Welcome to Saturday's Potluck - May 27, 2023
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
A picture can be worth a thousand words. Or the beginning of a new path of thought to explore.
This photo from a May 23, 2023 Taiwan News article Taiwan’s security takes center stage at G7 Hiroshima Summit has prompted a fresh look at colonization by Western powers. Is the history of Taiwan the beginning of a new phase of colonization? The shift from controlling trade interactions and transport to controlling territory for production of goods or extraction of resources.
England in the leading the pack. Dutch born president of the European Commission is second. English Common Wealth member nation's Canadian leader has followed his father's path into political leadership. United States of America has a Special Relation with England and its leader displaying increasing signs and symptoms of dementia. Japan, a relative newcomer as a colonial power, had to be forced back into the natural pecking order of power with a nuclear bombing campaign. Trying to keep up with the first row are France and Germany. The original developers of sea trade routes from Europe Portugal and Spain are not included the current gang of world leader. Now one of the questions is who or what really controls the gang and sets the long term plans?
The story begins in Asia with an addictive substance, in this time period - sugar. The business development steps were done under control of the colonizing power; expanding a market, controlling all phases of the supply line and utilizing military forces for security enforcement.
Dutch Formosa - Wikipedia a place to begin.
The Penghu (/ˈpʌŋˈhuː/, Hokkien POJ: Phîⁿ-ô͘ or Phêⁿ-ô͘ ) or Pescadores Islands are an archipelago of 90 islands and islets in the Taiwan Strait, located approximately 50 km (31 mi) west from the main island of Taiwan across the Penghu Channel, covering an area of 141 square kilometers (54 sq mi). The archipelago collectively forms Penghu County of Taiwan and is the smallest county of Taiwan. The largest city is Magong, located on the largest island, which is also named Magong.
The Penghu islands first appear in the historical record during the Tang dynasty and were inhabited by Chinese people by the Southern Song dynasty, during which they were attached to Jinjiang County of Fujian. The archipelago was formally incorporated as an administrative unit of China in 1281 under Tong'an County of Jiangzhe Province during the Yuan dynasty. It continued to be controlled by Imperial China with brief European occupations by the Dutch (1622–1624) and French (1885), until it was ceded to the Japanese Empire in 1895. Since the end of World War II, Penghu has been governed by the Republic of China (ROC). Under the terms of the Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty and the subsequent Taiwan Relations Act between the ROC and the United States, Penghu is defined and geographically acknowledged as part of Taiwan.
The Dutch demanded that China open up ports in Fujian to Dutch trade. China refused, warning the Dutch that the Pescadores were Chinese territory. The Chinese governor of Fujian (Fukien), Shang Zhouzuo (Shang Chou-tso), demanded that the Dutch withdraw from the Pescadores to Formosa, where the Chinese would permit them to engage in trade. This led to a war between the Dutch and China between 1622 and 1624 which ended with the Chinese being successful in making the Dutch abandon the Pescadores and withdraw to Formosa.
However, the Dutch found out that, unlike tiny Southeast Asian kingdoms, China could not be bullied or intimidated by them. After Shang ordered them to withdraw to Formosa on 19 September 1622, the Dutch raided Amoy on October and November. The Dutch intended to "induce the Chinese to trade by force or from fear." by raiding Fujian and Chinese shipping from the Pescadores. Long artillery batteries were erected at Amoy in March 1622 by Colonel Li-kung-hwa as a defence against the Dutch.
The first order of business was to punish villages that had violently opposed the Dutch and unite the aborigines in allegiance with the Dutch East India Company (VOC).
One area not under their control was the north of the island, which from 1626 had been under Spanish sway, with their two settlements at Tamsui and Keelung. The fortification at Keelung was abandoned because the Spanish lacked the resources to maintain it, but Fort Santo Domingo in Tamsui was seen as a major obstacle to Dutch ambitions on the island and the region in general.
After failing to drive out the Spanish in 1641, the Dutch returned in 1642 with reinforcements of Dutch soldiers and aboriginal warriors in ships, managing to dislodge the small Spanish-Filipino contingent from their fortress and drive them from the island. Following this victory, the Dutch set about bringing the northern villages under their banner in a similar way to the pacification campaign carried out in the previous decade in the south.
Although sugar cane was a native crop of Taiwan, the indigenous people had never been able to make sugar granules from the raw sugar. Chinese immigrants brought and introduce the technique to turn the raw sugar cane into sugar granules. Sugar became the most important export item as the main purpose of producing sugar was to export it to other countries.
Many of the sources vary in the presentation of a narrative mixed with facts. Still in the sorting out phase of research.
The importance of trade routes in Geopolitics.
Pepe Escobar: Eurasian Heartland Rises to Challenge the West
Sputnik Globe by Pepe Escobar May 26, 2023
Xi’s China is once again mirroring lessons from History. What’s happening now brings us back to the first half of the first millennium B.C., when the Persian Achaemenid empire established itself as the largest to date, stretching from India in the east and Central Asia in the northeast to Greece in the west and Egypt in the southwest.
For the first time in history, territories that spanned Asia, Africa and Europe were brought together; and that led to a boom in trade, culture and ethnic interactions (what BRI defines today as “people to people exchanges”).
That’s how we had the Hellenistic world first getting in touch with India and Central Asia – as they set up the first Greek settlements in Bactria (in today’s Afghanistan).
By the end of the first millennium B.C. all the way to the first millennium A.D. an immense area from the Pacific to the Atlantic – encompassing the Han Chinese empire, the Kushan kingdom, the Parthians and the Roman empire, among others – formed “a continuous belt of civilizations, states and cultures”, as Prof. Edvard Rtveladze of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan defined it.
So slightly less than 2,000 years ago, that was the first time in human history that the borders of several states and kingdoms were immediately adjacent to each other along no less than 11,400 km, from east to west. No wonder the fabled Ancient Silk Road – actually a maze of roads -, the first transcontinental thoroughfare, emerged at the time.
That was a direct consequence of a series of political, economic and cultural whirlwinds involving the peoples of Eurasia. History, in the high acceleration 21st century, is now retracing these steps
More on trade routes
The inside story of Russia-Iran-India connectivity The Cradle by Pepe Escobar May 23, 2023
Make no mistake about what the G7’s Hiroshima Communique is all about.
The setting: a city in neo-colony Japan nuclear-bombed 78 years ago by the United States, for which it made no excuses.
The message: the G7, actually G9 (augmented by two unelected Eurocrats) declares war – hybrid and otherwise – against BRICS+, which has 25 nations on its waiting list and counting.
The G7’s key strategic objective is the defeat of Russia, followed by the subjugation of China. For the G7/G9, these – real – powers are the main “global threats” to “freedom and democracy.”
The corollary is that the Global South must toe the line – or else. Call it a remix of the early 2000s “you’re either with us or against us.”
Meanwhile, in the real world – that of productive economies – the dogs of war bark while the New Silk Road caravans keep marching on.
The key New Silk Roads of emerging multipolarity are China’s ambitious, multi-trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Russia-Iran-India International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC).
All about Chabahar
The recent $1.6 billion deal between Iran and Russia to build the 162-km long Rasht-Astara railway is an INSTC game-changer. Iran’s Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mehrdad Bazpash and Russia’s Minister of Transport Vialy Saveliev signed the deal in Tehran, in front of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and with Russian President Vladimir Putin attending on video conference.
Call it the marriage of Iran’s “Look East” with Russia’s “pivot to the East.” Both are now official policies.
Rasht is close to the Caspian Sea. Astara is on the border with Azerbaijan. Connecting them will be part of a Russia-Iran-Azerbaijan deal on railway and cargo transportation – solidifying the INSTC as a key connectivity corridor between South Asia and Northern Europe.
Russia, for its part, is now facing the Ukraine stalemate, relentless western sanctions hysteria, and serious trade restrictions to Eastern Europe. All that while Moscow consistently expands its trade with New Delhi.
So it is no wonder Moscow is now much more attentive to the INSTC. Last December, a key deal was clinched between Russian Railways and the national companies in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Iran, and the Russians came up with a 20 percent discount for import-export containers going through the Russia-Kazakh border.
What matters most for Russia is that Chabahar operating at full speed reduces the cost of transporting goods from India by 20 percent. The Iranians fully understood the game, and started to heavily promote the Chabahar Free Trade-Industrial Zone to attract Russian investment. And that culminated in the Rasht-Astara deal.
China’s BRI, for its part, plays a parallel game. Beijing is heavily investing in the East-West transit route – also known as the Middle Corridor.
This BRI corridor goes from Xinjiang to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, and then across the Caspian to Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkiye, and further on to Eastern Europe – a total of 7,000 km, with a cargo journey of maximum 15 days.
Talking about the Specter of Conflict Hanging Over Taiwan with Xiangyu (in Taiwan) (1:15 min)
The New Atlas with guest Zhong Xiangyu, a Taiwanese resident who focuses on cross straight relations.
Team Biden Antagonizing Putin - Alastair Crooke fmr Brit ambassador (24:14 min) May 25, 2023
Also discuss US control of Italy since WWII
The the other livestream videos this week by Judge Napolitano channel ongoing discussions regarding current Ukraine/Russia conflict. the interviews are generally posted on Monday through Thursday if would like to view them in amore timely manner.
What is on your mind today?