Trump Is First President to Call Taiwan Since 1979 and Oh Man, We're Totally Fucked

Image via AP
Image via AP

We still have seven weeks until the inauguration of an off-brand Miracle Mop after a Fanta accident and yet already he’s getting us into position to... well, destabilize our relations with world powers, including those with nuclear capabilities!

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Just five hours ago, we were reeling that he had invited Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to the White House, despite the fact that Duterte is best known for deploying death squads on his own people—and within that little nugget is the fact that Trump’s got vested interests in the Philippines that would likely be massaged by a friendly relationship with its leaders.

We were beside ourselves! It was a mess! No news today could be worse! But then this happened, via the Washington Post:

President-elect Donald Trump spoke Friday with Taiwan’s president, a major departure from decades of U.S. policy in Asia and a breach of diplomatic protocol with ramifications for the incoming president’s relations with China.

Trump spoke by phone with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks said. The conversation was first reported by the Financial Times and the Taipei Times.

The call is the first known contact between a U.S. president or president-elect with a Taiwanese leader since the United States broke diplomatic relations with the island in 1979. China considers Taiwan a province, and news of the official outreach by Trump is likely to infuriate the regional military and economic power.

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Pay close attention to that last part—China considers Taiwan a province, and the United States going along with that concept is partly what’s enabled our working relationship with the country over the last four decades. (If you recall, Nixon visiting and repairing relations with China after a stony, 25-year silence is about the only thing he did right.)

But fuck all that shit, because there’s money to be made, chappie. As you may have seen in your Twitter feed, just two of weeks ago it was reported that Trump is hoping to expand his brand into Taiwan, with a representative for his organization having scoped out property there in September. And!:

Other reports indicate that Eric Trump, the president-elect’s second son and executive vice president of the Trump Organization, will be coming to Taoyuan later this year to discuss the potential business opportunity.

By all accounts, China will likely see Trump’s phone call to Taiwan as damaging to their relations to the US, and all because he’s unqualified for the position of great responsibility he is, unbelievably, about to take on:

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In the Financial Times, Evan Medeiros, the former Asia director at the White House national security council, laid out the risk:

“The Chinese leadership will see this as a highly provocative action, of historic proportions. Regardless if it was deliberate or accidental, this phone call will fundamentally change China’s perceptions of Trump’s strategic intentions for the negative. With this kind of move, Trump is setting a foundation of enduring mistrust and strategic competition for US-China relations.”

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Again, he’s not even the President yet. Welcome to hell.

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DISCUSSION

ilikethunderstorms
ILikeThunderstorms

A few years ago, maybe 2013 or 14, Secretary Hillary Clinton came to my work (not Wall Street, tech company) for a fireside chat and to promote her book. She talked at length about her experience as SOS, and one thing she discussed was how much “small offenses” matter to so many leaders and countries around the world, and how a personality dispute or diplomatic misstep or missed mark of decorum could turn an entire negotiation sour, or even lead to violence. She specifically mentioned Chinese officials as being very attuned to the slightest insult, and talked about how she often would have to sit in rooms filled with angry men and help defuse tense situations because some dude subtly snubbed another dude, etc.

She could have been president. Now we got this dude making the biggest yet easiest-to-avoid blunder any new president could make. Shit, there was even a West Wing episode about this.

ETA: That’s not even getting into the conflict of interest shit going on here. This is a prime example of how his business interests are a threat to national security and international relations.