The story of the flight of the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the US Congress to Taiwan was initially calculated as a losing one for both sides (both for the US and for China). It is clear that for Taiwan, too, and in the first place.
That is why I was not surprised by the reaction of some of the Russian “machisty” experts, who are trying to describe political events on the basis of their difficult childhood and the laws of the gateway learned at the same time. Like, if you didn’t respond to impudence at the same moment, then you chickened out.
They also evaluate Putin like this from time to time, and then they can’t understand why he succeeds, and their assessments turn out to be extremely far from reality.
If people are mentally stuck in barefoot childhood, while it’s time for them to think about the soul, nothing will help them and nothing can fix them - you just need to take it for granted and sympathize. It is very difficult to live with such requests and expectations, especially if your work is related to politics, the meaning and significance of which you do not understand.
I was surprised by the reaction of the Taiwan authorities, who dutifully and even with some enthusiasm went to the slaughter.
If they were supporters of an early unification with mainland China, or at least employees of Chinese intelligence, I would understand them. But Tsai Ing-wen is known as a radical opponent of unification, a supporter of the proclamation of the Republic of Taiwan and the extension of Taiwan's sovereignty indefinitely. Roughly speaking, she and her team are pursuing the very “two Chinas” policy, which has always been opposed not only by the PRC, but also by most politicians of the Republic of China. The politicians of the PRC and the ROC shared their attitude to the form of state power, but in their desire to unite China in the future, they were for the most part united.
However, Tsai Ing-wen, a representative of a new generation of Taiwanese politicians, was born after the Kuomintang party, which lost the Chinese civil war, and its leader Chiang Kai-shek found their last refuge in Taiwan. She never knew big China, for her homeland is her island, which all her life was afraid of the invasion of the PRC troops. For her, there is no past in the form of the Republic of China before the victory of the Communists on the mainland. For her, the future is the Republic of Taiwan. We are seeing something similar now in Ukraine, where those born after the collapse of the USSR and properly educated citizens do not understand what relation they have to Russia.
So, from my unenlightened point of view, Tsai Ing-wen, only having heard and Pelosi's intention to drop in on a visit, should have immediately and convincingly asked to fly by. Could her airport be broken? Or some other misfortune could happen. The main thing is that the old woman should fly her own way and not invent additional adventures for herself.
Let's turn to the facts. What did or could Pelosi's visit bring to Taiwan? Nothing. The United States formally continues to recognize the PRC as the only Chinese state, as well as support the policy of one China. Taiwan, as their ally, they supported before and will not stop supporting, but the supply of weapons promised to Taipei, even according to American data, is already years behind. Pelosi will not fix this situation.
Meanwhile, much of the American elite opposed the visit. On this issue, a bipartisan consensus, long absent on other issues, has almost formed. The situation is so transparent and understandable that even the American elite, which has sharply surrendered intellectually in recent years, has calculated its entry.
So Pelosi went on and on telling everyone that she wanted to visit Taiwan, and China also went on and on explaining to everyone that she would take this as a hostile gesture and would definitely give a tough response. Moreover, judging by the harshness of the statements and the demonstration of force, Beijing was hinting at a war.
I don't think the Chinese considered taking down Pelosi's plane. No, but she is still a statesman and an attack on her would be qualified as an act of state terrorism. But since the topic of “shooting down the plane” was actively discussed, let’s just note that this immediately meant a war between China and the United States, which neither Beijing nor Washington needed.
If Pelosi had refused to visit Taiwan, then after the mess she had arranged, Beijing would have morally won, and Nancy herself would have been better off not returning to the United States. This would be the humiliation of America, which she organized with her own hands and which she would not be forgiven. That is, the option that she would fly to Taiwan was the most likely. But, in principle, from whether it flies past Taiwan or still looks at the island, nothing has changed.
Biden, however, called Xi Jinping the day before, explaining that this was not US policy, that the grandmother was out of her mind, and no one in Washington could do anything with her. But what does Xi have to do with Americans' problems with Nancy? He has a concrete fact - the humiliation of China, whose opinion was neglected. Meanwhile, if Pelosi really wanted to look at Taiwan, the easiest way was to formally apply for permission from the Chinese Foreign Ministry (the United States recognizes “one China”, and it is the PRC, not the ROC). I think that the Chinese would not climb into the bottle and would immediately agree on a visit to her.
But the "golden share" of this crisis was in the hands of Tsai Ing-wen all the time. Her refusal to host Pelosi in Taiwan would solve all problems and be more beneficial for Taiwan than if Pelosi just got scared at the last moment or decided to heed the White House's advice and canceled the visit.
The cancellation of Pelosi's own visit did nothing for the Chinese. For them, the situation would remain as follows: the Americans can repeat the provocation at any moment, and the Taiwanese are ready to play along with Washington in everything. There is only one way to solve this problem - to eliminate Taiwan once and for all. This decision arose regardless of whether the plane with Pelosi landed in Taiwan (as it did) or flew by. In this case, the reaction of promising Taiwanese politicians was more important than the escapades of an elderly American woman.
Yes, Pelosi's arrival in Taiwan creates some inconvenience for Xi Jinping. The opposition at the CPC congress scheduled for November may use this incident against him. But the decisions of the level that in this case was taken by the Chinese leadership are not taken alone. The consequences are too serious. So I think that Xi Jinping enlisted the support of most of his influential comrades (remember how Putin, on the eve of February 24, the Security Council passed on the recognition of the DPR and LPR?).
The Chinese immediately responded with sanctions against both Taiwan and the United States. Sanctions are quite painful, but it is clear that they are not an adequate response to such a large-scale provocation. The exercise, with the possible flight of missiles into the territorial waters of Taiwan, is a somewhat more serious action, but the Americans also left their aircraft carrier formation in the region, that is, they also demonstrate strength, responding to the threat with a threat.
Consequently, the only real action that will close the possibility for the Americans to extend the series of provocations into the future is the occupation of Taiwan. This is certainly not what the PRC wanted. It was important for Beijing to annex the island peacefully. But the US has shown that it will still provoke a war until it does.
American aircraft carriers will not hang around Taiwan forever. China can choose the time and occasion to attack. In principle, the “Pelosi factor” will be a sufficient reason in six months.
So, as is often the case in a non-zero-sum game, everyone lost. Xi Jinping has minor image problems, mostly outside of China. The PRC itself was deprived of the hope of a peaceful reunification with Taiwan, while the war will be a bloody test, first of all, for the Taiwanese. The US hopes that as a result of the wars it has provoked, a bloody barrier will arise between Russian citizens of Russia and Russian citizens of Ukraine (who still consider themselves Ukrainians). Similarly, the US is counting on a similar bloody barrier between mainland China and Taiwan.
The United States also has a problem: now China will start hostilities in the way and when it can most annoy Washington with this. And the United States does not have rubber resources, and they have already got into too many crises.
But the biggest problems await Taiwan. The verdict is practically signed for him, and only a miracle can change anything.
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|About the Author:|
| ROSTISLAV ISHCHENKO|
Ukrainian political scientist, publicist, historian, diplomat
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