Obama, Trump Send Conflicting Signals to China Over Policy

Obama, Trump Send Conflicting Signals to China Over Policy | Obama White House aims to reassure over ‘One China Policy’

With just over a month left until inauguration, the statements from the outgoing Obama Administration and the incoming Trump Administration are sending starkly different messages of certain key issues. Nowhere has this been more apparent than in China, with dueling reactions to Trump’s phone call with Taiwan’s president.

Trump’s call was the first time an American president or president-elect spoke to Taiwan’s leader since 1979, when Jimmy Carter cut diplomatic ties with them. The call sparked a statement of criticism from China, and no small amount of hysteria from Obama Administration officials, who insisted it was a dangerous move.

Obama’s officials are now reassuring China that the “One China Policy” is completely intact, and that the Trump call does not portend any sort of shift in US policy, while at the same time admitting they don’t understand why Trump took the call at all.

That they don’t understand why Trump took the phone call speaks volumes about the meaninglessness of the assurances, as Trump’s campaign has insisted he has been planning this call for months, as part of an effort to underscore his break with the status quo.

Indeed, Trump adviser Stephen Moore, in a radio interview on the matter, declared Taiwan to be an ally, accused China of being a “bully,” and insisted that if China doesn’t like the phone call “screw ’em.” This too hardly suggests that US policy toward China will remain stable between administrations.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.

  • Basil McDonnell

    Yup, they are a bully. So lets get out there and side with the country that has 23 million people, and to heck with keeping friends with the one with 1.3 billion people. Who needs the Chinese market? Or their $3 trillion in holdings of US treasuries?

    And the thing about bullies is, you have to kick them in the shins to show that you’re not scared of them. They may kick you back, or even punch your lights out, but that’s what you do with bullies.

    It’s a matter of principle.

    What’s two or three sunk aircraft carriers compared to that?

    • Carroll

      Remember, for this DOD, a new carrier costs $13 billion. And apparently they are impossible to build and get working properly by our corrupt Navy and contractors.

      I don’t think Taiwan is worth a dime of America’s national treasure and not a drop of the blood of our children. Certainly not $40 billion and some 15,000 lives.

      Whether Taiwan is a fake democracy or a part of China has zero impact on my life, nor on the lives of most Americans. Its all the same propganda BS that always says we have to give up all of our money and the lives of our children for one BS cause after another all around the world.

  • dieter heymann

    Obama is still US President which means that as long as he is President his words count. Trump is a dangerously loose cannon but is still a private citizen until he is inaugurated. The Chinese reaction is directed at him and not at President Obama. The US messages to the PRC may be contradictory but the Chinese have perfectly translated them. They are not mad at Obama. The PRC advised private citizen Trump that China will not be bullied by President Trump. It is that simple.
    Trump’s explanations why he called the President of Taiwan are pure bull. The call was deliberately designed to mollify the anti-PRC wing of his team and to embarrass President Obama.

  • Tschapka

    If the Stephen Moore mentioned above is the economic advisor on Trump’s team, nothing in the man’s bio suggests he knows anything about foreign policy in general, or sino-US relations in particular. If Trump is relying on people like this to inform him on touchy subjects that he himself has a limited understanding of, there will be troubles ahead for sure.

    Ironically, one would almost have to hope that Trump’s hubris is sufficiently huge to shield him from these influences when he detects danger, because he seems to be instinctively weary of starting wars. It’s quite obvious that he thought he was just making friends with everybody, and still doesn’t understand what the fuss is about. Yet, a war triggered by amateurish blunders will be no less a global disaster than one initiated by purposeful machination.

    There is a silver lining to all of this however: the antagonism between the mainstream press and Trump may finally cause the former to do their job and to begin examining and questioning important US policies abroad instead of acting as willing propagandists. Had Obama taken that call instead of Trump, there is no question the press will find a way to portray this as a courageous step forward for democracy and global peace, something that might even justify a second Nobel.

  • Bobby

    Its called “CHANGE”. A word that Obama is completely clueless about.

  • CuriousNC

    Americans may have avoided nuclear war with Russia, but may have stepped into nuclear war with China.