Opinion DC Comment 05 Dec 2016 A loose cannon

A loose cannon

Published Dec 5, 2016, 12:35 am IST
Updated Dec 5, 2016, 6:43 am IST
US President-elect Donald Trump. (Photo: AFP)
 US President-elect Donald Trump. (Photo: AFP)

These are early days yet and weeks left before Donald Trump is sworn in as America’s 45th President on January 20. But prejudging the President-elect is a game the world is forced to play, and the belief that it has to tackle his unconventional, even maverick, views is almost universal. The billionaire’s pronouncements are such that he threatens to upend years of conventional wisdom, even on settled global issues. One of Mr Trump’s most controversial acts so far was to speak to Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, that’s almost like a bull running amok in a china shop. Beijing is upset with the call, that it fears threatens the very fabric of a “One China” policy followed for so long. In public, Beijing called it a “petty” transgression, perhaps hoping it was a mistake by Mr Trump, not the signal of a policy shift. But it’s a taste of the way Mr Trump could function.

No US President has spoken in public to the Republic of China’s President since 1979. Mr Trump also referred to Ms Tsai as “President of Taiwan” on Twitter, that lends greater uncertainty to tenuous ties that revolved around not hurting China while keeping Taiwan armed, a delicate balancing act by the US that kept the peace in the Taiwan Straits for the past 37 years. While the call from Taiwan may have been the work of one of his many advisers, we only hope Mr Trump, as President, will act differently, as the uncertainty he has raised on issues like Taiwan and even India-Pakistan is causing unease in world capitals.



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