Skip to main content

Trump and China: a note from Beijing

by Tom Clifford

Beijing.

Lunchtime. A bitter wind is blowing from the north across Beijing making the temperature seems colder than minus 6 degrees Celsius. I am meeting a friend. “You must try the chili tofu and parsnip soup.

Then before she puts down the menu, she asks me about Trump, and the phone call.

He should not have taken the call,’’ she said as the waitress took our orders.

I have always enjoyed my colleague’s company. She is tolerant, knowledgeable and witty. She wants to live in America. But what she said next stung me. “There could be war over Taiwan. It is part of China. Chiang Kai-shek was president of China before he fled there in 1949. He didn’t flee to a foreign land. He retreated to part of China.’’

On almost every other issue, the pace of economic growth, pollution, health and education investment, my colleague would disagree with Beijing. She is not a nationalist but on Taiwan she is marching to the same tune as President Xi Jinping.

Under the reign of the sixth man to rule the People’s Republic of China, the country has adopted a strikingly more assertive and nationalistic tone. It has challenged Japan in the East China Sea and claimed much of the South China Sea by fortifying islands and building artificial ones. In response to the US pivot to Asia, China views the South China Sea as a strategic economic gateway that must be protected. The Taiwan issue, as it is often referred to in Beijing, was largely untouched by the inflamed passions. But there is no other more profound and deeply felt cause for many in China than the “reunification” of China. In short, Taiwan is the priority for Chinese nationalists. Anything, in their eyes, that threatens the status quo will be seen as a clear and present danger.

Trump does not understand China was the common refrain after the phone call but more pertinent may be the fact that China does not understand Trump.

The signs were evident but have been ignored or wished away. During his campaign, Trump accused China of raping the US economy. This to Beijing was a deeply troubling choice of words, apart from immensely insulting. Within living memory, China has, in 1937, experienced the mass rape of the residents of a major city by a foreign power. Accusing China of “raping’’ an economy with which it has close, and increasingly closer, ties is hurtful and touches a nerve that is still raw. Currency manipulator? Since the turn of the century, the renminbi has strengthened against the US dollar though it has bucked the trend recently as the dollar strengthened. Beijing stayed silent during the presidential campaign as it did not want to be seen as “interfering’’. Even after the phone call with the president on Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, as she is referred to in Beijing, China displayed a reticence markedly at odds with its usual stridency on Taiwan.

But Trump is playing to his supporters who feel comfortable in blaming China for America’s ills. His nod to protectionism – and threats of high tariffs on Chinese goods – is seen by Beijing as endangering the prosperity of China.

The last time Taiwan was in the spotlight in Sino-US relations was in 1995-96 in a crisis sparked by then Taiwanese leader Lee Teng-hui visiting Cornell University.

China reacted by carrying out missile tests in the waters off its “rebel province”. In response, the US, the biggest display of US military force in the region since the Vietnam war, sent aircraft-carriers to the waters around Taiwan.

The crisis de-escalated. But this is a different China. In 1995-96 there were doubts that Chinese fighter jets could operate at night. Since then, and especially in the last few years, it has invested hugely in its air force and navy and has also developed a new generation of “carrier-killer” missiles, that could target US aircraft carriers in the Taiwan Strait.

The US would no longer risk the show of force that it mounted in the waters around Taiwan, twenty years ago, many believe in Beijing. But after the phone call, they may no longer be so sure.

Source:


Related:

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

It has started: Spain decides permanent UBI for its citizens

globinfo freexchange
Spain appears to be the first country that will implement a permanent form of Universal Basic Income for its citizens. As the Independentreported: [emphasis added]
Spain’s cabinet has approved the creation of a national minimum income, according to a government spokesperson.

Deputy Prime Minister Pablo Iglesias told a news conference on Friday the creation of a minimum income worth €462 (£416.92) a month will target some 850,000 households or 2.5 million people.

The government would pay the monthly stipend and top up existing revenue for people earning less so that they receive at least that minimum amount every month, he said.

The minimum income would increase with the number of family members, up to a maximum of €1,015 (£916.30) each month. The programme would cost the government about €3 billion a year.

Mr Iglesias said: “Today is a historic day for our democracy. Today this government is showing that its political choice is social justice and that it takes the…

Τίποτα δεν σταματάει το νεοφιλελεύθερο "οδοστρωτήρα" τους ...

globinfo freexchange
Αφού τελείωσαν τα χειροκροτήματα για τους γιατρούς του Εθνικού Συστήματος Υγείας, ο Μητσοτάκης επέστρεψε στην "κανονικότητα" της αποστολής του, που, με λίγα λόγια, είναι η ιδιωτικοποίηση και το ξεπούλημα των πάντων. Έτσι, μετά το διάλειμμα λόγω πανδημίας, φανέρωσε και πάλι το πόσο αδημονεί να οδηγήσει το Εθνικό Σύστημα Υγείας στο δρόμο της ιδιωτικοποίησης.
Όπως αναφέρει το tvxs.gr:
                         Δεν πρόλαβαν να περάσουν λίγες μέρες από την άρση του Lockdown και την απομάκρυνση, σε πρώτη φάση, του σοβαρού υγειονομικού κινδύνου της πανδημίας, και ο Κυριάκος Μητσοτάκης επανέφερε τα σχέδια για ιδιωτικοποίηση του ΕΣΥ, εγκαταλείποντας τα «χειροκροτήματα» και τις αναφορές στους «ήρωες» υγειονομικούς και στη σημασία του δημόσιου συστήματος υγείας. Παρά το «σκληρό μάθημα» που έδωσε η πανδημία στους νεοφιλεύθερους λάτρεις της «αγοράς», φαίνεται πως η κυβέρνηση δεν εγκατέλειψε ποτέ τους αρχικούς σχεδιασμούς της, παρά τον τρόπο που το δημόσιο σύστημα υγεία…

New court files expose Sheldon Adelson’s security team in US spy operation against Julian Assange

An exclusive investigation by The Grayzone reveals new details on the critical role Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands played in an apparent CIA spying operation targeting Julian Assange, and exposes the Sands security staff who helped coordinate the malicious campaign.
by Max Blumenthal
I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole.

–Mike Pompeo, College Station, TX, April 15, 2019
Part 2 - Pompeo outlines the attack on Assange
Pompeo’s first public speech as CIA Director, hosted at the Washington DC-based Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank on April 13, 2017, was one of the most paranoid and resentful addresses ever delivered by an agency chief.
The former Republican congressman from Kansas opened his speech with an extended tirade against the “Philip Agees in the world,” referring to the CIA whistleblower who handed over thousands of classified documents to leftist publishers that revealed shocking details of illegal US regime change and assassination …

The neoliberal machine mocks Millennials and Gen Xers through a documentary about Bernie's awful mistreatment by the corporate media!

globinfo freexchange
Now that the "Bernie Sanders" threat for the establishment has been neutralized (for a second time), the neoliberal machine is free to pretend that it cares about the truth.
Kyle Kulinski speaks about a new documentary by VICE about the media bias against Bernie Sanders. Although the doc trailer is pretty impressive, Kulinski starts with a pretty remarkable argument he saw on Twitter:
                         Credit to VICE. Thank you for this documentary. Curious how it released after Bernie dropped out. 

Kulinski finds that the mainstream media still have enough power to neutralize an undesirable candidate, as they did with Bernie, despite the fact that most of the people don't trust them. He also explains the demographics of this year's race for the leadership of the Democratic party.

As he supports, Millennials and Gen Xers overwhelmingly supported Bernie Sanders against the Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation (in which Bernie actually be…

Δεν τους βγαίνει με τίποτα η "στρατηγική ήττα" ...

globinfo freexchange
Τα πράγματα φαίνεται να εξελίσσονται σχεδόν όπως τα είχαμε προβλέψει.
Όπως είχαμε επισημάνει ήδη από τα μέσα Απριλίου, στο επόμενο διάστημα αναμένεται να δούμε νέες, αλλεπάλληλες "φουσκωμένες" δημοσκοπήσεις από την φιλοκυβερνητική μηχανή προπαγάνδας, ώστε να προετοιμαστεί ψυχολογικά το κοινό για το επικείμενο αποτέλεσμα των εθνικών εκλογών.
Στις δημοσκοπήσεις αυτές θα βλέπουμε ενδεχομένως την ψαλίδα μεταξύ ΝΔ και ΣΥΡΙΖΑ συνεχώς να μεγαλώνει, με μια ταυτόχρονη πτώση του ποσοστού του κόμματος της αξιωματικής αντιπολίτευσης, σε βαθμό που να δικαιολογεί την στρατηγική του ήττα.  
Ωστόσο, το 20,3% του ΣΥΡΙΖΑ, δεν συνιστά στρατηγική ήττα στο βαθμό που επιθυμεί το καθεστώς και η ντόπια ολιγαρχία, εν όψει μάλιστα και απλής αναλογικής. Οπότε θα πρέπει να αναμένουμε στο αμέσως επόμενο διάστημα ένα νέο βομβαρδισμό από δημοσκοπήσεις στις οποίες το ποσοστό του κόμματος της αξιωματικής αντιπολίτευσης θα "ροκανίζεται" σταδιακά, έτσι ώστε να δημιουργηθεί το κ…

Το κίνημα Slow News: η απάντηση στα Fake News?

globinfo freexchange
Στον θαυμαστό καινούργιο κόσμο, ο αβάσταχτος όγκος πληροφοριών που καταναλώνουμε καθημερινά έχει γεννήσει ένα δυστοπικό παράδοξο: την ίδια στιγμή, αμφισβητούμε και πιστεύουμε τα πάντα. Το μυαλό μας έχει βυθιστεί σε μια δίνη από tweets, αναρτήσεις, βίντεο, hoaxes και fake news.
Τα τελευταία χρόνια, σε διάφορα μέρη του πλανήτη, νησίδες αντίστασης έρχονται στην επιφάνεια. Ολιγομελείς ομάδες ανεξάρτητων δημοσιογράφων αγωνίζονται να οικοδομήσουν ένα εναλλακτικό μοντέλο πληροφόρησης, το οποίο βασίζεται σε μια εξαιρετικά απλή αρχή: πρέπει να κόψουμε ταχύτητα. Ένα μαχητικό ντοκιμαντέρ που έχει βαλθεί να αποδείξει ότι η δημοσιογραφία παραμένει ο βασικός πυλώνας της δημοκρατίας.
https://www.filmfestival.gr/el/section-tdf/movie/1047/13001


Το ενδιαφέρον αυτό ντοκιμαντέρ του Alberto Puliafito, ερευνά ένα νέο είδος δημοσιογραφίας που γεννήθηκε από την ανάγκη για δημοσιογραφική αυθεντικότητα μέσα στο σημερινό, χαοτικό μιντιακό τοπίο.
Σε ένα σύστημα που χαρακτηρίζεται από μια αδι…

Chris Hedges interviews Howie Hawkins, Green for President

Howie Hawkins
Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and public intellectual, Chris Hedges, speaks with Howie Hawkins about the political landscape in 2020, "lesser evilism" and more.

How the USA erased the USSR victory over Nazi Germany

Moderate Rebels
The Soviet Union played the leading role in defeating Nazi Germany in World War II, but the US government has tried to erase its unimaginable sacrifice. Historian Peter Kuznick discusses the real history of WWII, and how 80% of Nazis were killed on the Eastern Front with the USSR.

New court files expose Sheldon Adelson’s security team in US spy operation against Julian Assange

An exclusive investigation by The Grayzone reveals new details on the critical role Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands played in an apparent CIA spying operation targeting Julian Assange, and exposes the Sands security staff who helped coordinate the malicious campaign.
by Max Blumenthal
I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole.

–Mike Pompeo, College Station, TX, April 15, 2019
Part 3 - Journey to “the dark side”
On February 26, 2017, Wikileaks announced the forthcoming release of a major tranche of CIA files revealing details of the agency’s hacking and electronic surveillance tools. One such spying application called “Marble” allowed agency spies to implant code that obfuscated their identity on computers they had hacked. Other files contained evidence of programs that allowed hackers to break into encrypted messaging applications like Signal and Telegram, and to turn Samsung smart TVs into listening devices. 
Two days after Wikileaks’ initial announcement, on February …

COVID-19 took Chicago black lives first & exposed structural racism

Democracy Now!
The coronavirus pandemic's disproportionate toll on African Americans through the story of Chicago's first 100 recorded deaths. 
A report by ProPublica found that 70 of the first 100 people to die were African American. Black people account for 30% of Chicago's population and 72% of COVID-19 deaths.
ProPublica reporter Adriana Gallardo, who contributed to the report "COVID-19 Took Black Lives First. It Didn't Have To.", says the story paints a picture of "sophisticated structural racism" in Chicago.