The Art Of Sending A Message

[Note Update at the end]

I got a good laugh out of the tricky nature of Chinese diplomacy. This was the headline.

chinese-drone

It was totally audacious. A Chinese warship put a small boat into the water right when an oceanographic ship under a Navy contract was retrieving two drones. The small boat came up right next to the American ship, snagged one of the drones, and merrily sailed away. The ship was in international waters off the Philippines. Not spying as far as anyone knows.

Here’s why I laughed. The Chinese are thumbing their nose at the Donald for talking to Taiwan. They know that it wasn’t a noob move, that it was very deliberate. But they are no fools, they are very deliberate themselves. First, look at the action. The ship is NOT a US military vessel. The drone is NOT a US military drone. But the ship is operating under a contract to the US Navy to do oceanographic research.

That means that stealing that drone is about as close as you can come to an act of war WITHOUT crossing that bright red line. Nobody was hurt. No US military property was touched. Diplomatic genius.

Next issue. Timing. They know that in a couple months we’ll likely have General “Mad Dog” Mattis as Secretary of Defense and Rex “T. Rex” Tillerson as Secretary of State. So … given the choice of timing, if you were a Chinese diplomat, just when would you pull the trigger on sending this particular message to the Donald, this carefully non-violent message which is very near to (but not quite) an act of war?

Would you do it in two months when you are facing T. Rex and the Mad Dog … or would you do it just as Obama was heading to Hawaii to add a few last purchases on his American Taxpayers Express Card to the $85 million dollar price tag paid for his vacations to date?

Of course, what the Chinese will do is that they will immediately disassemble the drone and measure and test and photograph every part of it, download all the software, steal everything they can. Even though it is likely just an oceanographic drone, there’s still lots to be learned.

Then, if I were them, I’d reassemble it in immaculate pristine working condition … except I’d put some kind of carefully hidden software bug into it that could hijack the video and audio feed from the drone on command.

Then I’d hand it back to the US and watch what people said and did before they finally realized that their every move was being recorded.

In any case, bugged or not, you need to think about the timing of that move as well. My guess? The Chinese will hand it back to Trump, not to Obama. Again it’s a double win. They thumb their nose at Obama, a final chance to demonstrate US weakness under Obama, and at the same time they make it clear that the message is intended for the Donald. If I were them, I would hand it back just after the Inauguration, like the Iranians did with the American prisoners.

Then I’d laugh all the way back to Beijing …

w.

[Update 18 December 2016] Oh, it just gets better. The Negotiator-in-Chief has seen the opportunity I and others overlooked. This from the tweetstream of consciousness @realDonaldTrump…

<blockquote>We should tell China that we don’t want the drone they stole back.- let them keep it!</blockquote>

This is brilliant. He’s already said he doesn’t care when or if the Chinese return it. They were planning to hold it for psychological ransom, return it at the precise moment of their choosing … and he’s just blown them totally out of the water. Their hostage is useless.

We are in uncharted waters here. The President-Elect is conducting foreign diplomacy … and winning …

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46 thoughts on “The Art Of Sending A Message

    • DJT must’ve been listening to the confused old misfit.

      Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump 13h13 hours ago
      We should tell China that we don’t want the drone they stole back.- let them keep it!
      20,348 replies 11,396 retweets 36,202 likes
      Reply 20K Retweet 11K
      Like 36K
      More

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      • Bloke down the pub December 18, 2016 at 6:12 am

        Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump 13h

        We should tell China that we don’t want the drone they stole back.- let them keep it!

        Oh, man, Bloke, that is hilarious. I am so looking forward to the next eight years … the Donald (and the Confused Old Misfit) is the master negotiator.

        w.

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  1. For some reason, lots of places on twitter were saying that a vessel had been captured by the Chinese, which would obviously have been a very different situation. That’s the sort of #fake news that starts wars.

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    • Hard to tell if they’d erase and re-upload it … I’d stick it in the firmware or somewhere a restart wouldn’t affect it.

      w.

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  2. Good analysis. Only one difference. Chinese acted on ‘return’ after the Trump tweet on this. They were testing US ok, but got the strong neg signal response from him. Means Taiwan call was not an accident. And South China Sea is going tombe a big deal. And that appointing Iowa Gov as Beijing ambassador is a stroke of brilliance given the personal,relationship with Zi and Trump’s knowing tough times are ahead.. 3D chess. Trump apparently plays well.

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    • Thanks, Ristvan. Taiwan call was indeed deliberate. And indeed, the new Ambassador is a huge gain for our relationship with China.

      w.

      Like

  3. “Obama was heading to Hawaii to add a few last purchases on his American Taxpayers Express Card to the $85 million dollar price tag paid for his vacations to date?”

    Trump is currently costing New York about £850,000 per day. Not a bad perk for someone who prides himself in never paying a penny in tax.
    I wonder what the $85 million cost of Obamas holidays covered, you never know, it may have included security and the other issues US presidents are required to have at all times.
    You may also see his Presidency as resulting in ” US weakness under Obama”, But it was a reasonably peaceful one with the US avoiding the various unwinnable wars it had been mired in through recent history. I think the people of the US needed that, and hopefully Trump will continue on that path of peace.

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    • Gareth, it wouldn’t bother me if during the campaign he hadn’t said if we elected him President he’d give up vacations …

      Obama: “uh umm, you give me this office and in turn my, fears, doubts, insecurities, foibles, need for sleep, family life, vacations, leisure is gone. I am giving my self to you.”

      and instead he’s taken no less than 38 vacations in eight years.

      CBS White House Reporter Mark Knoller, the unofficial presidential record keeper, calculates the president took 22 vacation trips spanning all or part of 160 days. The Washington Examiner Secrets adjusted those numbers to 38 by including “separate trips by the first lady and their daughters, Sasha and Malia, as well as quick trips like their May 30, 2009 date night to New York City and last year’s trip to New York to attend the wedding of former personal chef Sam Kass. What’s more, White House reporters told Secrets that some trips by the first lady and daughters are kept secret from the media, so a full accounting is difficult.”

      Sorry, Gareth, but that is all too typical of the Pres. A hundred and sixty vacation days? And people wonder why the Democrats lost the election by being the party of the coastal elite?

      w.

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    • How is Trump costing New York money? He is not an elected official in NYC or NY state, how you figure taxpayers of NY are paying Trump to vacation?

      Oh, and as for Barri and the Infinite Gravy Train with Biscuit Wheels, I have not stolen $85 million from US taxpayers for my 160 vacation days over 8 years. That is Barri stealing all that money. And he ain’t gonna stop come January. No wonder his daughters hate him, what a sleazy scumbags he and his wife, have proved themselves to be.

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    • ‘Reasonably peaceful’? Do these old eyes of mine deceive me? Is this what you meant?:

      Egypt’s new Muslim Brotherhood government (aim – the worldwide caliphate) welcomed by BA, 2010. (Quickly replaced by same old, same old dictator)

      Libya in chaos, entire US embassy staff murdered

      Great new Iranian ‘peace deal’ with means more public hangings, more terrorism and the almost racing certainty of nuclear weapons in the hands of mad mullahs.

      Syria’s appalling suffering still unending.

      Rise of the European ‘radical right’ (so-say ‘fascists’) mainly due to wild immigration policies supported by BA.

      New impetus given to race hucksters in US means (eg) Baltimore’s doubled murder rate. BA: ‘I am Trayvon Martin’.

      I could go on – the worsening lives of black folks, the entirely redundant support for the criminal government in Havana, the kowtowing to the heirs of the Chinese Communist murderers, etc, etc.

      If this is your ‘path to peace’, come back Chamberlain. All is forgiven.

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      • The everlasting Legacy of Barack Hussein Obama is exacerbated racial tensions and economic stagnation. DJT has not even been sworn in and the economic stagnation is already evaporating. Don’t know what anyone other than the Racebaiting Poverty Pimps can do about the sad state of race relations in America.

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  4. A hundred and sixty vacation days?
    So that is 160 divided by 8.
    20 days a year.
    Some of those days will be due to pubic holidays such as Christmas day, Labour day etc, that leaves 12.

    Now I’m aware that US citizens get substantially less leave than other developed countries, but 12 days optional leave per year does not sound that extreme to me. If that it a reason to lose an election, we in the West have cause for concern.

    I tend to think that for security reason, holidays by his wife and children should not be publicised, and at the end of the day, they are not Presidents. I hope that Trumps extensive family will receive similar care in a dangerous world for the critically important job they are about to undertake. I also hope they will not assume it is not their job to contribute to the public purse through appropriate taxation and that others should pick up the bill.

    With regard to Obama’s statement on leasure it was absolutely true. Whatever he was doing, he was always President, he always had that important brief case near him. he always had to consider the wellbeing of his country. If you are not prepared to acknowledge that the office of President is a 24/7/364 days responsibility, you should not taking on the job.

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    • Gareth, I repeat. This is a man who said if he were elected President he’d give up on vacations. While I didn’t expect that, I also didn’t expect that he’d take half again as many vacation days as every working man in America.

      w.

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      • Just for comparison here, as a government contractor employee for 20 years, I received 12 paid holidays, plus 30 paid WORKING days vacation a year after 10 years. The 30 days actually equals six weeks, or 42 days, That’s double what Obama took, I’m not an Obama fan, at all. I just wanted to point out in government circles, 20 days a year is nothing. In fact, if a holiday fell on a Friday or Monday, I got the two weekend days a a bonus. It was possible to turn 10 working days and a holiday into a 15 day vacation, which I sometimes did. That left me another month off plus 11 holidays.

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        • I know that for Government employees the terms are insanely generous. I ascribe this to the pernicious effects of public sector employee unions. I’ll write a piece about that, but until then, public sector unions expend their considerable treasure to elect the people who will set their pay and working conditions … what could possibly go wrong?

          w.

          Like

  5. I would not complain about the need for break by the President and his family, however it is necessary to recognise that when he goes anywhere the Office goes with him, there are huge costs to this. Whether Mr Obama was excessive in his need for a break I do not know, but his choice of location could have been more economical given that it is the taxpayer who is paying.

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    • Barry Sheridan December 18, 2016 at 2:08 am

      I would not complain about the need for break by the President and his family

      I repeat. This is a man who said if he were elected President he’d give up on vacations. While I didn’t expect that, I also didn’t expect that he’d take half again as many vacation days as every working man in America.

      w.

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  6. When the company gets this drone back they need to smash it. Thoroughly corrupted. And DJT is correct, let the Chinese keep it since they can’t build anything like it without stealing. Master stroke, in their faces publicly.

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    • Nope. Disassemble it (again), work out what’s changed and get a line on Chinese thinking. Then perhaps wire the brain into a virtual reality matrix and feed false information. Much more fun!

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  7. “This is a man who said if he were elected President he’d give up on vacations”.

    I think I explained the underlying reasons for that statement, and that is, essentially US Presidents are never on vacation. That briefcase is always within reach. I hope Trump never goes on complete leave. I can imagine a hostile power “Can you check the President’s leave schedule? We’ll attack while he is out of town on holiday”

    However, I’m amazed that in the US every working man gets substantially less than 12 days leave.
    “I also didn’t expect that he’d take half again as many vacation days as every working man in America.”
    You are a bit more of a whizz at maths than myself Willis, but rounding this up, from Obamas 12 days a year ( 20 including public holidays) leave it appears that the working citizen gets only 8 days a year as leave. ( 8 plus 4 = 12)
    Eight days? Surely some mistake? No wonder they are angry!

    It’s also worth noting that Obama has taken substantially less leave than his predecessor, Dubya Bush. However, like Obama, it’s unlikely Dubya was ever truly on holiday.

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    • No, that would be Secret Service, NYC and NY state are not guarding him. Outside of Secret Service Trump Tower has a full security force of its own. Now, Deblasio The Corrupt and Cuomo The Insane may be pushing NYPD and NYSP to have increased presence around Trump Tower, that has nothing to do with security and everything to do with LE union overtime scale and the fat payoffs each receive from union leadership. The taxpayers of New York have every right to be pissed off at these Democrat Party hucksters and their minions and DJT is on the side of the taxpayers. And they know it. Oh, and keep defending Barri, always nice to have a good laugh in the morning.

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  8. 2Hotel9
    Thanks for that info which is largely unknown. Can we send a message to all these people? Obviously someone is not being truthful with new York city fathers and taxpayers if your information is correct.
    You also need to update your Congress who are offering to repay some of the costs.

    http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/310944-nypd-intel-chief-trump-security-costs-not-fair-to-new-york-city
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-nyc-idUSKBN13U212
    http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/congress-offers-pay-nyc-back-fraction-trump-security-costs-article-1.2901802

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    • Just looked through your fakenews-R-Us links and can’t find where DJT billed NYC or NY state for anything, nor did he ask them for anything. Rather telling. And no actual proof for your claim W took 3 years vacation in 8 years on job. Okey dokey, then.

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  9. As of January 2016, President Obama has taken 189 vacation days. That’s compared to Pres. G.W. Bush, who took 879 during his two terms in office.
    Obama also said he would not sleep during his term of office, which is pretty unlikely, so I suspect it was again symbolic.
    I would imagine that while Bush took far more leave than Obama, they both worked their socks off while President.
    The least taken in modern times seems to have been Bill Clinton, the most Ronald Reagan
    What seems obvious is that vacations taken are no guide to the success of a Presidency, it’s outcomes that matter.

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    • Barri’s Legacy is massively exacerbated racial tension and economic failure in America. Oh, and a hugely expanded muslim terror war. The Obama Admin and SecState Clinton gave political, financial and material support to the three groups who became ISIL. Perhaps he should have taken more vacations. And I would like to see actual proof of this 879 days of vacation W took. Can it be located in Thomas Law Library/Library of Congress archives, perhaps? Or GAO mayhaps is the repository of this information? Or did that number come from cnn? Inquiring minds and what not.

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      • 2hotel9

        See one ref on Presidents taking leave, there are lots more. It’s a US website which is apparently well regarded, a bit detailed but worth ploughing through if you are interested in these things.
        With regard to the security cost in New York, there is masses of data online from a multitude of sources which is very easy to look up. Congress has agreed to repay some of the cost, but as you say, they should not do so if there is no cost to NYC.
        http://www.factcheck.org/2014/08/presidential-vacations/

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        • Oh, just too funny! You keep rolling out fakenews-R-us links. Want anyone to believe George W Bush took nearly 3 years of vacation during his 2 terms in office then you are required to present the facts that prove that claim. Not links to partisan Democrat Party hacks and leftraded anti-America loons.

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  10. Ah, I regret mentioning the length of Obama’s vacations. Can we return to the question of China and diplomacy? Bloke down the pub notes Trump’s brilliant tweet:

    Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump

    We should tell China that we don’t want the drone they stole back.- let them keep it!

    I’m adding this masterstroke to the head post.

    w.

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    • I saw a very mischievous twitter this morning which asked that Russia also keep the President they had elected ! After today, I think he is confirmed as President due to the meeting of the electoral college?

      Like

  11. Here’s my update to the head post:

    [Update 18 December 2016] Oh, it just gets better. The Negotiator-in-Chief has seen the opportunity I and others overlooked. This from the tweetstream of consciousness @realDonaldTrump…

    We should tell China that we don’t want the drone they stole back.- let them keep it!

    This is brilliant. He’s already said he doesn’t care when or if the Chinese return it. They were planning to hold it for psychological ransom, return it at the precise moment of their choosing … and he’s just blown them totally out of the water. Their hostage is useless.

    We are in uncharted waters here. The President-Elect is conducting foreign diplomacy … and winning …

    Like

  12. Willis, do you think that the “mistake” of using the word unpresidented was deliberate? First, the tweet gets trolled and publicized more. Second, it has the subliminal message that the whole issue and response is “unpresidential”, making fun of Obama’s handling of the case.

    Like

  13. From Wikipedia
    “Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence by ship- or boat-borne attackers upon another ship or a coastal area, typically with the goal of stealing cargo and other valuable items or properties. Those who engage in acts of piracy are called pirates. …”

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  14. Trump told China that their act was Petty Theft, and therefore they’d better put their Thinking Caps on, instead of getting caught red-handed with their pants down. I had to grab for mine right off! Meanwhile China’s been dealing with Mighty Barack The Community Organizer, who came across some random American in his front yard and got his a** handed to him by Joe The Plumber.

    Like

  15. Pingback: The Pre-President Practices Pre-Diplomacy | Skating on the underside of the ice

  16. Pingback: The Art Of Sending A Message | Skating on the underside of the ice | Cranky Old Crow

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