Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Pelosi’s Taiwan Visit Seen Creating a Global Foreign-Policy Crisis for No Reason at All

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is headed to Taiwan, undertaking a foreign-policy spectacle few asked for and even fewer need. Pelosi, both a liberal and a China hawk, launched her tour of Asia Sunday and has intimated she’ll end up in Taiwan, despite warnings from Chinese leaders that her arrival could provoke a military response. She will reportedly meet with Taiwan’s president on Wednesday. It would be the highest-level visit by an American official in 25 years. There is nothing immediately tangible that Pelosi can accomplish by going to Taiwan, which China has threatened with invasion for some time. It’s unclear how Pelosi’s unsanctioned visit will make a Chinese invasion any less likely. The speaker may inadvertently inflame tensions between China and Taiwan if she visits, putting Taiwanese citizens in danger. Pelosi will be viewed by the Chinese as an American official driving a confrontation. Military retribution — aimed at the United States, Taiwan, or both — could come next. (https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/08/nancy-pelosi-taiwan-trip-dangerous-stunt.html) Some may argue Pelosi is doing what doves want: diplomacy. The question becomes whether such a visit will heighten tensions between the U.S. and China and accelerate China’s timeline for a takeover of Taiwan. The answer seems to be, on all counts, yes. If Pelosi makes her visit, an emboldened, enraged China may reject diplomacy altogether and speed up plans for an invasion or further encroachment. The United States, in turn, could be dragged into a war. In such a confrontation, many Taiwanese would inevitably die. An incapacitated Taiwan would also destabilize the global economy in a way that would make the crisis in Ukraine look quaint. A mass semiconductor shortage could imperil much of modern technology. There are ways, in the interim, to defuse the Pelosi-manufactured crisis. The United States could quietly ask Taiwan’s leadership to tell Pelosi to stay away. Taiwan cannot realistically benefit if Pelosi follows through and shows up there. She offers nothing, at this point, but provocation.

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