Games give Trump chance to act - Taipei Times
Wed, Aug 08, 2018 - Page 8 News List

Games give Trump chance to act

By Kevin Frazier

The “Trump doctrine” is fairly straightforward: If a deal, regardless of its historical importance or role in securing the welfare of the people or defense of the state, is deemed bad, then it should be renegotiated or, if that seems hard, discarded. Also, deals involving those who have wronged US President Donald Trump should be reviewed first.

Trump has so far only applied his doctrine to the highest level of US obligations, such as NATO and the North American Free Trade Agreement, or the most obvious deals he perceives as unfair, like Chinese trade practices.

Unsurprisingly, the doctrine, having been applied so broadly and haphazardly, has failed to do much to support long-term US interests: Manufacturers and small farming operations are moving out or closing down, allies are questioning the US’ stability and the veracity of its intentions, and opportunities to secure US priorities are being missed.

One such opportunity is the chance to condemn Chinese efforts to verbally annex Taiwan. Through a combination of dollar diplomacy and overt political manipulation, China has succeeded in reducing the nation’s international standing and economic outlook.

Trump could stifle China’s efforts and, correspondingly, assist a growing democracy in a region of immense significance.

In response to Taiwanese electing President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), a staunch advocate of the nation’s democracy, China pushed four countries to end their allyships with Taiwan. China lured these countries with promises of increased investment and closer political ties. Now just 19 members of the UN recognize Taiwan.

On the economic side, China threatened to limit entry into its lucrative market to any airline that lists Taiwan as a country. Airlines quickly relented. Case in point, British Airways relisted their flights to the nation as Taipei, Taiwan — China.

The latest example of Chinese “namefare” resulted in Taiwan losing the right to host next year’s East Asian Youth Games.

Trump ought to apply his doctrine to China denying Taiwan of this meaningful opportunity. Chinese action meets the only tests imposed by the doctrine: one, it is a bad deal; and two, China — at least in Trump’s opinion — has previously wronged him.

On the first test: What makes China’s pressure on the East Asian Olympic Committee (EAOC) — the body responsible for revoking Taiwan as the host of the Games — a bad deal?

According to the Olympic creed: “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win, but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered, but to have fought well.”

In removing the Games from Taiwan, the EAOC is directly contradicting the Olympic creed. The force imposed by Chinese officials on the committee resulted in it failing to fight well. Committee officials also evidenced no sort of struggle and ultimately denied young athletes around the region the chance to take part in an event in a historic setting.

What is more, according to the mayor of Taichung, which was to host the Games, the EAOC did not adhere to the contract it signed with the municipality. He alleged that the EAOC did not inform the city of any grounds for breaking the contract, nor did it allow for any sort of dispute resolution process prior to reneging on the deal. Clearly, this case passes the first test.

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