Opinion | The Pelosi-Taiwan Watch—Will she, or won't she?
On both sides of the Pacific, millions are on the edge of their seats, watching Nancy Pelosi’s cat-and-mouse game with China unfold over her rumored visit to Taiwan. She has announced her official Asian trip. Conspicuously, there is no mention of Taiwan on her itinerary. This is calculated to cool down Beijing’s anger. Round one to China. Round two is coming, but Pelosi has already been knocked off balance.
She is no doubt watching nervously over Beijing’s reaction to her altered plans, unsure if that is sufficient to placate its leaders. China naturally wants to keep her guessing. When it comes to Taiwan, nothing is off the table. One other thing bears watching: the movement of the US 7th Fleet. If it continues to lurk around the Taiwan Strait, an unofficial visit by Pelosi cannot be ruled out. If it gives this body of water a wide berth, Pelosi is unlikely to enter Taiwan, unescorted.
Pelosi is on a tight rope. To save face, she might still drop in unofficially on Taipei. But, with her public climb-down, her loss of face can no longer be spinned into a moral victory. I understand that her plane has already taken off from Hawaii, but for security reasons its flight path is no longer trackable. The inescapable conclusion is that she has been cowed by China. Eyeball to eyeball, Pelosi is the first to blink.
The Pelosi-manufactured crisis is considered the most dangerous moment in US-China relations. Perhaps Pelosi should change her name to Pandora, as in Pandora’s box. In Greek mythology, Pandora is the curse on humanity, unleashing all the ills on the world. Pelosi may fantasize herself as the wrinkled, 82-year-old modern-day Joan of Arc, leading a crusade against China. In truth, she is no more than the dominatrix of D.C., a fiery trouble-maker and a curse to peace on earth.
For months, the eyes of the world are squarely on this willful and combative old lady. Given her lackluster performance in Congress, this is no small achievement—except it puts world peace and stability in jeopardy. Why can’t she just enjoy simple grandparenthood? Why make waves in the Pacific and drag the top two nations into unwanted armed conflict?
Enough of your shenanigans, Madame Speaker. You are well-known as a super China hawk. You don’t need a visit to build your brand. All you know as a democrat is to demonize China. Before you get banned by Beijing, why not hightail over to the mainland. What you witness there will shame you into an inferiority complex: a reinvented China totally trusted by its people and far better governed than your race-torn, polarized country, where congress is perpetually paralyzed by partisanship. After your China visit, you will realize that it’s not Taiwan that needs your protection, it is your own country.
China’s Pelosi contingency plans contain several options: before, during and after the happening. Beijing’s saber-rattling has already produced results. If Pelosi drops in on Taipei unofficially, she can only sneak in like a cat burglar. No official fanfare, no semblance of dignity. She has been outplayed and will get no mileage out of a back-door stealthy entry. Why humiliate yourself? Why give your president a headache? Why become the world’s laughingstock? Do you really crave the attention so much? Remember, China’s retaliation doesn’t have to be instantaneous. Beijing has all the time in the world to exact its pound of flesh, post Pelosi visit.
Honestly, we are all getting Pelosi fatigue. Time to end her meaningless saga. Does her visit really protect Taiwan’s defenses? She can’t even protect herself, having to hide from the Chinese military. Her visit is purportedly to boost the fortunes of “free and flourishing” democracies. But China has been the real economic boon to the region. This area is doing quite well, thank you very much. We don’t need the US congress leader poking her long nose into our affairs. Pelosi is no dove. Her dizzying mischief-making is getting a bit much. She brings nothing but trouble. Give us all a break, Nancy, and go home in peace to your grandkids.