The reality is, this is really much ado about nothing for the U.S.
The less than 10-minute telephone call with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen was the first by a U.S. president-elect, or sitting president since President Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China (ROC) to China officially designated the People’s Republic of China (the PRC) in 1979. In so doing, Carter acknowledged Taiwan as part of “one China”, the policy designated by the Communist mainland in Beijing of its “One China Policy,” the Dictatorial government’s effort to ensure that the world only recognizes the PRC – on the mainland, in Beijing.
Nevertheless, the New York Times headline and most of those in the mainstream media, as well as the numerous comments by Obama administration and their left-wing followers are wrong, with regard to U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump talking to the President of Taiwan.
Let me take a few minute to explain this in as simplest a way as possible, and to provide some history along with the impact of the Trump administration’s new policies.
It should first be noted that in this case, it was the Taiwan President who called Donald Trump to congratulate him on his recent election win. Donald Trump at this point in time in the transition has all the protocols in place as the President-Elect to take congratulatory phone calls from any head of state and ranking government officials from around the world. Nation’s heads of state and senior leaders reserve the right to offer courtesy calls of congratulations to the in-coming Presidents-Elect of any country, including the United States. In fact, the U.S. State Department knows this, the White House knows this, and both expect such phone calls, in fact they are well prepared. There are the protocols in place to arrange, coordinate, and corroborate on such calls with the new President-Elect. Likewise, foreign nation’s diplomatic corps and Foreign Ministries have similar protocols and understand the sensitivities, depending on the nation’s and newly elected leaders and know how to coordinate such phone calls with other nation’s foreign ministries; including our State Department. In fact, such phone calls are all initiated in advance. There are no surprises. No President-Elect gets a phone call out of the blue from a sitting world leader. They know when the call is coming.
I can speak from my experience regarding this from my time on the White House National Security Council staff, having dealt with numerous Presidential phone calls. So again, the phone call from the Taiwan President didn’t come out of the blue directly to Trump’s personal cell phone.
As previously noted, here’s how it works. All phones calls such as this particular call to Mr. Trump are pre-arranged by each country, and that includes advanced notification to the U.S. State Department by the Taiwan Government through established diplomatic channels within the Taiwan Foreign Ministry and with the State Department in Washington, DC. Next the State Department provides a courtesy notification to The White House (to both the Nation Security Council and the White House Chief of State’s office) that the President of Taiwan wishes to call President-Elect Mr. Trump to offer her congratulations. At the same time, the Trump Transition Team is notified that a foreign head of state wants to call Mr. Trump. Then there is a process known as “building the call” whether it is an incoming and outgoing call, the process involves coordinating availability of both leaders, scheduling the call time, and coordinating the actual call going through. After which, notes of the discussion are provided to the State Department and press releases are provided and disseminated.
Regardless of how the current White house spins it, they knew the call was coming, and ensured the Presidential Transition procedures were part of the coordination. The President of Taiwan obviously expressed her desire to call Mr. Trump and wish him congratulations. The call was set-up and it occurred. And diplomatically, there is no protocol that prevents or restricts foreign heads of state from calling to congratulate a U.S. President-Elect. Regardless of how it was spun, by whom, and by whatever organization — media or political did so. I can guarantee the Government of Taiwan pre-arranged it through the proper protocols and channels, and our government accommodated it, as it should, and as it was set-up to do. No Big Deal.