There’s been a lot of discussion the last few days about Trump’s phone call with the President of Taiwan and how it might impact the country’s impact with China. When you also consider that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was a big topic during the election and there’s a lot of discussion about who will be Trump’s Secretary of State, I had a feeling it might be worthwhile to attend a Congressional hearing titled “Step or Stumble: The Obama Administration’s Pivot to Asia.”
The hearing was held yesterday by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific and was chaired by Rep. Matt Salmon. This is important to note because the chair and ranking member of the committee get to make opening statements at the beginning of every hearing. These statements are usually prepared and include the sentiments that the members want to make sure are heard and reported by the press.
In Rep. Salmon’s opening statement, he covered an array of topics and concluded that the Obama Administration had failed because “our posture in Asia is not what we hoped for when the pivot was introduced.” Of course, he also took the opportunity to weigh in on Trump’s controversial call with the President of Taiwan.
“The surprise over President-elect Trump accepting a call from President Tsai Ing-wen has been an unnecessary distraction,” Salmon said. “The fact is that we are economically and militarily engaged with Taiwan as directed by the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act and a phone call between principals should not garner such outrage.”
“I am further dismayed that the same press core tha hailed President Obama a hero for meeting with Iran President Rouhani, a key supporter of terrorism across the globe, would become so distraught over a phone call,” he continued. “I fully expect that President-elect Trump and President Tsai will have a productive relationship that benefits both our countries.”
Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) also spoke in favor of Trump’s phone call with Taiwan’s president. Keeping with the theme of also attacking Obama’s foreign policy, Chabot said the country has “failed to stand up for our allies like Taiwan” and he’d give the Administration a D if he were grading its policy towards Asia.
In other words, it appears as though the Republican members of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific disagree with Obama and think Trump has already begun doing a better job.