Donald Trump

Trump Takes Call From Taiwan President, Freak Out Ensues

Not quite an unprecedented break in protocol.

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darren birgenheier/flickr

On Friday, President-elect Donald Trump and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen talked on the phone for about 10 minutes—no president or president-elect had spoken to the president of Taiwan since the U.S. withdrew its diplomatic recognition of Taiwan in 1979.

The Chinese government lodged a formal complaint about the call with the U.S. government, calling the one China policy "the political basis of the China-U.S. relationship." The White House reasserted U.S. support for the one China policy after the phone call. The policy is also something both major parties in Taiwan accept in principle although, like different U.S. administrations, they differ on their interpretation of what "one China" means for Taiwan's political independence.

Many observers insisted the phone call was unprecedented; Vanity Fair suggested it and other "flippant calls" were already creating diplomatic crises. Critics said it could "alter decades of foreign policy," The Guardian reported. Some experts did note the call could've been a "calculated move."

The last few weeks have been filled with chatter about news not comporting with the political mainstream being equivalent to Russian propaganda. Overplaying fears about the recklessness of Trump's Taiwan call would certainly look to play into Chinese propaganda about the importance of not engaging Taiwan, yet it doesn't mean such fears are a part of a propaganda network. That would be preposterous. China's China Daily insisted there was "no need to over-interpret" the Trump call, writing it off, like other state-run outlets in China, as a product of the Trump team's "inexperience." China also called the move "petty" on Taiwan's part, and reached out to Henry Kissinger to tell him they hoped for "stability."

As Foreign Policy notes, the phone call was not an unprecedented breach of protocol in U.S.-China relations—in 1980 and 1981 the incoming Reagan administration sought to renormalize relations with Taiwan, inviting senior officials to various inauguration events. When the Chinese government suggested the U.S. revisit the Taiwan Relations Act, which governs U.S. relations with Taiwan, Reagan told his envoy the act should be even tougher. "Beijing stopped pushing and the Reagan administration enjoyed a far more productive and stable U.S.-PRC relationship than his predecessors, while simultaneously deepening trust with Taiwan," Foreign Policy's Michael Green wrote, acknowledging that the Trump administration would find it "difficult to sustain this first move when there are so many other thorny issues they will have to work with Beijing."

For his part, Trump took to Twitter to defend his call, insisting the Taiwan president had called him, and pointing out that it was "interesting how the U.S. sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call." International relations professor Dan Drezner suggested on Twitter that the phone call was more important than "some guns" because it was an action that threatened "the core of the PRC's self-conception of its sovereignty." The U.S. has completed dozens of arms deals with Taiwan since the 1979.

China's response to the call was described as "measured," but while Trump team officials tried to downplay the significance of the phone call, Trump returned to Twitter to bring up other issues with China, complaining that the country did not ask for permission to "manipulate" its currency or militarize the South China Sea. Neither, though, did the U.S. ask China for permission to engage in the "Asia pivot," which Obama announced in Australia in 2011 and which sought to increase the U.S. military presence and American influence in the regions around China. For some reason, four years later, the Obama administration was still confused why the Chinese government had begun to take a more confrontational stance vis a vis the United States. It's a basic lack of understanding that undercuts the idea that the State Department officials and other foreign policy advisors necessarily have some kind of enlightened understanding of the messy business of international relations.

U.S.-China relations are bound to change to some degree under any new administration. In his election victory speech, Trump claimed under his administration the U.S. would "get along with all other nations willing to get along with us." Some normalization of U.S.-Taiwan relations could possibly be something China supports in exchange for some U.S. demilitarization in the region. It's also possible, though highly unlikely, for U.S.-China talks to produce an arrangement where the U.S. can have friendlier relations and less military obligations in the region. Trump sometimes talked about the U.S. no longer being the policeman of the world on the campaign trail. Given the anti-trade rhetoric toward China, it's hard to see that thinking taking hold in East Asia (or the rest of the world). That's unfortunate, because freer trade and less military entanglements in East Asia (and the rest of the world) would be good for peace and good for the U.S. economy, which Trump says he wants, as well as for the global economy. But until Trump takes office and goes in another direction, the possibility still exists.

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  1. How dare he go back on the precedent set by Jimmy Carter! How dare he not appease the communists!

    1. In all this freaking out, I have yet to hear any of the ChiCom supporters mention that Carter’s unilateral abrogation of a treaty actually was unprecedented for real. Sen. Barry Goldwater and others took it to the Supreme Court, and unfortunately lost.

  2. “Of course you know, this means WAR!”

  3. Trump Takes Call From Taiwan President, Freak Out Ensues

    Up until now, the media’s take on Trump has been so measured and sober.

    1. The Media would find a way to freak out over Trump if he raised Ghandi, Pope John Paul II, or someone similar from the dead.

      1. To be fair, that would be a valid reason to freak out.

        1. Especially John Paul. With how loved he is, people would claim him as the second coming of Jesus.

          1. Hmm. And his name was “Formosus” (“Formose” in French), which sounds awfully like a former name of Taiwan.

    2. Le freak, c’est chic…

    3. Sounds like the western press just doesn’t like women in a position of power.

      This week you can watch Penn Jillette freak out (briefly) about this phone call here. I gave the wrong time hack in an earlier thread. After Sunday, you have to catch just the audio on his website.

      1. I used to like that guy.

        1. I still do, when he is talking show business, magic or carney stuff. You know, something he actually knows something about.

          If you back the video up about 30 min, you can hear him talk about telling his daughter that he dropped his dick in a hair dryer.

  4. The Chinese government lodged a formal complaint about the call with the U.S. government, calling the one China policy “the political basis of the China-U.S. relationship.”

    Too fucking bad. Suck it, China.

    1. it was an action that threatened “the core of the PRC’s self-conception of its sovereignty.”

      They do seem to be a little over-sensitive.

      1. professionally over sensitive…kind of like a default state of being

    2. Did they use a very strongly worded telegram, or did it go straight to Mrs. Clinton’s Blackberry?

  5. Being someone old who spends his day mostly telling kids to get off my lawn, I remember when politicians and the media said that trading with China would cause it to change its political system.

    But instead we gave the Chinese trillions of dollars and now they demand to control the US and they remain a communist dictatorship.

    1. Giving people money and trade magically makes them peaceful. Didn’t you know that?

      1. Even crazier is giving communist dictatorships trillions of dollars in the hope that they will change when in fact it just entrenches the dictatorship.

        But these are “good” communists since you can now buy a table fan at Wal Mart for $5

      2. Ask the Saxons about the Danes.

      3. trade with China so that they might act like a buffer between us and Russia. it worked in some case but not others

        1. Yes, that was the Nixon/Kissinger calculus. In the old cold war environment it made some sense. Makes no sense at all now.

          BTW, Kissinger commented in some interview about trying to get in touch with the PRC, going through other communist countries proved worthless because the PRC hated them more than the rest. Seemed like that should have been a clue that we didn’t need to cozy up with the ChiComs for the Soviets to have a large enemy at their border. They already had one.

      4. It has given me magically priced electronics. I’m happy

        1. They make cheap electronics a lot of places. We were already getting those from Japan and Korea.

          1. Plus, just how freaking cheap do they have to be anyway? I know, zero is perfect. But I read some years ago that automobile parts manufacturing was moving out of the PRC for more hospitable places, like Kansas.

      5. George F. Will had a good comment on this a few years ago on a Charlie Rose show, IIRC. He was under the impression that opening trade with the PRC would increase their liberty. Instead, all we have seen is slaves with nicer stuff (my paraphrasing there).

    2. But instead we gave the Chinese trillions of dollars

      In exchange for goods, you mean?

      1. Made by workers under a communist regime who if they object too much to the deal they get can get a bullet in the back of the head.

        1. works for me

    3. Re: DJF,

      I remember when politicians and the media said that trading with China would cause it to change its political system.

      But they DID change their political system. They’re now becoming imperial, just like the USA.

      1. They have always been imperial.

        They have disguised it to a degree by taking over neighboring areas and out breeding the locals. See Tibet for a present day example.

        1. “They have always been imperial…”

          Because those sneaky Chinks are having babies and disguising them as Tibetans.

          1. you think it’s easy disguising a baby as a Tibetan? not so much…

    4. Well, they did wise up and change their economic system. Realizing that communism does not actually work, they switched to a highly cronyized form of capitalism and kept the totalitarian government intact. Most of the country is still living in poverty, but the West’s desire for their cheap stuff has made some communist party members incredibly wealthy.

    5. Too bad we can’t open up a wormhole to an Earth-2 where we didn’t normalize trade relations with China so we could make an objective case for whether trade has been a net positive for its people.

      Since we can’t do that, it’s hard to say that poor Chinese people are worse off under the current crony system than they would be if they had held a hard line on Communism like North Korea or Cuba.

      1. “it’s hard to say that poor Chinese people are worse off under the current crony system than they would be if they had held a hard line on Communism like North Korea or Cuba.”

        Why is it hard to say that? Crony capitalism is tailored to serve the wealthy and powerful of China, not the poor. It should obvious.

        1. How much of a middle class is there in China?

          How much is there in North Korea or Cuba?

          1. “How much is there in North Korea or Cuba?”

            The point you’re missing is that the poor of NK or Cuba are better provided for than the poor of China. Whether that’s important to you is a different matter.

  6. That’s unfortunate, because freer trade and less military entanglements in East Asia (and the rest of the world) would be good for peace and good for the U.S. economy,

    Good for peace? Really? To believe that is true, you have to believe that US involvement abroad has produced more wars rather than less. To pretty interesting claim and one that very few people outside the hard left would agree with.

    It is a small thing but still an annoying bit of idiocy.

    1. The “hard” left thinks that free trade is good?

      1. That’s pretty obviously a statement about US military involvement, the very thing Ed was advocating.

    2. “To believe that is true, you have to believe that US involvement abroad has produced more wars rather than less.”

      How many overseas wars is the US engaged in at the moment?

      1. counting Korean guard duty or not and how about the war on drugs do we include that or not?

        1. I’m asking the questions here. If Jack ever gets around to answering me, I’ll chime in with a response to you.

  7. Wake me when Trump starts shipping arms to the Falun Gong.

  8. Also, the ‘One China’ policy is bullshit. It’s basically where if China can find a map that shows at any point in their history that they controlled some piece of territory, its theirs forever into perpetuity because of the evil colonializms. Because when yellow guys with guns do it, it’s OK.

    1. It’s basically where if China can find a map that shows at any point in their history that they controlled some piece of territory, its theirs forever into perpetuity because of the evil colonializms.

      And??? – V. Putin

    2. Interestingly, Taiwan’s territorial claims under its version of the One China policy are quite a bit larger than the current borders of the PRC and include pieces of Russia, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, India, Japan, and Bhutan and the entirety of Mongolia.

      1. It’s much easier to draw a pretty map than it is to occupy foreign territory.

      2. Hong Kong was to be returned to the Republic of China, which is now in Taiwan. Didn’t work out that way.

        1. Supplies to Chiang Kai-shek were supposed to be delivered to the mainland, but the US sent them to Taiwan instead. It is as if everybody who spoke English in the 20th century wanted the ChiComs to win, when there was something important going on.

        2. The island itself was meant to be British Territory Forever. The expired lease was on Kowlong. ie mainland

    3. “Absolutely correct.” ?Every Islamist

  9. This phone call is going to directly cause a literal nuclear holocaust. Of course, many on the left could love to see all of humanity wiped from the planet.

    1. Overpopulation has been eradicated! Eco-utopia is now reality!

      1. Funny how Ecotopia looks like the Fallout series.

        1. +1 Iguana on a Stick and Nuka-Cola

        2. Thanks to the greens we have a mineshaft gap.

        1. That looks like something you might give to your friends and family if you want them to never speak to you again.

          *makes Christmas list*

  10. The Chinese kleptocrat thugs has a sad? Fuck ’em!

    1. Y’all fuck ’em. I’m picky about where I put that.

      1. wouldn’t fuck em with someone else’s dick!

  11. Tsai Ing-wen: ” Hello – I would like to congratulate you on your election.”

    Trump: ” You can thank my hot piece of ass wife for that, Chinaman.”

    1. Umm… Chinawoman.

  12. This is negotiation 101. You tell the other guy their sweet status quo isn’t a given any more, then you can sell bits of it back to them in exchange for what you want.

    You notice who isn’t freaking out about this? The ChiComs.

    I’m also very curious about how taking a pretty free country that we trade with pretty freely, and stuffing it into a communist dictatorship, is a victory for free trade.

    1. Remember the narrative: free trade is an enemy when Obama was actively against it, but it’s a friend now because we think that Trump might be against it. Being a partisan requires you to totally ignore reason and cognitive dissonance.

    2. I’m also very curious about how taking a pretty free country that we trade with pretty freely, and stuffing it into a communist dictatorship, is a victory for free trade.

      That’s an interesting way of saying, “we’ve never let the Chinese invade Taiwan and probably never will, and part of the exchange for that is that we don’t formally disavow the ‘One China’ policy or politically recognize Taiwan.”

      I imagine the only people old enough to remember or care when Taiwan was Formosa and Chiang fled there after failing to win mainland China are the Chinese politburo. I think they have enough problems without Taiwan right now. But that’s also a time when many a successful leader (successful at not hanging until dead) points his people outward.

      1. Yeah, even the status quo isn’t a communist takeover of Taiwan, true. Still, it seems to me that free trade is better served the more clear it is that Taiwan is fully independent of the communist dictatorship next door.

        1. “it seems to me that free trade is better served the more clear it is that Taiwan is fully independent of the communist dictatorship next door.”

          Taiwan must be prevented from trading with Red China, by far her biggest trading partner, because Free Trade. Take this job and Trump it!

      2. We should have unleashed Chaing.

        1. “We should have unleashed Chaing.”

          Rest assured, he busied himself massacring the locals.

      3. Chiang Kai-shek had a little disagreement with the US. The US demanded he include the communists in his government, and he refused. After his refusal, all fuel supplies by the US to his forces in the mainland were diverted to Taiwan.

        The Soviets, supplying Mao, oddly never made such an inclusion demand on Mao’s government.

    3. It’s only a victory for “free trade”, BTW, if you think that ZOMG CHINA’S GOING TO KILL US AND WWIII IS IMMINENT! Much of proggy Twitter was like that yesterday.

      1. Glad I’m not on twitter.

      2. Wait, I thought it was Putin who was going to do us in? I mean he hacked our democracy, so what can’t the guy do?

    4. You notice who isn’t freaking out about this? The ChiComs.

      They have read, and know by heart, two books, Counselor:

      1) The Art of War; and,

      2) The Art of the Deal (no joke, it’s one of the best selling books in China).

      They know quite well what Troomp is about and how to prepare for it. Don’t forget, China is part of the Customs Union with Russia, so they are used to dealing with a bully in Putin/Gazprom, and Putin and Troomp admittedly share a personality quirk or two.

      1. How well did that Sun-Tzu stuff serve them when the Englishmen showed up with guns? Or for that matter the Japanese?

        1. Who is currently enjoying the high ground?

          1. Obi-Wan Kenobi?

            1. Woo Tang Clan?

          2. Project Thor? Brilliant Pebbles?

            “You don’t actually think they spend $20,000 on a hammer, $30,000 on a toilet seat, do you?” /Judd Hirsch

        2. “How well did that Sun-Tzu stuff serve them when the Englishmen showed up with guns?”

          Guns don’t win wars. That’s an American conception. Look at Afghanistan or Iraq if you think it holds any water. Sun Tzu says it all comes down to superior generaling.

          1. “Guns don’t win wars. That’s an American conception. Look at Afghanistan or Iraq if you think it holds any water. Sun Tzu says it all comes down to superior generaling.”

            Imbecile arrives, makes imbecilic statements.

          2. Guns don’t win wars. That’s an American conception.

            No it’s not, it’s a constant of military warfare past the pike-and-shot era that as long as your officership is marginally competent and doesn’t openly set you up on bad terrain (i.e. the possibility of ambush or the cutting of your supply lines) guns are absolutely superior to any traditional army.

            And Sun Tzu says it primarily comes down to your general being a Daoist master and using military intelligence, strategic manipulation and any advantage you have (i.e. guns) to confuse your opponent into making a fatal mistake. “Superior generaling’ is the dumbest description of Sun Tzu I’ve ever seen.

            1. From memory, mind you, but The Art of War states that the highest form of war is to disrupt an enemy’s alliances, essentially what the Taleban did when they infiltrated the puppet national police and military and started popping off our boys. Second highest is disrupting enemy’s communications. Military engagement, the kind requiring your pikes and so on comes way down the list.

              1. I’m sorry, I thought we were talking about your ‘superior generaling’ argument here, not diplomacy and counter-intelligence. Thank you for discrediting your own position.

                1. Sun Tsu’s generals are responsible for diplomacy and intelligence. They are not restricted to the battlefield. Kind of like Obama, our commander in chief. Sun Tzu assumed his generals were about winning, again unlike the modern American notion where victory is not sought after and the ‘aim’ is to drag the conflict out interminably.

        3. When a country is beset by internal conflicts, when disease and famine ravage the population, when corruption and crime are rampant, then it will be unable to deal with an outside threat. This is the time to attack. Keep gathering internal information about an enemy. If the enemy is currently in its weakest state ever, attack it without mercy and totally destroy it to prevent future troubles.

          Disrupt the enemy’s formations, interfere with their methods of operations, change the rules in which they are used to following, go contrary to their standard training. In this way you remove the supporting pillar, the common link that makes a group of men an effective fighting force.

          Sounds like the English and Japanese knew their Sun Tzu.

    5. This is negotiation 101. You tell the other guy their sweet status quo isn’t a given any more, then you can sell bits of it back to them in exchange for what you want.

      The Chinese follow this strategy to the extreme. Asian politics is packed with kind of nonsense. Every little meaningless event like this phone call, which gained the US nothing, will be met with demands for new concessions. The govt controls the Chinese media (and the western media eats it up, especially when it fits their own agendas). So they are opportunistically looking for anything that they can use as as excuse to demand more. The only thing they actually care about is lining their own pockets and keeping their rivals (i.e., Japan) weak.

      1. While the Chinese may want us to both (a) revert to their preferred status quo and (b) give them something extra for the privilege of giving them what they want anyway, only a truly retarded negotiator would agree to such a deal.

        1. So its a lock that will happen.

          1. Obama’s leaving office.

            1. Same foreign service.

      2. “The only thing they actually care about is lining their own pockets and keeping their rivals (i.e., Japan) weak.”

        The Chinese also care about ‘face,’ and Trump’s decision to talk to Taiwan is a loss of face. Like it or not, being seen as equals to Westerners like Americans is important to the Chinese.

        1. I don’t buy that shit for a second. When dictators are pocketing billions and would end up in front of a firing squad the second the game was up, they get really good at focusing on substance over style.

          Every little piece of this game boils down to money in the pockets of the leadership and their cronies, which in turn means support of their regime and therefore their lives.

          1. “I don’t buy that shit for a second. ”

            But you’ve never had to negotiate with the Chinese, have you? I have, and believe me things go a lot more smoothly if they feel you respect them. Trump is only making the task of making a deal more difficult by snubbing them.

  13. Also, this probably gave Thomas L. Friedman a sad, so again a good thing.

  14. I wonder how much of this “freakout” is slimebags in the west trying to endear themselves with the communists for personal financial gain.

  15. I had a business trip to Guangzhou about 10 years ago.

    I have one memory that will stay with me for a long time. On the ride to the airport, we saw a team of 30 or 40 women stooped over cutting the grass in the median with hand shears. Why use power equipment when you have a billion underemployed citizens to deal with?

    1. So they decided to put that Keynsian ditch-digging thought experiment to the test, eh?

  16. For some reason, four years later, the Obama administration was still confused why the Chinese government had begun to take a more confrontational stance vis a vis the United States.

    Barack Obama: perpetually surprised by unintended consequences.

    1. He (nor they) wasn’t surprised, and this result is not unintended, BP. You have already forgotten Barry Obumbles and the World Apology Tour Band?

      1. Pretty impressive move, doc. They pissed off a major trading partner, and got nothing in return. China is still supporting N Korea, still rattling sabers in the Spratleys, and hasn’t given any other concessions I’m aware of (if I missed something, please let me know). A true Obama move – make the US worse off, and get nothing in return.

    2. He hadn’t seen in the news sooooo….surprise!

    3. Speaking of which, remember when all was ‘unilateralism’ under Bush? Strange how that word disappeared in the last eight years given Obama wasn’t exactly multilateralist, right?

      1. “Strange how that word disappeared in the last eight years given Obama wasn’t exactly multilateralist, right?”

        Look into the attack on Libya. You can’t get any more multilateralist than that, UN sponsored no-fly zone and all.

        1. To steal oil even! Libya was invaded so Quadfi would not decided to sell his oil to the Chinese instead of the Europeans, and to help some people connected to the Clintons make a buttload of money keeping that from happening….

          1. there’s nothing more multilateral than a buttload of money

    4. The Obama Administration is not necessarily the same as Obama. I doubt he gave that much thought to the specifics.

  17. If the White House is supporting the Chinese version of the one-China policy, why has it been selling arms to Taiwan over the last years?!

  18. Vanity Fair suggested it and other “flippant calls” were already creating diplomatic crises.

    I eagerly await Trump’s prank call to the Queen of England inquiring if she has Prince Albert in a can.

    1. I wonder what they were saying in 1996 when the PRC was firing rockets into the Taiwan Strait, in an apparent attempt to sway an election in Taiwan?

      My guess is cheering.

  19. Dan Drezner suggested on Twitter that the phone call was more important than “some guns”

    “Phone call”…. “anti-ship missile systems”….

    I say phone call = clearly bigger deal. Top People Say So!

    Yes we sell them billions in weapons all the time. Although last year was the first after a “significant” pause.

    Despite strong opposition from China, the Obama administration authorized a $1.83 billion weapons sale to Taiwan Wednesday, marking the first U.S. arms shipment to the island in four years. Consisting almost exclusively of defensive weapons, the military package includes two U.S. Navy guided Oliver Hazard Perry class missile frigates, amphibious assault vehicles, and anti-aircraft and anti-ship systems

    ….
    The statement from Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang called the deal “a serious violation of international laws … as well as China’s territory and security interest.

    Editorials characterized the sale as “modest”…. “attempting to avoid incurring Beijing’s wrath”…. … or suggesting that it was ‘increasingly provocative’ due to 2015 conflicts w/ China over the Spratley Islands.

    So nice to see Reason devoting some attention to the topic, even if only for the purpose of echoing a horseshit media-narrative.

    1. military package includes two U.S. Navy guided Oliver Hazard Perry class missile frigates, amphibious assault vehicles, and anti-aircraft and anti-ship systems

      Wow. That’s a pretty good deal. I wonder if I can get one of those frigates for my own for $800M?

    2. Where am I echoing the narrative? Did you click on the Drezner link?

      1. i take that last sentence back. It was undeserved. I think i read sentences like this….

        Overplaying fears about the recklessness of Trump’s Taiwan call would certainly look to play into Chinese propaganda about the importance of not engaging Taiwan, yet it doesn’t mean such fears are a part of a propaganda network.

        …and the subsequent paragraph, and misinterpreted the take.

        I’m still not 100% sure what the angle here is = a big nothingburger, or “significant”

        1. My intended angle was how silly the freak out was and what the potential upside of the call could end up being. Thanks for the input!

          1. *and no = i didn’t click on the Dresner tweet, which would totally have made things clearer.

            I read your first few paragraphs and what i was getting was a “”some say X” and “some say Y” and each side’s view is probably equally relevant and both have decent points””…. etc…. Your tweet to him pretty much crystallized the same point i was suggesting myself.

            1. Thanks! This is helpful in thinking about how I write. I like presenting both sides, I don’t like leaving the impression that they’re equally valid.

              1. I don’t like leaving the impression that they’re equally valid.

                i come from a world where “ideal writing” is when all of your thoughts fit neatly into 3 bullet points. (research-note cover letters)

                I would get shit if there were 4 (god forbid more), or if the first and last sentences weren’t declarative and easy-to-quote.

                I’m sure not everyone is this way, but i similarly skim first and last paragraphs, looking for the “core point”, then go back and browse the rest.

  20. I think some of this furor is due to the way that Americans interface with foreigners.

    On a personal level, if you’re studying abroad or talking to some girls in an Amsterdam cafe, Americans tend to be very self-effacing and walk on eggshells. This is due to either 1) the Americans being progs and being embarrassed by the US or 2) the Americans being normals and just wanting to have a normal conversation that’s not about American imperialism or redneck guns or government healthcare… (I’ve been there many times).

    I think Obama-types tend to carry this point of view into actual official diplomatic conversations. This is monumentally stupid. However you want to measure it, the US is the most powerful country in the world. We don’t need to eggshell. We can afford some uncomfortable conversation. We’re don’t have to avoid serious conversations so we can try to bang some French chick.

    1. It all revolves around the elitist idea of looking down at certain values as being “ugly Americanism” and from “new wealth”, looking at the rest of the Western World as being “culturally rich” and from “old wealth”. Bigotry is truly at the heart of progressive ideology, so much so that they can’t even make a simple decision of what food to eat without condescension of the “others”.

    2. talking to some girls in an Amsterdam cafe, Americans tend to be very self-effacing and walk on eggshells

      that’s not how i remember it. 🙂

      I think Obama-types tend to carry this point of view into actual official diplomatic conversations

      you make a good point; i don’t think its entirely a product of ‘obama-types’ tho. I think the media (esp during election seasons) creates this impression that the President is wholly responsible for our reputation abroad, and that every tiny he thing he does will either raise or lower our “standing” in the world.

      Meanwhile, they actually completely ignore business deals we do abroad, or military actions we take with people’s neighbors (or off their shores) and pretend that these things have zero significance.

      its a ridiculous over-weighting of trivial behavior, and ignorance of ‘stuff that matters’. If the left tends to respond to the trivial stuff, its because they take their cues from the news media that spins things this way.

      for example – when Kerry got into an “insult-competition” with Israel? Or when Obama vetos statements made by our ‘top diplomat’?

      That stuff matters. Other nations see that and go, “they don’t have their shit together”.

    3. This is due to either 1) the Americans being progs and being embarrassed by the US or 2) the Americans being normals and just wanting to have a normal conversation that’s not about American imperialism or redneck guns or government healthcare… (I’ve been there many times).

      100% true, and I have seen this many, many, many times with American tourists in Euro-landia. (I have admittedly ‘overcompensated’ a Slavic accent to get a more honest discourse with tourists. Works every time and entertains my wife to no end.)

      The number of Proggie Americans who will flat out trash the USA really tends to make my blood boil, and I have given bad directions before for that very reason. *chuckles*

  21. Interesting how the U.S. sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call.

    I thought Trump’s twitter post on the media freakout was brilliant.

    Does China really gives a shit that Trump took a phone call from the Taiwanese President? Oh but a bunch of political science weasels freak out because “protocol” wasn’t followed. WOW DONALD TRUMP AM SO STUPID!

    1. Does China really gives a shit that Trump took a phone call from the Taiwanese President?

      yes, probably.

      But i think the point (which trump makes badly,)… is that there’s no reason to think that “not offending China” should be the prime objective of US foreign relations.

      I personally just think its odd that the US Navy can play chicken with China in the south china sea, yet the news-media gets more frothy about a “Phone Call”.

      1. It’s because he was toyed with by the Taiwanese and didn’t understand what was going on. China is not too pissed off because they know they’re not exactly dealing with Nixon here, but more like a semi-sentient cabbage patch doll.

        It’s the complete lack of knowledge or interest in the world, stupid.

        1. It’s the complete lack of knowledge or interest in the world, stupid.

          And yet, Obama won re-election…

          1. Hey, he ate some dog as a child in Indonesia. That makes him a 3d chessmaster the likes of which our adversaries haven’t seen since Monroe. Just look at how stable the western world is today – we are truly in his debt.

          2. Derpty derpty do, you sure got me there.

            1. Just own up to your guy’s shittiness. It’s not that fucking hard.

        2. It’s always funny to see Tony, a man who has proven himself time and time again to be profoundly ignorant of anything outside the United States (DURR STATES’ RIGHTS ONLY EXIST TO ENFORCE AMERICAN RACISM), to lecture on someone else’s complete lack of knowledge.

  22. Shit, and he’s just an elect at the moment! It’s gonna be a looooong four years.

    Seriously, this crying wolf game is gonna start getting really dangerous.

    Aside from that, they act as if foreign policy ententes are sacrosanct never to be opened up again or else. They clearly have no idea or clue that ‘alliances’ (be it accords, treaties or like the one with China) sometimes are meant to be broken and are a feature to international relations; not a bug.

    My Lord, just observe the power brokering during the Renaissance between consolidated powers like France with the city-states. Or the endless schemes of alliances post Treaty of Westphalia.

  23. Wow, first Trump refuses to give a fawning eulogy of Castro and now he answers a phone call that pisses off commies. Is there any evil too much for this tyrant?

    1. Say what you want about his trade rhetoric (based on principle, I’m not exactly a fan), but the cultural shift that he is influencing on the national and global scale has IMO been really good for freedom and liberty, at least so far. One thing that I like is that the message is moving further and further away from religious wedge issues and more towards anti-globalism and anti-authoritarianism, as seen with Taiwan and Castro.

      1. He’s weening people of crack.

        1. off

        2. People of crack? PoC? So racist I can’t even

          1. But aren’t crackers “people of crack”?

        3. Agreed. This is one of the things that I agreed with the late Andrew Breitbart: “Politics is downstream from culture.” If it becomes cool and respectable to be pro-liberty and anti-socialism, then more interest will accumulate in introducing policies and different ideas that go against the “more free shit” ideology of the left.

          1. Too bad Trump and everything he does are the opposite of cool and respectable, I guess?

            1. As Peter Thiel puts it, people should take him seriously but not literally, while many of his detractors take him literally but not seriously. A lot of the actions that he has taken after the election IMO can be viewed and interpreted differently depending on the lens that you use.

  24. Trump’s single redeeming quality is his ability to piss off the politically correct. I do enjoy watching it.

    1. Does his wife count as a “quality”?

      1. Not in my book. I, honestly, don’t find her all that attractive.

        1. It’s OK, Fd’A, Sultry Slavic Wimminz aren’t for everybody. More Slavicas for the rest of us!

          1. Does Gospozha Groovaya know you want more Slavic women?

        2. I guess you’d prefer an Eleanor Roosevelt type.

      2. Yes, she’s a credit to his image as, “A man of wealth and taste.” Besides, he has more than one redeeming quality, actually. None of his exes appears to have a grudge against him, and all of his children appear to be quite level headed and competent managers in their own right (regardless of who the mother is). The only one we aren’t sure about is the youngest kid, the one with possible 6’s on his head and appears somewhat Aspy.

        Otherwise, so far, he’s shown me more positives than negatives, and may I remind other commenters the constant refrain about overlooking GayJay’s “impurity” and all sorts of excuses for his numerous faults, foibles, fuck ups, and outright own-goaling and stepping on his own dick (And Gelded Weld stepping on GayJay’s Johnson as well).

        If GayJay had done the same thing, just to get some positive press (he’s too stupid and ignorant of marketing to actually do a PR stunt like Carrier to gather short term good will and political capital), wouldn’t all the TEAM GayJay folks be simply gushing how smart and, “Outside the Box,” he is?

        1. I guess it depends, GM, on whom you’d rather have running the country, an ignorant buffoon or an unpolished libertarian?

          I guess the important thing, when looking at qualities for the chief executive, is picking the guy with charisma…cuz he can win.

          Otherwise, so far, he’s shown me more positives than negatives

          So are you a good doctor if your patients live more often than not? Am I a good pilot if I get my bombs on the correct target half the time?

          Donald Trump isn’t 10% of the man Gary Johnson is.

          1. The part that I don’t agree with you about is the assumption that Trump can simply be labeled as an ignorant buffoon. Buffoon? Yes. Ignorant? Based on how he ran his campaign and how him and his team targeted the Rust Belt, he definitely isn’t ignorant. I think that he’s intellectually capable of at least being an average president, but we’ll see.

          2. Donald Trump isn’t 10% of the man Gary Johnson is.

            3.2% x10 = 32%….. < 47.5% (shrug)

            1. I suppose if the measure of a man is the number of votes he can win…

              1. hence the (shrug)

                life is not a popularity-contest…. until it is.

          3. I guess it depends, GM, on whom you’d rather have running the country, an ignorant buffoon or an unpolished libertarian?

            Hmm, still fuzzy. This could conceivably describe both of them, since GayJay has a gubernatorial record.

            I guess the important thing, when looking at qualities for the chief executive, is picking the guy with charisma…cuz he can win.

            Since the most efficient and effective way to influence, enact, and direct change is be the prime mover, in this case, elected president of the USA, yes, I would say winning is the must happen decisive event to ensure that, yes, actual WINNING is a requirement and not a lofty goal on a Chart of Purity.

            So are you a good doctor if your patients live more often than not?

            Yes, absolutely. I understood long ago, that I, as surgeon and physician, cannot account for nor control every aspect of patient’s health. My job is to influence the highest level of health in a given patient; some will not do as I RX and others will die regardless (and I have a very low mortality rate, still).

            Donald Trump isn’t 10% of the man Gary Johnson is.

            GayJay couldn’t even win his home state of NM (Walter Fucking Mondale won MN), of which he was a popular two term Gov. He should have made it his HQ and won it outright. He got skunked by a Breakfast Sandwich in UT, because he was more interested in riding Robby Horses.

            The man couldn’t sell H20 to thirsty Tuareg and Bedouin.

            1. GayJay couldn’t even win his home state of NM

              I guess that’s where we differ, GM. I always thought the most important factor in choosing a president was to pick someone with strong principles consistent with that which I value. In my case, that ‘s liberty.

              Forgive me if I don’t settle for the best guy who can win.

              I have no doubt that Trump will effect change. I strongly doubt said change will positively impact individual liberty.

              1. Yeah. The Utah HQ was pretty stupid.

    2. Now we’re conflating diplomatic norms with political correctness? Is this a real thing or are you just an idiot?

      1. Why is it a diplomatic norm to not call it what it is?

        1. What it is according to some parties, you mean.

          I’m not concerned about a change in posture, I’m concerned that the man in charge of ours has no idea what the fuck he’s doing.

          1. Your idols of obama and hillary have certainly shown they know what they are doing. You know still messing around in the middle east, getting the short end of the stick on the iran, cuba and climate change deals.

          2. I’m concerned that the man in charge of ours has no idea what the fuck he’s doing

            Where have you been the last 8 years?

          3. Just because you have no idea what he’s doing doesn’t mean he doesn’t. Given the circles he ran around the media in his campaign, I think he’s pretty adept at people stuff. Maybe not policy stuff, but when it comes to getting into people’s heads, the man knows his shit.

            1. Okay, I’ll hold you to that. It’s not like I want his presidency to be a giant smoldering crater in history. It’s just that it’s very likely going to be.

          4. Don’t worry, Tony, Trump will go on a bowing tour right after inauguration.

        2. We need to conserve what little face we have left. Do you know nothing of Chinese culture!?!?!?!

        3. Because diplomacy is all about preserving teh feelz, ie lying. Which is why Tony and his ilk like them so much – it’s about narrative. Diplomats are one of the least useful and most expensive classes of bureaucrats – both to maintain them in all their embassies, consulates and missions but all that foreign aid money they broker. I would love to see a sitting US president say “enough of this bullshit, we’re not playing that game any more.”

      2. Did you really just write that? And then post it in public?

    1. Madonna, otoh, welched

      1. I’d much rather the Italian actress…

  25. When the Chinese government suggested the U.S. revisit the Taiwan Relations Act, which governs U.S. relations with Taiwan, Reagan told his envoy the act should be even tougher. “Beijing stopped pushing and the Reagan administration enjoyed a far more productive and stable U.S.-PRC relationship than his predecessors, while simultaneously deepening trust with Taiwan,”

    Almost like trying to thread the needle by playing both indomitable martial hegemon while allowing ward states to push us around diplomatically creates rather than reduces political turmoil. Who’d have known?

  26. China has used North Korea as something of a sword over our heads for a long time. We’ve got a sword we can dangle over their heads, too–and we used to use it more often.

    I don’t think Trump was trying to do that, here, but it’s a refreshing change of pace from Obama’s pathetic capitulation. If China doesn’t like us cozying up with Taiwan, maybe they should compromise on the South China Sea.

    Obama was such a pussy.

    1. No one had respect for Obama, certainly not Putin. And no one would have respected Hillary either, probably even less so.

    2. Trump wasn’t trying to do anything but accept congratulations.

      1. I know that the President isn’t supposed to talk to the Taiwanese government directly.

        Maybe I’m wrong to presume that Trump is at least as knowledgeable as I am, but is his staff so completely oblivious, too?

        You don’t think he answers his own phone, do you?

        Two big issues in his campaign were about standing up to China on trade and on Paris Climate “Agreement”.

        Trump may not be doing this to start trouble, but he’s at least signaling that he’s not about to walk on eggshells for China.

  27. The Chinese government lodged a formal complaint about the call with the U.S. government, calling the one China policy “the political basis of the China-U.S. relationship.” The White House reasserted U.S. support for the one China policy after the phone call.

    Yeah. Which is why the Pentagon spends so much time and money figuring out ways to defend Taiwan from an invasion from mainland China.

  28. Trump is going to troll the media incessantly. And the more unhinged they become over it, the more he’s going to do it. He may or may not turn out to be good for the country, but this media trolling is a beautiful thing. They sure had it coming to them. I look forward to lots and lots of unhinged, frothing at the mouth, lunacy from Friedman and Bruni over at the NYT. Is Hillary still a piece of salmon on a plate with cucumber and dill, Bruni? More like a spoiled and stinking salmon in the dumpster.

  29. This is just a gut feeling but I’m not entirely sure you guys want to set yourself up to defend everything this guy does.

    1. Just a gut feeling that you will end up being wrong as usual.

      As part of the social contract, will you give me some money for my operation?

    2. Just a gut feeling that you will end up being wrong as usual.

      As part of the social contract, will you give me some money for my operation?

    3. Tony, you should wake up shreek now, that way when you’re passed out face down in a pool of vomit by 4pm, as with every day, the back up troll will be able to take over.

    4. So, Tony, how’s that palatial Downtown apt of yours? Has it managed to withstand earthquakes? Tell me, I hear my medical colleagues back in OK that Downtown is getting more and more gentrified every day. So, have you given up that palatial apt to some poor, undeserving, intersectional slob with a litter of chitlins?

      I truly am curious, and have gotten any *fascinating* Alumni Assn mail lately? I used to use mine as toilet paper, quite frankly.

      1. Progs care for people as long as they get credit and someone else does the work

      2. “litter of chitlins” Doc, you’ve been out of country for too long. Unless you meant liter but people who enjoy chittlins tend to use the Imperial system. 😛

        1. I had an all chittlin sausage in France.

        2. “Do we serve liters of chitlins?”

          1. “Do we serve liters of chitlins?”

            Only in a cafe next door to an orphanage with a blender.

        3. “litter of chitlins”

          Folksy term for a having had children, you dolt (which you already knew).

          1. I think you mean “chilluns”. Those are different.

            1. No, I meant, “Chitlins,” Tonio, though it may be spelt, “Chitluns,”; dunno, I heard the term often from the more Countrified Folk in OK, particularly when I was completing my Rural Medicine Clerkship, where we were required to serve the most legit underserved country and hill folk in OK. Even heard it before then, but most often doing God’s medical work in backwoods OK.

              We’re talking banjos, do si dos (and not the cookies) and all sorts of other Down Home Hillbilly stereotypes, Tonio.

      3. Last I heard, you were the one with the litter of chitlins. Is this your way of saying you’re ready to come home to Daddy Trump?

      4. Why would Tony do that? He hates poor people. He said so.

        1. The only people he hates more than the poor are those who treat the poor like equal human beings, i.e. having both freedom and responsibility like everyone else.

    5. defend everything this guy does

      Not everything. Just the petty shit that’s not actually a sign of impending holocaust.

    6. How about if instead of basing our opinions on partisanship and teams, we focused on whether we should support an authoritarian communist dictatorship or a liberal democracy that wishes to maintain their self-determination?

  30. Slow news day huh

    1. Vanity Fair brah. That bastion of foreign policy expertise.

  31. I grew up in a large family with many brothers and sisters and plenty of fighting. When we boys had disputes you knew about how far and how long an argument could be pushed before the bigger one punched the little one in the head and the argument was over. Five minutes later we’d be back to playing as if nothing happened until the next dispute.

    The girls, on the other hand, had fights that could drag on for weeks because nobody would punch the other, they just talked bad about each other and did bitchy little things to each other over and over and over until you just wanted to punch the both of them in the head and tell them to either fight and get it over with or shut the hell up and leave each other alone.

    Which brings us to international relationships and the baroque diplomatic pas de deux that substitute for the purgative head-punchings so oftentimes more to be wished for. Would it be more correct to say most nations’ diplomatic corps are bitchy little pussies or catty little bitches? And would the larger part of them be well-served by the occasional punch in the damn head?

  32. International relations professor Dan Drezner suggested on Twitter that the phone call was more important than “some guns” because it was an action that threatened “the core of the PRC’s self-conception of its sovereignty.”

    The US selling guns was fake news.

    1. Yes, fake fast news. Furiously fake news.

    1. I would prefer to see all news in the future presented in this manner.

      1. Subscribe to their channel, they update regularly with world news.

      2. Their weather girls are all hot Asian women. It’s basically the best news channel on the internet.

      3. Also, they were fairly favourable to Ron Paul when he was running and have been really consistent on calling out the American surveillance state.

    2. Although i am unclear on who the guy representing China in the leopard-print pants is supposed to be.

    3. That was awesome! Shared it with the wife, she is from Taipei.

  33. Trump was no doubt expressing his heartfelt condolences to Taiwan on the passing of the guy who invented General Tso’s chicken.

  34. Acting presidential: Holding hands with and/or bowing to a kleptocratic Saudi prince.

    Dangerous and out-of-bounds: Chatting on the phone with the leader of a country we’re all supposed to pretend doesn’t exist.

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  36. How brilliant was this by Trump? Rachel Maddow was nearly in tears about it.

    1. “How brilliant was this by Trump? Rachel Maddow was nearly in tears about it.”

      It wasn’t brilliant and it only makes things more difficult for Trump when it comes time to sit down with the Chinese and negotiate.

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