On first hearing about U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s planned visit to Taiwan it struck me as a rather, shall we say, stupid idea. It would infuriate the Chinese, who claim the island as part of China, and the Americans hardly need a fight with another nuclear power while they are engaged in hostile relations with Russia.

Dealing with Putin’s aggression is not going to be made any easier by pushing Putin and Xi Jinping even closer than they already are. Minimizing Xi’s assistance to his fellow autocrat is a worthy goal in itself. So this didn’t seem like a propitious time to do any boat-rocking.

Furthermore, as China would undoubtedly retaliate against Taiwan, I wondered if it wouldn’t be more harmful than helpful to the Taiwanese themselves.

And indeed the Chinese have retaliated, expressing their anger in a variety of ways against both Taiwan and the U.S. And, for that matter, against Ms. Pelosi, who they have sanctioned.

China went into blockade mode, staging military exercises that encroached on Taiwan’s airspace and territorial waters. It also announced it was no longer talking to the United States on a variety of issues, including climate change and drug trafficking.

So does that make the visit a stupid idea? Perhaps only if you ignore the views of the Taiwanese. According to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, “Pelosi is one of Taiwan’s most devoted friends who has deep and longstanding ties with the country.” The president backed up her words by awarding Pelosi with the Order of Propitious Clouds with Special Grand Cordon. Whatever that is, it sounds impressive.

An article in the New York Times by Yu-Jie Chen, a born and bred Taiwanese, offered a powerful perspective as she thanked Pelosi for the visit. Ms. Chen, an assistant research professor at the Law Institute of Taiwan, is an expert in international law and diplomacy as it applies to China-Taiwan relations.

She notes that “Each of Taiwan’s 23 million people is a living, breathing rebuttal of the Communist Party’s insistence that its repressive, authoritarian model is superior to democracy.” Her statement nicely reveals why Xi Jinpeng and his colleagues so fear the little democracy just off their shores.

The lady adds, “Freedom is worth fighting for, and all democracies will be strengthened by standing with Taiwan.” Hard to disagree with that.

As Xi tightens his autocratic grip and his security state extends its paranoia deeper into Chinese society, Taiwan becomes an increasingly bright beacon of freedom. And as we watch helplessly as the once vibrant democracy Hong Kong is sucked into the communist swamp, Taiwan’s freedom shines even brighter.

So maybe Nancy P got it right … but I still wonder a little about the timing.

5 thoughts on “Nancy P’s Asian adventure”
  1. No, Nancy’s visit from the USA’s interests point of view was crazy. I keep seeing the saying “Don’t poke the bear”. It may be even worse “to poke the dragon”. Doing both at the same time? Pelosi is second in line to the US presidency after Harris. BTW, do you remember President DeGaule’s visit to Canada in the 1960’s?

    Various US, pundits, international affairs commentators, and US gov’t officials have been saying for years that it is essential to gain the People’s Republic of China’s support or at least neutrality in the US–RF stand-off. Oh course, the USA then does everything it can to drive the PRC to ally itself with Russia, ranging from getting Canada to arrest Meng Wanzhou on spurious charges not to mention various punitive tariffs, arm sales to Taiwan, and determined efforts to stir up internal and external problems for China regarding the Uyghurs in Xinjiang Province. I believe that China is participating for the second time this year in Russia’s Vostok military exercises.

    Spain may not be too pleased since it is just a bit concerned with Catalonia, and France still has a minor bit of a Corsican separatist problem.

    1. I do remember de Gaulle’s visit. I also remember the occasions we have given the people of Quebec the opportunity to freely choose separation. (Of course, they declined.) I would expect no less from other free countries such as Spain and France. Xi and his colleagues, on the other hand, have no concept of allowing people to freely choose their own destiny.
      You are drawing a false analogy.

      1. You are drawing a false analogy.
        No. I am just pointing out that sovereign countries do not appreciate very senior foreign officials, in DeGaule’s case the head of state of an ally, encouraging separatists. Pelosi is second in line to the US Presidency.

        The issue of Taiwanese independence, or routes to it, is immaterial here. It is the presence of the “Official” foreign provocateur who clearly wants to subvert the sovereign nation’s position that is the problem.

        I tend to think that Taiwanese independence sounds reasonable but I am a Canadian with no ties to the PRC or Taiwan. Taiwan as a part of the PRC, with or without special status, may be just or even more, as reasonable.

  2. Taiwan is independent now whether of not China and those who fear its wrath choose to accept that independence. It deserves to be recognized as such no less than China. The “foreign provocateur” was simply respecting the Taiwanese will to remain independent, and free to choose for themselves, as should all those who believe in democracy.

    Becoming Part of China would be just as reasonable? Tell that to the people of Hong Kong.

    1. Taiwan is independent now
      De facto, yes, de jure, no. Even the USA ‘agrees’ that Taiwan is part of China. Sending the second in line of succession to the US Presidency in a USAF aircraft had to be a red flag to a bull.

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