The first Trump ripple

Written By: - Date published: 1:17 pm, December 17th, 2016 - 96 comments
Categories: China, International, us politics - Tags:

The first ripple felt here of the future President Trump reign wasn’t the dying TPPA, because it was Undead already. No, the first ripple was his telephone call with the President of Taiwan. It’s surprisingly important to New Zealand.

Sending signals that he intends to make major changes in U.S. foreign, security, and economic policy is one thing. Sending signals that undermine existing U.S. policies without clear signals about what will replace them is quite another.

The phone call to Taiwan was pretty important. China reportedly responded by flying a nuclear-capable bomber into the South China Sea.

Who knows, perhaps from the U.S. point of view this Taiwan phone call is a necessary refresher that seeks to disentangle trade diplomacy from territorial diplomacy over common waters. Maybe Trump has made a calculated move to imbalance China’s leadership about Taiwan, because Chinese restraint over Taiwan is the key element of cross-strait stability. Freak them a bit. Maybe. I would be surprised if China views the place of Taiwan in its constellation the same way.

But future President Trump needs to pull his gaze up and form a coherent strategy about the broader Asian Pacific – something President Obama completely failed to do.

Just one example, South Korea is in real leadership trouble. This is a critical ally in Pacific détente between the US and China, and between the U.S. and North Korea. It needs just as much attention as Taiwan.

New Zealand needs no reminder about how important its relationship to China is. Its real estate market in both town and country has been highly supported by Chinese capital. When China mainland dairy consumers sneeze – as they have twice in five years – New Zealand’s entire dairy industry catches a serious cold. Its Auckland population is nearly 20% east Asian, and there are some suburbs with Chinese-dominant residents. Huge proportions of its tertiary education students come from mainland China. There’s a lot of our economy and families’ societal cohesion at stake for us.

Other U.S.-friendly nations in the Pacific – Australia, Vietnam, Indonesia – need the same U.S. policy stability that China does. Absolutely no-one needs the leader of a nuclear superpower making ‘deals’ over the head of another superpower. One needed only to see the machine-gun clad guards and Zodiac boats buzzing around the U.S. and Chinese warships in Auckland harbour (tactically parked a kilometre away from each other) a month ago for the New Zealand naval celebrations to feel that frission live.

Both New Zealand and Australia as small and medium sized nations have a fundamental interest in a careful and rules-based relationship between all superpowers particularly in the south Pacific. Absent U.S. leadership, that objective becomes enormously difficult to achieve and sustain given China’s growing power. After Presidential inauguration, there will be no more lee-way given for stumbling first-time amateurism. And New Zealand needs to prepare for more ripples.

96 comments on “The first Trump ripple”

  1. Muttonbird 1

    Here’s me thinking Taiwan called Trump.

    • Macro 1.1

      And if The Chump had had any sense of diplomatic relationships, and his ultimate responsibility as POTUS, he would not have accepted it.

      • Hell, if you really want to talk to Taiwan, it’s not undoable, you just have to clear it with China first, probably by committing to asking them about reconciliation with the mainland.

        The issue is that the man is so praise-dependant he would never not answer a congratulatory call, even if it were from Iran, who seem to be the enemy-designate for Trump’s administration.

      • Richard McGrath 1.1.2

        That’s right, he should have put the sensibilities of the butchers of Tinanmen Square first, before the democratically elected leader of Taiwan.

        • Macro 1.1.2.1

          🙄
          U Have NFI do you…
          The Chump is now conducting diplomatic relations via social media on the fly.
          China is now eagerly awaiting the 20th Jan next year.
          If I was the democratically elected leader of Taiwan – I would now be tending my resignation. She has just put her country in jeopardy.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.2

      That’s what it says in the OP.

      The Grand Wizard wasn’t obliged to take the call.

    • Siobhan 2.1

      How did Trump suddenly become responsible for trouble in the South China Sea?

      “In July 2010, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for the People’s Republic of China to resolve the territorial dispute. China responded by demanding the US keep out of the issue”…hear!, hear!.

      • Macro 2.1.1

        If you don’t understand how Trump’s indiscrete phone conversation increased tensions you never will.
        As to the increasing sabre rattling of China in the South China Sea – you – and every one else in the Pacific should be very concerned. Clinton’s call for China to stop this aggressive actions was quite appropriate.

        • garibaldi 2.1.1.1

          Why isn’t China allowed to step outside its border and show territorial concerns ?
          Is the USA the only one allowed to do what it wants?
          China will naturally show concern for its interests as a growing world force, so isn’t it the USA which should watch its Ps&QS as well?

          • Macro 2.1.1.1.1

            Because there are other countries – The Philippines, Japan, Tawain, and Vietnam, amongst others who are affected by this aggression. The UN has already considered the behaviour of China encroaching into others territorial waters in complete disregard of the “Law of The Sea” and other International agreements.
            eg
            http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/south-china-sea-dispute-reaches-united-nations
            Continuing such aggressive behavour will ultimately lead to fighting – or worse the ultimate invasion and occupation by China of countries it holds no right to – e.g. Tibet.

          • rhinocrates 2.1.1.1.2

            Diplomacy between nuclear-armed superpowers has nothing to do with what’s “fair”. It is about maintaining a balance and preserving “face”. China needs that to back up its soft power. It leads to complicated and grotesque balances and sudden shifts of the sort Trump is indulging in will inevitably have unforeseen and possibly violent complications…

            In practice it is like playing Jenga wearing mittens, or as someone said, saying “Nice doggie” to a large Rottweiler while looking for a stick.

            • In Vino 2.1.1.1.2.1

              Are any of you aware that before and during WW2 the USA recognised Tibet as the 5th province of China? (Because China was not communist at the time.) As soon as the Communist Govt took over China, the US suddenly saw Tibet and Taiwan as independent, autonomous countries.. Amazing!

              Garibaldi is right – so many of you suck in US propaganda.

              (If you want proof of my claim, watch episode 5 of ‘Why We Fight’ put out by the US Dept of Information during WW2. Early in this episode the 5 great provinces of China are named, and Tibet is the 5th. Face it – all the bleating about Tibet is because naughty China upset the US moguls by going communist.

              I agree with Garibaldi – the US expects to have its bases all around the world and surround its opponents – but as soon as any of them (China or Russia) do anything in their own back yard, the ultra-expansionist (US) starts screaming about expansionism. Why do so many of you suck this rubbish in?

              • In Vino

                I will answer myself – because you support US expansionism, based on the idea that justice does not matter – you want our side to be most powerful, act first, then make up some justification theory afterwards.

                I suspect that many other countries see us that way – because it is true.

              • Draco T Bastard

                As soon as the Communist Govt took over China, the US suddenly saw Tibet and Taiwan as independent, autonomous countries.. Amazing!

                And both see themselves as not Chinese and wish to be independent of it. This comes under the right to self-determination as guaranteed under the UN Charter.

                So, although the US recognising them probably has a lot to do with the Chinese Communist revolution there’s also the fact that those territories wish to be independent of China and it is that wish that takes precedence.

                • In Vino

                  Historically, when the Chinese Empire was strong, these countries were definitely Chinese provinces. When the Chinese Empire waned, they had periods of independence or conquest by somebody else. A bit like Poland. Nice to believe that countries should have their own independence – a pity the USA never appreciated that about Vietnam.
                  Nor many others. The fact is that US is currently strong, and China is becoming strong again. I too would like small countries to be independent and free, but I feel inclined to laugh at those who buy into US propaganda. It is not that simple. And we need to be far more careful about who we support in this game of thrones.
                  I put it to you that the US is no less an international bully than China or Russia, and is probably a bigger one.

                  • A bit like Poland.

                    A lot like it. So, if the Jerries or Russians decide its time Poland became one their provinces again, you’ll support their invasion and occupation of Poland? Support for Tibetan independence has a total of 0 to do with the USA.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    And we need to be far more careful about who we support in this game of thrones.

                    For evil to succeed only requires that good people do nothing.

                    Ethically we should be supporting those that don’t wish to be dominated by another people. Most definitely we should not be supporting those who wish to dominate.

                    I put it to you that the US is no less an international bully than China or Russia, and is probably a bigger one.

                    The US has been an international bully for centuries. China is just becoming one. Russia isn’t the nicest kid on the block but they don’t appear to be looking to expand their borders into other peoples territory – at least without the other people asking first.

                    • In Vino

                      China has been an international bully many times more than the USA – it is no learner. Perhaps it is the poor performance of the USA that undermines its credibility. Sorry – I have heard all these ‘But this time we really are in the right’ stories before – especially with regard to Vietnam. Years later the truth emerges, and out interventions are exposed as self-interested machinations. I suggest that if self-determination is to be an ideal used for condemning China, we need to hold USA equally accountable for its own appalling record. (Easy to condemn ‘Jerries or Russians’ over Poland, since both have played the role of our enemy. How about British and American intervention in Iraq/Iran over the years?)

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Sorry – I have heard all these ‘But this time we really are in the right’ stories before – especially with regard to Vietnam.

                      You seem to be under the mistaken impression that I support US imperialism.

                      I suggest that if self-determination is to be an ideal used for condemning China, we need to hold USA equally accountable for its own appalling record.

                      Yes, exactly.

                    • In Vino

                      Fair enough – I was partly answering PM.

                      It is just that I see the same moral indignation arising as people take the high moral ground about independence, democracy, then scream for hostile attitudes against other countries they see as infringing – yet they diminish/ignore the abysmal infringements by all our Western powers (Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, USA).

                      Realpolitik is different. Good luck with getting powers like Russia and China to become morally virtuous. Our side never has – we only preached it as a form of hypocrisy of which too many here seem to be unaware.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1.1.3

            Why isn’t China allowed to step outside its border and show territorial concerns ?
            Is the USA the only one allowed to do what it wants?

            Allowed by whom? The tension between the two sides is caused by competing interests, not some rule-book.

            In your opinion, is the US’s ability to manage that tension, to “mind its P&Qs”, enhanced by having the Grand Wizard as “Precedent”?

            • In Vino 2.1.1.1.3.1

              Um – your first paragraph is spot on to my mind. But why on Earth do you imply that Garibaldi is a supporter of Trump? I am not, and I doubt that Garibaldi is. (Your question is an implication. Why did you ask it?)
              Who would want to have ‘Precedent’ Trump leading us to yet another catastrophe?

              Could this relate to both of us defending CV at times? Different issue.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                My question isn’t an implication it’s rhetorical. That said, if you don’t like Trump, defending useful idiots is a mistake,

  2. Richard Christie 3

    South Korea is in real leadership trouble. This is a critical ally in Pacific détente between the US and China, and between the U.S. and North Korea. It needs just as much attention as Taiwan

    I don’t share your implied enthusiasm for US interference in the internal politics of other nations. It’s worked out just dandy for the world so far, not.

  3. Keith 4

    Since World War 2 the US has viewed the Pacific as its territory. But the aggression shown in recent years with wars all around the globe with the US’s involvement in one way or the other suggests the US would be happy as a pig in shit to have a good ol’ fashion war with the very country that manufactures most of the US’s consumer products.

    Personally I am over this insanity and the infinite spending on “security” rather than the betterment of mankind.

    China wield a large influence over most of the world in some form or another simply because they bother trading with countries like us and of course thanks to “Free trade” they make so many of the products we all use to. I understand the inward gaze of US voters because their country has been hollowed out by so called free trade but the other side of the coin is their war machine seems to have morphed into a giant almost out of control stick to threaten all and sundry with rather than trying to get on with other countries in a positive way.

    Flick the switch on this bomb and no one knows where it will end but it stands the definite potential of being hugely destructive and cataclysmic for man kind. Is this what the US wants?

    Are we watching a rerun of the halcyon days of the Habsburg, German and Ottoman empires who couldn’t see their time was up and couldn’t resist one more knees up with all the death and destruction that went with it?

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      …but the other side of the coin is their war machine seems to have morphed into a giant almost out of control stick to threaten all and sundry with rather than trying to get on with other countries in a positive way.

      The US has always been a warmonger using their military to subjugate other nations to their corporations.

      Flick the switch on this bomb and no one knows where it will end but it stands the definite potential of being hugely destructive and cataclysmic for man kind. Is this what the US wants?

      Is this what China wants? They’re pushing just as hard as the US.

      Are we watching a rerun of the halcyon days of the Habsburg, German and Ottoman empires who couldn’t see their time was up and couldn’t resist one more knees up with all the death and destruction that went with it?

      Yes, we are.

      • Keith 4.1.1

        I am not for a moment suggesting China is some wilting Violet, but has China set up bases and parked it’s warships all around the US’s Pacific and Atlantic coasts?

        • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.1

          Not yet but they have done so around the SCS against all international law that they’ve agreed to and they’re pushing out elsewhere as well. It’s one of the reasons why I believe that a nation should only operate within its own borders.

        • Macro 4.1.1.2

          It’s not the US that is the concern here – it is how China is behaving towards its close neighbours; Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, The Philippines, and Taiwan to name the most obvious. The setting up of clear military bases on rocks that are in dispute is clearly aggressive and antagonistic towards all of the above mentioned independent nations. We already know that China has no compunction in invading and annexing foreign nations as it sees fit – Tibet.
          The US is merely voicing the concerns of every other nation and the UN in expressing the need for China to withdraw from the bases it has illegaly established.
          http://www.wsj.com/articles/china-to-build-military-facilities-on-south-china-sea-islets-1434436700
          http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/confirmed-china-building-military-base-near-japan-12120
          http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-06-07/china-may-build-artificial-island-military-base-south-china-sea

          • Keith 4.1.1.2.1

            There is no US territory anywhere near the South China sea and I thinking Guam in Micronesia is about the closest. President Duterte of the Philippines is embracing China.

            South Korea is set up against China as is Japan, both have US bases and Taiwan and China is a constant issue as China have never recognised Taiwan. And Vietnam have never got along particularly well but I do recall a particular US doing a lot a damage to that country and its people!.

            And we know that the US has no compunction in invading who ever it feels like either whether overtly or better still covertly. Where would the middle east be without US interests starting and maintaining wars, or Latin America?

            • Macro 4.1.1.2.1.1

              Keith what you say is all beside the point. The point is that China is the Nation acting aggresively in the South China Sea.
              The US has essentially pulled most of its bases around the area years ago – only 3 remain – 2 in Japan and one in South Korea. Subic Bay in the Philippines closed years ago. Yes the US have acted unilaterally and aggressively in the Middle East (mostly) but the way you are talking it seems that such Nations as South Korea and Japan and Vietnam and the Philippines have nothing to fear. As for President Duterte – he is as much a loose cannon as is Trump. But I know that the when it comes to the defence of Territorial waters ,the Philippines are as much concerned by China’s aggression, as are Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.
              It doesn’t take much to start a war…
              The shooting of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in Sarajevo, Bosnia, started WW1. Its is just the excuse needed. Trump’s intemperate remarks could be the trigger for the next.

              • Keith

                The US is surrounding China’s coastal areas aggressively, as they are to Russia in Europe. Were I China I too would be paranoid having a shit load or military hardware pointed at me from so near by.

                Is the suggestion that China should stay neatly within its 3 mile limit and shut the fuck up while the US, a violent country actively involved in multiple conflicts around the globe for the past 50 years and a country that is located at least 8000 miles away from the South China Sea assume they are the Sheriff and this is their territory?

                The US lost Clarke Airforce Base after the 80’s in part due to that volcanic eruption, also due to the Soviet Union collapse and due to political changes in the Philippines, similarly Subic Bay, not because they decided to suddenly become peaceful and magnanimous. They had high hopes of taking back Subic Bay but then along came the very unpredictable Duterte. And obviously their defeat in Vietnam meant the loss of all those bases, not at all because they valued Vietnamese independence.

                Insanely this seems to be over minor atolls but it seems to me any excuse to have a war is what is going on here. Again, the US have no legitimate reason to be anywhere near the place and if they weren’t I cannot help but think this wouldn’t be an issue!

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Is the suggestion that China should stay neatly within its 3 mile limit

                  Actually, it’s a 12 mile limit and a 200 mile EEZ. That applies to both the US and to China.

                  Insanely this seems to be over minor atolls but it seems to me any excuse to have a war is what is going on here.

                  China is trying to claim artificial islands as land though – fully against international law – and then trying to claim all of the SCS in between them and their mainland for themselves. The artificial islands that China have made are well outside their legitimate territorial claims.

                  This is nothing but a resource grab by China that is taking territory from nations that have a legitimate claim to it.

                • DH

                  Have you actually read much on that dispute keith? You seem a bit, well, wrong.

                  For starters the US is not, and has not been, ‘”surrounding China’s coastal areas aggressively”. They’ve done bugger all there, it’s China who have been making all the moves. Secondly it’s not about ‘minor atolls’ and I wonder how you came to that conclusion or if you even did.

                  At present the US is simply asserting its right to free passage in international waters. That is the US position. It’s China who have claimed ownership of the South China Sea which the rest of the world recognise largely as international waters owned by no-one.

                  • Keith

                    Fair to say DH, I’ve stopped taking a lot of notice of the Herald and Stuff.co, more value in subscribing to your average roll of toilet paper.

                    But if that makes me unread then so be it!

                    Rather than taking in our awful corporate media’s jaundiced view look around. John Pilger does some good work for example. As you will see the US is surrounding China and are not doing bugger all. https://www.rt.com/news/369904-china-us-war-pilger/

                    Ironically I now see how Nationals influence over the media narrative have kept unquestioning Kiwis in check and them high in the polls.

                    • DH

                      Why assume my knowledge came from the local rags Keith?

                      I did what I always do when I want to learn about something. When I first read about the dispute I googled “South China Sea” and followed the links.

                      It really isn’t a hard one to form a definitive opinion on as to who is the bad guy. One only needs to see the map of the area with China’s nine-dash line superimposed on it to reach the conclusion that China are quite simply in the wrong. I don’t much care what the Yank view is, it doesn’t mitigate China’s brazen thievery of territory it has no right to.

                • Macro

                  These are not minor atolls – they are being used as a platform to make a fleet of aircraft carriers throughout the South China Sea and your initial premise that the US is surrounding China is so much nonsense its not worth replying to.
                  No one is saying China should stay within its 3 mile limit – that is absolute rubbish!! The law of the sea is for a 200 mile limit, and has been for 30 odd years.
                  However China should respect the “Law of The Sea”( to which it is a signatory) and stop building aircraft bases on atolls in the waters of Vietnam, the Philippines and Japan and South Korea.

  4. DH 5

    I don’t think there’s anything Trump, or Clinton for that matter, can do here. China looks to be itching for a showdown on the South China Sea and when they’re ready nothing the US can say or do will stop them IMO. The US aren’t the aggressor, it’s China doing all the pushing.

    To my mind the US has only two choices here. They can sit back and do nothing; let China take over the SC Sea, or they can stand up to China and try to prevent it.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      I don’t think there’s anything Trump, or Clinton for that matter, can do here. China looks to be itching for a showdown on the South China Sea and when they’re ready nothing the US can say or do will stop them IMO. The US aren’t the aggressor, it’s China doing all the pushing.

      QFT

      There’s only two options left on the South China Sea issue – either stop China from taking it or prevent them from doing so.

      To my mind the US has only two choices here. They can sit back and do nothing; let China take over the SC Sea, or they can stand up to China and try to prevent it.

      It shouldn’t be the US but the UN but the UN can’t do anything as China has a veto in the Security Council.

      • Macro 5.1.1

        Yes – that is the rub! The veto by individual members on the security council.

        • In Vino 5.1.1.1

          The US has as much right to run the South China Sea as it had to run Vietnam. That was a stupid mistake, but it was supported by our majority who believed the propaganda. It appears that little has changed.

          • DH 5.1.1.1.1

            Well, it’s lucky we’ve got you clever sods to put us right then isn’t it. Don’t tell, let me guess, you can leap buildings in a single bound too.

          • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1.2

            The US has as much right to run the South China Sea as it had to run Vietnam.

            And China has the same right to the SCS as the US.

            • In Vino 5.1.1.1.2.1

              Why should the US be allowed the Munroe Doctrine, but not China?

              • Draco T Bastard

                The US shouldn’t be allowed the Munroe Doctrine and neither should China.

                • In Vino

                  A bit late.. The USA has practised the Munroe doctrine for yonks. Now you want to justify criticism of China for pushing the same policy? While the US still maintains that doctrine? Good luck – I sympathise, but Realpolitik will rule. As OAB said, the 2 powers will compete.

                  We have to beware of over-enthusiastic propaganda.

    • Paul 5.2

      Yes China wants a showdown dh…

  5. Draco T Bastard 6

    New Zealand needs no reminder about how important its relationship to China is. Its real estate market in both town and country has been highly supported by Chinese capital. When China mainland dairy consumers sneeze – as they have twice in five years – New Zealand’s entire dairy industry catches a serious cold. Its Auckland population is nearly 20% east Asian, and there are some suburbs with Chinese-dominant residents.

    Which tells us that we need to become more independent and not less so.

    There’s a lot of our economy and families’ societal cohesion at stake for us.

    Our economy should not be dependent upon other countries and we should not be turning into Little China just to make east Asian immigrants feel at home. If immigrants don’t feel at home here if NZ stays as NZ then perhaps they shouldn’t have moved here.

    And New Zealand needs to prepare for more ripples.

    Yes, we do. And the way to do that is to become more independent and ramping up our military capabilities so that we can defend ourselves rather than becoming lickspittles to either the US or China.

    • Paul 6.1

      As per usual, your commentary is spot on.

    • I think there’s a fair point about spreading out our export markets and diversifying our economy. If by “independent” you mean “not relying on exports at all,” I’m not sure that’s entirely going to fly though.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.2.1

        Actually, it means not being reliant upon imports.

        • Ah, excuse me, of course that makes more sense, lol.

          Yeah I can see reducing imports, at least in certain key areas with good prospects for local competition, being a good step for the economy. Going further than that, the main issue there is that a competitive market for locally-manufactured goods would probably rely on tarriffs or subsidies of some sort, and we’ve essentially already legislated against tariffs in so many instances as to be impractical, so that leaves subsidies. And that’s a bit of a hard sell.

          But there is a lot to be said for maintaining more localised production than the current free-trade oriented economy we have and the resiliency that approach offers if long-distance freight becomes more expensive or less practical for any reason, short-term or long-term.

  6. …Chinese restraint over Taiwan is the key element of cross-strait stability.

    “Restraint” is the wrong word for the behaviour of a totalitarian dictatorship that’s only holding off invading and occupying a foreign country because said foreign country has a powerful friend. The unsavoury fucks running China make Trump look like a beacon of ethical integrity – if his antics get them to push “Annex the Sudetenland” further down the to-do list, good on him.

    • Paul 7.1

      You sound like a neo-con.

      • Psycho Milt 7.1.1

        I sound like someone who doesn’t share your enthusiasm for authoritarian nationalist dictatorships. That’s because I don’t.

        • Paul 7.1.1.1

          Like you, I don’t support either China or Russia.

          • Macro 7.1.1.1.1

            I don’t support China, Russia, or the USA. I just observe that we are now about to let a child loose in what is perhaps the most difficult and sensitive job on the planet – what he does, or doesn’t do, can affect the whole of us.

          • garibaldi 7.1.1.1.2

            There have been a lot of ” unsavoury fucks” running American foreign policy too.
            I can’t understand why so many of you think the USA are the bees knees. They are bloody shocking at being the “policeman ” of the world.

            • Paul 7.1.1.1.2.1

              I don’t.
              See my links to Fisk, Cockburn, Pilger and others on Open Mike today.
              The US is a danger to the world.

            • Psycho Milt 7.1.1.1.2.2

              Being able to recognise the difference between the USA and a totalitarian dictatorship isn’t “thinking the USA is the bee’s knees.”

              • In Vino

                PM – do you realise that Taiwan was part of China when Chiang Kai Shek’s defeated Kuomintang Government retreated there when the Communists booted him out? Do you know that for years on end, the official line from that silly little charade of an official Government of all China (recognised as so by the USA because it was not communist) claimed it was going to eventually invade and reunite China? Yes, Taiwan was going to reinvade China, and free them from the horrible Reds. I remember that crap.

                Don’t give me bullshit about how Taiwan has magically become non-Chinese: see if you can convince the Chinese about it.

                ‘Authoritarian Dictatorship’. Tut tut. China and Russia have always been run that way – the revolution made little difference in Russia, and Stalin became the next repressive great Czar. Putin may yet make a small bid…

                The West does not have moral superiority – only a worse record of hypocrisy.

      • Draco T Bastard 7.1.2

        So, do you actually have an argument against what PM said?

        • Paul 7.1.2.1

          Which of his arguments?

          • Draco T Bastard 7.1.2.1.1

            The one that says that China will invade Taiwan if they didn’t have the US as an ally. You see, Taiwan doesn’t really see itself as part of China but China claims it anyway.

            • In Vino 7.1.2.1.1.1

              Sorry – see my post above. Taiwan was seriously intending to invade and reunite China (although they never had any ability to do so), and the USA recognised the Govt of Taiwan as the Govt of all China. Amazing what we like to forget. And I think we called it Formosa back then.

    • Red Hand 7.2

      Unsavoury fucks in the shit over their social issues too.

      http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-35553120

  7. [NZ’s] Auckland population is nearly 20% east Asian, and there are some suburbs with Chinese-dominant residents.

    Meh. Any of those residents who rate China’s interests ahead of NZ’s should fuck off back there. We certainly shouldn’t be pandering to them. There are certain things inherent in immigration that people either need to accept or not immigrate.

    • Paul 8.1

      Take a chill pill, pm.
      Have you started drinking early today?

    • Ad 8.2

      Plenty of New Zealanders have dual citizenship and are entitled to express dual loyalty formally.

      Others have Permanent Residency, or variations on that.

      They have earned the right to settle and acculturate, and express their loyalty in their own space and time.

      • Psycho Milt 8.2.1

        I have dual citizenship myself, and was a permanent resident much of my life. But if my country of birth acts against NZ’s interests, it’s acting against my interests, because my commitment is to the country my family immigrated into, not the one I was born in. People who immigrate here but don’t want to commit to us have made a bad choice and should rethink their situation.

        • Ad 8.2.1.1

          I don’t mind the general patriotic sentiment, but it took well over a century for British settler culture not to defer to Mother England. History does provide pointers.

          There were plenty of flags flying from all sorts of households with houses and cars with all sets of flags waving at Rugby World Cup. I don’t think that’s something to be anxious about in this country.

          What we don’t need is unnecessary fault lines emerging through brinkmanship from either the US or China.

  8. Sabine 9

    and china seizes an ‘unmanned us navy sub 🙂 Cause clearly why not.
    I am sure that the orange menace will make a deal, the bestest deal of all deals. Like a really really good deal. A tremendous deal.

    http://gizmodo.com/china-just-seized-an-unmanned-us-navy-sub-1790187701

  9. Andre 11

    On the topic of Trump taking a bulldozer to decades-old nuanced and finely balanced positions, check out who he wants for ambassador to Israel, and what that proposed ambassador wants to do.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-embassy-israel-jerusalem_us_5854971ee4b08debb78964cc

    That’ll certainly soothe angry Muslim feelings towards the US. Or not.

  10. Ad 12

    RNZ’s Pacific programme had a good piece on Guam, which is to go through a plebiscite that could either seek full statehood with the United States, or go the other way and follow the UN decolonization programme.

    The factors leaning towards voting for statehood included seeking to use the US military to protect their fisheries from Chinese fishing boats. Plus the fact that a great majority of the islanders have strong ties with US citizens and families, particularly the military.

    Against that was the recent decision by the US military stationed there to use a sacred site as a live firing range. Shades of the Okinawa experience.

    Both Guam and Palau already have strong formal ties with the US. Full statehood would be I presume at least as strong presence as American Samoa as, if not moreso.
    The US military base on Guam is set to at least double in the next few years as more troops come from Japan. These are military bases built by New Zealand contractor McConnell Dowell, among others.

    Of course, if hostilities between the US and CHina really started breaking out, Guam, Palau and US-dominated Marshall Islands would be in the front line of war.

  11. Macro 13

    Further to the above – there is already the rattling of Sabres by some hawks in China over the “slight” by Trump wrt Taiwan.

    China’s Communist party-owned newspaper Global Times wrote earlier this week that Beijing should be ready to seize Taiwan by force before the incoming Trump administration “activates the Taiwan card.”

    “It might be time for the Chinese mainland to reformulate its Taiwan policy, make the use of force as a main option and carefully prepare for it,” said the Chinese media outlet Global Times, in an editorial

    and later the same paper said:

    “If the Chinese mainland won’t pile on more pressure over realizing reunification by using force, the chance of peaceful unification will only slip away,”

    Just how “reunification by using force” equates to a “peaceful unification” was not explained.
    Further on in the editorial it says:

    “The future of Taiwan must not be shaped by the DPP (Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party) and Washington, but by the Chinese mainland. It is hoped that peace in the Taiwan Straits won’t be disrupted. But the Chinese mainland should display its resolution to recover Taiwan by force. Peace does not belong to cowards,”

    This article appeared just 2 days after Newt Gingrich, a Republican and a Trump supporter said the US will not encourage Taiwan to declare independence, but it also won’t sit back and watch China use force to conquer Taiwan.
    However, China appears to have other ideas…
    The editorial also advocates:

    Once Taiwan independence forces violate the Anti-Secession Law, the Chinese mainland can in no time punish them militarily. Moreover, getting ready to achieve reunification through the use of force can pose a serious deterrence to Taiwan independence,

    Article 8 of China’s Anti-Secession Law of 2005 says that if secessionist Taiwanese forces exhaust the “possibilities for a peaceful reunification…the state shall employ non-peaceful means and other necessary measures to protect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.” Note that it is China who decides when possibilities for a peaceful reunification are ended.
    Trump’s statement that he sees no reason for a “one China” policy – flies in the face of diplomatic negotiations since 1979.
    This statement in particular:

    “I fully understand the ‘one China’ policy, but 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,”

    shows just what a diplomatic neophyte he is, and just how his ignorance could well lead the world into WW3.

    • It’s fully consistent with his background. Everything is just business, which means it’s Taiwan that needs to fear Trump, not China. Previous US presidents have looked at Taiwan in ideological terms, ie Taiwan is a fellow democracy and therefore must be protected from invasion by a totalitarian dictatorship. However, President Trump will look at Taiwan solely in cost/benefit terms, and the least cost for most benefit will be in using Taiwan as leverage to extract concessions from China in exchange for accepting “reunification through the use of force.” The Taiwanese should be looking at that phrase “unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade,” and shitting themselves.

      • Macro 13.1.1

        That’s exactly my point!
        Since 1979, the US has adopted the “one China” policy and sanity has prevailed. We all know, “wink wink nudge nudge”, that in fact Taiwan acts and behaves as a separate entity, and everything goes on fine. But the Chumps meddling pronouncements have definitely upset the apple cart and diplomacy isn’t a matter of cost benefit analysis – its a matter of National honor and prestige, and in China’s case preserving face.
        It was foolish of the Taiwanese to ring and even more foolish of Trump to accept the call. and his later comments to Fox news were even more inflammatory.
        I hope to god I’m wrong but the end result for Taiwan could be very unpleasant.

  12. emergency mike 15

    “Just one example, South Korea is in real leadership trouble. This is a critical ally in Pacific détente between the US and China, and between the U.S. and North Korea. It needs just as much attention as Taiwan.”

    The South Korean public just wants Park Geun-hye gone. Her do-nothing corrupt incompetence has become crystal clear to everyone. Plus there’s the historical baggage of her father Park Chung-hee being in power through the 60s and 70s. It was a time of both incomparable growth and ruthless military dictatorship. South Korea is now an economic powerhouse in Asia, that’s a big source of pride to the locals, they do acknowledge that a very high social price has been paid.

    However economic and military reliance on the U.S. is total. That won’t change with a new leader. If she resigned tomorrow, Hwang Kyo-ahn would be president, (he’s now acting president since Geun-hye’s recent suspension). He’s there because, of course, he’s an old friend of Park Geun-hye. From wikipedia: “He spent 30 years as a prosecutor, specializing “in enforcing public safety and national security laws, gaining particular expertise in legislation targeting groups linked to North Korea”” Translation: he was in the South Korean elite during the 80’s, essentially a high ranking justice official during the worst era of torturing, disappearances, and Orwellian thought policing.

    Basically he’s the kind of dude that the U.S. govt enjoys working with.

  13. Muttonbird 17

    My rather blunt solution is that China recognises Taiwan when the US leaves the Phillipines.

    The same thing is happening in Eastern Europe and the near East, isn’t it?

    Hangovers from WW2.

    The pressing of US business interests in Eastern Europe causes friction in the region. Russia is not creating the friction – just responding to it. Similarly, US bases in the Phillipines, well, are they really necessary now? I think not.

    • In Vino 17.1

      Largely agree, but see my post about Taiwan at the end of 7.1

      China is NEVER going to give up its historically legitimate claim to Taiwan – the USA’s puppet country.

      Who has encroached upon whose area? I ask again: if the USA imposes the Munroe doctrine in the American hemisphere, why should the Chinese not impose a similar doctrine for the South China Sea? USA set the precedent.

      Forget the moralising. We never put it into real practice.

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