For me, and I know for a lot of other people, one of the hardest things to grapple with about the oncoming Trump presidency is the feeling of helplessness that overcomes us after every questionable, unwise, and downright reckless move. We exercised the one real power we had — our magic bullet — on November 8th when we registered our vote. We missed. Now on an individual level, we’re left with little ability to control the behaviors of Donald Trump. We can tweet our frustrations and call our Congresspeople, and we can organize and rally, but ultimately, our future is tied to the whims and moods of our next President, a thin-skinned, unhinged man who can control the news cycle with petty tweets:
(Personally, I think this tweet is all show, less about taking issue with NBC and more about trying to illustrate that his connection to NBC’s The Apprentice notwithstanding, he can still badmouth the network, even if it’s with a wink).
This business with China is scary, and I don’t think many of us truly understand what’s at stake here, but this headline certainly put the fear of God into many of us:
The headline may say that the message being sent with a nuclear bomber is to “Donald Trump,” but the message is really to the entire United States. Whether we like it or not, Donald Trump represents our interests on the foreign stage and I think we’re all afraid that, at best, our iPhones are going to double in price under a Trump Administration, or worse, he’s going to get us all killed.
I’m not an expert on foreign diplomacy, and I can’t begin to fully understand what the 44-year-old One China policy is all about, but I do understand that it is crucial to America’s relationship to China. I also understand that Donald Trump is trying to use the One China policy as a bargaining chip in a trade war with a superpower: “I don’t know why we have to be bound by a One China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade,” he told Fox News yesterday.
But China isn’t having it. This response, from a state-run newspaper, is daunting (via The Washington Post):
The Global Times, a newspaper known for its strident nationalism, meanwhile wrote that Trump is “as ignorant as a child.”
The editorial said Trump ought to read some books on U.S.-China relations. It also warned that if the U.S. abandoned the One China policy, Beijing would have no reason to “put peace above using force to take back Taiwan.”
“China needs to launch a resolute struggle with him,” the editorial said. “Only after he’s hit some obstacles and truly understands that China and the rest of the world are not to be bullied will he gain some perception.”
“Many people might be surprised at how the new U.S. leader is truly a ‘businessman’ through-and-through,” the paper said. “But in the field of diplomacy, he is as ignorant as a child.”
When it comes to foreign diplomacy, I’m lousy at reading between the lines, but I’m pretty sure that that’s a threat to go to war with Taiwan because of something our dumbass President said. We don’t want that. China doesn’t want that. Taiwan sure as hell doesn’t want that.
I also don’t understand the broader implications here with Russia — Russia and China are currently on friendly terms — but the conspiracy theorist in me sees Trump’s actions as beneficial to Russia, if only because alienation from China might make us more dependent upon the former Soviet Union, with whom I would expect sanctions would be lifted by the United States under Trump’s presidency. Given Trump’s close ties with Russia, Russia’s role in his election, and Trump’s Putin-friendly cabinet choices, it’s hard not to view all of this through the prism of Trump’s relationship with Putin.
What does it all mean? I don’t know, but I do know this can’t be good:
BREAKING: Editorial in China's state-linked newspaper says country could react to Trump by offering military support to enemies of the US— The Int'l Spectator (@intlspectator) December 12, 2016
But don’t listen to me. I’m just a special snowflake.
Diplomats: This is bad.— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) December 12, 2016
Experts: This is bad.
Trump voters: You're snowflakes.
China: No, this is bad. pic.twitter.com/HAdGWqytcU