On Friday night, Donald Trump crashed a carefully choreographed diplomatic dance between the United States, the People’s Republic of China, and the Republic of China by taking a call from the Taiwanese president. The official diplomatic contact between the two heads of state overturns decades of convoluted U.S. policy toward mainland China, and the response from American partisans has been predictably hyperbolic. Liberals hyperventilating into a paper bag can breathe easy knowing that Trump’s decision isn’t going to spark a great-power war anytime soon. The American right should not, however, presume that there will be no costs incurred by Washington as a result of this new direction for U.S. foreign policy.

Judging only from the perceptibly panicked response from Democrats, Trump’s decision to engage in direct contact with President Tsai Ing-wen represented a prelude to a geopolitical crisis of a scale unseen since the Cold War. Conservatives and Republicans have allowed themselves similar hyperbole in assessing the virtues of Trump’s decision to test the One China policy.

National Review’s Ian Tuttle welcomed the call as a sign that the United States will once again be in the business of supporting free and independent governments and divest from the unproductive occupation of coddling dictators. “America’s ideals are fragile,” he wrote. “Wherever they happen to spring up, we should aim to nourish them.”

“He was serving notice on Beijing that it is dealing with a different kind of president — an outsider who will not be encumbered by the same Lilliputian diplomatic threads that tied down previous administrations,” boomed the Washington Post’s Marc A. Thiessen unreservedly. That’s a charitable interpretation.

Thiessen insists Trump was briefed on the issues according to the Washington Post’s reporting, but the Post only cites Trump transition officials making that assertion. “According to State Department officials, the president-elect was not briefed by the agency ahead of his call to the Philippines president nor before any of his calls to world leaders since his election,” NBC News revealed after the Taiwan call was announced.

There is a reason why American presidents consume State Department briefings before deciding to throw their findings out the window. The consequences for the Sino-American relationship resulting from Donald Trump’s call may be months off–if they materialize at all. The consequences for Taiwan, however, could be imminent and far more difficult for Taipei to absorb.

What might those be? “[A]n increase in pressure on allies, further decrease in Chinese tourists, pressure on Taiwanese businesses, and so on,” said Jonathan Sullivan, director of the China Policy Institute at the University of Nottingham, when pressed on the issue by the South China Morning Post. Some suggest that the fretful reaction from media and Democrats in the United States to this change in policy by the incoming Trump administration will embolden Beijing to act more aggressively toward Taipei.

That confrontation might suit Taipei just fine. As Tuttle noted, the political party in Taiwan that has traditionally adopted a more conciliatory posture toward Beijing finds itself out of favor with voters today. Instead, the Taiwanese are turning toward a party that promises more strategic competition with the mainland. Given President Donald Trump’s semi-isolationist rhetoric in the campaign, Taiwan is going to seek reassurances regarding America’s historic commitment to the Republic of China’s defense. Any confrontation between Beijing and Taipei necessarily puts more pressure on the United States to affirm that commitment and draws America deeper into the region’s conflicts. If Donald Trump hoped to avoid entanglements abroad on terms dictated by foreign capitals, the method by which he went about it leaves much to be desired.

These near-and long-term consequences don’t appear to have been thoroughly examined by the president-elect or his team. There is value to the idea that America’s bizarre One China policy might deserve to be scrapped or, at the very least, tested. Indeed, the abandonment of sclerotic and contradictory diplomatic niceties, the acknowledgment of realities Beijing finds inconvenient, and democracy promotion are all welcome. There will be a response, though, from the PRC for which America may not be prepared.

The contradictory messages from both the president-elect and his team over even which party made the call reveal to all honest observers that this was not some well-planned redefinition of America’s approach to foreign affairs in East Asia. The call was not followed by a coordinated or coherent messaging strategy from transition officials in the press. No one gamed out America’s grand strategy in the region or prepared a portfolio examining China’s likeliest responses to what it appears to regard as a provocative act. The Trump administration is winging it.

The sky isn’t falling here, but nor are decades of complicated U.S. foreign relations overturned overnight without consequences. The right would do well to avoid adopting the left’s overly simplistic view of Donald Trump’s naïve approach to geopolitics.

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