Taiwan Dispute Provides an Early Look at the Trump White House

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Here is the New York Times last week:

Former Senator Bob Dole, acting as a foreign agent for the government of Taiwan, worked behind the scenes over the past six months to establish high-level contact between Taiwanese officials and President-elect Donald J. Trump’s staff, an outreach effort that culminated last week in an unorthodox telephone call between Mr. Trump and Taiwan’s president.

Here is Donald Trump yesterday on Fox News:

I took a call. I heard the call was coming probably an hour or two before. I fully understand the One-China policy. But 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, including trade.

Knowing Trump, I think we can assume that “an hour or two” was more like 15 minutes. We can also assume that he had never heard of the One-China policy before that, since he typically defends himself only when he’s lying.

So: the China hawks on the Trump team worked on this for months; dumped it on Trump a few minutes ahead of the call; and counted on Trump having no idea what he was getting himself into. Plus one other thing: whenever Trump gets caught making a mistake, he doubles down and becomes more committed to his mistake with every passing day. They were probably counting on that too.

It’s Trump 101. This is how you handle the guy. I expect we’re going to see a lot more skullduggery like this in the White House over the next four years.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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