Is this the first taste of a dangerous future? When Donald Trump spoke to the Taiwanese president last week, he hit a sensitive spot in China. Beijing considers Taiwan to be a renegade province; any recognition of Taiwanese independence is considered a hostile act.
Beijing lodged a protest. Mr. Trump responded defensively at first, then cheekily. Statements from his advisers suggested the affront was deliberate.
The incident didn’t affect trade relations or cause troop movements. But the next American president will enter office under a self-created cloud of Chinese mistrust, in a poisonous atmosphere between the two most powerful countries in the world.
The Asian region between India, Australia and Japan is a peculiar mixture of calm and risk. It isn’t chaotic like the Middle East or parts of Africa, with a landscape of failed states, fleeing refugees and unleashed terrorism. On the contrary: Prosperity and self-confidence are on the rise here in a mood of historical optimism.