She did. Despite all the threats from China, despite the maneuvers with live ammunition, Madame Speaker Nancy Pelosi landed in Taiwan. Now the waves of excitement are running high.
Of course on both sides. The critics accuse the 82-year-old US Democrat of a dangerous stubbornness. She risks a confrontation with China just now, when the full attention of the West is needed in Ukraine. There is no discernible benefit of the trip that justifies this.
Your defenders see it the other way around. China is acting dangerously. For them, the real scandal is not Pelosi’s trip, but Beijing’s overreaction to the point of threatening to shoot down the US Speaker’s plane.
If China wants to be accepted as a world power, but acts so irresponsibly, it proves all the more that the democracies in America, Asia and Europe must support Taiwan and show the regime in Beijing limits. It’s good, then, that Pelosi hasn’t backed down.
When opinions clash so hard, moderate voices tend to mediate: the truth lies somewhere in the middle. However, this conflict cannot be settled with this trick.
The camps can only agree that the date of the trip is inconvenient: right after the founding day of the Chinese army and a few weeks before the party congress that grants nationalist President Xi Jinping a third term in office.
There is no middle ground on the core issue, the positions are mutually exclusive. Does the West pay too little attention to China and thus provoked the escalation? Or does too much concession cause Beijing to calculate that the tougher it is, the closer it will be to taking control of Taiwan? One thing is pretty clear: the West is sticking to the agreed status quo, and China is challenging it. The USA and Europe follow the “One China” policy and rule out the recognition of Taiwan as an independent state.
Beijing, on the other hand, is constantly shifting the “red lines” of what is allowed and what is not. In 1997, then US Speaker of Parliament Newt Gingrich visited Taiwan. It wasn’t a scandal then, is it now?
Many EU countries trade actively with Taiwan and have unofficial representatives. When Lithuania, a young EU member, opened a Taiwan office in 2021, Beijing responded with tough sanctions. China is exerting naked pressure on the EU to refrain from criticizing the corona strategy, climate policy and the treatment of minorities such as the Tibetans and the Muslim Uyghurs. China is also acting robustly in economic exchanges with Germany.
The downside – and justification – of Western “One China” policy was the “one country, two systems” formula. Beijing pledged that after the incorporation of Hong Kong and one day Taiwan, it would respect democratic freedoms there.
After China broke the Hong Kong pledge, who can hope for that? Especially when Beijing wants to use military force to make Taiwan part of the People’s Republic.
A democratic, prosperous Taiwan as an alternative to the People’s Republic is good for the world. China is no longer satisfied with the status quo.
The West reacts to this. President Joe Biden, unlike his predecessors, no longer leaves it in the dark that the United States will defend Taiwan in the event of an attack.
The EU is no longer so easily intimidated by Beijing. The European Parliament’s Trade Committee will soon be visiting Taiwan and starting negotiations on an investment agreement. The good news after the Pelosi scandal is that the crisis management is working. War is not imminent anytime soon because Presidents Xi and Biden and their military leaders are talking to each other.
The not-so-good news: China has only just begun to test the steadfastness of democracies in Asia, Europe, and America. Strong resistance is the best way to prevent a long-term war over Taiwan.