As the World Turns: Rome, China, Syria Transition Edition

As the World Turns: Rome, China, Syria Transition Edition
photo via State Department (public domain)

WELL, IT IS clear that Italy’s charasmatic, left-leaning Prime Minister Matteo Renzi did not learn the lessons from David Cameron‘s Brexit catastrophe. The overwhelming power Renzi was hoping to be granted showed an outrageous lack of self-awareness and political reality.

Renzi offered his resignation but it will be postponed until the budget passes.

POTUS-elect’s conversation with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen was carefully planned, according to reporting from the Washington Post. The People’s Daily said Trump “pushing” China on Taiwan “would greatly reduce the chance to achieve the goal of making America great again.”

I’m going rogue on this one. I’ve thought for a long time that President Nixon’s 1972 statement that began the One-China policy is long past it’s relevancy. Trump talking to Taiwan is not a crime, a sin or a mistake. It’s foreshadowing that up is down and square is round.

It’s fascinating that former presidential candidate Senator Bob Dole helped faciliate the conversation, reported in the Wall Street Journal.

Walter Lohman, director of the Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center, said the call with Tsai “was deliberate. It was not an accident. Obviously he made a conscious decision to have the call arranged. She called him, but there was an agreement for it.” [Washington Post]

Seeing John Bolton’s name resurface for State brings back memories (yet again), but Breitbart is pushing an article by Jennifer Rubin so it seems to confirm his reemergence as a contender.

Mr. Huntsman’s name has recently surfaced as a candidate for secretary of state, along with that of John R. Bolton, a former ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush. Mr. Bolton met with Mr. Trump on the day he took the phone call from Ms. Tsai. Later, he said the United States “should shake up the relationship” with China. [New York Times]

Speaking of Jon Huntsman, an inspired possibility, I got this little link in my inbox tonight, a documentary about his time as Ambassador to China.

And since I’ve been talking about Syria for years, this from Secretary John Kerry’s remarks at the Saban Forum:

… Syria’s even more complicated. There are about six wars in Syria, folks. I mean, you’ve got Saudi Arabia and Iran, you’ve got Israel and Hizballah, you’ve got Turk versus – you’ve got Turk versus Kurd, Kurd versus Kurd, Kurd versus Turk, PKK, you’ve got Sunni-Shia, you’ve got oppositionists against Assad, you’ve got – I mean, it’s just – it’s extraordinarily complicated in the proxyism.

So you’ve got Turkey with its interests – its own Islamic and other interests – you’ve got the differences between Egypt and Kuwait and the Emirates versus Saudi, Qatari, and Turk. The intensity of this is very, very hard to just sort of declare, “Oh, okay, we’re going to go in and bomb,” or “We’re going to go in and do this or that.” But I do believe in force and I believe in being strong. And I believe it is important for us to – and I know the cost – this has been a topic of conversation here – of the President’s decision when he decided not to enforce the redline through the bombing. But in fact, that’s greatly misinterpreted. It’s – it had an impact. People have interpreted it as his decision not to when, in fact, he never made a decision not to bomb. He made the decision to bomb. He simply decided he had to go to Congress because Tony Blair – not Tony Blair – because David Cameron lost the vote in the parliament on a Thursday, and on Friday, President Obama felt, hearing from Congress, “Oh, you got to come to us, you got to come to us,” he would go there and get the decision. Well, the decision wasn’t forthcoming, and in the meantime, I got a deal with Lavrov to get all of the chemical weapons out of the country.

So in effect, we got a better result out of not doing it, but it was the threat of doing it that brought about the result, and the lack of doing it perception-wise cost us significantly in the region, and I know that and so does the President. As much as we think it’s a misinterpretation of sort of – it doesn’t matter. It cost. Perception can often just be the reality.

…and to close, the tweet of the day.

This post has been updated.