Taiwanese President Tsai long-wen waves to a crowd. IMAGE CREDIT: BBC NEWS
President-elect Donald Trump just demonstrated how his complete lack of knowledge of world affairs could become a very dangerous problem for the U.S.–and the world–if he is not more closely advised by members of his team who have a better understanding of U.S. foreign relationships.
Politico summarized what happened yesterday when Trump unwittingly took a call from the president of Taiwan:
Donald Trump startled foreign policy watchers Friday by speaking with the president of Taiwan, a break with more than 35 years of U.S. policy that is likely to infuriate China.
The United States and Taiwan have a strong but unofficial relationship, and Trump’s phone call, confirmed by his transition team Friday afternoon, raises questions about whether the president-elect intended to signal a policy shift that could antagonize Beijing even before he takes office.
Reuters further reports that China blames the Taiwanese government for basically playing a trick on Trump:
China lodged a diplomatic protest on Saturday after U.S. President-elect Donald Trump spoke by phone with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, but blamed the self-ruled island Beijing claims as its own for the “petty” move.
Let’s be clear, the fact that Trump made contact with Taiwan, when no U.S. president or president-elect is known to have spoken to a Taiwanese leader since 1979, is no small thing. There is a very strategic reason for this intentional diplomatic snub of Taiwan: Our ‘one China’ approach means that we have diplomatic ties only with Beijing and a change to that policy, especially when it wasn’t communicated to the current President of the United States, Barack Obama, or the U.S. State Department before the call, is a serious and dangerous signal to send the world.
Trump had better bone up on his knowledge of U.S. foreign policy fast–and start controlling his ill-informed impulses–or serious consequences could result.