Poking The Dragon | William Thomas Online | William Thomas

Poking The Dragon

J-15 fighter jets commence takeoffs from the aircraft carrier Shandong. Photo- Courtesy of Ding Zheng

J-15 fighter jets commence takeoffs from the aircraft carrier Shandong. -Ding Zheng 


by William Thomas

August 1 marks the 95th anniversary of the PLA’s founding, and the Chinese military is preparing to celebrate. But the ensuing fireworks could take place over the Taiwan Strait

     Last Thursday night, July 28, Joe called Xi, who told the US President: “Public opinion cannot be defied. Those who play with fire will perish by it. It is hoped that the US will be clear-eyed about this.” 

     Dream on.


“Action is the most powerful language,” the Chinese Defense Ministry had affirmed earlier that day, after China issued its sixth undiplomatically strong warning within days opposing Pelosi's threatened Taiwan “trip”.

     By July 29, China's “solemn position” on Pelosi's planned provocation had reached the level of wu wei yan zhi bu yu — “the highest level of warning,” explained Shen Yi in Global Times. Shen urged Washington to “avoid misjudging the nature and consequences of stepping on China's bottom line” involving “China's territorial and sovereign integrity.”

     Taiwan, Shen emphasized, is not a “bargaining chip.”

     That same day, a message was posted on the PLA’s 80th Group Army webpage. The two Mandarin characters it contained electrified the nation. Across China, “yanzhen yidai" quickly generated over 300,000 positive reactions and nearly 20,000 comments.

     China's Foreign Ministry explained the phrase as, “We are fully prepared for any eventuality.” More ominously, the Chinese Government supplied the “correct” translation:

Preparing for war!” 

     More explicitly, yanzhen yidai affirms the operational combat status of soldiers, ships and planes now in place. And ammunition is loaded so that the battle can be started any time.” 

    China’s final warning, as People’s Liberation Army triggers are being squeezed, is the classic Confucian expression: “Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You." 

    The last three times Beijing issued this belated advice, it separately engaged Vietnam, India and and the Soviet Union in armed conflict on China’s disputed borders.  

     And the PLA has not forgoten Choisin.

An exasperated Xi 

“China will not allow “sanctimonious preaching” or bullying from foreign forces, and anyone who tries “will find themselves on a collision course with a steel wall forged by 1.4 billion people,” explained Chinese President, Xi Jinping.

     The PLA Daily said that Xi's remarks would encourage all PLA soldiers to “forge ahead”  and “win great victories and glory in the new era.” The army's war message generated over 300,000 thumbs-up in the first 12 hours, creating “high morale among Chinese soldiers” according to Global Times

    The Engish language edition of the People’s Daily, official newspaper of the Communist Party of China, went on to give the government's assesment of its military options: “Ahead of the 95th anniversary of the founding of the PLA on August 1, there is a general feeling that if China does respond aggressively — there's little that Washington can do about it.” 

   Not with Ukraine spiraling down an increasingly costly drain in the most corrupt nation in Europe — and the USA discarding civility while wracked by inflation, finger-pointing, and woke insanity as disturbing and destructive as Mao’s misguided “Cultural Revolution”.

   When dealing with neocon maniacs immune to reality and their own history, the Collapse of American Exceptionalism is a risky assumption. Neverthless, the Chinese web lit up with messages of support: “PLA soldiers, fighting! We support you guys!”  

     Veterans declared their willingness to return to the Pepople’s Liberation Army if needed. Netizens also expressed their wish for reunification with Taiwan.


Start WW3 buttons?


“For the vast majority of people in this world who see avoiding the annihilation of our species as desirable,” a direct military confrontation between the US and China would be a negative development, writes Bradley Blankenship. 

     Even if Nancy Pelosi does not land in Taipei, “We will see the China-US relations fall off a cliff, for sure,” declares Lu Xiang, an expert on US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. 

     Global Times commentator Hu Xijin suggests that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) should “escort” Pelosi’s military plane — and overfly Taiwan in a show of force. “When sending PLA aircraft to fly across the island, we must be fully prepared for an all-out military confrontation,” Hu enthused. “If the Taiwan military dares to open fire against PLA aircraft, then Taiwan military aircraft would be shot down and Taiwan military bases will be destroyed. So if the US and Taiwan authorities want all-out war, then the time for Taiwan liberation will come.

     According to Gordon Cheng, Chinese journalist Hu Xijin is “often used to signal regime positions.

Adm. Harry Harris, head of US Pacific Command. -Washington Times


For his part, the admiral in charge of the US Pacific fleet has made a career of “provoking” (his word) the Chinese navy in the South China Sea. As early as Dec. 15, 2016, Admiral Harry Harris, head of the US Navy’s far-ranging PACOM (Pacific Command), was a strident advocate of aggressively screwing with an increasingly aggrieved nuclear power, nearly 5,000 sea-miles from America’s shores. 

     Pursuing his obsession to “prevent” the more commercially astute Beijing from “blocking” the sea lanes that ensure its national survival, Admiral Harry likes to conduct frequent Freedom of Navigation Operations within 12 nautical miles of Chinese shores. Each time, PLA frigates quickly close to “chase off” the American warships. But bad language and near collisions regularly result.

     Just like in the air.  

     On February 16, 2018, the PACOM commander warned Congress that China's military might threatens American hegemony — and may have to be blown up. “I'm concerned China will now work to undermine the international rules-based order,” Admiral Harry clarified during his House Armed Services Committee confirmation hearings as the next US ambassador to Sinophobic Australia.

     Under this “rules-based” odor, Washington makes the rules. Everyone else must hold their nose and obey.

     Or not.

Chinese base on Subi Reef will soon surender to sea level rise

     “The US military build-up in the South China Sea is part of its broader preparations for war with China,” explains Peter Symonds. “The Pentagon’s AirSea Battle strategy involves massive air and missile attacks on the Chinese mainland from bases, warships and submarines in the western Pacific, supported by a naval blockade to strangle the Chinese economy.”

     America’s unrelenting efforts to provoke a naval clash with China is paying off. Ely Ratner, assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs, acknowledges “dozens” of incidents in the first half of 2022 between the US and Chinese air and naval forces in the South China Sea — waters well known to this writer (who sailed into a US night naval exercise off Hong Kong and became a practice blip, despite my radioed protestations).

     Problem is, Harry… 

     “Whenever we war-gamed a Taiwan scenario over the years, our Blue Team routinely got its ass handed to it,” admits David Ochmanek, a senior RAND analyst and former deputy assistant secretary of defense for force development. People fighting for their homeland tend to provide this service for invaders. And as Russia has been relentlessly demonstrating to the Right Sector and Azov Nazi formations in Russian-speaking Donbass, 24/7 industrial-strength, multi-dimenstional warfare requires readily-accessible, bottomless logistics. Which a hollowed out, distant USA can no longer provide. (Also, the navy's Little Crappy Ships and nifty new bazillion-dollar supercarrier don't work.)   

     Sure enough, in every simulated war game against China, Chinese missiles rained down on US warships and bases in Guam and Japan. “The trend in our war games was not just that we were losing, but we were losing faster,” reported Air Force Lt. Gen. S. Clinton Hinote.

     Now is an especially inopportune time to pick a fight with China — since the American Air Force, Navy and Marines' problem-plagued F-35s are currently grounded with ejection seat issues. 

     Better pour one for Harry, too... 

Nancy pouring


On July 28, 2022, an addled octanegarian alcoholic invited fellow Congressional reps to help her trigger WWIII. “Any member that wants to go, should. It shows political deterrence to President Xi,” declared Rep. Michael McFaul after declining the invite. Of course, he acknowledged, this unexplained visitation will likely “cause a blowback and escalate things.”

     But hey, whatever.

     On her last visit to China, in Tiananmen Square, Pelosi unfurled a banner dedicated “To those who died for democracy in China. Police quickly intervened as international cameras rolled. 

     Pelosi's calculated insult to her Chinese hosts played perfectly back home. Is she going for a similar win to “cement” her legacy — and mask her severely alleged insider stock trading? If so, Nance, the bootstrapped China you briefly hijacked in 1991 is not the armed and angry Dragon of 2022.

USS Ronald Reagan Strike Group enters South China Sea on July 28. 2022 -Communication Specialist 2nd Class Christian Senyk, USN

USS Ronald Reagan Strike Group enters South China Sea on July 28. 2022 -Communication Specialist 2nd Class Christian Senyk, USN

     Never mind. CVN-76 Ronald Reagan's strike group — including a guided missile destroyer and cruiser, the Tripoli assault shipand (most likely) at least one hunter-killer submarine scouting ahead of the strike force submerged as the compact armada surged north from Singapore to provide “protection” for the military aircraft carrying the brainfogged Speaker of the House to her reckless rendezvous with everyone's destiny. Just as the US cannot appear to back down again, Chinese “face” cannot allow armed US Navy fighter escorts into its airspace over Taiwan. For National Reunification we are willing to go to war,” thundered China Daily. 

     Right now???

     Satellite imagery showed at least two Type 52 destroyers shadowing the American nuclear-powered carrier as she steams north through the you-know-where. China’s first 10,000 ton Type 055 fourth-generation advanced surface combatant, Nanchang, may be joining the stare-down. And the Chinese carriers Shandong, Liaoning and just-launched Fujian are likely within striking range of Reagan. The locations of China’s ultra-quiet attack submarines and underwater drones are anyone’s guess. 


Even with both rival navies dick-waving off Taiwan, US officials think it “unlikely” that the Chinese will shoot down Pelosi’s plane. But online and state media hysteria in the Celestial Kingdom appears eager to “get it on” with their tormentors — and finish decades of American-inlflicted humiliation, once and quite possibly forever.

     “It will favor China more if China-US confrontation occurred over Pelosi's visit, than any other frictions. Because China is fully justified on this matter as the whole world acknowledges that the Taiwan question concerns China's core interests,” asserted the state-approved, Hu Xijin. 

     “The US is obviously escalating provocations, which puts China on the moral high ground,” Hu continued in the Global Times. “Our military resources in this region are unmatched by the US. We have sufficient moral and strength capital to go forward. Now is the time for a battle of determination and will between the two sides.”

     It gets worse.

     “If the US side insists on making the visit and challenges China’s red line, it will be met with resolute countermeasures,” promised Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. “The US must assume full responsibility for any serious consequence arising thereof.” 

     So what’s really bugging the Chinese?


Start here: Taiwan is recognized by Taipei, the US, UN and member states as part of China“China considers this belligerent approach as a threat to their stated One Country, Two Systems policy as well as a threat to the 1992 consensus,” explains Amaranth for the Sake blog. Both sides of the Taiwan Strait “belong to one China.”

     Amarynth further observes that “Taiwan is being used as a casus belli” to provoke and justify war — just like the 2014 American-supported and Nazi-led coup in Ukraine. Just as black belt Putin has judo-flipped this dire threat into disarming NATO and humiliating US fantasists, China is eying Pelosi’s latest gambit as an excuse to take full control of the Taiwan Straits. And spur reunification.

     The Chinese Government has handed the Pelosi problem to their military. But only after the Defense Ministry asserted, “Our army will not sit idly by if U.S. House Speaker Pelosi visits Taiwan, will take decisive measures to curb foreign interference.” 

    After bitch-slapping the arrogant US delegation during their initial altercation in Anchorage, Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi now says: “The Taiwan question is the most important of China’s core interests. Safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity is the bounden responsibility of every Chinese, and no one, force or country should dream of separating Taiwan from China.” 

     “We are seriously prepared,” amplifies Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian.

     For its part, the US is threatening to sanction vital Russian oil supplies to China. But Beijing’s biggest nightmare is an American naval blockade of China’s critical sea lane chokepoints in the Malacca and Taiwan straits.

Pelosi Perplexed -©Drew Angerer : Getty Images
Wu Qian -CFP

Wu Qian - CFP


Nancy Pelosi has been hostile to China for more than 30 years. “Pelosi, out of her paranoid anti-China ideas and selfish political interests, has provoked the Taiwan question and sent a seriously wrong signal to the secessionist forces in Taiwan,” charged Zhu Weidong, deputy director from the Institute of Taiwan Studies in Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

     The People's Liberation Army (PLA) will not tolerate any “Taiwan independence” moves or interference from external forces, and will resolutely stop such attempts, said Defense Ministry spoikesman, Wu Qian. Wu urged "Taiwan independence" forces and external interfering forces” to “pull back from the brink.” 

     “The neocons above all seem unable to process that the days of US hegemony are over. It boggles the mind that they are not just eyepoking but escalating greatly with China,” writes an appalled Yves Smith. “The Pentagon didn’t recommend it.” 

     “As an American, it’s depressing to see so much incompetence and arrogance on display,” adds Amarynth. “More forces in the region means more potential for a screw up, where “one thing goes wrong” and everything goes blooey.


When this (since-updated) article was first posted on July 30, some 50,000 people online were tracking Pelosi’s flight across the Pacific. One day later, that number had doubled. The delegation is scheduled to stop in Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore. Taiwan is listed on the itinerary as “tentative”, according to NBC News.

     While strong bipartisan support from congressional lawmakers eggs on his geriatric warrior, Biden refuses to avert a long-impending collision that will go nuclear if a Nimitz-class supercarrier is sunk by unfriendly torpedo and missile salvos. Never forget, in a rapidly unfolding debacle at sea — and a 1,092-foot Navy warship sunk with 5,000 hands would certainly qualify — nuclear relase authority belongs to the American on-scene commander


According to Shen Yi, as “the third-ranked political figure in the US political sequence,” the Speaker of the US House of Representatives “will inevitably be interpreted by the Taiwan independence forces on Taiwan Island as the major political support of the US government for it.”  

    This “extremely wrong signal will stimulate the Taiwan independence forces to take more provocative actions. The Chinese government will not sit idly by and let this happen,” Shen concludes his first caution.

     Just like Hong Kong.


Dong Feng carrier-killers -EPA

Secondly, Shen urges Washington against “misunderstanding China's strategic capability to defend its core interests.” Perhaps he’s referring to the 2,500 nautical mile range of China’s “carrier-killer” Dongfeng-41 missiles. “Enemies will have a hard time locating this road-mobile missile and hitting it before launch,” crows the Global Times. “After launch, since the DF-17 uses a hypersonic glider as its warhead, which flies faster than Mach 5 with an unpredictable trajectory, it is almost impossible to intercept for contemporary missile defense system.

     The Pentagon is also sweating a large number of what look like newly installed strategic missile silos in China's Gansu and Xinjiang provinces. This could be why Gen. Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has told clueless US leaders that visiting Taiwan at this time “is not a good idea.”

     Meanwhile, as Xi alluded, news of Pelosi's possible visit has ignited a firestorm among the Chinese populace. “Is it worthwhile to take the risk of head-on confrontation with China for certain politician's pure political show?” asks Shen. “For China, the Taiwan question is a core issue involving territorial and sovereign integrity; for Pelosi, visiting Taiwan region may be one of the effective ways to divert attention from her alleged insider stock trading and give her some political points at the end of her political career.”

     Beijing acknowledges that Pelosi is being told that she “cannot let China decide where she can go.” But, says Shen, “The issue is, Taiwan is China's territory, not a place where people can come and go at will. If you come uninvited with malice, of course we have the right and necessity to deal with you.”


While American warships and aircraft crowd China’s front yard, live-fire training missions by the PLA navy are currently underway near Pingtan island. Ballistic missile “tests” may be imminent. And Beijing has not ruled out intercepting Pelosi’s plane and forcing it down.“We are protecting our homeland and our country, and we are on the side of natural justice,” China’s leadership asserts.

     US Naval aviators likely dispute China’s claim to anything. Already flying continuous Combat Air Patrols over the Dragon Sea, they stand ready to “intervene” if China decides to defend its airspace from their intrusion. Provocation—Response—Retaliation (in “self-defense”) was the standard Pentagon procedure back in those halcyon days when American “wars” in North Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria mostly slaughtered civilians.

     Not today.

     Unfortunately for this world, the Ukrainian nightmare of unrelenting attrition inflicted by a peer-to-peer power drawing on a nearby, seemingly bottomless industrial base, is a lesson lost on the neocons, whose sole conception of military strategy is Top Gun. 

     “If Pelosi insists on visiting Taiwan, the US will,” writes Hu Xijin, “refresh its memory that the Chinese people should not be insulted and the Chinese military should not be disrespected.” The US “must fully understand that the red line is a high-voltage one that they cannot step on.”

     Just like NATO nukes on Russia’s border.


“The US is run by spoiled children who won’t take ‘no’ for an answer,” comments self-described “naked capitaist”, Yves Smith. “The neocons above all seem unable to process that the days of US hegemony are over. It boggles the mind that they are not just eyepoking but escalating greatly.

     “China is fully cognizant of the fact that Pelosi is number two in line after Harris should something happen to the increasingly addle-brained Biden. And they don’t buy for a second that Pelosi is operating without the explicit approval of the Administration.

     “As far as China is concerned, there is no putting lipstick on this pig. The US is demonstrating, just as Russia has charged, that it is not agreement capable.” 

     Xi Jinping has already called Biden a liar to his face. Nevertheless, after threatening sanctions against China last March, Joe called Xi that very same week to ask for China’s help with the neocon’s latest mess in Ukraine. Xi replied, “He who puts the bell on the tiger is the one to take it off.”

     What about a fire-breathing dragon? 


Warships sunk by hydroegn bomb test at Bikini Atoll


August 1

Pelosi shows off her $24,000 ice cream fridge -CBS


by William Thomas

The question gripping the world on the eve of possible nuclear war over Nancy Pelosi’s choice of hotels is stark: will the House Speaker live to return to her $24,000 sub-zero stainless steel double-fridge stuffed with luxury Dove, Talenti and Jeni’s ice cream selling for $12 a pint? It is widely feared that going cold turkey on these treats could cause the 83-year-old to act out in ways even more frightening than her usual unhinged manner. 

     Hopefully, she’s brought a stash on the plane. 

     Pelosi now wants to arrive August 2 at 22:30 (10:30pm) local time for a restful overnight stay at the five-star Grand Hyatt Hotel in Taipei. It will be an official visit, Pelosi announced before takeoff: “I’m leading a Congressional delegation to the Indo-Pacific to reaffirm America’s unshakeable commitment…” to stick it to Xi. 

     Despite many strong reservations surrounding Pelosi’s unique firebrand-into-powderkeg style of diplomacy, CNN, Bloomberg and local Taipei sources confirm that those reservations have been made.

     China is now on a war-footing. Beijing has announced closure of waters in the South China Sea amid ongoing PLA “live fire” navy drills — specifically in response to apparent confirmation of Pelosi’s Taiwan adventure tomorrow.

     “There are no longer any safe options,” writes Gordon Cheng.“The most dangerous, at least in the long run, is for Speaker Pelosi to back down.”

     But Michael Every of Rabobank calls Biden’s latest proxy gamble, a high-risk, no-win scenario.” 

     For its part, the Chinese military says it’s on standby to defend the country’s territorial integrity from “separatism”, which Washington encourages.

Reading the fine print at a news stand in Beijing. -Andy Wong:AP

Reading the fine print at a news stand in Beijing. -Andy Wong/AP


It’s what we’ve all been dreading for years, a massive military attack by an aggressive, repressive, authoritarian China,” writes Jay Degroot in Taipei. “One minute, we’re peacefully going about our business in this free, democratic, and basically humane country, Taiwan. The next, life is turned upside down. Bombs are dropped and missiles launched, causing death and destruction to people, property – and maybe the entire Taiwan dream. It’s a nightmare scenario both for native-born Taiwanese and for expats who love their adopted home, like waking up to find that the monster has finally crawled out from under your bed.

     “Terrifying, yes. And also damned inconvenient.”  

     Tough luck, pal. As always in Washington, political points must be scored. Regardless of the body count.

Taiwan President, Tsai Ing-Wen Addresses The Troops

Taiwan President, Tsai Ing-Wen Addresses The Troops


Full Disclosure:

After completing my four-year university Naval Reserve Officer Training Course in 1970 and winning long-coveted orders to attend flight school at Pensecola, I resigned my commission after failing to reconcile inevitable air support missions to napalm Vietnamese villages with my desire to fly off carriers. A decade later, I captained my backyard-built trimaran, Celerity from Victoria, BC through the South China Sea to Hong Kong and Japan. Along the way, I became the first foreigner to visit Swatow since 1946. Travelling overland through South China without a government minder, I finished photographing sailing junks in the city formerly known as Canton — where my only Cantonese phrases were “I love you” and “where’s the bathroom?”  


“RESIST MUCH, OBEY LITTLE”   发件人     William Thomas 2023