The diplomatic establishment is all atwitter about Donald Trump’s alleged gaffes, such as taking phone calls from the president of Taiwan and from the president of the Philippines.
Talking to the president of Taiwan is deeply offensive to China. The phone call is a violation of our “one China” policy and constitutes a tacit recognition of the free democratic nation that China claims for its own. Never mind that the U.S. gives military aid to the island nation, which is also a major trading partner. Diplomatically, it doesn’t exist.
But Trump, in refusing to tip-toe around Chinese sensitivities, is simply signaling that he is going to get tough with China, which is what he promised to do in his campaign.
As for Rodrigo Duterte, the foul-mouthed president of the Philippines who is using extra-judicial death squads against drug dealers, he is a pariah. After personally insulting President Barack Obama, Duterte announced that he is cutting back on the long-term military relationship with the U.S. and is going to start favoring China. Some say that Duterte and Trump are kindred spirits. We must hope not, at least about the death squads, but Trump may have won over Duterte–who is glowing with the attention from the American president–and thus retained an important military ally. Which will also torment China.
Read Marc Thiesen’s analysis of Trump’s diplomacy after the jump.
From Marc A. Thiessen, Trump’s Taiwan call wasn’t a blunder. It was brilliant. – The Washington Post:
Donald Trump’s phone call with the president of Taiwan wasn’t a blunder by an inexperienced president-elect unschooled in the niceties of cross-straits diplomacy.
It was a deliberate move — and a brilliant one at that.
The phone call with President Tsai Ing-wen was reportedly carefully planned, and Trump was fully briefed before the call, according to The Post. It’s not that Trump was unfamiliar with the “Three Communiques” or unaware of the fiction that there is “One China.” Trump knew precisely what he was doing in taking the call. He was serving notice on Beijing that it is dealing with a different kind of president — an outsider who will not be encumbered by the same Lilliputian diplomatic threads that tied down previous administrations. The message, as John Bolton correctly put it, was that “the president of the United States [will] talk to whomever he wants if he thinks it’s in the interest of the United States, and nobody in Beijing gets to dictate who we talk to.”
Photo, Taiwan Roadside Cemetery by Fred Hsu (Wikipedia:User:Fred Hsu on en.wikipedia) (Photo taken and uploaded by user) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons