A successful foreign policy combines lofty principles with their sound and timely implementation. Visit of Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan was a manifestation of the first, but not the second.
He writes about this in an editorial Washington Post. The reaction of China, which considers Taiwan a rebellious province, was predictable. It includes the announcement of the start of a provocative naval exercise using live ammunition in the waters around the island, which will begin after the visit of Pelosi. President Joe Biden must mitigate the short-term damage from the House Speaker’s move and counter a likely increase in long-term Chinese pressure on Taiwan.
“Of course, we share Pelosi’s firm support for democratic Taiwan, her condemnation of the Chinese communist dictatorship, and her belief that, as she wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post, “It is very important that America and our allies make it clear that we will never surrender to autocrats.” But we cannot understand why she insists on showing her support in this way, right now, despite warnings even from the president and her own party that the geopolitical situation is already unstable. As much as Pelosa, 82, wants to end her term as speaker before the Republican victory in November ends it, it would be foolish to travel to Taiwan at a time when Xi Jinping is trying to secure a third term at the head of China.“, – writes the publication.
Actually, President Biden himself did not cope with the situation, revealing the fact that the “military” was against the visit of Pelosi. This mistake reduced the ability of the Speaker of the lower house of Congress to change his plans without losing face. But more importantly, it has become harder for Xi Jinping to avoid intensifying his reaction to her visit. It would have been much better if the president had personally, unambiguously and privately convinced Pelosi not to go to Taiwan.
“The top global priority for the United States right now is Russia’s war against Ukraine and the turmoil in the world’s food and energy markets that accompanies it. The Biden administration cannot afford any distractions, let alone a repeat of the 1995-1996 Taiwan Strait crisis, which many Americans have forgotten about. But that crisis lasted eight months and two days.”, – the newspaper writes, recalling that it all started with Chinese missile launches towards the island in response to a symbolic gesture – the visit of the President of Taiwan to Cornell University.
The situation remained tense until the Bill Clinton administration deployed an oversized naval deterrent. In the end, China backed down. The Biden administration is now in a position to hope for the preservation of peace and the territorial integrity of Taiwan. After all, China is now much stronger than it was a quarter of a century ago. And then in the 90s it was headed by the less aggressive Jiang Zemin. Pelosi stressed that her trip does not contradict the US “One China” policy. For the sake of deterrence, President Biden sent an aircraft carrier group to eastern Taiwan. The US must not sacrifice its principles or succumb to Chinese threats. But one must choose carefully where and when to confront China. Instead, Pelosi is causing the Biden administration to react and improvise.