It should not have been that big of a story but the US media blew it up into a major controversy. We are talking here about President elect Donald Trump taking a call from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen.
Trump, never known for observing diplomatic protocol, took the congratulatory call from the Taiwanese president as he did with other heads of state.
But because of Beijing’s hardline one-China policy which the US recognizes, taking a call from the Taiwanese President is a no-no. Taiwan is considered as a renegade province of China.
But what is Trump to do when the call was handed to him by his aide? He had to take it, out of elementary courtesy. After all, he hadn’t been sworn in to office yet. If Beijing really needs to protest Washington’s de facto recognition of Taiwan, it should have done so in the US sale of $46 billion worth of weapons that strengthened the island’s defense against China’s threat to invade it.
Against this backdrop of US hardening of policy towards China, a newly released book by Gordon Chang, an American of Chinese descent, augurs “The Coming Collapse of China.”
Trump, to most Americans, appears to symbolize a new presidency both in foreign and economic policy. Take his well-received action to save 1,000 jobs in the Carrier air-conditioning factory in Indianapolis, Indiana. By offering Carrier management tax breaks and investment incentives, Trump convinced the company not to move those jobs and the factory to Mexico.
Trump, during the presidential campaign, vowed to keep American jobs in the US. He even said he would build a wall between Mexico and the US to keep illegal Mexicans immigrants out.
Vice President Mike Pence, the former Indiana governor, is turning out to be an articulate advocate of Trump’s policies as he explained the rationale for the President elect’s trade thrust.
These two issues—saving American jobs and keeping illegal immigrants out of the US, contributed largely to Trump’s triumph. Another issue was the much-hated Obamacare which made medical costs more expensive. These three relevant issues resonated among American voters.
Trump, however is taking his time to make an appointment to the vital Secretary of State position. The short list that included Governor Mitt Romney, retired US General and former CIA Director David Petraeus, and former US Ambassador Robert Bolton has now been expanded to include three others.
Petraeus appears to be a strong contender given his military background which is essential to foreign policy.
Bolton, on the other hand, is attuned to US and Republican Party foreign policy. Recall that Bolton was posted to the UN by former President George W. Bush, who ignored the bicameral Senate and House Commission on Appointments to submit his name to them. He proved to be a competent and able Ambassador.
Meanwhile, there is an ongoing recount of the November election returns challenged by the camp of defeated Democratic candidate Hilary Clinton But it is doubtful the results would show an otherwise different outcome that would reverse Trump’s victory.
Even the street protests against Trump have started to dissipate. Americans seem to have accepted a Trump presidency.