Lazy Saturday Reads: #tRump – Bull in a China Shop

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Good Afternoon!!

Yesterday I spent the afternoon and evening with my brother’s family–they invited me for a birthday dinner and family movie. Unsurprisingly, while I wasn’t paying attention for a few hours the president-elect did massive damage to U.S. foreign policy, overturning decades-long policies on China. And it appears this wasn’t about policy but about enriching the #tRump family business.

Ann Gearan at The Washington Post: Trump speaks with Taiwanese president, a major break with decades of U.S. policy on China

President-elect Donald Trump spoke Friday with Taiwan’s president, a major departure from decades of U.S. policy in Asia and a breach of diplomatic protocol with ramifications for the incoming president’s relations with China.

The call is the first known contact between a U.S. president or president-elect with a Taiwanese leader since before the United States broke diplomatic relations with the island in 1979. China considers Taiwan a province, and news of the official outreach by Trump is likely to infuriate the regional military and economic power.

The exchange is one of a string of unorthodox conversations with foreign leaders that Trump has held since his election. It comes at a particularly tense time between China and Taiwan, which earlier this year elected a president, ­­­Tsai Ing-wen, who has not endorsed the notion of a unified China. Her election angered Beijing to the point of cutting off all official communication with the island government.

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It is not clear whether Trump intends a more formal shift in U.S. relations with Taiwan or China. On the call, Trump and Tsai congratulated each other on winning their elections, a statement from Trump’s transition office said….

A statement from the Taiwanese president’s office said the call lasted more than 10 minutes and included discussion of economic development and national security, and about “strengthening bilateral relations.”

Trump claimed the call was initiated by Taiwan’s president, but that was a lie, NBC News reports:

BEIJING — A phone call between Donald Trump and Taiwan’s leader that risks damaging relations between the U.S. and China was pre-arranged, a top Taiwanese official told NBC News on Saturday.

Trump — who lambasted China throughout the election campaign and promised to slap 45 percent tariffs on Chinese goods — tweeted that Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen had called him.

“Maintaining good relations with the United States is as important as maintaining good relations across the Taiwan Strait,” Taiwanese presidential spokesman Alex Huang told NBC News. “Both are in line with Taiwan’s national interest.”

He added that the call had not been a surprise.

Apparently the call was carefully planned and scheduled by Trump staffers. It was also reported that bomb-thrower John Bolton was seen at Trump tower yesterday. Could he have helped instigate this?

After the media reported foreign policy experts’ heads exploding, Trump defensively tweeted again.

China was apparently on the phone with the White House right after the news broke, and they have now filed a complaint with the U.S. about this breach of diplomacy. The Guardian:

China has lodged “solemn representations” with the US over a call between the president-elect, Donald Trump, and Taiwan’s leader, Tsai Ing-wen.

Trump looked to have sparked a potentially damaging diplomatic row with Beijing on Friday after speaking to the Taiwanese president on the telephone….

The US closed its embassy in Taiwan – a democratically ruled island which Beijing regards as a breakaway province – in the late 1970s after the historic rapprochement between Beijing and Washington that stemmed from Richard Nixon’s 1972 trip to China.

Since then the US has adhered to the “One China” principle, which officially considers the independently governed island to be part of the same single Chinese nation as the mainland.

Geng Shuang, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, said in a statement on Saturday: “It must be pointed out that there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inseparable part of Chinese territory. The government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legitimate government representing China.”

Geng added: “This is a fact that is generally recognised by the international community.”

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#tRrump is a real bull in a china shop, so to speak. But what was his real goal in talking to Taiwan? Think Progress: Trump’s unusual phone call is great for his business, dangerous for America.

Trump is mixing his business with the presidency. Today was a stark illustration that the combination is extremely dangerous — to Americans and the world.

The Financial Times, citing three sources, reports that Trump called Tsai Ying-wen, the president of Taiwan, on Friday. The call is a symbolic breach of the United States’ “One China” policy, which recognizes Beijing as the only government and which has been in place since 1972.

The call will antagonize China and risks “opening up a major diplomatic dispute with China before he has even been inaugurated.”

The incident is raising eyebrows because the Trump Organization, in which Trump plans to maintain ownership as president, is actively seeking new business opportunities in Taiwan. The Shanghaiist reported on the Trump Organization’s interest last month:

A representative from the Trump Organization paid a visit to Taoyuan in September, expressing interest in the city’s Aerotropolis, a large-scale urban development project aimed at capitalizing on Taoyuan’s status as a transport hub for East Asia, Taiwan News reports.With the review process for the Aerotropolis still underway, Taoyuan’s mayor referred to the subject of the meeting as mere investment speculation. Other reports indicate that Eric Trump, the president-elect’s second son and executive vice president of the Trump Organization, will be coming to Taoyuan later this year to discuss the potential business opportunity.

#tRump is trying to turn our country into a wholly owned subsidiary of the #tRump organization.

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In just the past couple of days, Trump has bumbled through bizarre phone calls with Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Philippine strongman Rodrigo Duterte. Do you supposed #tRump even knows that China, Pakistan and sworn enemy India have nukes?

The Atlantic: Lessons From Trump’s ‘Fantastic’ Phone Call to Pakistan.

This week, the U.S. president-elect spoke with the Pakistani prime minister and, according to the Pakistani government’s account of the conversation, delivered the following message: Everything is awesome. It was, arguably, the most surprising presidential phone call since George H.W. Bush got pranked by that pretend Iranian president.

Pakistan, Donald Trump reportedly told Nawaz Sharif, is a “fantastic” country full of “fantastic” people that he “would love” to visit as president. Sharif was described as “terrific.” Pakistanis “are one of the most intelligent people,” Trump allegedly added. “I am ready and willing to play any role that you want me to play to address and find solutions to the outstanding problems.” ….

Like their problems with India?

It’s unclear how accurate the Pakistani government’s record of the discussion is, though the language does have a Trumpian ring to it (Trump’s transition team released a much more subdued summary of the call). But what’s surprising about the account is how disconnected it is from the current state of affairs. Everything is not awesome in U.S.-Pakistan relations. The two countries are the bitterest of friends. They have long clashed over the haven that terrorist groups have found in Pakistan and over U.S. efforts, including drone strikes and the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, to kill those terrorists. Pakistan, a nation with a growing arsenal of nuclear weapons, is the archenemy of India, another nuclear-armed state and a critical U.S. ally. U.S. officials see Pakistan—with its weak political institutions and suspected government support for militant groups in Afghanistan and the contested territory of Kashmir—as an alarming source of regional instability. The suspicion is mutual: Just a fifth of Pakistanis have a favorable view of the United States. Trump himself has argued that Pakistan “is probably the most dangerous” country in the world, and that India needs to serve as “the check” to it.

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The reports also provoked a caustic response from the Indian government, which opposes U.S. mediation in its border dispute with Pakistan. “We look forward to the president-elect helping Pakistan address the most outstanding of its outstanding issues: terrorism,” a spokesman for the Ministry of External Affairs said. And, ultimately, they forced Pakistani officials to backpedal after initially publicizing the conversation. “Our relationship with the United States is not about personalities—it is about institutions,” a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs clarified. In other words, a brief, breezy conversation had real reverberations on the subcontinent.One lesson of the phone call is that words matter, especially in international relations where information is patchy, things get lost in translation, rhetoric is often interpreted as policy, and a government’s credibility is only as good as its word. (Think of all the people in the United States puzzling over what policies Trump will pursue as president; now imagine trying to do that from Islamabad or New Delhi.)

 

And now Pakistan is sending an envoy to meet with the #tRump bumblers. The Indian Express reports:

Pakistan has decided to send an envoy to the US to hold meetings with Donald Trump’s transition team, two days after a “productive” telephonic conversation between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the President-elect. Pakistani Prime Minister’s special assistant for foreign affairs Tariq Fatemi will visit the US this weekend to meet officials of the Trump transition team.

Fatemi’s meeting with officials of Trump transition team was confirmed by Jalil Abbas Jilani, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US. “Besides meeting members of the transition team, Fatemi will meet officials of the outgoing Obama administration,” said Jilani.

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Huffington Post: Donald Trump Praises Philippines Deadly Drug War And Invites Leader To White House.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump praised Philippines leader Rodrigo Duterte for his war on drugs that has left thousands dead, Duterte said on Saturday after the two held a phone conversation in which Trump also invited Duterte the White House.

“He was quite sensitive also to our worry about drugs. And he wishes me well … in my campaign and he said that … we are doing it as a sovereign nation, the right way,” Duterte said in a statement. Duterte has conducted a severe crackdown on drugs in the country, where police and vigilante groups have killed thousands.

Trump’s brief chat with the firebrand Philippine president follows a period of uncertainty about one of Washington’s most important Asian alliances, stoked by Duterte’s hostility towards President Barack Obama and repeated threats to sever decades-old defense ties.

The call lasted just over seven minutes, Duterte’s special advisor, Christopher Go, said in a text message to media, which gave few details. Trump’s transition team had no immediate comment.

So #tRump is on the record supporting mass murder now. Awesome.

Two more links to check out:

The New York Times: How Trump’s Calls to World Leaders Are Upsetting Decades of Diplomacy.

The Washington Post: Donald Trump keeps confirming fears about his diplomatic skills.

Isn’t there anyone who can do something about this monster before he destroys our country and/or blows up the world? We are so screwed.

What stories are you following today?

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43 Comments on “Lazy Saturday Reads: #tRump – Bull in a China Shop”

  1. dakinikat says:

    When I read the Taiwan new article about the Trump resort interests going for a site there it became glaringly obvious that he puts his family’s business interests before anything else.

    Have you seen the whining Trump-Billies of #TrumpRegrets who now regret voting for him because he’s appointing people that are mega insiders? It would be funny if we weren’t on the verge of melting down world peace because they voted for an insane orange pig whose advisors argue there is no such thing as facts.

  2. Minkoff Minx says:

    This has to stop. If it doesn’t, we are beyond fucked. I mean we are screwed now…but dammit…

  3. NW Luna says:

  4. ANonOMouse says:

    Good read BB…..It looks like Susan Sarandon is going to get her “blow it all up” wish. I suppose she has a few homes outside of the U.S. where she can go to escape the consequences of tRump……The rest of us are left standing in the breach.

  5. NW Luna says:

  6. NW Luna says:

  7. NW Luna says:

    Some immigrants are better than others, apparently:

    $50m Trump-branded development relied on immigrant visa funds.

    …critics say Trump Bay Street, which uses the Trump name under licence and is now leasing apartments starting at $3,100 a month, is also a showcase for something else: the misuse of an controversial immigrant visa program originally designed to promote economic investment to disadvantaged areas through the sale of visas that can ultimately be converted to citizenship.

    Kushner’s development, with its chefs, dining tables and elaborate health and sports facilities, was completed with upward of $50m raised through EB-5 financing, according to a slide presentation by US Immigration Fund. The EB-5 program is popular with Chinese nationals with $500,000 or more to invest in US development projects. In 2014, the most recent year for which records are available, the US issued 10,692 of these visas – 85% to people from China, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

    But Trump Bay could soon become a focal point not only of efforts to reform EB-5 but also of the incoming Trump administration’s unresolved family business conflicts. ….

    A New York University study found that EB-5 investment was largely financing luxury developments, including a Chinese-style casino in Las Vegas, a Waldorf Astoria hotel in Beverly Hills and the redevelopment of the Hudson rail yards in Manhattan.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/dec/03/trump-bay-street-new-jersey-relied-on-immigrant-visa-funds

  8. William says:

    And the media never wanted to discuss foreign policy, except maybe Syria and Iran. The media acted as if Trump was just so much fun, that it didn’t matter at all what his non-existent foreign policy was. Or that Hillary’s unsurpassed grasp of diplomacy and world affairs was actually what you want in a president. Sanders didn’t have a clue about foreign policy, but the debates obligingly never required him to. So we had an entire campaign with essentially no discussion of complex international matters. I know that it was so much more fun for the media to talk about emails and Hillary’s cough. Now look where we are.

    Of course, as much as I despised the media coverage, it still falls to the voters to know and care about such things. Maybe people got lulled because under Bill Clinton and Obama, we really had no major crises with other countries, like we used to have. Now it looks like we may have dozens of them. This is what the media and Sanders and the low-information voters let us in for. They acted as if none of it mattered. It really, really does; and that was one of the biggest reasons why we desperately needed Hillary to win. Of course, she did, but they suppressed and rigged the votes in key states. The media doesn’t care about that, either; they only want their windfalls for their corporate owners. We are in a sense yelling into the wind, as far as the major institutions and most of the voters, are concerned. Will it require an absolute catastrophe; or will that not sway them, either? Do the Electors care? Have we become that absolutely selfish and stupid as a nation?

    • ANonOMouse says:

      The Media was bottom line/ratings driven. That’s all they cared about. They would show Trump rallies in totality, Hillary, NOT SO MUCH. They were more enamored at the silly things Trump would say, than the HORRIBLE things he was likely to do. The Media screwed the pooch and we’re the pooch. I loathe upChuck Todd and Andrea Mitchell. Both denigrated Hillary at every opportunity. Andrea Mitchell talked Hillary down everyday for months. Every sentence began with “Hillary’s approval ratings are low. She isn’t seen as trustworthy”. I believed, from the beginning that both were silently rooting for Trump. Even Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes and Lawrence O’Donnell didn’t get on the bandwagon until far too late. All 3 were SO pulling for Bernie that they had trouble changing course. Now, no matter what they say or do they can’t undo the horror that is Donald Trump. I wonder if any of them feel guilt for being more concerned with ratings and the HORSE RACE than their country? Well, they’re as screwed as we are.

  9. Pilgrim says:

    Remember the book “The Peter Principle,” the Peter Principle being that people rise to “the level of their incompetence.” It’s a thought that keeps coming to me today.

    • contrask says:

      I went to a workshop Sat morning called “The of the side of the story” where we talked about the philosophical difference between left & right. We visualized the tug of war between the 2 and how neither can win it. But what if we just let go of the rope? Let them fail miserably and it be known by all that it was on them. I don’t know, but we’re going to have to live through whatever happens.

      • Enheduanna says:

        People will literally die unnecessarily thanks to this administration. The reproductive health issues alone are staggering. And if they succeed in pulling the social security nets we have, seniors will slip back into poverty (prior to Social Security it was 40% in poverty I believe – albeit a more rural economy) and poor people will slip further into a cycle of poverty. Generations will be lost – and a huge part of them will be rural people who voted for Trump.

        • contrask says:

          That loss of life is what I think & am sick over it. I don’t know how Dems answer. I do know a lot of people have woken up and are distressed and know something has to change and they want to be a part of it. I am going to continue to go to these workshops. This is something that has started as a result of the Pantsuit Nation. People have had ideas, but lacked a way of getting the message out. I am amazed there are so many progressives in my red state. It gives me hope.

          • NW Luna says:

            Very good to hear, contrask! What’s the organization? I want to see if there’s something like it in my area.

          • contrask says:

            Right now this is just from an admin in the Tulsa Metro PNS facebook group. She has a theological education background as did several of the participants in the group. Also some had recent experience working on local Dem campaigns. We are exploring the basic life stances of left and right. When I get my head around it, I hope to share it. I think the reason I’m so plugged up in writing right now is that I’m coming to terms with my own world view. Prior to this election I wasn’t interested in politics and I thought I was a conservative! I need the interaction with these ladies to help me settle. I just hope we can move the group into positive action sooner rather than later.

  10. NW Luna says:

    Today is International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

    International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3)is an international observance promoted by the United Nations since 1992. It has been celebrated with varying degrees of success around the planet. The observance of the Day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations%27_International_Day_of_Persons_with_Disabilities

  11. TheRealKim says:

    I gotta say it, we are so fucked.

  12. NW Luna says:

    Since the recount effort in three states got underway last week, the major media have afforded it virtually no coverage. Even as the Wisconsin recount enters its third day and numerous inconsistencies are being documented, the mainstream media has remained silent. After the Michigan elections board approved the recount go-ahead, nary a peep. Now the major media outlets are finally talking about the Pennsylvania recount effort, but only to report that it’s now “over” – which is not the case.

    What actually happened today is that in a desperate last ditch attempt at preventing the recount, the State of Pennsylvania suddenly invented a million dollar bond that third party candidate Jill Stein would have needed to immediately pay for. This came after the state of Wisconsin had surreptitiously increased its own recount price tag from $1.1 million to $3.8 million, for the rather transparent purpose of trying to bankrupt Stein’s recount effort.

    Stein had raised millions of dollars, but with so much of that having been eaten up already by Wisconsin’s sudden price hike and the attorney fees required to fight fierce court battles against all three non-cooperating states, it turns out she didn’t have the $1 million cash on hand today to cover Pennsylvania’s sudden ransom demand. Thus she was forced to withdraw her court petition for a Pennsylvania recount. That doesn’t mean it’s over, of course, only that there is now another legal hurdle to fight.

    In fact her next step is to fight for precinct by precinct recounts in Pennsylvania until the vote totals have been sufficiently corrected and revised to drop Donald Trump’s lead in the state from the current 0.8% mark to the 0.5% mark, which in turn would trigger an automatic statewide recount under Pennsylvania state law. So how many mainstream major media outlets are correctly reporting that the PA recount effort is now continuing with a new strategy? There don’t appear to be any.

    http://www.palmerreport.com/politics/no-pennsylvania-recount-effort-isnt-yes-mainstream-media-lying/359/

  13. TheRealKim says:

    I had no idea Luna, I was so sad thinking it had just stopped because that’s what was reported. I have seen one report with Debra Messing saying many inconsistencies and apparent hacking had been found in Michigan, but again it was one tony blip.

  14. dakinikat says:

    A people’s history of the Third Reich or how ordinary people carried out the evil …
    http://thebaffler.com/blog/great-men-carpentier

    • NW Luna says:

      I went hunting to source a quote that came to mind after reading your comment, and found a fair amount:

      All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
      This is probably the most quoted statement attributed to Burke, and an extraordinary number of variants of it exist, but all without any definite original source. They closely resemble remarks known to have been made by the Utilitarian philosopher John Stuart Mill, in an address at the University of St. Andrew (1 February 1867): Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing. The very extensively used remarks attributed to Burke might be based on a paraphrase of some of his ideas, but he is not known to have ever declared them in so succinct a manner in any of his writings. It has been suggested that they may have been adapted from these lines of Burke’s in his Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents (1770): “When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.” (see above)

      This purported quote bears a resemblance to the narrated theme of Sergei Bondarchuk’s Soviet film adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s book “War and Peace”, in which the narrator declares “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”, although since the original is in Russian various translations to English are possible. This purported quote also bears resemblance to a quote widely attributed to Plato, that said “The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.” It also bears resemblance to what Albert Einstein wrote as part of his tribute to Pablo Casals: “The world is in greater peril from those who tolerate or encourage evil than from those who actually commit it.”

      https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Edmund_Burke

  15. NW Luna says:

    Seattle Minimum Wage Experiment is Over

    In light of a recent monthly release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), time for a quick trip to the glorious pacific northwest and the Seattle, WA area to revisit what’s been happening there in the wake of that city’s rising minimum wage.

    ….

    The unemployment rate in the city of Seattle – the tip of the spear when it comes to minimum wage experiments – has now hit a new cycle low of 3.4%, as the city continues to thrive. I’m not sure what else there is to say at this point. The doomsayers were wrong. The sky has not fallen. The restaurant business, by all accounts, is booming (in fact, probably reaching a saturation point when one looks at eateries per capita). I think it’s safe to say we’ve got enough data – over almost two years now – to declare that Seattle has not suffered adverse consequences from its increases in the minimum wage, and has certainly not experienced the dire effects foretold by the anti-min wage crowd.

    http://ritholtz.com/2016/12/seattle-min-wage-update/