by Brent Ayscough
The Taiwanese are a lovely lot of people. They have a military defense, but they are fully aware that if the Mainland Chinese ever decide to take the country, the only thing they can do is to try to hold them off a short while until the US and others come to their rescue. Would the US do that? You might ask yourself, would our president actually declare war on Mainland China, or would he just talk tough with his “sanctions” idea.
Dealing with the military in Taiwan over defense items is in part the subject of my story The Visitor. The arms merchant Baron Von Limbach has his office there. He sells to the Taiwan military, and to others.
Money is very much the lingua franca. Deals for military equipment, aircraft, boats, and military related items are done with bribes of one kind or another.
Apart from the bribes, the method of the dealings is also interesting. In the negotiations for something military, the parties, that is, the government or the military officers, meet with the supplier in a room. A secretary brings in a fresh container of tea as they empty, and it is sipped throughout. The negotiations may go on for a few days over something big. The language skills are important, so someone like the fictional Baron Von Limbach, even though he speaks Mandarin, would probably not be the head negotiator as the language is too important. The parties go back and forth, with very slight movement in their positions.
Of interest is that, when a deal is finally made, they do not quite bargaining. They may continue to request some movement on the other side.
In my story, The Visitor, there are transactions that are based on actual events over such dealings.
As an example, the Taiwan government decided some years ago that it wanted some helicopters to police the Taiwan Strait, that is, the narrow waterway between Taiwan and Mainland. A contender was the smaller, inexpensive Robinson helicopter made at Torrance, California. Mr. Robinson was very afraid of product liability.
I put together a proposal for an arms merchant in Taiwan for the Taiwan military that would have not allowed product liability suits from Taiwanese military pilots against the US company. The helicopters would have installed on them French made Forward Looking Infrared Radar, or FLIR.
But, Chinese are not known for flying skills, to put it mildly. That goes for driving cars as well. So, to impress Mr. Robinson, I set up a proposal to have their pilots come to Torrance, California, to be trained in an intensive course with interpreters. It was assumed, at least by me, that a very large number of the helicopters would be crashed when being flown in Taiwan. The deal almost went through, except that a dispute arose regarding commissions to be paid with the French.
Brent Ayscough or Ace, as he is known to friends, retired from the practice of law and lives in a house overlooking the sea in Southern California. He has always loved machines, from airplanes to motorcycles, structural design, and other interests. He has enjoyed the acquaintance of diverse and interesting people, and is widely traveled. Bits and pieces of characters he has known, places he has been, seasoned with the spice of his imagination, help him create unusual stories and characters. Extensive collaboration with experts and sources, hopefully, make his stories credible and interesting.
The Visitor by Brent Ayscough, Black Opal Books, Tradepaper/ebook