Donald Trump’s call with Taiwan last week was a reckless provocation with China. But Fox pundits pretended it was no big deal. At the same time, they suggested they wouldn’t mind more overt aggression.
Media Matters has a deep dive into why Trump’s call – which broke with about 40 years of American diplomatic policy – is so dangerous. Talking Points Memo notes that before the call “[T]here was already news in the Taiwanese press that Trump and his children are in talks to build a series of luxury resorts and hotels in Taiwan.”
TPM further notes:
But even if you buy into the aggressively pro-Taipei argument, this is not the way to change the policy. You don’t do it with a phone call no one even entirely knows the meaning of. And you certainly don’t do it before you’re even President. We don’t even know how much this is genuine hawkishness or tied to one of his wastrel son’s new building projects.
China is a big, big country. It has nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them. This is no joke.
But you would never know about Trump’s Taiwan conflict of interest if you only watched the one-sided discussion on Fox News’ Your World show with guest Ed Rollins. He was head of a Trump Super PAC but Rollins was introduced only as “former Reagan campaign manager.”
Cavuto either played dumb or didn’t bother to do any research when he announced, “I didn’t know this would create such a diplomatic furor.” He added, “At the risk of sounding like an ignoramus, which I am, that big a deal?”
“It shouldn’t be that big a deal,” Rollins agreed.
Cavuto suggested we have not been aggressive enough toward China.
CAVUTO: We do know that China rigs its currency to get the upper hand on trade. We do know that it has a habit of not treating rebellious workers very well. We do know that it has a very closed side when it comes to use of the internet. We do know that it’s been taking a number of provocative actions that outdo anything that is provocative in the case of Donald Trump by militarizing the South China Sea and taking islands that aren’t theirs to militarize them. So who leads whom in provocative acts?
“Historically, China’s done what China wants to do,” Rollins said. He also said Trump should “talk to both sides.”
“I don’t think they bumbled into this,” Rollins said. Then he added ominously, “The important message is there’s a new sheriff in town, new president in town … China is someone that has to play a different game than it’s ever played before … It was a positive thing.”
Cavuto gave his stamp of approval: “Thank you my friend.”
Media Matters also caught Fox’s Newt Gingrich, Ainsley Earhardt, Howard Kurtz and John Bolton defending Trump’s call.
Watch this disturbing discussion below, from the December 5, 2016 Your World.
This year, China was responsible for 22% of the worldwide box office take for “X-Men: Apocalypse.” 19% of the worldwide take for “Independence Day: Resurgence” and nearly 30% of the worldwide take for “Kung-Fu Panda 3” (in fact, that film’s box office take in China exceeded the US box office).
And, I doubt Fox wants their “Assassin’s Creed” to follow Universal’s “Warcraft.” That film only took in $47 million at the US box office (against an estimated $160 million budget) and was pretty much saved by the foreign market—notably China where it took in more than $220 million (the worldwide box office take for the film was $433 million). Of course, the two films’ only real connection is they’re both based on computer/video games but World of Warcraft was almost as ubiquitous as Assassin’s Creed. And, Fox also has “Logan” (a new Wolverine film coming next year) and China’s contribution to the worldwide box office take of the X-Men franchise has been pretty substantial over the years (in addition to the previously mentioned 22% of the worldwide box-office of “X-Men Apocalypse,” China accounted for 16% of"X-Men: Days of Future Past"and about 10% of “The Wolverine”).
It’ll take a while for the results to show, but, if 20th Century Fox’s fortunes are affected because Trump hurt China’s feelings and FoxNoise was cheerleading Trump’s behavior, there could be consequences for the “news” division.
When does that start?
When does this Administration start a conflict with some other Nation in order to scare the hell out of the rubes?
They’ve already got the Media cowering, why not make everyone cower at the thought of holding Trump accountable?
They used to do that stuff all the time when Reagan was in office. Like when the bombings happened in Beirut and Reagan’s people retaliated by attacking Grenada. It will be something like that, and it won’t change the damage China will do to our bond rates, etc. (And China will be able to take a little economic hit if it helps teach Trump a public and humiliating lesson.).
I’m trying to keep us in mind that we are dealing with bullies when we discuss Trump and the Pence Administration. Expecting them to act in any other way than childish outbursts is just setting the stage for disappointment, in my opinion.
I don’t fear war with China. That’s fearmongering. However, China has all sorts of things it can retaliate with to make Orange 🍊 Hitler’s life miserable. For example, China has financed much of our national debt and could effect bond rates. Or could refuse to play nice with their currency rate and bloat our trade imbalance. These are but examples.
The Right Wing is looking to Trump for several aggressive moves right off the bat, along the lines of Ronald Reagan viciously firing the air traffic controllers. In Trump’s case, they want to see him act like the Big Tough Strongman they hope him to be. This means we’ll see more nastiness toward China, and of course the expected ripping-up of the diplomatic work with Iran and Cuba and the Climate Change accords. And likely the naming of William Pryor to the Supreme Court – a 54 year old Far-Right conservative who has publicly called Roe v Wade “an abomination”.
The fact that all these moves will result in a significantly more unsafe and unfriendly world is irrelevant. They will make Trump appear strong and will further embolden his supporters at home, who will continue to cheer him on.
The real fun will begin when China demonstrates what happens to bullies like Trump when they don’t actually have the leverage they think they have. Meaning that they’ll start calling in their markers, as is their right. The only question about this is what aggressive move Trump will use to combat China tanking our economy. Does he respond in terms of trade, where he can’t win and has no leverage? Or does he turn to the military, and what can they really do to help him out of the mess? He won’t be able to admit failure, and China will rub his nose in it. Or perhaps he takes it out on someone else.
Yeah. The little details count.