No Continuity between Obama and Trump

U.S. President Barack Obama listens as he participates in his last news conference of the year at the White House in Washington, U.S., December 16, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

U.S. President Barack Obama listens as he participates in his last news conference of the year at the White House in Washington, U.S., December 16, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Reuters’ report “Obama says change in U.S. policy toward Taiwan would have consequences with China” shows that Obama wants Trump to continue his diplomacy with respect to China. His words sound as if he is teaching Trump what to do in dealing with China.

I don’t think that Trump is so stupid as to want US-China relations to deteriorate as it will only hurt US interests. What Trump wants is to improve the relations to benefit US economy.

Trump knows well that he should not continue Obama’s stupid diplomacy.

His first wise move is to improve US-Russia relations in order to cut Russia-China de facto alliance.

In Europe, Obama is stupid to take lead in punishing Russia for Russia’s military actions in Ukraine. Russia’s military response in Ukraine is the result of EU instigated street coop that overthrew a pro-Russian president democratically elected.

US interests have not been involved in the conflicts between EU and Russia in Ukraine though the US wants to contain Russia to prevent it from becoming a rival to US world leadership. However, EU has much more earnest desire to contain Russia as Russia, including the Soviet Union, has long been a threat to Western Europe. Moreover, EU is rich and strong enough to deal with Russia. Why shall the US incur huge costs to deal with Russia for EU’s interests. Trump is wise to exploit the conflicts between EU and Russia to urge EU to protect itself or pay for US protection so that such protection will benefit the US instead of being a burden on the US.

Does Trump not want the US to maintain its leadership? No, Trump is well aware that the US is not strong enough to directly take part in others’ conflict to make others obey. He has to let others confront one another. The US, being the strongest, shall exploit the situation to act as an arbitrator to maintain peace and stability.

So shall be Trump’s way in Asia. The US has to be an arbitrator in the conflicts between Taiwan and China, Japan and China, South Korea and China and South China Sea claimants and China and between Russia and Japan. If he can sow discord between Russia and China, he will be the arbitrator between Russia and China. If the US can use its strength and wisdom to ease the conflict and maintain peace and stability, it will be respected as world leader.

If the US directly takes part in the conflicts of others like what it has been doing in the South China Sea as a party to the conflict but fails to make the major party to the conflict obey its leadership, it will only show its weakness and lose its position as world leader.

Obama has precisely been doing such stupid things in Asia. Shall Trump continue Obama’s stupid policy?

To be world leader, one certainly shall be the strongest, but that is no enough. He shall first of all have wisdom.

I believe Trump is not as stupid as Obama to continue Obama’s diplomacy. His use of Taiwan as a bargaining chip is a risky move but he indeed has no other chip to use.

Whether he is wise enough to be world leader to shrewdly use US economic and military strength, we will wait and see.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be read below:

Obama says change in U.S. policy toward Taiwan would have consequences with China

By Roberta Rampton and Jeff Mason | WASHINGTON Fri Dec 16, 2016 | 8:00pm EST

President Barack Obama said on Friday it was fine for President-elect Donald Trump to review Washington’s “one-China” policy toward Taiwan, but he cautioned that a shift could lead to significant consequences in the U.S. relationship with Beijing.

“For China, the issue of Taiwan is as important as anything on their docket,” Obama said at a news conference. “The idea of one China is at the heart of their conception as a nation and so if you are going to upend this understanding, you have to have thought through what … the consequences are.”

China lodged a diplomatic protest earlier this month after Trump, a Republican, spoke by phone with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan. The 10-minute telephone call was the first of its kind by a U.S. president-elect or president since President Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979, acknowledging Taiwan as part of “one China”.

Obama noted that, under the decades-old policy, China had recognized Taiwan was its own entity that did things its own way, while Taiwan had agreed that, with some autonomy, it would not charge ahead and declare independence.

“That status quo, although not completely satisfactory to any of the parties involved, has kept the peace and allowed the Taiwanese to be a pretty successful … economy and a people who have a high degree of self-determination,” Obama said.

The Democratic president said he had advised Trump that foreign policy had to be conducted in a systematic, deliberate, intentional way.

“There’s probably no bilateral relationship that carries more significance and … where there’s also the potential, if that relationship breaks down or goes into a full conflict mode, that everybody is worse off,” he said of the U.S. relationship with China.

He said Beijing would not treat a departure from U.S. policy toward Taiwan lightly.

“The Chinese will not treat that the way they’ll treat some other issues. They won’t even treat it the way they treat issues around the South China Sea, where we’ve had a lot of tensions,” he said.

“This goes to the core of how they see themselves. And their reaction on this issue could end up being very significant. That doesn’t mean that you have to adhere to everything that’s been done in the past.”

(additional reporting by Julia Harte and David Alexander; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

Note: This is Reuters report I reblog here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


3 Comments on “No Continuity between Obama and Trump”

  1. Steve says:

    Obama is correct to say that foreign policy had to be conducted in a systematic, deliberate and intentional way because international diplomacy is a relationship with regard to relevant issues such as peace making, trade, economics, environment, human rights and so on.

    Trump’s use of Taiwan as a bargaining chip is indeed a stupid move implying that the province of Taiwan is like a bargain basement (price) as a trade off against the One China policy in order to gain trade concessions from Beijing. To use Taiwan as a ‘bargain basement chip price’ is politically laughable. It is an entirely irrelevant issue that should not be negotiated by Beijing. It’s like trying to hold Beijing to ransom over it’s own property (Taiwan). Business shrewdness by Trump does not equate to political shrewdness. Trump is actually bartering over properties rather than negotiating on issues that is deliberate and intentional. Like trade vs trade, economics vs economics, military vs military, war vs war.

    Let’s not make a silly excuse to say that Trump indeed has no other chip to use. He is an American President elect with a bad mouth, let’s not be kindhearted and become a silly, pitiful old head ourselves. They are the hegemonic scoundrel tribe hyping the China threat with lies and deceit, just waiting for an opportunity to take the upper hand.

    At least Obama had the political will to pivot 60% of it’s military to the Asia Pacific to contain China, but this Trump guy wants to relegate China’s renegade province of Taiwan into a political bargain basement chip price (cheap sale) as a Trump card against the One China policy.? He is Nuts.

    Can Trump shrewdly use US economic strength wisely to be world leader.?.. NO.. He has run out of bargain chips in Asia. China is now shrewdly moving its bargain chips into America’s backyard known as Latin America and Caribbean having signed a slew of trade deal worth over US$500 billion anticipated over 10 years. Uncle Han is shrewdly moving into LatAm with it’s Chinese brush pen signing contracts whilst the US are boating FONOPs in the SCS.

    US powerful military is the only shrewd strength left, but what will Trump do with it…Start a war.?


  2. Simon says:

    The problem with America and it so call democratic process is it lacks continuity. Foreign relations America has with anyone is unreliable based on who is in charge. Trump trying to cosy up with Russia to undermine China’s alliance with Russia won’t work because everyone knows Trump is a one term president whose view is at odd with American interest. Reality is what he says and what America actually does may be two different things given that he wont last beyond 4yrs. Putin is not foolish enough to throw away his genuine friendship with China just because Trump might lift sanction and friendly overtures from him for just 4yrs. Everyone plays the long game and Trump is not part of that.


    • Jane says:

      Alliances are built on the basis of mutual benefit.

      Russia and China derive a great deal of benefit from their alliance. Russia gets an outlet for its oil and gas, and China gets an overland supply source that cannot be attacked by submarines.

      What can the US give to Russia? Even Trump cannot persuade Ukraine to accept the loss of Crimea. The US is almost self-sufficient in oil, and is starting to export gas. It is a competitor to Russia, not a customer.

      There is nothing Russia can get from the US except nice words from Trump. That is not a sound basis for an alliance.