Sunday, December 4, 2016

Is Trump dragging the USA into war with China?

So, the Donald Trump phone call to President Tsai of Taiwan ... this could be the beginning of something altogether unexpected - a diplomatic, trade, and military conflict between the United States and China.

Having lived in Taiwan during the 90s, I am attuned to the delicate nature of relations across the Taiwan Strait. So, I understand the history of the Taiwan Relations Act and the Three Communiques regarding the United States' position on the One-China policy. And, I was living in Taiwan at the time of the first direct presidential election in Taiwan during which the Chinese military launched missile exercises and lobbed missiles over Taiwan, effectively shutting down air traffic and seeking to intimidate the Taiwanese people. This tense standoff included the United States putting aircraft carriers on both ends of the Strait. And, when President-elect Lee Tung Wei gave his acceptance speech in Taiwanese, rather than Mandarin Chinese, there were reports that very high level military officials in China mobilized forces for an invasion.

So the Taiwan Question is no small matter.

As a result, I am deeply concerned and troubled by the recent actions of the President-elect and the apparent behind-the-scenes work of his transition team to set up the phone call without informing the State Department. In all honesty, this is how wars start - though I don't want to sound hysterical, and I don't subscribe to a sky-is-falling mentality around the recent election. And, I must admit that as a former resident of Taiwan, I somewhat appreciate the more aggressive, or at least assertive, approach toward clarifying the United States' unwavering support for the autonomy of the Republic of China on Taiwan. In fact, there's a chance the phone call wasn't a blunder, but brilliant.

I'm just not sure whether this was an unnecessarily bold and risky move. I hope not.

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