Just to be absolutely clear, I’m whatever the polar opposite of “enthusiastic” is when it comes to documenting every twist and turn in the US-China trade narrative, which at this point seems to have evolved (or maybe “devolved” is better) into a daily tug-of-war between, on one hand, reciprocal kidnappings and, on the other, incessant headlines about how many soybeans China is buying.
I have absolutely no idea what is going on behind the scenes and contrary to what you might be inclined to think if you’re inexplicably reading each one of the dozens of stories that are published every morning about the above-mentioned tug-of-war, neither does anybody else.
The sheer blatant absurdity in all of this is captured very succinctly in the following headline which, if you had just woken up from a three-year nap and didn’t have any idea who’s President or what’s been going on, you’d surely think was from The Onion:
North Korea Fixer for Dennis Rodman Probed by China Spy Agency
That is a real headline and the worst part about being someone who hasn’t been asleep for the past three years, is that it’s immediately recognizable as something that might in fact be real because after all, Dennis Rodman is now part of the geopolitical narrative thanks to his cameo at the already surreal Trump-Kim summit in Singapore where the best rebounder in NBA history showed up wearing a MAGA hat and a Potcoin.com t-shirt.
Well, now, Michael Spavor is being interrogated by Chinese authorities for “suspected activities harming state security.”
That news immediately raises the following series of questions: Wait, who is Michael Spavor? And what does he have to do with Dennis Rodman? And why are we talking about Dennis Rodman again? And then, naturally, what universe is this we’re living in?
The answer to that latter question remains unclear, but as to the others, Spavor is a Canadian citizen, known for “escorting” foreigners into North Korea. Among those foreigners: Dennis Rodman.
Spavor is now the second Canadian citizen being investigated by China. The first is former diplomat Michael Kovrig, who was (basically) kidnapped by the Chinese in retaliation for Canada’s ill-advised decision to go along with US plans to (basically) kidnap Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou.
I’ve documented the Meng story extensively here. She was nabbed in Vancouver on December 1st around the same time Trump was having dinner with Xi Jinping in Buenos Aires. She went free on $7.5 million bail on Monday and Trump is now trying to figure out whether he can intervene on her behalf in the interest of “national security”, which is itself highly absurd, because the whole reason she was arrested in the first place was for her alleged role in evading sanctions on Iran in her official capacity at Huawei, which is at the forefront of US efforts to protect national security. This entire thing is a self-referential insanity loop, which makes it completely consistent with everything else Trump touches.
As Huawei’s Meng Freed On Bail, Trump Says He May Intervene To Save Trade Deal
As mind-bogglingly silly as all of the above most assuredly is, it gets even sillier the more details you read. For instance, Canada was informed about Kovrig’s detention when Ottawa received an actual fax from China, which I guess means their carrier pigeons were busy or else their Morse code machine wasn’t working this week.
It’s obvious (although nobody from Canada or China will admit it) that Kovrig’s arrest was retaliation for Meng’s detention, but less obvious is whether Spavor, Dennis Rodman’s Canadian tour guide on trips to North Korea, is connected to Kovrig.
Spavor has a Twitter account (of course) which lists his location as Pyongyang and he was last “seen” tweeting a picture of some random guy riding a bicycle in Sariwon.
The tweet was removed, but Spavor was seemingly in great spirits on Sunday. Another weekend tweet suggested he was en route to Seoul. Suffice to say he never made it.
The overarching message here appears to be that if you’re Canadian, you shouldn’t be anywhere near China, because until such a time as Canada frees Beijing’s Meng, various and sundry Kovrigs and Spavors are subject to being arrested on the spot.
For his part, Guy Saint-Jacques, a former ambassador to China (and a regular Sherlock Holmes, apparently) had this to offer (and this quote is all over the place, serving as an anchor for multiple media outlets’ coverage of this wild farce):
There’s no coincidence with China. In this case, it is all related in my view to the strategy presently pursued by the Chinese leadership to put as much political pressure as possible on the Canadian government and it’s related, obviously, to the case of Mrs. Meng.
What isn’t as “obvious” is how we’ve reached a point in international affairs where Canada and China are engaged in a kidnap contest involving, on one hand, a high profile Chinese executive who just coughed up $7.5 million dollars for the privilege of awaiting a possible extradition to the US from one of the two multi-million dollar homes her family owns in Vancouver, and on the other, a former Canadian diplomat and a guy with connections to Dennis Rodman.
4 thoughts on “Kovrig, Meng, Spavor, Rodman And The Twilight Zone We Now Call Reality”
Oh, I am sure he is completely innocent and the whole thing was connived just to embarrass him and he has never even heard of someplace called Shinna . . .
FYI, Canada is a collateral victim not an accomplice in this ludicrous affair. Under the terms of their extradition treaty with the US, Canada has no other option than to detain Meng until the US Justice department has presented its case for extradition. The Canadian courts can then determine to extradite or not based on the evidence presented. The Minister of Justice has final say and can refuse to extradite, particularly if it is clear the motivation behind the extradition request is political in nature.
yeah, completely agree. it’s unfortunate.
They sound like names for new drugs:
Rodman – Erectile dysfunction
Spavor – Depression
Kovrig – Rheumatoid arthritis
Meng – FDA approved THC without the ‘kick’