Nancy Pelosi is the woman of the hour. She visited Taiwan, met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, and said a simple truth before the flashing lights: We stand with Taiwan.
The proof will be in the pudding if, as U.S. speaker of the House, she pushes through the necessary legislation, including increased security assistance and official recognition of Taiwan as an ally.
Pelosi certainly has game.
“America’s determination to preserve democracy, here in Taiwan and around the world, remains ironclad,” the speaker said on Aug. 3.
During the visit, and as third in line to the U.S. presidency, she referred to Taiwan as a country, saying that the United States could learn “how you address the COVID crisis, how we advance respect for all of the people in our countries as we go forward.”
Pelosi has previously displayed such heroism. Just two years after the Tiananmen massacre in Beijing, she visited the square and unfurled a pro-democracy banner, only to be questioned by Chinese police.
Pelosi has, for years, challenged the quicksand of illusions upon which the power of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) rests. For example, the “One China” policy doesn’t, as CCP leader Xi Jinping seems to think, mean that Beijing can “reunify” with Taiwan through invasion. That would be one more nail in freedom’s coffin.
Pelosi therefore just helped a slumbering United States, especially on the left, wake up from what could have been its last sleep. She dramatically challenged the idea of CCP omniscience. In particular, she refused to comply with Beijing’s threats against her Taiwan visit, which included, remarkably, a backhanded one to down her U.S. Air Force plane.
In response to such defiance, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, “Those who play with fire will come to no good end, and those who offend China must be penalized.”
To prove the point, Beijing mobilized a four-day “series of joint military operations around the Taiwan Island,” according to its state media outlets, along with live-fire drills that impeded shipping and flights.
On the day of Pelosi’s visit, 22 Chinese military planes flew across the median line in the Taiwan Strait, a rare provocation.
The map of the six PLA maritime exclusion zones that surrounded Taiwan between Aug. 3 and Aug. 4, including infringement of Taiwan’s territorial waters, make the “military operations” into a “blockade,” according to Taiwan authorities.
Xi Jinping has threatened in the past to “reunify” the island through invasion, but China’s ambassador to France threatened not only “reunification” with Taiwan, but “reeducation.” In China, “reeducation” is synonymous with concentration camps.
Beijing also restricted the import of Taiwanese citrus, seafood, construction material, and cookies. These sanctions all impose economic penalties on areas and industries that support Tsai. Approximately 44 percent of Taiwan’s exports go to the mainland, making Taipei particularly vulnerable to Beijing’s economic pressure tactics.
But the world is waking up and came out in support of Pelosi.
Foreign ministers of all G-7 countries issued a statement affirming the right of G-7 politicians to visit Taiwan, saying that there was no change in the status quo and urging calm.
“There is no justification to use a visit as pretext for aggressive military activity in the Taiwan Strait,” the ministers said in the statement.
Dimon Liu, a U.S.-based China expert and human rights activist, wrote in an email that Xi lost face “big time in this round.”
Pelosi’s visit provided space for “Xi’s opponents within the CCP elite to push back against Xi,” Liu wrote. “If Pelosi were to abort the trip, as insisted by the Biden [National Security Council] and the majority of the China watchers, an invasion of Taiwan would have been far more likely.”
This is because Beijing would have proved that the United States could be bullied, she said.
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, supported Pelosi’s trip and Taiwan more broadly. He introduced a bipartisan measure in June with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) called the Taiwan Policy Act of 2022. It would replace strategic ambiguity over whether the United States would defend the island, with a clear, “robust and credible deterrence to preserve peace ... across the Taiwan Strait.”
The legislation would provide $4.5 billion in security assistance and promotes Taiwan to the status of a major non-NATO ally. This is in U.S. interests, as Taiwan upholds the global economy as the “foundry of the world” for advanced computer chips, according to Menendez.
There’s a “window of opportunity” to act, the senator wrote, before China invades. Reversing an invasion would be somewhere between catastrophic and impossible.
Therefore Congress must act—and act now.
Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Anders Corr has a bachelor's/master's in political science from Yale University (2001) and a doctorate in government from Harvard University (2008). He is a principal at Corr Analytics Inc., publisher of the Journal of Political Risk, and has conducted extensive research in North America, Europe, and Asia. His latest books are “The Concentration of Power: Institutionalization, Hierarchy, and Hegemony” (2021) and “Great Powers, Grand Strategies: the New Game in the South China Sea" (2018).