international power in America’s favor, but it would save British power from being permanently marginalized.

Already, the Royal Navy is in the midst of a massive revitalization campaign. They’ve built two new aircraft supercarriers. More importantly, they’ve designed these behemoths to be integrated in the U.S. Navy’s fleet of supercarrier battle groups. In fact, Britain’s first supercarrier is leading the charge and securing the newly contested Arctic battleground from the Russians.

Meanwhile, the Trump Administration stands ready to enact a new free trade agreement with London that would secure relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom—while ensuring that London’s break with Brussels would be meaningful and real and not at all damaging to Britain.

The EU senses the inherent threat that such an Anglo-American marriage poses to the longevity of its sclerotic superstate. This is why the Eurocrats have refused to negotiate in good faith with the British government over an orderly exit.

Unless I miss my guess, once again the Anglo Saxons, for the third time in a century (roughly), are going to free Europe from German domination, this time without a shot fired.

Sir Walter Raliegh, back at the dawn of the British Empire, only a few years after the original Brexit by Henry VIII, and the modern world it created said it all really:

“Whoever commands the sea, commands the trade; whosoever commands the trade of the world commands the riches of the world, and consequently the world itself.”

The nineteenth century was mostly peaceful because of the Pax Britannica.

The last half of the twentieth century was mostly peaceful because of the Pax Americana.

The twenty-first century may well be the Anglo American Century, and even more peaceful, as we reset the Westphalian system.

Anglo Saxon Resurgence

Conrad Black wrote in American Greatness last Monday about how after the British elections, we, working together, have a great opportunity to make the Anglosphere great again. Let’s look at it.

The greatest significance in last week’s decisive and seminal British election is the victory it contains for the solidarity of the English-speaking peoples and the strength, coherence, and legitimacy of what Europeans frequently refer to as the Anglo-Saxons. […]

But the substantial detachment of the United Kingdom from an integrated Europe so it may retain the primacy of the political institutions and the legal system it has developed over many centuries, and align itself, implicitly, more closely to its senior Commonwealth associates, Canada and Australia, as well as to its sometime senior partner in the modern world’s greatest crises, the United States, is a geostrategic development of the first importance.

He goes on to compare it with Bismarck’s unification of Germany after the Franco-Prussian War into the most powerful land power in Europe. It’s an apt comparison, and it is also the last time Germany acted in a responsible manner, falling under the spells of Wilhelm II and then Hitler. It had a resurgence as West Germany but essentially has booted it since reunification. Leading to the ramshackle, crumbling EU.

It’s true enough that the US has often encouraged a somewhat loose trade union in Europe, but I don’t think any of us (other than perhaps the left) had the totalitarian empire that we see rising in Europe in mind. In fact, Nixon, Reagan, and Trump have all had (or have) reservations.

The United States, the UK, Canada, and Australia together have a GDP twice as great as China’s and 150 percent of the ramshackle post-British Europe. They are no longer losing economic ground to China. None of the Anglo-Saxon countries has to unwind absurd socialist overindulgence amidst endless strikes and minor mob violence as France is trying to do. As a bloc, it has good economic growth rates and thanks to the Americans, (but the British are pulling their weight), it is armed to the teeth.

In a word, the hackneyed nonsense of recent decades about the post-Reagan-Thatcher decline of the Anglo-Saxons—beloved of the Chinese, French, Russians, Arabs, and Iranians—is shown, yet again in modern history to be bunk. Three of the G-7 are now floating together and the EU has suffered a loss as great as the loss of all the Pacific Coast states would be to America.

One of the things that have fascinated me, as I’ve spoken with Americans and our cousins over the last few years is how we have motivated each other. We cheered on Brexit, seeing in it much the same conflict as led to our revolution. Then we took heart from that victory, and that has something to do with Trump’s victory. And then Trump had some influence last week on Johnson’s victory. Yes, the urban elites hate Trump in England just as they do here, but talk to the British equivalent of the Deplorables and you’ll hear a different story.

The reason goes back to something that David Starkey covers in the video below. The corporatist elite, including the civil servants, are definitionally the anywheres, as are the clients, on benefits, while the workers are somewheres, proud of our countries and our history. And yes, I used the singular history, American history is after all English history until   1776 and right on down to the present they have almost always been intertwined.

Like the dire threats of economic calamity with a Trump victory, Project Fear, a farrago of blood-curdling Jeremiads from treasury and central bank officials about post-Brexit gloom, will prove to be just hot air. As in Elizabethan times (16th-17th centuries), under Walpole and Pitt (18th century) and under Palmerston and Disraeli (19th century), Britain has again chosen immersion in blue water rather than Europe. They are right again and the United States will benefit from it.

Yep. And here is David Starkey giving a very clear explanation

And here is the question and answer session after his lecture, which is outstanding

On his first meeting with a British leader, Theresa May, President Trump said, “a strong and independent Britain is a treasure to the world.” The times and personalities are vastly different but the geopolitical realities are not so much changed: Trump and Johnson should get on as well and benignly as did Roosevelt and Churchill and Reagan and Thatcher.

My World

From Timothy P. Carney in the Washington Examiner, of all places.

IMOGENE, Iowa —

The whole town has only two institutions, really: a Catholic Church and an Irish pub.

In fact, it’s a bit misleading to say Imogene has St. Patrick’s and Emerald Isle. Imogene is the church and the pub.

If you picture a country church in a 30-person town, hidden in the remotest corner of Iowa, you might picture a modest, decaying building. Conversely, if you know the history of Catholic immigrants to the Midwest in the 19th century, you might expect an impressive crumbling structure that faintly gives off the echoes of faded glory.

So you would never expect St. Patrick’s.

The brick Gothic church standing atop Imogene might be the most beautiful country church in America. The three impressive front doors, flanked by two towers, are capped by the pointed arches typical of the Gothic revival period. Walk through the doors, and you’ll be stunned. Intricate stained-glass windows ring the church and fill it with delightful light. The oaken hammer-beam ceiling, like everything in this church, points worshipers’ eyes toward heaven. […]

It was a good metaphor for my trip to Imogene. I came to Fremont County expecting to write a very different story. Fremont has one of the very worst rates of opioid overdoses in the country. It has no major cities. The factories and schools are closing down. Its population is shrinking.

I came here to write about a community that is falling apart. Instead, I found a community that is constantly coming together. In the heartland, small-town America is fighting for its life.

How did a church as magnificent as St. Patrick’s end up here? It started with a fire in 1915 that destroyed the old church. Father Edmund Hayes, the pastor for 40 years, was from a wealthy family, and he decided to spend his money on building the best church in Iowa. […]

Emerald Isle is another such structure. After the church and the grain elevators just across Railroad Avenue, the bar is the largest structure in town. It’s spacious enough inside that one extended family, which had a member deploying in the military, hosted an early Thanksgiving there in mid-November.

Of course, the town’s population of 30 — and shrinking — doesn’t provide the bodies for Mass, parish breakfast, or happy hour. “It’s the outlying area that supports the parish,” explained Jake McCargill, who was raised here. People come to Imogene from the farm fields of Fremont and Page Counties.

This is the world I’ve spent my life in, small rural farming communities in the middle of America, and like Imogene, my world is dying. But it’s not going quiet in the night, it’s still raging against the light. And Timothy nails it here, there are two essentials: one or more churches, and a bar or cafe (sometimes combined). Lose either one and the community is doomed. I know one town in Northern Minnesota that when the cafe owner died, formed a coop to keep it open – it’s that important. I know Catholics that attend Methodist services, and Lutherans who attend Catholic services because that’s what available. It’s key.

My wedding reception was in a bar like The Emerald Isle. It was pretty simple, I hired a DJ, found some local church ladies to cater some munchies, and gave the owner $100 for a free bar, and told him to let me know if he needed more, everybody welcome, and everybody came, some who could afford it paid, some who couldn’t, didn’t. I didn’t check because I didn’t care, they were (and are) my friends.

The cooperation happens on an everyday level. Terry Owens, who grew up here and moved back after getting married, lives it. Terry heats his home with both wood and costly propane. A neighbor has a copse of trees next to Terry’s property that provides plenty of deadfall. The neighbor has long let Terry get his firewood there for free.

After about three or four years of this, Terry noticed the neighbor had tall grass that needed mowing. Terry started mowing the half acre for free. As he sees it, there’s no explicit barter here. His neighbor gives what Terry needs, and Terry gives what his neighbor needs. “You don’t even think about it. You just do it,” as Terry’s wife Deborah put it.

Late on Sunday afternoon, two farmers named Short and Roger showed up at Emerald Isle with their colleague Blake. Short and Roger were celebrating, as they had just finished their harvest.

They started bragging to me about the town and the farmers of the surrounding area. They began a story about a local farmer who died suddenly in one recent year when his crops were in the field. Soon, half the bar was telling the story, in tag-team. Come harvest time, 12 combines and a few semitrucks showed up to harvest the field for the farmer’s widow and children — for free.

That’s about $12 million dollars worth of equipment, and it’s owners – working for free. I’d have been shocked if they hadn’t done it. It’s what we’ve always done, ever since our predecessors crossed the Alleghenies and held barn raisings. It’s the American way. for almost everything, right on down to the fire department. Fix it, make it work, or do without. It’s what de Tocqueville saw in us all those long years ago, and it’s still in us. But we’re losing.

The cause is deeper, but it’s not complicated. “It’s as simple as this,” Kevin Olson said from behind the bar: “Farm families used to have 10 kids, and now, they don’t.”

But it’s not just smaller families. It’s also bigger farms.

“It used to be,” Jerry explained, “they farmed their … 300 acres, and they raised 6, 7, 8, 10 kids. Now, on farms 3, 4, 5 times that size, they raise one or two kids.”

Jerry is the only one of Margaret’s 10 children still farming. Emily, the bartender on Sunday night, told me that almost all of her high school friends have left.

The result, as Jake McGargill put it, is “fewer and fewer farmers, and fewer and fewer families to support churches and schools and businesses.”

We can’t just blame birth control. This area’s decline started about a 100 years ago. The culprit may be efficiency, specifically the efficiency of the modern farm.

“You’ve got better genetics on the seeds,” Roger explained. “You’ve got fantastic technology on the equipment. And so you don’t need as many people.”

“This combine I’m running,” Short told me, “has four monitors in it.” The combine measures the yield for the year and will use that data to automatically modify the planting for next year, and in turn, the fertilizer use, and so on. Also, farms are reducing erosion. “We’ve gone from 100-bushel corn [per acre] to 250-bushel corn because we’re saving our soil,” Short said.

The technological advances make every acre of farmland more valuable. As a result, farmers have every incentive to sell. “Farmland is worth a lot of money,” Jerry said. “More than you can make off of it.” […]

In most rural towns, this would be an absurd hope. Why would anyone stick around? But in Imogene, the reasons to stick around are plenty. You stick around for the wings and the tenderloin. You stick around for Marleen’s pies. You stick around for the revelry at the pub. You stick around for the marble altars, and you stick around for the community where people live out the commandments to love God and love their neighbor.

We’re stubborn opinionated people, and maybe enough of us will stick it out, and our culture will survive, but some days I doubt it.

But don’t bet against us!

 

 

The Immortal Memory

The Battle of Trafalgar by J. M. W. Turner (oi...

Image via Wikipedia

If you wish to accuse me of being a bit tardy, I will accede. This perennial post of mine, most years since the very first, should have been yesterday’s post. I simply forgot. So unlike in naval combat, in blogging late is better than never.


If you remember, I referred a while back to President Jefferson’s open letter regarding the return of Louisiana to France from Spain, where he commented that “on that day we shall have to marry ourselves to the British fleet and people”, and later commented “that from that day forward France shall end at her low water mark”. This is the day that France (and Spain) would forever lose control of the sea to Great Britain.

Today is the anniversary of a battle to rank with Salamis, with Waterloo, and with Yorktown. For today the English speaking peoples with their concepts of individual liberty and rights took control of the sea.

That battle is Trafalgar. The battle was fought off of the south-west coast of Spain between the British Squadron with 27 Ships-of-the-Line and the combined French and Spanish fleets with 33.

The Franco-Spanish fleet was under orders to sail for Brest to help accomplish the invasion of England, which was, by far, Napoleon’s most steadfast enemy.

Remember these were sailing ships, completely dependent on the wind. and at Trafalgar, there was very little. The French and especially the Spanish were short-handed and had to fill their ship’s companies with soldiers. The British on the other hand had been blockading the coast for years and had been drilled mercilessly. Their commander, himself, had not been off the flagship for more than two years.

Alfred Thayer Mahan in his classic The Influence of Sea Power upon History puts it this way: “Those distant, storm-tossed ships, never seen by the Grande Armee, were all that stood between it and world domination.

And so today, in 1805, the battle was joined. The British had the weather gage and a very unusual plan. Because of the light wind, they would divide their battle line in two, with each squadron approaching the Franco-Spanish line at an acute angle. With a well-trained enemy, this would have been nearly suicidal but, under these conditions it allowed the British to engage the entire fleet and win the battle in a single day.

The British were under the command of a man who had had his introduction to naval war in the American Revolution, he fought in several minor battles off Toulon, was integral in the capture of Corsica, was captain of HMS Captain at the Battle of Cape St. Vincent. At the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, he lost his right arm, he won a decisive victory over the French at The Battle of the Nile and against the Danes at the Battle of Copenhagen.

At Trafalgar the British fleet went into battle with this signal flying from the flagship:

That flagship is, of course, the HMS Victory, which is now the oldest naval ship in regular commission in the world.


An aside, the second oldest, USS Constitution (and the oldest afloat) was launched on 21 October 1797. Over last weekend she sailed across Boston Harbor to Fort Independence on Castle Island where she fired a twenty-one gun salute, as she returned she also fired a salute at Coast Guard Sector Boston, the former Edmund Hartt’s Shipyard, where she was built. Here she is, afloat and underway

CASEY SCOULAR/U.S. NAVY


The Admiral in command is Horatio, Lord Nelson.

Or to give him his full name:

Admiral Lord Nelson

The Most Noble Lord Horatio Nelson, Viscount and Baron Nelson, of the Nile and of Burnham Thorpe in the County of Norfolk, Baron Nelson of the Nile and of Hilborough in the said County, Knight of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Vice Admiral of the White Squadron of the Fleet, Commander in Chief of his Majesty’s Ships and Vessels in the Mediterranean, Duke of Bronté in the Kingdom of Sicily, Knight Grand Cross of the Sicilian Order of St Ferdinand and of Merit, Member of the Ottoman Order of the Crescent, Knight Grand Commander of the Order of St Joachim

as it is inscribed on his coffin in St. Paul’s cathedral, for he was killed by a French marine during the battle.

The first tribute to Nelson was fittingly offered at sea by sailors of Vice-Admiral Dmitry Senyavin’s passing Russian squadron, which saluted on learning of the death.

King George III, upon receiving the news, is reported to have said, in tears, “We have lost more than we have won”.

And the Times reported:

We do not know whether we should mourn or rejoice. The country has gained the most splendid and decisive Victory that has ever graced the naval annals of England; but it has been dearly purchased.

For us, as Americans, much of the development of our country, the end of slavery, and the freedom of all American republics from, the Canadian Arctic to Tierra del Fuego owe their self-government to the victory by Lord Nelson and the continuing efforts throughout the nineteenth century of the Royal Navy.

Even today, we note that HMS Queen Elizabeth, the new British strike carrier is working up off the coast of North America, as she learns in cooperation with our navy, how to project force in the twenty-first century

And so tonight in the Royal Navy and the Commonwealth navies, and at least in some places in the United States Navy and even in other navies and places will be drunk the one naval toast that is drunk in total silence:

The Immortal Memory of Lord Nelson and those who fell with him”

The traditional music to follow the toast is: Rule Britannia.

 

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