Thursday, August 4, 2022


The US House speaker is a character. She went to Taiwan over the objections of many. As could have been expected, China is livid. It is impossible to predict if its bite will match its bark.

The Unites States are bound by the Shanghai Communique wherein they adhere to the One-China policy. This commitment is vague enough to still allow for some form of ambiguity regarding Taiwan's future, under the umbrella of a peaceful resolution.

Since the Mao-Nixon historic meeting, China reinvented itself as a major player in world affairs. While Taiwan is an economic powerhouse, China's shadow looms large worldwide. Taipei is diplomatically isolated. Beijing does not tolerate any form of encroachment in what it considers to be its own. Hence the anger regarding Ms. Pelosi's rather modest stop-over. China can be very pragmatic, as long as its claims are secured but it is a difficult partner as soon as its resolve is questioned (Tibet, border dispute with India, the South China Sea, Hong Kong, the Diaoyutais).

This American-made Iron Lady knows all too well that her Taiwan stop-over will meet with some form of retaliation. Beijing might repeat the Quemoy scenario or go for a more hard line move. When Chinese lose face, hell can follow.

China starts to consider the United States as a deterent that is weakened. The "2 against 1" nightmare senario that Kissinger wanted to avoid at all cost is a reality now, after the Xi/Putin idyll this year.  On the other hand the personal and economic interplay between the Chinese on both sides of the Straits shouldn't be underestimated.

Ms. Pelosi bet that Beijing's anger would refrain from going too far in testing the pax americana in the Pacific. She is probably right and the coming Chinese pyrotechnics might be nothing but a very ominous show of force after all. Still, in a world on edge, it might be appropriate for the major powers to find a way to talk to each other again, in a better format than Skype.

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