There are currently rumors spreading around that Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, is considering a trip to Taiwan. AFAICT, the purpose of the trip is to “show support” for the Taiwanese government and people. The White House is openly (but not vehemently) opposed to the idea and President Biden has publicly that “it’s not a good idea right now.” Who knows what the WH is saying behind closed doors. For their part, the government of China is 100% opposed. They have vowed to take “resolute and forceful” measures but I can’t tell if that’s to prevent the trip, repercussions of the trip, or both.
IMO, it would have been better if Pelosi had never planned such a trip but we can’t unwind that clock so we’re left with either she goes as planned or she doesn’t. Going will be confrontational without much benefit, IMO. I think that we can continue to show support for Taiwan without needlessly poking the bear. Not going will make us appear weak to some both here and abroad.
To me, the cost benefit analysis of going doesn’t justify the risk. If it were North Korea making similar threats, I’d say go ahead. We’re used to their blustering. China is different.
The possible repercussions are unknowable, so the balancing of pros and cons is pure speculation. That’s true all the way up to the White House level.
I’m hoping that they’ve learned a lesson from Ukraine. Giving in to Putin because of what he might do if provoked has been a failing strategy throughout. China will push and push and push, taking advantage of any perceived weakness.
Every interaction between the two countries is fraught because - like Russia - China does not think like us. It’s also true that - like Russia - China responds only to force, doesn’t have to pay much attention to its public, and can absorb enormous losses if necessary.
I think I’m coming down on the side of not showing weakness. China will be furious but they’re always furious. We need to do this.
A lot of U.S. governmental officials have visited Taiwan before and there’s been no war as a result of such.
The problem with the “we had better not provoke a crisis by visiting Taiwan” is that this is the, well, Danegeld principle. It is not as if China is saying, “You just keep Pelosi home and we’ll never raise a fuss again.” On the contrary, if they see they can push Biden around on this, they’ll push even more aggressively on 1,000 other things in the future.
China publicly complaining about the proposed visit gives the U.S. little choice but to go through with it. Sovereign countries do not allow their diplomacy to be dictated by others. The U.S. should ask the Chinese for concessions to convince us to not proceed with the visit.
I see no advantage to her going. The Chinese government will use it internally, as part of their irredentist propaganda campaign falsely claiming that the U.S. wants to change the status quo.
Biden has repeatedly said he would defend Taiwan from a Chinese invasion, albeit with subsequent State Department walk-backs. This probably-would strategic ambiguity is not going to be reinforced by Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden disagreeing on the side-issue of high-level official visits.
Because previous administrations condoned those sort of statements and backed down. China is like a little kid pushing boundaries of international law and relationships and our reaction has almost always been Don’t Piss Off China™
I hate Pelosi with a passion but this is one of the rare times that I commend her for having more courage to act than all of the other politicians in Washington put together.
Reading that and taking into account that it is a state-run paper and nothing like that would be written with the Chinese government’s OK, the most generous interpretation is that they are leaving shooting down the military escort planes as an alternative.
If we wanted to invade China, we’d send the entire damn Air Force and not, at best, two fighter escorts protecting the third-highest-ranked politician in the United States. So China’s stance is dubious.
That’s not breaking news.
Ownership of Taiwan
Pre-invasion ownership of Tibet
The Pachen Lama is happy being imprisoned for treason since age 3
Their human rights record
Spratly Islands re: territorial claims on the South China Sea