Our chattering classes had a projectile aneurysm over the weekend, when President-elect Trump spoke with Taiwan’s president:
Mr Trump’s decision to turn his back on four decades of US protocol on Taiwan and speak directly to a president of Taiwan will stun policymakers in Beijing.
Since his election last month, they have struggled to understand who is advising Donald Trump on Asia and what his China policy will look like.
This move will turn concern into alarm and anger.
Beijing sees Taiwan as a province. Denying it any of the trappings of an independent state is one of the key priorities of Chinese foreign policy.
It was about thirty years ago when Ronald Reagan sent the “elites” into a similar state of incontinence by walking out of the Rejkjavik talks with Mikhail Gorbachev.
The “elites” said it was a prelude to a nuclear war – pure madness.
The opposite was, of course, the case. It was a called bluff that started a chain of events that led, five tears later, to the downfall of communism.
Of course, Donald Trump is no Ronald Reagan – but then, either are the current administration’s foreign policy hamsters.
Our alllies on the Pacific Rim – Korea, Japan, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia – have been wondering where DC’s priorities are, and whether the US can be counted on re the Chinese for the past eight years. Obama’s Chamberlain-like policy made the region less, not more, stable.
Will Trump’s “gaffe” make things better or worse? I don’t know – and it’s for damn sure the authors of this past eight years worth of foreign policy don’t, either. But if they say the sky is blue, I’m inclined to believe it’s red.