Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Another Trumpfest *sigh*

A duck enclosure. The white ones are farmed. They don't fly away because they are too fat -- ducks are like dogs, we were told, they eat and eat. The black ones are wild visitors living the easy life.

So much headache this week. I think I'm going to invest all my retirement funds in tranquilizers, since everyone in DC must be taking them by the handful now...

Yeah, hopefully Trump will start trolling on another topic, so I don't have to write any more posts like this and can go back to writing on domestic events.

Wilfred Chan, whose stuff is excellent, observed what I have been saying publicly and privately in a Tweet:
Suggestion: whenever you feel rising panic about a China thing, look to see how Taiwanese people are reacting. They've dealt with it decades
Watching these panics happen periodically is very instructive in maintaining that Zen-like calm in the face of hyperventilation in the Commentariat. I also recommend dogs, whiskey, and bicycling...

...my very sharp man Solidarity, now studying in the US and new proud father (congrats!) also tweetly observed:
If I were Zhongnanhai I'd be wondering how else to take advantage of Western media liking me better than they do the incoming US president
I made a mistake, actually. When I pointed out that the media was teaching China what topics were safe for it to be tough on, I forgot that it was also teaching our future President what topics were sensitive enough for successful trolling.

As for Trump's most recent remarks, J Michael Cole said it in one China, Many Trumps:
But one thing is certain: the likelihood that the United States will scuttle “one China” is next to nil, as such a policy goes against even what the more creative (and pro-Taiwan) of Trump’s advisers on Taiwan and China, people like John Bolton, have argued over the years. In Bolton’s case, his argument has been that dual recognition might be possible, albeit under a “one China” framework. The logic behind this is that there is nothing in the United States’ “one China” policy that prevents dual recognition. (Whether such an argument would be palatable to Beijing or Taipei is a different question altogether.)
This is exactly right: not much will change because Trump is surrounded by people who will keep policies that help Taiwan in place and expand around the edges where they can. Whenever there is policy change, there is pushback from opponents who are powerful and heavily invested in the current framework. Leaders might make noises about revolutionary change, but change usually occurs incrementally, if it happens at all.

You're just watching that pushback against Trump's possible future policies in realtime...

A couple of small things... many pieces contended that Taiwan was a "core interest" of China. The is one of the ways the media noise helps conceal what is actually going on, supporting Beijing inadvertently. Taiwan is not a core interest of China. Let's spell this out for future reference:
Taiwan is not a core interest of China. Annexing Taiwan without interference from other Powers is the core interest at stake here.
PRC nationalism has now invested Taiwan with deep expansionist significance -- two generations have been brainwashed. It will be difficult for the PRC to decouple itself from this train. Let's hope it can find a way, but in the meantime... keep talking to the individual Chinese you meet.

The overreading into Trump's remarks (On video) was comical. Many commentators over-read "I heard the call was coming probably an hour or two before" to mean he never knew about the call, but the comment was not meant in so literal a way. Much of the noise is driven by the media's profound anti-Trump bias. And no, I am not defending Trump (pointing out media bias is not the same as defending Trump). Nor am I a neo-con (now that's comedy -- I'm so pink there's a shoot-on-sight order on me in Saudi Arabia).

Is Taiwan going to be used as a bargaining chip? It some ways it always has been, but no, the Trump Administration isn't going to sell Taiwan for oil drilling rights for Exxon or for lower tariffs on US goods or for a different currency policy. Could things get worse? Well, the NY Times sententiously warned us that Bad Things Could Happen. Salvatore Babones laffed:
The NYT warns that China could buy Airbus, trade with North Korea, burn coal, snub Taiwan, and trade with Iran. So?
Things China is doing anyway. Ye gods.

Yes, our newspapers are always pointing out what China could do to the US. We never hear what could happen in return. A tit for tat trade war helps no one, which is why it won't happen.

Meanwhile, Trump's foreign policy trolling is a success: that much less attention and space in the mainstream media is given to his Administration picks....
More Links:
Excerpt from Nelson Report and State Department Briefing on this mess: click on Read More
MANAGING CHINA... the minds congregated in Trump Tower remain opaque to even the best down here, of course, but Asia types who happen to be Republican privately confess concern that at least part of Trump's Sunday interview performance may have inadvertently made instability more, not less likely.

On the whole, Loyal Readers trying to find reasons to support Trump say they are OK with his musings on "one China", although they of course understand China's discomfort...their argument being that the whole point of Trump's thinking in taking the phone-call from Pres. Tsai is that the US needs to regain the initiative in dealing with Taiwan issues, instead of always seeming to give China a veto, even on matters that are purely US business like trade management:

Many say Trump is threatening the basis of U.S.-China relations, and that is true, but Beijing has by various acts also threatened that basis, in the Taiwan area and in others. Who says only the Chinese are allowed to change policy?
That being said or argued, however, there is clear dismay at the second part of Trump's Sunday remarks "by seeming to apply his real-estate based 'transactional' approach". To paraphrase the gist of the concerns...magnified in the important Steve Goldstein OpEd which follows:

Trump's intimation that Taiwan is a bargaining chip is worrisome. Put aside the notion that we should support democracies because they are democracies. Also put aside the fact that Taiwan is not ours to bargain away. The problem with Trump's bargaining-chip comment is that it has the potential for needlessly aggravating relations with China. If Beijing felt Trump were a firm believer in Taiwan, it would huff and puff but eventually realize it was no match in the long run for U.S. power.
But if Chinese leaders think Trump is not serious about supporting Taiwan because it's only a chip, they would be, I think, tempted to push harder, knowing they could get more out of Washington by being even more belligerent. That creates what we all fear, the spiral downward.If the Chinese think they can't budge Trump, we will be much better off. And so will they.
Picking-up and expanding on the "bargaining chip" or "transactional risk:


…With that, I’ll go to you, Brad.
QUESTION: I wanted to start with China.
QUESTION: What is your take on the president-elect’s comments about the “one China” policy and making that potentially contingent on trade or other concessions from Beijing?
MR KIRBY: Here’s what I’d say, and I obviously can only speak for our Administration. But we remain firmly committed to our “one China” policy which, as you know, is based on the three joint communiques and the Taiwan Relation Acts – sorry, the Taiwan Relations Act. This policy has supported our fundamental interest in peaceful and stable cross-strait relations through both Democratic and Republican administrations over the past 40 years. We do not believe that altering this approach is going to serve our fundamental interest in cross-strait peace and stability or strengthen our relations with the people of Taiwan or, frankly, improve our ability to shape China’s decisions going forward.
QUESTION: Have you had any interactions with your Chinese counterparts since this latest interview of the president-elect? I remember before you did but --
MR KIRBY: None that I’m aware of. None that I’m aware of.
QUESTION: Okay. Are you --
MR KIRBY: And as I understand it, this – the interview took place just yesterday, so I’m not aware of any interaction.
QUESTION: Right. Okay. Are you aware of any – or let me put it this way: Are you concerned that these types of comments could have immediate effects on U.S.-Chinese cooperation on North Korea, on cyber, on some of the other things that you’ve strove so hard to improve cooperation on?
MR KIRBY: I mean, it’s difficult to – it’s difficult to know with any certainty, Brad. What I can tell you is that we’ve been clear, we will remain clear with Chinese leaders, as well as Taiwan, our commitment to this “one China” policy and our commitment, as I said, to better – I should say peaceful and stable cross-strait relations. And so I – I’ve seen no – I don’t think I have any reaction to read out as a result of the comments or certainly any tangible practical effect as a result of them. And for our part, we’re just going to stay focused on the policy that we’ve been pursuing and, as I said, has been pursued now for four-plus decades in terms of a “one China” policy. So I can’t obviously predict what the new administration will actually implement in terms of China policy. I can just tell you that we’re going to stay focused on pursuing the same agenda.
QUESTION: Okay. Can I just ask you then about the Chinese reaction? Some of it’s been quite virulent. Do you think the Chinese are overreacting with some of their reactions? For example, I think some state newspapers called the president-elect an ignorant child. Is that something you would take umbrage with or dispute? Your response?
MR KIRBY: I appreciate the question. I think I’m not in a position to characterize their reaction and their characterization of the comments made. I think you’re right; we’ve seen their public comments. I’ll let the Chinese speak for themselves in terms of the way they want to react to the interview. I would just tell you that, again, we’re focused on the “one China” policy that we’ve been pursuing, been pursued by administrations in both parties in the past. We – as I said, we believe any change to that is not going to serve our fundamental interest in cross-strait relations.
The other thing that I would say is that here at the department what we’re – in terms of transition, what we’re mostly focused on – actually, what we’re solely focused on is making sure that we can provide for a good, healthy transition here to the next administration, that they have the context, the information that they need to develop whatever policy agenda they’re going to pursue.
QUESTION: You know, and they also threatened --
QUESTION: So – and a follow-up?
QUESTION: They also threatened to arm U.S. adversaries and so on.
MR KIRBY: Who is “they”?
QUESTION: The Chinese. They said they can also arm groups who are --
MR KIRBY: Well, I’m not --
QUESTION: -- who are adversarial to --
MR KIRBY: I’m not going to speculate --
QUESTION: -- to U.S. interests everywhere it --
MR KIRBY: I don’t find it useful to speculate and hypothesize about what’s coming down the road under the next administration. These are – these are serious matters and serious policy issues that they will need to work through. What we’re going to do is make sure that we’re poised and ready to provide them whatever context they need as they begin to make these decisions. But I want to be clear again that we have continued what has been a bipartisan approach for the past 40 years with respect to a “one China” policy, and we continue to believe – this Administration continues to believe – that this serves our interests, our national security interests, in the best possible way. The next administration, the president-elect will have to make these decisions for himself and for themselves. Again, we believe in the soundness of it and we will remain, again, poised and ready to provide them whatever context they need as they work their way through it. I just won’t – I just don’t find it useful to guess about implications one way or the other going forward, and I wouldn’t – I wouldn’t take it upon myself to characterize the Chinese reaction. I think it speaks for itself. You’ve seen their public comments. I think as Brad accurately said, they’re – they’re direct.
QUESTION: May I have a follow-up?
QUESTION: So I just want to clarify. So is the transition team contact or reach out with you with regard to the policy guideline, or did you provide any information to the transition team?
MR KIRBY: Right. So they’re here. There is a transition team here at the State Department and we have been – there have been discussions between them and various officials here at the State Department. As I said earlier, and I’m going to stick to my pledge, I’m not going to do a daily readout here of who they’re talking to or what information they’re asking for or what they’re deciding to do with the information that they’re getting. That is for them to speak to. But they are here, they are working, and we are providing information to them as they see fit, as they deem appropriate.

Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!


stephen zimmer said...

why is the gt story sexist? looks positive to me. they included her with some pretty cool people

Michael Turton said...

You're right, I overreacted.

Anonymous said...

In the Washington Post article linked to your "Trumpfest" article of Dec 13 it states that the PRC resisted dual recognition of PRC and ROC. Is this the case or was the ROC the one that resisted dual recognition?

Thanks for your blog, as an ex resident it keeps me in touch with the Taiwan I know and enjoyed.

Barrie Gorton

Anon said...

Off-topic, but perhaps interesting:

Many U.S. analysts have argued that the Chinese have sufficient military power to overrun Taiwan, but they tend not to take into account the number of casualties the Chinese would suffer in doing so. That might be unacceptable. Recently a single Chinese peacekeeping soldier in Africa died in an ambush, and that single casualty to a one-child family apparently generated enormous sentiment against the peacekeeping mission. There are numerous indications that the current Chinese government fears but cannot completely control dissent. The sheer blood cost of an expedition to Taiwan may well deter an assault on the island.

Anonymous said...

http://soc.jhu.edu/directory/ho-fung-hung/ wrote an article

https://theinitium.com/article/20161212-opinion-hunghofung-trump/ which stated that more people in US are leaning toward view expressed in this book:


Anonymous said...

"it states that the PRC resisted dual recognition of PRC and ROC. Is this the case or was the ROC the one that resisted dual recognition?"

It's the PRC. They don't allow other country with a name "China" in it.

In the case of Taiwan, China will not allow Taiwan existing as a country in ANY name.

Anonymous said...

Taiwan (ROC) was given the opportunity to be part of the UN after KMT lost the civil war, but Chiang Kai Shek, played an all or nothing game and couldn't accept the idea of giving up China and just settle for Taiwan.

Dual representation, either as a divided country or even a two-China or two-state (one China, one Taiwan) solution, was on the table more than once during the years before the fateful UN General Assembly Resolution 2758 was passed in 1971. The United States in particular tried to broker a compromise, but without success. While Beijing was opposed to such solutions, Chiang Kai-shek was likewise inflexible in his claim that the ROC government was the legal representation of the whole of China. Chiang was particularly afraid that in a two-state solution he would lose the UN Security Council seat of China to the PRC, the enemy of the ROC. Chiang had already in 1961 for the first time put forward the infamous statement that “There is no room for patriots and traitors to live together” (hanzei bu liang li).[1]