According to the Washington Post, Donald has been planning to call Taiwan since before winning the election. Allegedly even before winning the nomination. Assuming this is true and not his lackeys running cover for their master's diplomatic faux pas, a more disturbing image begins to emerge:
Donald Trump’s protocol-breaking telephone call with Taiwan’s leader was an intentionally provocative move that establishes the incoming president as a break with the past, according to interviews with people involved in the planning.
The call also reflects the views of hard-line advisers urging Trump to take a tough opening line with China, said others familiar with the months of discussion about Taiwan and China.
Is Donald deliberately goading the world's only other superpower into an economic and military confrontation to consolidate power at home and abroad?
Consider Donald and the Republican's predilection for using "The Other" as a way to enforce orthodoxy. Donald's entire campaign was based on fear-mongering against immigrants and Muslims. Anyone not against them was an enemy to be harassed and abused. Donald promised that he would use his (unconstitutional) power to get rid of them, and his voters ate it up.
Similarly, after 9/11, Republicans used the fear of Islamic terrorism to massively expand the power of the executive branch, cutting deeply into our civil rights. The "imminent" threat of Iraq was used to justify a pre-existing desire to invade the Middle East and essentially turn the area into an American colony.
At the same time, if you were "unpatriotic" and questioned the president "during a time of war", you were publicly shunned and possibly even blacklisted. Republicans got a blank check to carry out their imperialistic foreign policy agenda and were able to stifle dissent at home.
But, like all "imminent" threats, they stop being "imminent" after a while and 15 years is a long time to keep people terrified of the same thing. Eventually, it just becomes incorporated into our everyday life. The boogeyman under the bed ceases to be all that scary. Conservative voters will always fear and loathe brown people but not enough to make it their central voting priority over and over again.
A cold war, on the other hand, can last for decades on end without ever losing its effectiveness. And a really good one can be used to justify anything. Tax cuts for the rich to spur the innovation we need to fight the dreaded Chinese! A massive military build up to fight the Commie hordes that are going to swarm over Europe at any second! An end to NATO so we can join forces with Russia and help them build a new Iron Curtain against Chinese encroachment! New controls on the internet to "protect" America from Chinese hackers! And did you know that China has close relations with Latino immigrants? Any one of them could be a spy!
If all of this sounds insane to you, you've clearly forgotten what it was like during the Cold War with Russia. McCarthyism ran rampant, destroying the lives of hundreds and sending a chilling effect over the entire country. The FBI under J. Edgar Hoover ran COINTELPRO, a highly illegal operation tasked with infiltrating and disrupting left wing organizations (like civil rights and feminist groups). Being a liberal became inextricably linked to being un-American. Dissent became synonymous with treason.
And while all of this distraction was going on, Republicans implemented Reaganomics, an economic philosophy predicated on making the rich richer and leaving the rest of the country scrambling for crumbs.
We can't re-engage Russia since conservatives are now sporting a perpetual boner for Vladimir Putin. Muslims in general do not make for a good geopolitical enemy and Iran is about as dangerous as Iraq in that we could crush them in a ground war without breaking a sweat. But China? China is far too large and powerful to invade or cripple with economic sanctions, making them just the kind of "enemy" a dictator-in-waiting needs.
By pushing China into a trade war that would send the US economy into a tailspin, Republicans would be able to justify any economic policy. We'd have to replace all that Chinese manufacturing we rely so heavily on and the only way to do that would be to get rid of the minimum wage here at home to keep us competitive. Unions would have to go as well because we can't have them holding patriotic corporations hostage, can we?
By starting a land war or two that would draw China in (North Korea comes to mind), Donald could use our sudden fear of China to silence dissent in the press and online. "National security" can be used to justify almost anything when the public is scared and angry. The fact that the end result of all of these gross abuses of power just happen to precisely match the Republican's agenda won't go unnoticed but it won't matter because Chinese food is a plot to make Americans willing to accept Chinese rule. So stop protesting, traitor, put down those chop sticks, and start eating your Fried Freedom Rice with a fork!
Donald has already made it clear that he plans to run the country just like the tinpot dictators he openly admires and every dictator needs an external enemy to justify their repressive autocratic rule. By intentionally slapping China in the face, Trump may have just announced who he plans to use as a foil.
After all, we've always been at war with East Asia, haven't we?