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Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the Uyghurs

Summary:
A new book details Trump’s lack of concern for the China threat: Former President Donald Trump once dismissed the possibility of U.S. intervention in case Beijing invades Taiwan, according to a new book.“Taiwan is like two feet from China,” Trump was quoted as saying to an unnamed Republican senator in 2019, according to the book by Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin. “We are eight thousand miles away. If they invade, there isn’t a fucking thing we can do about it.” Let’s hope Biden is not so spineless. Yes, Trump’s first official call was from Taiwan, but it was a mistake: According to the book, Trump took the call from President Tsai without being aware of its significance, and later promised Xi Jinping he would accept no more such phone calls. For example,

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A new book details Trump’s lack of concern for the China threat:

Former President Donald Trump once dismissed the possibility of U.S. intervention in case Beijing invades Taiwan, according to a new book.

“Taiwan is like two feet from China,” Trump was quoted as saying to an unnamed Republican senator in 2019, according to the book by Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin. “We are eight thousand miles away. If they invade, there isn’t a fucking thing we can do about it.”

Let’s hope Biden is not so spineless.

Yes, Trump’s first official call was from Taiwan, but it was a mistake:

According to the book, Trump took the call from President Tsai without being aware of its significance, and later promised Xi Jinping he would accept no more such phone calls.

For example, Trump got furious after a deputy assistant secretary of state, Alex Wong, visited Taipei and angered Beijing. Trump screamed, “Who the fuck is Alex Wong” and asked to “get him out of there,” according to the book. It also quoted then national security adviser John Bolton as saying in 2019, “Trump once told me, I never want to hear from you about Taiwan, Hong Kong, or the Uyghurs.”

And just as Trump voters in America often wrongly assumed that Trump was “on their side”, the same was true of Trump’s deluded supporters in East Asia:

Taiwan and Hong Kong were the most pro-Trump places in Asia ahead of the 2020 presidential election, according to a YouGov poll. Many people in Taiwan have credited Trump for the stronger U.S.-Taiwan relations. Some democracy activists in Hong Kong also hoped that Trump could advance their cause.

Sad!

And human rights? Who cares about it?

According to John Bolton’s 2020 memoir, Trump refused to issue a statement on the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown in 2019, saying “who cares about it?” At a G20 meeting the same year, Trump told Xi he should go ahead with building internment camps in Xinjiang, since Trump thought it was “exactly the right thing to do,” Bolton wrote.

PS. How long will I keep talking about Trump? At least until I stop seeing supposedly respectable reporters saying, “At least he was tough on China.”

PPS. Why don’t I post on something more important? I like Matt Yglesias’s response:

Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the Uyghurs

BTW, China’s economic growth since 1980 is the best thing that ever happened to the human race.

There! I talked about something important.


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Scott Sumner
Scott B. Sumner is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, the Director of the Program on Monetary Policy at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and an economist who teaches at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. His economics blog, The Money Illusion, popularized the idea of nominal GDP targeting, which says that the Fed should target nominal GDP—i.e., real GDP growth plus the rate of inflation—to better "induce the correct level of business investment".

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