Questions mount on whether Pelosi’s Taiwan trip was worth the consequences

Her trip has already caused an uproar amid strained U.S.-China relations, with the communist giant sending jets to the edge of Taiwan’s airspace and launching military exercises to send an implicit message that Taiwan is besieged.

But if those eruptions don’t trigger a full-blown crisis in the vital strategic waterway of the Taiwan Strait and avoid the possibility of miscalculation by Chinese forces and even Chinese and American assets in the region, the storm of Pelosi’s mission could be temporary. The image of the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives pro-democracy in the huge shadow of China could become one of the defining moments of U.S. foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific.

The geopolitical relationship between Washington and Beijing is the most important state-to-state conflict in the world. It is unfolding as a generational battle between two civilizations keen to imprint their values, economic systems and strategic hegemony on the rest of the world.

While the Biden administration has followed the Trump White House in viewing China as an adversary rather than a competitor, the main goal of U.S. policy remains to avoid a potentially catastrophic future war between the two countries.

So if Pelosi’s visit – a personal rebuke of Chinese President Xi Jinping, who will take over Taiwan as a quest for survival – permanently deteriorates already bad U.S.-China relations and sparks a superpower confrontation that some see as inevitable, it could It would be a huge miscalculation to turn. The same is true if her visit prompts Beijing to take steps to destabilize the peace and prosperity Taiwanese enjoy in their vibrant island homeland, a factor that is often overshadowed by China hawks taking a hard line to strengthen their political standing in the United States ignore.

what Pelosi achieved

From a speaker’s perspective, the tour has gone well so far. She captured the world’s attention for days on end before arriving on a US military plane. A female political icon, she defied the all-male upper echelons of the Chinese Communist Party leadership, refused to be bullied — and sat down with another pioneering female leader, President Tsai. She made an exciting position for democracy — a core American value.

Pelosi ended her political career, launching a pro-democracy banner in Beijing in 1991 and an anti-Chinese Communist Party tour in Taiwan amid growing concerns that China might eventually try Take the island by force. More broadly, she showed China that the United States will not back down to doomsday rhetoric from Beijing, and that it will operate anywhere in the Asia-Pacific regardless of what the rising regional superpower thinks.

Pelosi's visit to Taiwan
“In the face of accelerated aggression by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), our congressional delegation’s visit should be seen as a clear statement that the United States stands with our democratic partner Taiwan in defense of Taiwan,” Pelosi said in a statement. self and freedom.” Washington Post Column Published when she arrived in Taipei.

If this proves to be Pelosi’s last major diplomatic assignment as speaker, and Democrats risk losing the House in November, it won’t be forgotten anytime soon.

While the trip has caught the attention of the foreign policy establishment, her journey has received strong support on Capitol Hill, where support for the island is entrenched, as is hostility toward China. Unusually, Republicans warmly praised the speaker, although some may have wanted to paint her as tougher than President Joe Biden, who last month acknowledged the U.S. military’s concerns about the prospect of her visiting Taiwan. dissatisfied.

“We support House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan,” the 26 Republican senators said in a statement. “This trip is in line with our commitment to America’s one-China policy. We are also more committed now than ever to all aspects of the Taiwan Relations Act.”

The Taiwan Relations Act is legislation designed to stop China from invading Taiwan and promises U.S. sales of defensive weapons to the Taipei government. More recently, hawks in Congress have called for strengthening the bill and for Washington to end a policy of “strategic ambiguity” under which it did not specify what it would do if the mainland invaded.

Unintended consequences of Pelosi

Pelosi’s achievements in Taiwan have been largely personal, symbolic and short-term.

Despite Beijing’s claims to the contrary, she did not appear to have said or done anything in violation of the one-China policy during her visit. But at one point at a news conference, she praised the Taiwanese people for “having the courage to change their country and make it more democratic.” The United States does not recognize Taiwan as a country. Whether by mistake or deliberate phrasing, Pelosi’s remarks are read by officials in Beijing.

Her trip may reinforce Chinese leaders’ conviction that Congress is bent on strengthening policy toward Taiwan — an impression that could pull the diplomatic tightrope around Taiwan’s status closer to a tipping point. While that may not have been Pelosi’s intention, in such a volatile foreign policy relationship, a misunderstanding could lead to a military escalation.

A permanent increase in Chinese military and economic pressure on Taiwan, or a more hostile posture toward the U.S. Navy and airborne forces, could bring the danger of conflict between rivals closer. It would also backfire if Pelosi’s visit accelerates Xi’s urgency and determination to seek to take over Taiwan by force.

Pelosi visits Taiwan, China will hold live-fire military exercises around Taiwan

White House officials who initially expressed concerns about Pelosi’s visit re-delivered their message, stressing that she has every right to visit Taiwan, which Beijing considers its sovereign territory, and that her visit did not violate any statement that the People’s Republic of China is China’s only legal government. But they also appear to prepare the American people for a prolonged and escalating confrontation with China.

While China doesn’t think it’s in its interests to go to war with the U.S., National Security Council strategic communications coordinator John Kirby has laid out a roadmap of smaller steps Beijing can take, evoking what the U.S. and its allies have done in Russia Declassified intelligence prior to the invasion of Ukraine.

“China appears to be positioning itself to take further steps possibly in the coming days and beyond,” Kirby told reporters on Tuesday.

He warned that provocations could include launching missiles in or around the Taiwan Strait, as well as large-scale intrusions by warplanes into Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone. He said China may also make a public statement similar to the recent one to the effect that the Taiwan Strait is not an international shipping lane.

Crucial to global supply chains already under pressure in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, most of the world’s seaborne container traffic travels through the strait. Any attempt by China to increase pressure on Taiwan by disrupting sea lanes could have devastating economic consequences and profound political ramifications in the United States and elsewhere. Even talk of disrupting the Strait could send global markets plunging, exacerbating the pain of Americans already struggling with an inflation crisis that could elect Democrats in the midterms.

“Some of these actions will continue to involve the trend lines we’ve seen in recent years, but some may be of different scope and scale,” Kirby said.

With that in mind, it’s fair to ask whether Pelosi’s visit has achieved any results worthy of a long-term deterioration in the security environment around Taiwan, which could bring the U.S. and China closer to conflict.

“I agree that she has a right to go. The question is whether it makes sense,” said Phil Mudd, a former FBI and CIA official who is now a counterterrorism analyst for CNN. “She could go, but why? For what good?”

Meanwhile, former U.S. ambassador to China Max Baucus told CNN International’s Richard Quest that Pelosi’s trip was unwise against the backdrop of a dangerously deteriorating U.S.-China relationship of.

“Frankly, my view is that she shouldn’t have left. The goal of American foreign policy is to defuse tensions with China, not to increase them,” said the former Democratic senator from Montana. “Her visit clearly heightened tensions. She has no foreign policy reason to go. The Taiwanese know we stand by them.”

In China, as well as in the U.S., domestic politics may be creating a dangerous moment for Taiwan — a trend that may only be accelerated by a visit from the California Democrat.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *