Trump’s first week in office has led to ‘buyer’s remorse’ from many who voted for him. His cabinet appointments have helped him plenty with that, including Sean Spicer, Steve Bannon, and Rex Tillerson. Bannon was said to be behind the ‘Muslim Ban’ that has sparked worldwide outrage and protests. Yet alienating a billion Muslims was clearly not enough for this team. They also continue to alienate and dangerously antagonize relations with the superpower of China. China has already responded that war is becoming a ‘practical reality.’ Buyer’s remorse may very well lead to impeachment if America wants to survive this presidency intact.
Trump has managed to stir up white nationalist ‘alt-right’ hostilities on our own soil and has already increased the threat of hostilities abroad. The threat from ISIS is likely worse than it was just a week ago, according to many experts. China is already warning us that US-China relations are strained because of Trump, and that war could be on the horizon.
‘A war within the president’s term’ or ‘war breaking out tonight’ are not just slogans, they are becoming a practical reality,’ wrote an official from the Central Military Commission on The People’s Liberation Army website.
Comments by Rex Tillerson and Sean Spicer are cited as ‘rookie blunders that will only hurt US credibility.’ Rex Tillerson caught the attention of China during his Senate confirmation hearing by suggesting that the U.S. should deny China access to its seven man-made islands in the South China Sea. China has been busy creating islands for use as port facilities, military buildings, and airstrips. The islands are 500 miles from the Chinese mainland.
Tillerson other Trump key advisor’s comments suggest that the US ‘may pursue a more hardline policy against Beijing in the South China Sea over the next four years,’ according to Ian Storey, a senior fellow at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore.
In a January 25th briefing at the White House, Sean Spicer remarked, ‘the U.S. is going to make sure that we protect our interests there,’ referring to the islands. This challenge to China’s occupation is in addition to Trump’s disregard for the ‘One-China’ policy holding that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. The U.S. continues to step up military presence in the region, as China, Malaysia, and the Philippines, among other players navigate murky waters around the man-made islands and the natural resources that surging populations grow ever-more reliant on. The South China Morning Post elaborated on many other specific ways that Trump and his team could easily ‘upset China.’
‘The U.S. is not a party to the disputes and should stay away,’ warned Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying.
She said that China has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea and preserves freedom of navigation in those waters.
‘If the U.S. takes actions against China’s moves to protect their own sea territories, it may result in a serious military confrontation,’ said Sun Hao, an international relations expert at the China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing.
‘Both Tillerson and Spicer seem to be trying to show China that the Trump administration will adopt a tougher approach on the South China Sea, but it’s evident that they haven’t yet developed a policy,’ said Bonnie Glaser, senior adviser for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Not having a developed policy before making remarks and signing executive orders have become a problem of worldwide consequence. Perhaps Republicans should have reflected on that a bit more before electing a reality-TV star to navigate international waters near China with ‘unpresidented’ recklessness.
For more see Charlie Barrel’s ‘Foreign Policy with China for Dummies, Donald Trump Edition.’
For more information on the man-made islands in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, see the video below:
Featured image: Subi Reef, Spratly Islands, South China Sea, in May 2015, Public Domain