December 4, 2016

I don't know if I could do it.

How is it possible for Alex Castellanos to go on television and make such laughably stupid assertions? How can he believe that Americans are this gullible? How can he look himself in the mirror and not feel like scum of the earth for putting party before country?

Because, you see, Alex Castellanos actually insists that President-elect Trump taking a call from the president of Taiwan is more of that eleventy-dimensional chess for which they could never give credit to President Obama. Rather than a HUGE breach of diplomacy, it's a show of America's strength, donchaknow?

STEPHANOPOULOS: So do you think the Taiwan call was deliberate?

CASTELLANOS: Yes, I think actually it was. Apparently, his aides were over there at some point. And, you know, it was almost three months ago to the day that China snubbed the President of the United States, wouldn't give him steps to get off of Air Force One.

And so a little pushback here. You know, we're learning a lot. Donald Trump negotiates from strength.

Dear sweet jesus, that's not negotiating anything, And it's certainly not from strength; it's from complete and abject ignorance. What else can we expect from a president-elect who isn't interested in daily briefings? Ignorance may be bliss when you're an average American, but when you're president, it's incredibly dangerous:

In the hours that followed, it became clear that Trump may have been manipulated into doing something he doesn’t understand. Michael Crowley, of Politico, noted that the former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, who favors a tilt away from Beijing, visited Trump Tower on Friday for undisclosed reasons. Bolton has argued for “playing the Taiwan card” to pressure Beijing. In a January op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, he wrote,

The new U.S. administration could start with receiving Taiwanese diplomats officially at the State Department; upgrading the status of U.S. representation in Taipei from a private “institute” to an official diplomatic mission; inviting Taiwan’s president to travel officially to America; allowing the most senior U.S. officials to visit Taiwan to transact government business; and ultimately restoring full diplomatic recognition.

Further complicating matters, according to the blog Shanghaiist, Trump and his family are currently trying to win a lucrative contract with a Taiwanese city: “A representative from the Trump Organization paid a visit to Taoyuan in September, expressing interest in the city’s Aerotropolis, a large-scale urban development project aimed at capitalizing on Taoyuan’s status as a transport hub for East Asia, Taiwan News reports.” Did Trump break nearly four decades of diplomatic practice to sweeten his family’s business prospects with Taiwan? His supporters, of course, say no. But the President-elect has taken no steps that would defuse that perception.

And that's not even considering the reaction of the Chinese government, which to date has been publicly very muted, but also included a private entreaty to President Obama to educate the Manchild-elect on the perilous balance that is our diplomatic relationship with China:

The stakes involved in the triangular relationship between Taipei, Beijing and Washington could not be higher. The Chinese government has repeatedly stressed that it is prepared to go to war, rather than accept Taiwanese independence. The US, while it does not promote the independence of Taiwan, has also promised to resist any attempt to incorporate Taiwan into China by force. I have personally witnessed a conversation between Chinese officials and high-ranking Americans, in which the US side has said openly that a Chinese attack on Taiwan would lead to war between the US and China.

Unsurprisingly, Trump is very brittle about the criticisms, but less than interested about acknowledging his mistake. His story changed, with him tweeting (naturally) that it was a call from Taipei to congratulate him, so of course he would take the call. No mention if any of the "swamp-draining" advisors (like John Bolton) bothered to mention the potential risk of another World War.

But Alex Castellanos thinks we should consider this a canny strategy. Just like Elvis. Uh huh.

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