NEW YORK.- I have a lot of respect for Nancy Pelosithe Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. But her trip this week to Taiwan, against the president’s wishes Joe Bidenis a unawareness of absolute irresponsibility and enormous danger.
Nothing good will come of this trip. After this purely symbolic visit, Taiwan will be neither safer nor more prosperous, but there are many things that can go wrong, including a military response from Beijing that drags the United States into indirect conflict with two nuclear superpowers at the same time, Russia and China.
And those who believe that the European allies of the United States will join a war with China over Taiwan, triggered by this unnecessary visit, are reading very badly what is happening in the world: Europe is already mired in an existential war with Russia over Ukraine.
Let’s start with the indirect conflict with Russia and the ominous shadow of Pelosi’s trip on it.
In international relations, sometimes you don’t have to take your eyes off the jackpot. And today the prize is very clear: ensure that Ukraine is able, at a minimum, to stop Vladimir Putin’s unwarranted invasionand as a maximum hypothesis, reverse it, because if the invasion is successful, it will become a direct threat to the stability of the European Union.
To give Ukraine the best chance of reversing the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Biden and his national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, held a series of very tough meetings with leaders in Beijing, where they implored them that China not enter the conflict by supplying military aid to Russiaespecially now that Putin’s arsenal shows signs of wear and tear after five months of war.
According to a senior US official, Biden personally told the president Xi Jinping that if China entered the war on the side of Russia, Chinese exports risked losing its two most important markets: the United States and the European Union. Let’s not forget that China is one of the best drone manufacturers in the world, the weapon that Putin’s troops need most right now.
China has responded by not providing help to Putin, while the United States and NATO have provided Ukraine with a significant amount of advanced weaponry and intelligence support that have caused serious military losses to Russia, an ostensible ally of China.
Based on all this, can you explain to me what the Speaker of the US House of Representatives is doing in Taiwan, deliberately provoking China, becoming the highest-ranking US official to visit Taiwan since 1997, when China was economically and politically much less powerful than today?
Couldn’t have picked a worse time. Let’s see if we understand each other: the war in Ukraine is not over, and White House officials are privately much more concerned about Ukraine’s leadership than they let on. Between the White House and the Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelensky, there is an absolute distrust, much deeper than what is allowed to be revealed.
To make matters worse, the White House continues to believe that Putin is capable of using a small nuclear weapon against Ukraine if he sees that his armies face imminent defeat.
Now let’s move on to the potential indirect conflict with China that could be unleashed by Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, without forgetting that the most elementary geopolitics advises against flirting with a two-front war against two other superpowers at the same time.
According to Chinese news media, in their conversation last week, President Xi told Biden that “he who plays with fire gets singed”referring to any US involvement in Taiwan affairs, such as a visit by Pelosi.
The Homeland Security team explained to Pelosi at length why she should not travel to Taiwan, but Biden did not call her personally to ask, for fear of showing weakness to China or leaving an open flank for Republican attack before mid-term elections.
Of course, as some say, Biden could simply shrug off Xi’s bravado, support Pelosi wholeheartedly, and tell Xi that if he threatens Taiwan in any way, he will be the one “scorched.” It could work, and it is even possible that the satisfaction lasts us a couple of days. It could also trigger World War III…
In my opinion, it should have been Taiwan asking Pelosi not to go for the time being. In fact, I very much doubt that in their hearts the Taiwan authorities want a visit from Pelosi now. In fact, the government of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has been very cautious and very consistent in its efforts to defend Taiwan’s independence but without giving China the slightest excuse to take military action.
Unfortunately, I fear that there is a growing consensus in China that the problem with Taiwan can only be solved by military means, but Beijing wants to do it on its own timetable. Y our goal should be to deter China from a military adventure on our own timetable, that is forever.
The New York Times
Translation of Jaime Arrambide