Sunday, December 04, 2016

The Hottest of Red Hot Lines

American diplomats have secret talks with Iran and the Taliban and who knows what other odious groups, and yet there is a tizzy of people taking to their fainting couches when Trump talks to Taiwan's president briefly? Take a hike.

Behold the crippling lack of nuance!

Donald Trump spoke on the phone with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, a conversation that breaks decades of U.S. protocol and risks a clash with China.

Trump’s transition team confirmed late Friday that the president-elect had spoken by phone on Friday with Taiwan's president, the first conversation between a U.S. president or president-elect with Taiwan's leader since 1979, when the two countries severed diplomatic ties.

We sell advanced weaponry to Taiwan, but a phone call with their elected leader is forbidden?

People here are seemingly horrified at Trump, yet seem to think that it is perfectly reasonable that China might react to a phone call with actions that risk a military clash with America? Really? This is how their "horror" meter is set off?

I'm inclined to tell these people to take a hike. Our president can talk to whoever he wants--even if it is to a friend that our Chinese colleagues seek to crush and control--if it is in our interests.

I expect the Chinese to get all huffy. And they did:

"We have already made solemn representations about it to the relevant US side. It must be pointed out that there is only one China in the world. Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory," the statement said.

"We urge the relevant parties in the US to abide by the commitment to the one-China policy" and "to handle Taiwan-related issues with caution and care to avoid unnecessarily interfering with the overall situation of Sino-US relations," it said.

So who made China the offshore call center for our leadership? China sets a red line at phone calls and we are supposed to go along? I could live with that when China was cooperating with America in containing the Soviet Union. Now China is the threat to peace and stability in east Asia.

So I suggest we file China's solemn representations about the phone call:

We violated our own "protocol" as the first article notes. Nothing official. China still gets the UN seat. China still gets the state dinners. China still gets all the official name plates at international conferences. That is not under threat.

I'm not saying we go out of our way to anger the Easily Excitable over the Taiwan issue. But I don't see how it hurts to throw a hard block every once in a while to remind China that they don't get to be Miss Manners on how we conduct foreign policy; nor do they get a veto on what our policies are.

If our president wants to talk to Taiwan's freely elected president over the objections of China's top autocrat who finds it inconvenient that there is an example to his own subjects of Chinese people (as well as native Taiwanese) living under democracy to ask her how our weapons are performing--or any other subject--we should be free to do it notwithstanding China's solemn representations.

I might be right about this worry, eh?

UPDATE: Although really, what is China going to do? Be less effective reining in North Korea? Be more hostile to Taiwan? And why is it wrong to make a dictator mad over their threats to a small democracy that does not wish to be absorbed?

Our Democratic brethren up in arms are fascinating. A small communist dictatorship (Cuba) on an island off the coast of democratic America is celebrated; while a small democracy (Taiwan) on an island off the coast of communist-run China is denigrated.

What's next? Will China "allow" our president and the Australians to talk to each other? 

UPDATE: Related.

We really should review the "protocol" that has apparently built up over the years separate from any legal obligations--no doubt under pressure from China, which fits with their approach of applying pressure over a long period of time to get what they want bit by bit--to separate out the core requirements from the protocol that "forbids" an American president from even talking to the president of democratic Taiwan.

UPDATE: And don't forget that China is run by communists who engage in "industrial-scale harvesting" of organs from people who don't fill out organ donor cards.

UPDATE: China gets upset at a lot of things that interfere with their Greater China Project. India gets the treatment, too:

China called on India on Monday (Dec 5) not to do anything to complicate their border dispute after a senior exiled Tibetan religious leader visited a sensitive border region controlled by India but claimed by China.

China claims chunks of Arunachal Pradesh, which China considers part of China-occupied Tibet--which China also controls over the objection of the locals (but mass Han immigration has given Peking a better class of residents who want China to control the region).