Sunday, February 19, 2017

Who Caved?

A group of Vietnamese workers chill at 7-11 with Bar beer and a movie.

STATUS QUO ANTE: US has one China policy, which recognizes Beijing as the government of China but does not include Taiwan in China.

1. In Nov of 2016 Trump receives briefings and explanations about Taiwan-US-China triangle as call with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan is set up. Trump becomes aware that Taiwan is sensitive topic and China is unduly sensitive to criticisms and attacks, and aware of importance of US one China policy.

2. Dec 2, 2016. Trump and Tsai talk by phone, earth veers from its orbit, sun rises in west, sea and land change places.

3. Week of Dec 5. Trump attacks China for its South China Sea policy and exchange rate manipulations in Twitter outburst. This is pure trolling, designed to test how sensitive China is, and confirms that it is indeed a sensitive state, to which much attention is paid. He learns how easy it is to troll China.

4. Jan 17: “Everything is under negotiation, including ‘one China’,” Trump says. TROLL.

5. Storm ensues. Media and commentariat: ZOMG THIS CAN'T HAPPEN!

6. Xi-Trump phone call on Feb 9th. Trump affirms "our one China" policy, indicating that he/advisors understand nuances. Media portrays this as caving to China, suggests Xi got better of Trump, etc.

7. Trump wins the trademark case in China in November. 90 days pass with no objection, meaning that the trademark becomes his. Feb 14th, days after phone call, trademark is formally awarded to Trump. Since negotiations must have been going on for a while, the China government certainly knew there would be a call. If there had been no call, would an objection have suddenly appeared? (Kevin Drum at Mojo). Many observers wondered why Trump had taken so long to call Xi... every day he waits is one day closer to that 90 day deadline, with China not wanting to tick him off by having an objection appear.

8. Return to STATUS QUO ANTE. US still has one China policy which recognizes Beijing as the government of China but does not include Taiwan in China. Cost to Trump: zero. Cost to US: zero.

Oh, but Trump now has unchallenged trademark.

Who caved?

UPDATE: China violated own law to give Trump trademark?
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Anonymous said...

This is what we call 'damage control'.

Michael Turton said...

One of the most difficult things about commenting on Trump is how attempts at dispassionate analysis of what Trump is doing are simply treated as being on either the pro- or anti- side of the Trump ideological divide.

No position on Trump's actions is taken in this post, so it can't possibly be "damage control" -- unless the reader is wearing ideological blinders, that is.