It’s not over until he says its over.
Even after the latest conflict in the South China Sea ended with China agreeing to return an unmanned underwater drone it had taken from the USA, US President-elect Donald Trump continues to negotiate for the “stolen” drone by refusing to take it back.
Just three days ago, the Pentagon issued a formal diplomatic protest for the drone’s return, alleging it had been “unlawfully seized” by the Chinese navy. The accusations were answered a day later when China’s Military of Defense acknowledged the drone was in its possession, but agreed to give it back.
But things couldn’t end that simply. Any hint of weakness shown by kowtowing to US demands were promptly dismissed when the Chinese Military of Defense mounted an offense. Even though they had taken other people’s things and admitted to it, the Chinese MoD employed a strategy of “switching roles” to make themselves appear to be the victims.
And so, as seen in a statement written on its official website, the Chinese MoD blamed escalated tensions on the USA for “hyping” the situation. It basically implyed that the US had made a big, fat deal out of nothing, something China would never admit to doing.
That could have been the last of it, but then that would mean the people who started this whole thing also get to have the parting shot.
Wrong, says Donald Trump. The man who successfully used Twitter to win a US electoral majority gave China a taste of his rhetoric on Saturday:
We should tell China that we don't want the drone they stole back.- let them keep it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 18, 2016
That’s right. After the Pentagon worked so hard to get it back, and after the Chinese reluctantly gave in to the demands of the US military, Donald Trump now wants to throw all that under the bus. Someone in a five-sided building is probably rethinking her life-choices right now, as is her Chinese counter-part. Sigh.
It may be easy to write off Trump; after all, Trump’s initial tweet to the drone incident was soundly ridiculed by Western media on Saturday when a deleted version of the post was found to contain the spelling mistake “unpresidented“.
But what would make a lesser man delete his account has not deterred Trump. And so, still replete with writing errors, Trump’s latest tweet has solemnly trolled China with a force that can’t be replicated by ten thousand burning bridges.
Trump has accomplished at least three things with this infuriating tweet that gives him the upper hand:
1. Trump’s “unpresidented” tweet about the drone said the Chinese had “stolen” it, and the same word appears again here. Trump emphasizes that the Chinese are wrong to have taken the drone; by accepting its return, the US would “forgive” this transgression.
2. Trump turns the disgrace of being one-upped by the Chinese military into a victory for the US, and he does it by making the drone’s theft seem like a petty act. Whatever information the Chinese military can glean from picking apart the drone will never be as damaging as Trump’s character assassination of China. This way, Trump gains support from his followers who regard him as a strong leader.
3. As he had done many times before in his Twitter exchange, Trump uses the third-person to speak of China instead of the second-person perspective. It makes for a weird, distancing effect that makes his intentions more difficult to figure out — something especially relevant during a negotiation.
And there you have it: after trying to reverse roles on the US, China now finds itself being played by Trump’s reverse strategy.
Here’s what some Twitter users have to say about Trump’s latest 140-character missive:
We should tell the Rebel Alliance that we don't want the Death Star plans they stole back.- let them keep them!
— Darth Vader (@DepressedDarth) December 18, 2016
life comes at you fast pic.twitter.com/DgkK2G8yKk
— Mark Berman (@markberman) December 18, 2016
A) complain ab the drone
B) get drone back
C) complain they gave it back
D) complete tantrum with punctuation error
— Isaac Saul (@Ike_Saul) December 18, 2016
@Anna_63 I'm trying rly hard to support this incoming president but w/ every tweet he seems more illiterate, unaware and unhinged.
— Isaac Saul (@Ike_Saul) December 18, 2016
.@realDonaldTrump YEAH MAKE MEXICO BUY US A NEW ONE YEAH
— Annoying Cubs Fan (@TimBaffoe) December 18, 2016
By Charles Liu
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