What a difference a couple of days can make. On Friday, when the world learned that Donald Trump had broken with nearly 40 years of U.S. diplomatic protocol by accepting a phone call from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, the predominate theory – pushed by the leftist media – was that Trump had somehow been tricked. As if he was sitting by the pool when an unknown caller popped up on his cell phone. Whoops, I reckon I should have let it go to voicemail, durr.
We know that the media thinks that Trump is an idiot, but how stupid do they think their readers are?
As anyone with half a brain might have expected, we soon learned that the call was pre-arranged by both sides, that Trump was well aware of America’s “One China” policy, and that the call was an opening gambit in what promises to be a new age for U.S. foreign relations. And if there was any doubt left, Trump erased it on Sunday when he lashed out at China in the wake of the state’s criticism of the phone call.
“Did China ask us if it was OK to devalue their currency (making it hard for our companies to compete), heavily tax our products going into their country (the US doesn’t tax them) or to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea?” Trump asked on Twitter. “I don’t think so!”
In other words, why would this Communist dictatorship get to dictate who the President-elect of the United States can and cannot talk to on the phone? And why would legions of leftists (and not a few conservatives) think that as well?
That’s not to say that Trump’s strategy is beyond criticism, but this national deference to China is disgusting. Taiwan is a thriving democracy, an important military partner to the U.S., and a major economic ally. If Beijing is so insecure about its ties to the U.S. that it can’t even bear to have Trump acknowledge the obvious truth of Taiwan’s existence, then that’s their problem.
If Trump is to put pressure on China as it pertains to trade, the situation in North Korea, or the tensions developing in the South China Sea, he has to use options left on the table by the Obama administration. His conversation with Taipei may not signal a monumental policy shift, but it sends a message to Beijing and the rest of the world: There’s a new sheriff in town. Expect the unexpected.