Tag Archives: PRC

Trump humiliates Tillerson

You’re the secretary of state, the top diplomat for the United States of America.

You are involved in discussions with officials from another great power, China, about what to do about North Korea and its desire to develop a nuclear weapons arsenal. Then you let it be known that you’ve opened “direct line” to North Korea.

That’s progress — yes? — in this game of diplomatic chicken we’ve been playing with the reclusive and dangerous communist regime in North Korea.

Then the president of the United States — your boss — fires off some tweets that says you’re “wasting your time” in seeking talks with North Korea.

Trump declared in a tweet that the United States is keeping its military options open. The president said: “Save your energy, Rex, we’ll do what has to be done.” Huh? What the … ?

There you have it. The president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, has undermined once again the secretary of state, Rex Tillerson. He has blistered his top diplomat publicly for seeking a constructive solution to a growing crisis that has no realistic military solution.

What’s the upshot of this? According to the Washington Post: “Humiliating for Tillerson, but worse, renders him useless. He’ll resign, today or after a brief face-saving interval,” predicted former Obama administration ambassador and National Security Council official Dan Shapiro, one of many foreign policy experts who tweeted about Trump’s Sunday comments, sent from his New Jersey golf club.

Read more from the Post here.

Should the secretary of state quit over this latest insult? You know, if it were me — and I’m just speaking for myself — I cannot imagine how Secretary Tillerson can tolerate this kind of continuing public humiliation from the president of the United States.

What does Kim Jong Un want?

USA Today has peeled away five key demands that North Korean dictator/goofball Kim Jong Un is making on the United States and the rest of the world.

I want to examine them briefly over the course of the next couple of days. I’ll do so one at a time in this blog.

Here is one demand: A peace treaty that ends the Korean War.

The carnage ended in 1953 after three bloody years on the Korean Peninsula. Kim Il Sung, the current dictator’s grandfather, decided to “unify” the peninsula by invading South Korea in 1950. The United Nations responded with a substantial military force dominated by — who else? — American troops.

The U.N. force pushed the North Koreans back across the 38th Parallel and got to China’s doorstep in the north. That’s when the People’s Republic of China intervened. The PRC deployed hundreds of thousands of troops against the U.N.

All told, nearly  50,000 Americans died in that struggle.

They signed a ceasefire. But no peace treaty. As a result, South and North Korea remain to this very day technically “at war.”

What does a peace treaty mean? Does it mean a unified Korea? Or might it put in place a permanent divide between the sovereign nations?

The PRC won’t tolerate a unified Korea under the guidance of a democratic Republic of (South) Korea. The Chinese will insist on having a fellow communist state along its border. And you can bet that there’s no way in the world that the United Nations, let alone the United States, is going to agree to a communist dictatorship governing the entire peninsula.

Remember, the North Koreans started the fight in 1950. Does anyone believe the U.N. is going to allow them to be rewarded by giving them the entire land mass?

I suppose the only solution is to keep the two Koreas separate, with the commies running the northern portion and the democrats running the southern area.

But who in the world can trust the North Koreans to remain faithful to a peace treaty after we take down the massive armaments on both sides of the so-called “demilitarized zone”?

A peace treaty, thus, remains a major impediment to resolving this serious crisis.

Uh, Mr. President, it’s Taiwan that’s the ‘Republic of China’

Donald J. Trump’s White House staff apparently has a lot to learn about geopolitics.

He left the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany and then issued some sort of statement that referred to the People’s Republic of China as the “Republic of China.”

To quote Energy Secretary Rick Perry: Oops!

I hate to be a stickler for details, but the Republic of China is the official name of Taiwan, the island nation that broke away from the People’s Republic of China in 1949 after a bloody civil war mounted against the ROC government by the communists led by Mao Tse-Tung.

Here’s the deal, Mr. President. The ROC isn’t recognized by the United States. We broke off relations with Taiwan in 1978 when we formally recognized the communist government in Beijing. We have this thing called a “One-China Policy” that prevents us from recognizing both nations.

I’m no expert on China-Taiwan relations, although I’ve had the honor of visiting Taiwan five times over many years. I’ve gotten the Taiwanese side of the story as it has evolved since the founding of its government.

The PRC is one government; the ROC is another. The president’s statement stepped mightily on the toes of both nations. The one that likely smarts the most is Taiwan, which struggles to maintain its place among the worldwide family of nations. Hey, it’s a vibrant, bustling country that has established its own identity during the past 67 years.

You might recall that shortly after being inaugurated, Trump took a phone call from Taiwan’s president, engaging in the first head of state conversation with that nation since we ended diplomatic relations. It was a no-no. The president later affirmed that the United States remains committed to its One-China Policy and that we won’t extend diplomatic relations to Taiwan.

To his credit, Trump sought to make nice with the PRC’s president, Xi Jinping, by referring to the trade relations between the United States and the PRC.

However, the White House communications staffer who blundered with the erroneous statement and then put Donald Trump’s name on it needs a rudimentary lesson in Far East geopolitics.

How might Trump persuade China to lean on North Korea?

This holy weekend seems like an odd time to comment on the possibility — remote as it seems at this moment — of nuclear war with North Korea.

Here goes anyway.

How might Donald J. Trump have sought to persuade Chinese President Xi Jinping to lean hard on North Korean dictator/madman Kim Jong Un?

Trump met with Xi this past weekend at the president’s posh Mar-a-Lago resort, where he said he was enjoying that piece of chocolate cake when he told Xi of the Syrian air strike.

I’m pretty sure, though, that North Korea came up. What might have Trump have told Xi? How might he have pleaded with him to do something — anything within reason — to persuade Kim Jong Un to avoid testing a nuclear device?

China is North Korea’s major economic benefactor. The People’s Republic is North Korea’s No. 1 trading partner. There would seem to be plenty of economic muscle that Xi could apply to Kim Jong Un to tell him — in no uncertain terms — that threatening the United States, South Korea and Japan is sincerely not in North Korea’s best interests.

Let’s remember, too, that North Korea is a desperately poor nation. Its people are starving while Kim Jong Un keeps spending nearly a quarter of the country’s GDP on military hardware.

The U.S. Navy is sending a strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson — a nuclear-powered attack aircraft carrier — to the Korean Peninsula. It’s a tremendous show of American military power that must not go unnoticed in Pyongyang.

Is the U.S. president capable of appealing to Xi to lay it all on the table with Kim Jong Un? Is he able to use the kind of language heads of state use with each other when talking about serious threats to international security? After all, whatever threat the North Koreans pose doesn’t just involve the United States, or China or any other single nation in the east Asia region. This is a worldwide matter.

My hope would be that Trump would plead Xi — if that’s what it would take — to lean very, very hard on Kim Jong Un, to tell him about the terrible price the world would pay if he pushes the United States to where many observers fear might occur.

That would be a pre-emptive strike on North Korean military targets.

Trump vows to “take care” of North Korea “alone” if China doesn’t do what it must. I do hope — and pray — the president is able to persuade the Chinese leader to step up.

Trumpkin to Trump: Don’t compare us to China!

I have a lot of friends in the Texas Panhandle who are Trumpkins, devotees of Donald J. Trump, 45th president of the United States.

No surprise there, eh? The Panhandle voted about 80 percent in favor of the Republican president, which is about normal for this region of the country.

One of those Trumpkins traveled recently to China, spending two weeks in the People’s Republic, touring the giant nation north to south.

We spoke about his trip upon his return to the United States and he offered an interesting and — to my ears — welcome rebuke of Trump’s longstanding assertion about the United States.

Trump insists he will “make America great again.” He peddles ball caps with that message on them. His ardent followers cheer for his exhortations while wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the mantra.

My friend said China in no way compares to this country. He talked of the massive cities containing tens of millions of residents in each of them. “Four hundred square feet” is considered a roomy apartment, he said. Chinese are stacked on top of each other. They ride around on packed buses. “I didn’t see any ‘neighborhoods,'” my friend told me.

“I don’t ever want to hear Trump try to compare us to China,” he said. “There is no comparison!”

As for the ongoing declaration about “making America great again,” my friend speaks with utmost clarity. “America is great!” he told, with his voice rising. Yes, pal. I get it! I agree with you! I disagree with you fella, Trump!

Well …

It seems that at least one Trumpkin hasn’t quite swilled the entire jug of Kool-Aid.

One-China Policy is OK, right, Mr. President?

Donald J. Trump now is ready to adhere to one of the more complicated elements of U.S. foreign relationships.

It’s called the One-China Policy, which recognizes only one China … and it’s not Taiwan.

Not long after being elected president, Trump took a phone call from Taiwan’s president and then declared the United States ought to rethink its decades-old policy that recognizes the People’s Republic of China.

Bad idea, you know? The conversation between a U.S. president-elect and the leader of Taiwan was the first that had occurred since the United States recognized the PRC as the “real” China.

Taiwan, China maintain complicated relationship

Taiwan is, in fact, a prosperous independent nation that broke away from the Chinese mainland at the end of a bloody civil war that erupted after World War II. Taiwan’s Nationalist government set up shop on Taiwan in 1949 and for three decades it was the recognized government of China.

That all changed dramatically in 1979 when the United States recognized the PRC, kicked out the Taiwanese ambassador. The United Nations booted Taiwan out, too, and welcomed the PRC.

Thus, the One-China Policy was born amid an interesting mix of economic and defense-related agreements that the United States still maintains with Taiwan. We trade with the Taiwanese, we pledge to protect them if the PRC decides to retake the island nation — but we do not recognize them diplomatically.

Trump spoke this week to Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, and reaffirmed out commitment to the policy that recognizes the PRC exclusively as the sole China.

As for Taiwan’s relationship with the PRC, that too, is a matter of delicate maneuvering. Taipei and Beijing allow travel between the countries; family members are allowed to communicate with each other.

Taiwan also believes in a “One China Policy,” but insists that the island nation — not the mainland — is the “real China.” Here’s the deal: Most of Taiwan’s inhabitants were born on the island and consider themselves to be “Taiwanese.”

The president, though, needs to settle down and stick with a policy that recognizes only one China. To do anything different is to insert the United States directly into the middle of a simmering dispute between China and Taiwan.

The world is watching a ‘great’ nation’s turmoil

I’m watching the news today and getting an eye and earful about how the world is reacting to Donald J. Trump’s inauguration as president of the United States.

I received this e-mail message from a friend of mine in Australia. He is a worldly fellow, a keen student of U.S. politics. My friend writes: “We’re all praying for you … and ourselves as well. We’re all in this together. For historical precedent, check out Germany 1918-1939 or the Cultural Revolution in China. I honestly thought the extent of Russian involvement in the election was grounds for treason, but clearly the rules have changed!”

No mention, of course, of the women’s marches around the world that are occurring today.

I’m guessing women marched in my friend’s city in South Australia.

I won’t elaborate on his statement regarding pre-World War II Germany or what happened in the 1960s in China.

Suffice to say that, though, that the world — if my friend’s message is any indicator, and I believe it is — cares deeply about what happens in the United States.

What does that mean? To me it means two things.

One is that we are in fact the world’s most indispensable nation.

The other aspect is that the United States of America continues to be “great,” despite what the brand new president has bellowed to the contrary.

Yes, we need a ‘One China Policy,’ Mr. President-elect


Donald J. “Smart Person” Trump keeps stepping in it.

The president-elect told Fox News Sunday that he doesn’t feel obligated to follow what’s known around the world as a “One China Policy.”

It’s a simple concept.

The People’s Republic of China says there is only “one China.” Taiwan, which calls itself the Republic of China on Taiwan, also says there is just a single China.

Neither country recognizes the other diplomatically. Taipei has no PRC embassy, Beijing has no Taiwanese embassy. Almost the entire rest of the world recognizes the PRC as the sole China. The United States of America has recognized the PRC since 1979, at which time it ended relations with Taiwan.

Now we have the president-elect of the  United States saying he isn’t bound to follow a One China Policy. Trump told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday: “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,” he said. This is ridiculous on its face.

The communists who now govern the PRC took the country by brute force in a civil war that erupted after World War II. The nationalist Kuomintang party, which governed China under the rule of Chiang Kai-shek, fled to Taiwan in 1949 and set up a government in exile.

China declared Taiwan to be a “renegade province” and vowed to take it back, by force if necessary. The world for decades didn’t recognize the PRC as the legitimate Chinese government; it gave that recognition to Taiwan.

President Nixon changed all of that by going to China in 1972, shaking hands with Mao Tse-Tung and giving birth to a new bilateral relationship. President Carter sealed the deal in 1979 by offering diplomatic status to the PRC.

“Smart Person” Trump, though, decided to roil the waters by speaking over the phone with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who had called to congratulate him for being elected president. The PRC is damn angry! They have expressed “serious concern” over that breach of protocol.

Meanwhile, some Republican hardliners at home are cheering the president-elect for this outreach.

There is a crystal-clear reason why Taiwan doesn’t just declare its independence from the PRC and, thus, set up a de facto second China. Some officials expressed it to me during my first visit in 1989 to the island nation. “We take these threats” of military retaliation by the PRC if Taiwan declares its independence “very seriously,” they said.

And they should. The PRC possesses a gigantic military apparatus — in addition to its enormous economic impact around the world.

Taiwan functions as an independent nation. It has trade relations with many countries around the world. The United States is sworn to defend Taiwan in the event of an attack by the PRC. It does not belong, though, to the United Nations or to the World Health Organization. It has been shut out of virtually all worldwide cooperative agreements.

If there ever is to be anything other than a One China Policy enacted, that has to come from Beijing and Taipei. Those two nations have to reach an agreement of some sort that recognizes that Taiwan never will be assimilated back into the mainland.

Will that happen? Taiwanese officials believe to this day that their future remains on the mainland. They are intent on waiting for the communist system to fail in Beijing, just as it failed in Moscow. That might be a pipe dream, but it is their dream.

The president of the United States needs to butt out.

A smart person knows at least that much.

Cool it with the Twitter account, Mr. President-elect


I know that Donald J. Trump wouldn’t ever heed this bit of advice from little ol’ me, mainly because he likely won’t see what I’m about to say … but I’ll offer it anyway.

Cease and desist with the constant tweeting, Mr. President-elect. You’re the Big Man now and you ought to pick your battles with a lot more care and caution.

A story in the Washington Post illustrates just how much damage this fellow — Trump — can do to someone who objects to some of his policy pronouncements.

The story talks about how, when he was running for president, Trump responded to a woman who challenged whether he was fair to women. Trump tweeted that the woman was a “plant” and called her an “arrogant young woman.”

Good grief, man! She was a citizen, a potential constituent making a comment about things he had said.

Here’s the story:


Since his election, Trump has used his Twitter account with amazing result.

He told the world about how he talked with the president of Taiwan — a nation with which we have no diplomatic ties — roiling relations with the People’s Republic of China and causing potentially devastating friction between the two great nation; he called for cancellation of an order for a new Air Force One jetliner to be developed by Boeing, causing the aircraft manufacturer’s stock value to plunge; he called a union leader a “liar” after the leader challenged Trump’s assertion that he had saved more than 1,000 jobs in Indiana.

Trump, of course, defends his use of this particular social medium, saying it’s the way people communicate these days.

Uh, Mr. President-elect, you ain’t like the rest of us. You are about to possess immense power to influence global events. You are going to be the Top Dog, the Big Magilla, the Main Man. You’ll inherit a Twitter account set up for the president of the United States.

How about using it wisely? Use it with discretion. Be circumspect and careful. How about traveling along the high road at all times?

The new president ought to leave the incessant tweeting and other cheap social media banter … to shlubs like me.

No equivalency between phone call and comments about Castro


Mike Pence knows better than to attach a false equivalency to two events.

One of them involved comments from U.S. officials about the death of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro; the other involved a phone call from the leader of a nation — with which the United States has no diplomatic relations — to the president-elect.

The vice president-elect said this morning he cannot understand why the phone call is getting all the criticism while praise to Castro is overlooked.

Please, Mr. Vice President-elect.

Donald Trump’s 10-minute conversation this past week with the president of Taiwan has smacked decades of U.S. diplomatic protocol right in the face. The People’s Republic of China has filed a formal complaint, declaring that the “one-China policy” that the United States has followed has been compromised egregiously by Trump’s congratulatory phone call from Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen.

Meanwhile, according to Pence, the death of Castro has drawn some muted praise of the late Cuban dictator from Obama administration officials. Even the president himself has delivered remarks that some have interpreted as complimentary.

The Taiwan-China dustup, though, is far more serious.

Taiwan’s very creation came at the end of a bloody civil war in China that the communists won. The nationalists who once governed China fled to Taiwan in 1949 to set up a new government. The United States recognized the Taiwan version of China until 1979, when it declared it would recognize the PRC.

You want a complicated relationship? There you have it.

What if China decides to retaliate against the United States by launching, say, a trade war? What if the PRC decides to yank its ambassador out of Washington? What if the PRC goads Taiwan into declaring its independence from China, giving the Chinese a pretext to launch a military attack against the nation it considers to be a “renegade province”?

There can be no equivalence attached to saying some mildly nice things about a dictator and the serious breach of protocol that the president-elect has committed.