The reality is, this is really much ado about nothing for the U.S.
The less than 10-minute telephone call with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen was the first by a U.S. president-elect, or sitting president since President Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China (ROC) to China officially designated the People’s Republic of China (the PRC) in 1979. In so doing, Carter acknowledged Taiwan as part of “one China”, the policy designated by the Communist mainland in Beijing of its “One China Policy,” the Dictatorial government’s effort to ensure that the world only recognizes the PRC – on the mainland, in Beijing.
Nevertheless, the New York Times headline and most of those in the mainstream media, as well as the numerous comments by Obama administration and their left-wing followers are wrong, with regard to U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump talking to the President of Taiwan.
Let me take a few minute to explain this in as simplest a way as possible, and to provide some history along with the impact of the Trump administration’s new policies.
It should first be noted that in this case, it was the Taiwan President who called Donald Trump to congratulate him on his recent election win. Donald Trump at this point in time in the transition has all the protocols in place as the President-Elect to take congratulatory phone calls from any head of state and ranking government officials from around the world. Nation’s heads of state and senior leaders reserve the right to offer courtesy calls of congratulations to the in-coming Presidents-Elect of any country, including the United States. In fact, the U.S. State Department knows this, the White House knows this, and both expect such phone calls, in fact they are well prepared. There are the protocols in place to arrange, coordinate, and corroborate on such calls with the new President-Elect. Likewise, foreign nation’s diplomatic corps and Foreign Ministries have similar protocols and understand the sensitivities, depending on the nation’s and newly elected leaders and know how to coordinate such phone calls with other nation’s foreign ministries; including our State Department. In fact, such phone calls are all initiated in advance. There are no surprises. No President-Elect gets a phone call out of the blue from a sitting world leader. They know when the call is coming.
I can speak from my experience regarding this from my time on the White House National Security Council staff, having dealt with numerous Presidential phone calls. So again, the phone call from the Taiwan President didn’t come out of the blue directly to Trump’s personal cell phone.
As previously noted, here’s how it works. All phones calls such as this particular call to Mr. Trump are pre-arranged by each country, and that includes advanced notification to the U.S. State Department by the Taiwan Government through established diplomatic channels within the Taiwan Foreign Ministry and with the State Department in Washington, DC. Next the State Department provides a courtesy notification to The White House (to both the Nation Security Council and the White House Chief of State’s office) that the President of Taiwan wishes to call President-Elect Mr. Trump to offer her congratulations. At the same time, the Trump Transition Team is notified that a foreign head of state wants to call Mr. Trump. Then there is a process known as “building the call” whether it is an incoming and outgoing call, the process involves coordinating availability of both leaders, scheduling the call time, and coordinating the actual call going through. After which, notes of the discussion are provided to the State Department and press releases are provided and disseminated.
Regardless of how the current White house spins it, they knew the call was coming, and ensured the Presidential Transition procedures were part of the coordination. The President of Taiwan obviously expressed her desire to call Mr. Trump and wish him congratulations. The call was set-up and it occurred. And diplomatically, there is no protocol that prevents or restricts foreign heads of state from calling to congratulate a U.S. President-Elect. Regardless of how it was spun, by whom, and by whatever organization — media or political did so. I can guarantee the Government of Taiwan pre-arranged it through the proper protocols and channels, and our government accommodated it, as it should, and as it was set-up to do. No Big Deal.
That said, Mr. Trump, while being the President-Elect, is still technically a private citizen, and as such also a private international businessman – he can talk to anyone in world that he wants to, and of course is willing to talk to him and vice versa. He has already met with and spoken to Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu since the election and had private discussions via phone with numerous world leaders and heads of state. My take here is that unfortunately, there are those in the mainstream media, the Democratic Party, and perhaps liberal factions of the Republican Party who are apoplectic over Trump’s efforts and his forward leaning and forward approach to getting things done. They know who they are. Similarly, as we heard from them over his discussions with Carrier Air Condition, Ford Motor Company, and others, unfortunately his successes are to their anger and dismay.
Alternatively, as we have also witnessed, China (PRC) reaction and response in which they are equally apoplectic, lodging a diplomatic protest over the weekend blaming Taiwan for its own “petty” move. But of course Beijing avoided blaming the Mr. Trump and his organization. China’s Foreign Ministry said it had lodged “stern representations” with what it called the “relevant U.S. side,” urging the careful handling of the Taiwan issue to avoid any unnecessary disturbances in ties between the U.S. and China. Beijing reiterated that [its]; “The one China principle is the political basis of the China-U.S. relationship.” The wording implied the protest had gone to the Trump camp, but the ministry provided no explanation. Speaking hours after phone call, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi pointedly blamed Taiwan for the exchange, rather than Mr. Trump, stating, “This is just the Taiwan side engaging in a petty action, and cannot change the ‘one China’ structure (policy) already formed by the international community,” Further saying, “I believe that it won’t change the longstanding ‘one China’ policy of the United States government.” Note the later comment “…already formed by the international community…” is a false narrative because all nation do not agree or accept Beijing’s “One China” policy either.
While Mainland China may have tried to posture itself in the international media from a position of anger over Mr. Trump’s conversation with Taiwan’s President, it actually highlights that they are more so afraid because they see how Mr. Trump is establishing his way of conducting international diplomacy for America, and at the same time setting the old way of conducting diplomacy, on its ear. It was obvious from the Chinese Foreign Minister’s tone and words, he is reluctant to offend and blame Mr. Trump, leaving that for the White House and mainstream media, and of course the Democrats. China is quite aware, that the U.S. is China’s number one trading partner. In fact, they need the U.S. more than the U.S. needs China. They a Trump administration policy of America First and American Nationalism up-ending against the Socialists and Communists of the world’s game know as Globalization, which is essentially the redistribution of American wealth and economic prestige, to other countries of the world, predominately China.
To put all of this into perspective, let’s look as some history of Beijing’s One China policy. First, the controversy dates back to post-WWII, 1949, and the end of the Chines Civil War, when the victorious Communists led by Mao Tse-tung established the People’s Republic of China on the mainland, and the defeated Nationalists under General Chiang Kai-shek fled to the Island of Taiwan where they established a new and independent government and nation, and continued to claim sovereignty from Beijing. First known as Formosa and now Taiwan, it is a free and independent country. Since being established, Taiwan has had free and fair Democratic elections following the death of Chiang Kai-shek. From that stand-point, there is nothing wrong with Mr. Trump talking with its freely and democratically elected President Tsai Ing-wen.
Secondly, following talks between President Nixon and Chairman Mao Tse-tung in 1972, the U.S. endorsed the one-China policy in the Shanghai communiqué, issued jointly with the People’s Republic. The communiqué stated that “all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and Taiwan is a part of China. The United States does not challenge that position.” While the U.S. endorsement did not specify which government was legitimate, President Carter formally recognized Beijing, the capital of China as the sole government of China in 1978 and in so doing closed our embassy in Taiwan the next year. Leaving the U.S. no overt diplomatic representation on Taiwan
That said, and while the U.S. officially adheres to the one-China policy, again, remember that is Beijing’s official policy, the U.S. practices a de facto two-China policy.
Under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, the U.S. conducts open trading and other nation-to-nation dealings (business, economic, financial, tourism, etc.) and we provide Taiwan military weapons — and the language of the act warns the Mainland China that any coercive unification efforts would be “of grave concern to the United States.” Along with weapons sales, in addition, we the U.S. also have what are known as Mil-to-Mil (military to military) relations and agreements with the Taiwan government — which provides most of their military hardware, military training and exercises, along with the standing defense agreement to protect Taiwan from an attack by Mainland China, or any other nation.
Third, going back to former President Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger 1972 talks, those talks established the basis for the current diplomatic, economic/financial and trade status and relations with China. What most don’t realize are those talks by Nixon and Kissinger with China was a major U.S. strategic-level effort and diplomatic venture designed to separate the Soviet Union (USSR) from its ever growing diplomatic, political, military and of ideological (Communism) relations and friendship with China during that time. Together the two nations were on the verge of handing the U.S. its second defeat, first in Korea, and then in Vietnam. The strategic outcome of this effort was diplomatically and military isolate the USSR from growing stronger in its ever growing effort to expand international Communism throughout the world and a major strategic partnership between Moscow and Beijing. Nixon and Kissinger’s strategy was to build a partnership of trade between the U.S. and China to wean China from hardline economic and military ties to Moscow.
While that strategy worked and later contributed to the defeat of the Soviet Union and the Cold War, the policies economic impacts that have evolved over the last forty-plus are no longer relevant as we know. Since China has been in the business of using those arrangements to its own advantage economical, financially and military. Long story short we know Mr. Trump’s concerns and issues with China and our economic and trade dealing and the impact on the U.S. economy and markets. As we perhaps expect and anticipate, Mr. Trump will leverage China by threatening to bring more manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. That scares China, because they can’t afford to board up factories and Beijing knows it.
President-Elect Donald Trump’s taking of the phone call from the President of Taiwan, the first of which in forty years or so, sets year another precedent for how his administration will deal with the world. So for a long time, particularly as noted previously, since former President Jimmy Carter’s change to U.S.-China relations — we will no longer be complacent or kowtow to countries like China, just because they view Taiwan as a rogue nation or enemy, and have had on-going plans to conquer that country, given the chance. Particularly in this case, where the U.S. has a defense agreement with Taiwan that has all but been ignored for the last 8-years under Mr. Obama. The greatest mortal sin that a nation can commit, without cause in foreign policy, is to ignore, not stand up to the conditions of an agreement, and or not honor such agreements and treaties.
As we all know and have heard in his posted positions and in his speeches, Mr. Trump will defy the political correct rhetoric that has gradually evolved in-place for some time now. Similarly, Mr. Trump has acknowledged that the policies over years that both Democrat and Republican administrations have either acquiesced to and or failed to standup to — must stop. As we have discussion, this particularly includes, China’s long time policies, demands, and positions both toward Taiwan and in regards to how the U.S. conducts its foreign policy with China and in the Asia-Pacific region and how we conduct our economic and trade policies with China itself (which have resulted in the transfer of millions of formally U.S. jobs to China). To a Trump Administration those policies have gone on too along, and they are essentially over. As for the phone call; can President-Elect Trump take a phone call from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen? You bet he can — despite how Beijing feels about it, or what the mainstream media says about it.