Trumpnomica or a correction.

Trumpnomica or a correction?

There are some scholars that hold that a “closed fist” or “open hand” are mitigating factors in discussions of analogies regarding globalization. The former requires logic; the latter requires rhetoric. Okay, so the reader can surmise that the closed fist resembles a conservative approach; an open hand, a liberal approach. Perhaps, that is overly simplistic, however for our purposes, and the current climate surrounding American tariffs on those nation-states that appears to be at a trade advantage with the United States, seems fair .1) Kornprobst, Markus. “Closed Fist, Empty Hand or Open Hand? Globalization and Historical Analogies”. Metaphors of Globalization. Palgrave MacMillan. 2008. 4 April 2018.

That the United States has a trade deficit with China that amounted to 275 billion should be of no surprise to anyone who has been listening to Donald John Trump during his campaign for President or as President of the United States that government was turning right and inward. Changes are afoot now as Trump calls the shots and  is picking his fights with gusto towards Canada, Mexico and China, in particular relating to money matters. The first bolt was shot out of Washington on January 17, 2017 when he signed the order to withdraw America from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement (China is not a signatory, at present.) So, is it a case of two global heavyweights going toe to toe with round – one starting with China’s ascent into the WTO  in 2001. Many may ask: how did American leaders stand by and watch the trade deficit with China grow from 6 Billion USD with China in 1985, according to the United Stated Census Bureau. To sort of top it all off, Bloomberg reported in January 2018 that China held approximately 1.2 Trillion USD in government bonds or debt. Now, history does show this trade deficit is not a partisan issue as America has pretty much divided it’s time in the Oval Office between Democrats and Republicans. The U.S. government’s thirst for debt has caught up with them and now Trump the business mogul is tabbed to put Humpty back together. Okay, so he has to look outside first to find ways to bring in a bigger paycheque for his supporters and the electorate. Protectionism or common sense? If you take over a money l0sing business then you have to make changes. And, The Donald knew what he was getting into so this mash job should come as no surprise. The result: America finds itself heading into a trade war with a major creditor and customer. Is this the ugly side of globalization? Yes, I think globalization has presented many opportunities to some folks and cheaper consumables. But, at the cost of manufacturing jobs seems fanciful because within those manufacturing walls, factories and offices exists professionals that sell, manage and innovate to grow their brand. That is the “fly in the ointment” of the pro globalization crusaders.

Since the WW II period, Western allies formed the Bretton Woods monetary system that linked their currencies to gold and fixed the return on their dollar. Russia attended those meetings but was not a signatory because they felt that it was an instrument of Wall Street. Mao hadn’t succeeded in conquering China until October 1, 1949 and had a GDP of $119.00 in 1952 and was not sophisticated economically to be in those discussions despite a population of 541, 670,000. 2) “Expansion”. 4 April 2018. <>. Economic expansion has risen dramatically since Deng began reforms in 1978 with a 2017 GDP of $8836.00. Comparatively, China has much growing to do economically. However, collectively with a 1.3 billion population, they rank 2nd globally in economic terms. Current modifications to China’s Constitution have given unlimited terms to President Xi with the goal of transforming China into a major global force. Militarily, China has expanded her sphere in the Spratley islands and South China Sea where a treasure trove of energy deposits lie and is the gateway for shipping that is considered extremely high traffic. The United Nations Conference onTrade estimates that traffic at 1/3 rd of global maritime shipping with a value of 3.37 trillion in 2017. “How much trade transits the South China Sea?” ChinaPower.CSIS: Centre for Strategic and International Studies. 4 April 2018. <>.

The Bretton Woods system was abandoned in August 1971 as the United States discontinued the convertibility of it’s currency to gold, allowing it to free-float prompting others such as England to allow the pound the same distinction. This was known as the “Nixon Shock” at the time. After the 2008 financial crisis, there were talks among leaders about reviving Bretton Woods to fix currencies, though the appetite was not strong enough for a switch back to a Bretton Woods system. With an absence of a multi-lateral tool for the developed economies to congregate to discuss economic issues, the G 7 was formed during 1975 and is vehicle for discussion on money matters. So goes trade organisations, so goes capitalism. And yes, socialist nation states have had multilateral channels for peace such as the Warsaw Pact, and recently, BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) provides members with economic compensation on an emergency basis. International trade organisations provide a guarantor for emergencies and the prospect for strengthening globalization. My concern for globalization is: are the goods getting through and when they are, why the high prices– see the Fair Trade produce that seems invisible on most shelves at the grocery store. The international community has a responsibility to help those nation states that are less advantageous. Yes! However, echoing Adam Smith for a moment…”It was not by gold or silver, but by labour, that all the wealth of the world was originally purchased.” America needs to create jobs to regain it’s footing. And, with Canada stockpiled with talent, we have to put it to work or risk losing that skilled labour. Looking at the China – U.S. model, a correction is overdue.



Dr. Sonny Lo comments on Beijing’s plans for coopting Taiwan.

On February 28, the Taiwan Office under China’s State Council published 31 new policies on Taiwan. These include preferential treatment for the island’s firms in investment, technological and cooperative ventures with mainland counterparts, and 19 items to help Taiwanese work, live, study, find jobs and initiate innovativestart-upson the mainland. Moreover, Taiwanese can take a variety of professional and technical exams, while the way has been smoothed for Taiwan’s movie industry to collaborate with its mainland counterpart, encouraging cultural exchanges.

First and foremost, President Xi Jinping, who honed his political skills from 1985 to 2002 in Fujian province – which faces Taiwan – is keen to deal with the Taiwan question in the coming years, especially as the constitutional revision to presidential term limits gives him more time to tackle this issue.

Second, the new policy package focuses on economic, cultural and educational realms, laying the foundations for dialogue between Beijing and Taipei on a new economic and cultural union in southern China. Given the mainland’s ongoing plans for the Greater Bay Area, Taiwan will be wooed to join this expanded initiative when the time is ripe.

In particular, if Beijing and Taipei hit a wall in negotiations over reunification, the thorny issue of politics is likely to be put to one side. Given Xi’s focus on realising the “Chinese dream” and a common destiny, the gesture to Taiwan is clear. In the coming years, once the time is right to resume dialogue – such as after a change of power in Taiwan or a dilution of the Democratic Progressive Party’s hardline stance towards Beijing – an economic and cultural union would become realistic.

Third, with Taiwan’s economy in decline, the island’s businesspeople and pragmatic citizens should become more receptive to these 31 policies. With such economic incentives, more Taiwanese voters are likely to choose a Kuomintang candidate in the 2020 presidential election. Until then, there will be more human and economic interactions between mainlanders and Taiwanese, bringing about a silent shift in the political orientation of Taiwanese voters.

Fourth, China’s united front work focusing on Taiwan’s right-leaning New Party and the KMT has increased. With KMT chairman Wu Den-yih due to visit the mainland later this month for Taiwan forum discussions, the timing of the roll-out of the 31 policies was clearly political. As such, Wu’s visit deserves close attention. If the KMT reacts positively, more voters are likely to favour a pragmatic policy towards the mainland, come December’s local elections, which could see the KMT making a comeback.

Fifth, Beijing’s Taiwan engagement policy has important implications for Hong Kong. Emphasising a united China and combating pro-independence sentiment in Taiwan, the mainland leadership naturally expects Hong Kong to toe the line, too. As such, under Xi, Hong Kong’s democratic movement will have to be more realistic than ever, understanding Beijing’s bottom line and adapting to the political climate on the mainland, especially as leaders expect the Hong Kong model of “one country, two systems” to operate smoothly, without no detrimental impact on Taiwan.

Sixth, the DPP government in Taiwan is under tremendous pressure to modify or abandon its hardline stance towards the mainland. Premier William Lai Ching-te was once regarded as a “soft-liner”, or dove, with a more positive attitude towards Beijing. If Lai remains pragmatic, his chances of succeeding the unpopular Tsai as the next DPP nominee in the 2020 election will gradually increase. All signs point to a possible shift to a more pragmatic approach in dealing with the mainland.

Finally, with the Hong Kong-Macau-Zhuhai bridge’s completion, infrastructure development in southern China will reach a new stage. With the implementation of China’s “Belt and Road Initiative”, new infrastructure projects may be considered in the coming years – possibly even a cross-strait tunnel and bridges linking Taiwan and the mainland. At the very least, if the Taiwan-controlled island of Quemoy, also known as Kinmen, is no longer a battleground, a much shorter bridge or tunnel could be a possibility, following the example of Hong Kong and Macau’s infrastructure integration with southern China.

This most significant engagement policy towards Taiwan – a political platform aimed at mainlanders, as well as those in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and overseas Chinese – was revealed just before the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. While the people of Taiwan have had a mixed response, change is likely to sweep gradually through the island over the coming years. The big question is when leaders from Beijing and Taipei side can meet, start a dialogue and achieve economic and cultural, if not political, breakthroughs.

Dr. Lo is a Political Science professor at HKU Space.  This is his background and description from HKU. 

Deputy Director (Arts and Sciences) / Head, College of Life Sciences and Technology

Professor LO, Sonny S.H. 盧兆興教授

BA York(Can); MA Wat; PhD Toronto


Professor Sonny Lo Shiu Hing is a political scientist holding a Doctoral degree in Political Science from the University of Toronto in 1993, a Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Waterloo in 1986 and a Bachelor degree (Specialized Honours) in Political Science from York University, Canada, in 1985.

Before joining HKU SPACE in December 2016, Professor Lo was an Associate Vice President (Quality Assurance) and the Head of the Department of Social Sciences at the Education University of Hong Kong.  He had also worked in the Department of Political Science at the University of Waterloo in Canada from 2004 to 2010, the Department of Politics and Public Administration at the University of Hong Kong from 1996 to 2004, the Division of Social Sciences at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology from 1993 to 1996, the Asia Research Centre at Murdoch University from 1991 to 1992, the Division of General Education at Lingnan College (now Lingnan University) from 1990 to 1991, and the Department of Government and Public Administration at the University of East Asia (Macau) from 1989 to 1990.

Professor Sonny Lo is the author of eleven single-authored books, including The Politics of Policing in Greater China (Palgrave 2016), The Politics of Controlling Organized Crime in Greater China (Routledge 2015), Hong Kong’s Indigenous Democracy (Palgrave 2015), The Politics of Crisis Management in China: The Sichuan Earthquake (Lexington 2014), Competing Chinese Political Visions (Praeger 2010), The Politics of Cross-Border Crime in Greater China (M. E. Sharpe 2009), The Dynamics of Beijing-Hong Kong Relations (Hong Kong University Press 2008), Political Change in Macao (Routledge 2008 and First Class Prize from the Macau Foundation 2009), Governing Hong Kong (Nova Science 2001), The Politics of Democratization in Hong Kong (Macmillan 1997), and Political Development in Macau (The Chinese University Press 1995). His research focuses on the political change in Hong Kong and Macao, policing, cross-border crime and the historical development of Greater China.

Dr. Lo has been and continues to support me on my educational and vocational goals despite leaving the University of Waterloo, approximately eight years ago. That Dept of Political Science has never regained its footing since his departure as his hard work and dedication to his students, school, and Comparative Politics is unrivalled. He is an amazing lecturer and supporter as a Teacher to all who are fortunate to be in his inner circle.

This is an excellent article, Dr. Lo.


Thank you now and always, Sonny!


Best regards,


Kevin Kieswetter


New white paper: “China’s Nationalist Policies Obscuring Reality in Tibet.”


“I always, you see, admire the spirit of (the) European Union,” the Dalai Lama said in a video message to the International Campaign for Tibet on the Washington D.C.-based group’s 30th anniversary on Thursday.

“Common interest (is) more important rather than one’s own national interest. With that kind of concept, I am very much willing to remain within the People’s Republic of China. The Chinese word, “gongheguo” (republic), shows some kind of union is there.”  –His Holiness, The Dalai Lama, March 2018.


American hegemony faces strong test with Axis powers: Iran & North Korea


Donald Trump’s rhetorical comments on social media are mostly  verbal  jabs harmlessly landing on his opponents regarding foreign affairs. This calm is about to change. Trump and his advisors know that if he is to build a legacy as President, he must back it up with action due to his poor performance on domestic matters. This spectre amounts to air strikes on North Korea or Iran, particularly if they threaten U.S. Naval ambitions in international waters. If there is a wild card– Russian proxy interests in Syria tend to put it in harm’s way, so,  it might be accidental against Russia in the Syrian conflict and/ or Russia vying for support from China against American hegemony. The multi-polarity of Near East and global politics is difficult to predict. If we look at Canada, who is currently embroiled with the U.S. over trade tariffs levied against Bombardier, Canada may be reticent to support America in a conflict, especially with a Canadian Liberal government that pulled fighter jets out of Iraq after the Liberal Party was elected in 2015. Canada’s main role is support and this will align Ottawa more traditionally and closely to her European allies.

Trump’s recent comments about “the  calm before the storm” suggest that his war room is in preparation mode for an attack on North Korea; if Iran miscalculates, they will get a slap on the wrist depending on the levity of their actions. I felt that North Korea would have been on the receiving end of American cruise missiles by the middle of September. South Korea & Japan will play a deciding factor, particularly if former UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon wades into the fray to provide shelter, rhetorical or other-wise, to his homeland. Yes, moon failed in comparison to Kofi Anan, but, no doubt, built up impressive connections during his terms ( 2007-2016). Forbes magazine named Ban the 32nd most powerful person in the world in 2013. Anan had resided over impressive peace-keeping efforts when nearly 70,000 military and civilian personnel were deployed in UN operations around the world as quoted by David Bosco of Foreign Policy magazine on February 16, 2011. Therefore, Anan may provide influence as an advocate of nuclear non – proliferation, in general.

So, it really is up to Kim Jong – un to play his hand with velvet gloves against Trump, who is ready to make his mark internationally after losing his grip on domestic issues like health care along with the prospect of losing control of Congress on November 6, 2018. In the mean-time, clear a corner in your base-ment if residing on the West coast as Trump tries to catch lightning in a bottle with Kim Jong – un playing havoc with Hwasong ICBM’s.


The scourge of Tibet.


The Central Government continues to ferret  rules of engagement as it is closing Tibet’s borders for ten days between  October 18-28, while the Communist Party holds meetings of the 19th National Congress. I’ve got to wonder if Xi would make time for “agencies” if trade value was at stake. As usual, it is “do as I say or pay more” else-where. And really, why are developed nation-states subsidizing the Chinese economy at the expense of home-grown R & D and jobs. We’ve taken a wrong turn and now it is a time for a serious re-think about rogue nation-states that flout human rights and their place in our democratized orbit. China can get there, but, not when we have tunnel vision on “factory of the world” procurements. Stand up for Tibet; she deserves the dignity. Tibet is not unlike the rain forest, with her delicate eco-system. Cluttering her environment with super- highways and high speed rail, nuclear waste and other forms of pollution only hastens the debilitating effects of climate change in neighbouring countries; India notwithstanding. Meanwhile, Chinese officials still continue to impose control over citizens that celebrate the Dalai Lama’s birthday which takes place on July 6. Chinese officials will wait until His Holiness ascends and then name a successor as they did with the Panchen Lama. Congressional talks ring familiar.

Chariot’s received some love when it was selected for a recommended reading list for a course at St. Andrew’s University in Scotland. I’m humbled and thankful.

Recommended Reading for “Agency and Strategy in Non-Western Political Thought (2015-16) and Fall 2017” at St. Andrew University, Scotland. Week Six.

Week 6: Self-Immolation by Fire

Recommended Reading 

Chariots of fire: a Tibetan historical perspective – Kevin Kieswetter, 2014 Book

Available in print & Kindle format.

North Korea and America: the macabre danse

“A conventional army loses if it does not win. The guerilla wins if it does not lose. “

So said Henry Kissinger and one can’t but equate this to the Cold War happening in North Korea between Kim Jong – un and American interests. As all will agree, an armed confrontation between the two means loss and plenty of casualties. Will Kim Jong – un blink if the going gets tough? Will Donald Trump cower when body bags are sent home with no end in sight? Where is the common sense when staring down the barrel of a loaded gun.


North Korea, the guerilla in this scenario stands to lose in the area of mass casualties. Kim can lose legitimacy as leader if he fails to stand up to American aggression. He – Kim- will look weak among his generals and this opens the door to coup attempt to oust him and bring in an independent leader to steady the North. That may result in a leader chosen by Beijing and/or Moscow to curry favour to their hopes for stability and to avoid a refugee crisis. However, Kim is unlikely to go down without a fight to save face for the long-storied history of the Kim family in North Korea. A “Cult of Personality” will do that for a nation, collateral damage be damned. “Organized” protests in Pyongyang this week stirred the pot of discontent against Donald Trump’s fire and brimstone hubris that promises “fire and fury like the world has never seen.


The United States, the world power, and conventional army can win only if it avoids mass American casualties in a war that nobody wants. A recent poll suggests that Americans are more concerned than they have ever been about North Korea now that a missile strike inside the U.S. is technically possible for the Kim regime. The pressure is squarely on President Trump as he engages punch for punch in the rhetoric department with Kim and the North Korean propaganda machine. This summons potential images of the upcoming match between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor where by Mayweather has the most to lose in reputation, while Conor McGregor has the most money and prestige to gain if he can live through one round. Donald Trump cannot win this war of words or public relations tournament as he has chosen the route of an inexperienced leader with weak political chops, who refuses to be reined in by stalwarts inside the Republican Party such as Mitch McConnell and John McCain. Trump knows that his early returns as U.S. President are on shaky ground with his health-care proposal in tatters. He needs to secure a public relations victory to satisfy those factions inside his party and with the general population. Therefore, a diversion may be necessary to prop up his government and legacy along the lines of former President George W Bush and America’s foray into Iraq to dispense with alleged Iraqi WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) controlled by Saddam Hussein. One can hope that Trump wins his tax-bill reduction, NAFTA renegotiation, or Mexican wall proposal.



  • Kim miscalculates as the Korean army lacks the expertise of America in military technology with one or more missiles falling inside Guam, South Korea or Japan.
  • America responds with a flurry of Tomahawk’s, drone and other missiles to quiet Kim and allow him to save face by staring down America, the Goliath and “conventional” Global Superpower. The Kim family can retain it’s posture on the Korean peninsula and live to fight another day in the future.
  • The main problem, and it is a costly one, is that the international community appears to be saddled with a young, aggressive leader in Kim Jong – un, whose nuclear cache is going to grow more sophisticated and prolific with time. It is the right time in many respects to cut off the head of the serpent before it can pose untold damage to the United States and its allies. The sacrifice might lead to the loss of millions of lives in this zero-sum game involving innocent spectators. If we channel Vilfredo Pareto “Pareto – Efficiency” for a win – win for all or Herbert Spencer “Satisfice” the best that the international community can hope for is one where  the recent sanctions affecting approximately one-third of North Korean exports will work their magic and bring about a resumption of the stagnant “six-party talks” that lie dormant since 2009. These failed talks saw the onset of North Korea’s launch of a satellite, which prompted sanctions by the U.N. (a recent -August 12, 2017-Reuter’s report indicates that North Korea is circumventing the coal sanctions by establishing a strong textile business with China.)  The situation crystallized in 2010 when North Korea sunk a South Korean patrol vessel with 104 people on board.   The Kim family’s aggressive nature remains unabated since this period. UN sanctions may be the panacea, but are they delaying the inevitable. Diplomacy in the tower is on shaky ground, with no solution in black or white.