Tag Archives: Taiwan

Trump Risks China-Taiwan Conflict for Leverage in Trade War, by Finian Cunningham

Trump is stirring the pot in Taiwan to pressure China in trade negotiations. It’s a dangerous game that could lead to military conflict, but isn’t that true of a lot of things Trump does? From Finian Cunningham at strategic-culture.org:

The Trump administration last week cut its fourth and biggest arms sale to Taiwan, sparking a furious condemnation from Beijing that the US was undermining its sovereignty and “grossly interfering in China’s internal affairs”.

The weapons deal reportedly worth some $2.2 billion is expected to be given final approval by Congress in the next few weeks. It follows three other major arms sales since 2017 to Taiwan conducted by the Trump administration.

Beijing slammed the latest military transaction as a “violation of international law and the One China policy” – the latter referring to the long-established US consensus with China that Taiwan island is under Beijing’s sovereignty.

Since the Chinese communist revolution in 1949 Taiwan has always been viewed as a renegade province by Beijing, having sheltered retreating anti-communist nationalist forces. Previous US administrations have sold weapons to Taiwan since 1979 when Washington and Beijing normalized diplomatic relations.

However, the Trump administration appears to be blatantly exploiting secessionist tensions between Taiwan and mainland China. By massively arming the island, there is a danger that Taiwanese separatists will feel emboldened to declare independence, a move which Beijing has always said would trigger it to deploy military force in order to assert its sovereignty.

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‘Descent Into Hell’: China Warns of Potential War With US Over Taiwan, by James Holbrooks

China is making unfriendly noises about US overtures to Taiwan. From James Holbrooks at theantimedia.org:

It’s no secret that for Beijing, the most sensitive issue within Sino-American relations is that of Taiwan, the semi-autonomous island territory that China considers to be a breakaway province. Now, a political move made by the U.S. on Taiwan has Beijing warning of the possibility of military action.

Back in January, the House of Representatives unanimously passed the Taiwan Travel Act, a bill aiming to significantly strengthen ties between U.S. officials and their Taiwanese counterparts. The bill reached the Senate floor on Wednesday, where it also passed without opposition. Now, all that’s required for the legislation to become law is Donald Trump’s signature.

Taiwan welcomed the bill’s passage. Speaking to reporters in the capital of Taipei, Premier William Lai said the U.S. is a “solid ally” of Taiwan and that the two sides’ ties can now become even stronger.

“We wholeheartedly anticipate that this law can in the future further raise the substantive relationship between Taiwan and the United States,” Lai said.

Unsurprisingly, China had an altogether different reaction — one that included a warning to its neighbor and a hint at military confrontation if things continue to progress in this manner.

“We are firmly against the act,” China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency quoted Taiwan Affairs Office spokesperson An Fengshan as saying. “We sternly warn Taiwan not to rely on foreigners to build you up, or it will only draw fire against yourself.”

The U.S. cut formal ties to Taiwan when it recognized Beijing as the Chinese capital in 1979. This event marked official acceptance of the “one China” policy, which regards Taiwan as a Chinese territory.

But Beijing has grown increasingly concerned over what it views as Taipei’s push toward independence since the election of President Tsai Ing-wen in 2016. This push, if it continues, would lead to the inevitable consequence of triggering the Anti-Secession Law that allows Beijing to use force to prevent the island from seceding,” China’s state-run Global Times wrote Thursday.

To continue reading; ‘Descent Into Hell’: China Warns of Potential War With US Over Taiwan

Trump, Taiwan, and the Chinese Paper Tiger, by Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo, who usually defends Donald Trump, criticizes the controversial phone call with Taiwan’s president. SLL shares his view that China’s economic miracle is structurally flawed and to use a favorite Trump word, overrated. From Raimondo at antiwar.com:

The media and the foreign policy “experts” went ballistic recently over President-elect Donald Trump’s phone call with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen. With one brief call, which the Trump team says was only a congratulatory call initiated by Ms. Ing-wen, Trump blew up our longstanding “One China” policy and precipitated a dangerous collision with Beijing.

While this reaction was somewhat overwrought – not surprising, given the media’s adversarial relationship with the PEOTUS – there is indeed good reason to find this worrying.

I say this because Trump’s view of China, and especially the stance taken by Peter Navarro, one of his economic advisors, is dangerously wrong. While it is true that China has flooded our markets with cheap goods that easily out-compete US products, in reality China is an economic disaster waiting to implode on itself – and the regime’s hold on the populace is increasingly precarious.

Navarro, a professor of economics at the University of California at Irvine, is a protectionist whose view of China as a rising military power is based on nothing but scare-mongering. His most recent book, Crouching Tiger, is a compendium of myths and pseudo-facts which posit that Chinese “militarism” is a real threat to the US – a nonsensical idea with no basis in reality. China spends about 2% of its GDP on the military, while the US spends almost double that. China’s army consists mostly of conscripts, and exists largely to control the borders and put down internal strife. The last time China was involved in a major foreign conflict was its brief albeit bloody war with Vietnam, in 1979, and it was a disaster for Beijing, which was driven out of northern Vietnam with its tail between its legs in less than a few months.

To continue reading: Trump, Taiwan, and the Chinese Paper Tiger

 

Trump’s Shot Across China’s Bow, by Daniel Cloud

If your potential enemy is certain that you won’t respond to an attack, they are more likely to attack. From Daniel Cloud at zerohedge.com:

“Donald Trump is either too incompetent to understand that his foolish phone call threatens our national security, or he’s doing it deliberately because he reportedly wants to build hotels in Taiwan to pad his own pockets.”
– (Democratic National Committee Spokesperson)

Is that true? Did “incompetent” President-Elect Donald Trump’s “foolish” telephone conversation with Taiwan’s President Cai Yingwen actually “threaten American’s national security”? Is Trump genuinely revealed, by this development, to be a bull in a China shop? If so, we should all be very alarmed.

But in fact… All that seems rather unlikely. Really, it’s more probable that Trump’s phone call has made us all, Americans and Chinese people and everyone else, slightly safer.

How? Carl Von Clausewitz argued that wars, at their beginning, always involve some sort of misperception. One or both sides must have a false belief that victory will be easy to achieve. If both parties shared the same, accurate estimate of the likely outcome of the war, then the only rational course of action for the inevitable loser would be to make whatever concessions were necessary to avoid an actual fight. Defeat without all the death and destruction of the war may not be a wonderful alternative, but it’s still better than the exact same thing, except with all the death and destruction.

To continue reading: Trump’s Shot Across China’s Bow

 

 

Trump and the Taiwan Call, by Scott Adams

Scott Adams analyses Donald Trump’s conversation with president of Taiwan from his persuasion perspective, and finds it a shrewd move. From Adams on a guest post at theburningplatform.com:

By now you know that President Elect Trump took a call from the President of Taiwan and simultaneously lit on fire the underpants of the mainstream media and maybe the leadership of China too.

Apparently taking a phone call from the president of Taiwan is a major diplomatic change from the so-called “One China Policy” that imagines Taiwan as a rogue province of China, not its own country. Reports are saying this call was planned, not a mistake on the Trump team’s side.

Was this a mistake by Trump?

If you look at this call through the filter of normal politics it is clearly a mistake. It provokes the Chinese leadership and gains nothing obvious in return. The media is reporting this event as exactly the sort of thing that leads to nuclear annihilation. This is the same mainstream media that got everything wrong about Trump for the past year.

But if you look at this situation through the filter of a Master Persuader, it makes perfect sense. Trump is “setting the table” for future negotiations with China. He just subtracted something from China’s brand that they value, and later he will negotiate with them to maybe give it back in some fashion. Probably in return for some trade concessions.

But what about the risk? Does it ever make sense to poke a nuclear power? In this case, probably yes. As I have said in this blog before, China’s leadership is both mature and competent. Many of them have engineering degrees. They understand what Trump is doing, and none of it is a path to war because neither side has any interest in war. None. Zero.

To continue reading: Trump and the Taiwan Call