The Pelosi Provocation...

Friday, August 5, 2022 7:00 PM

A great nation's foreign policy involves power, money, trade, oil and arms, 

but it proceeds from ideas.—William Pfaff

Friday, August 5th, 2022

Dear Friends + Interlocutors,

I’m ready for an Ozzie & Harriet binge-a-thon. Or an extended vacation anywhere out of this world to a place considered “normal”. 

My adverse reaction to Nancy Pelosi’s grandstanding Taiwan stopover requires immediate mitigation. Just how childish, incendiary, and self-indulgent can Washington officialdom be? Are there no limits?

The idea that Nancy Pelosi, second in line to be U.S. Prez, may travel anywhere in the world is acceptable, but crackbrained crusades orchestrated by hypocrites and trouble-makers are not. 

Prez Xi would not be going ballistic today in response to the ill-advised junket if Nancy and the rest of Washington were not acting as if the one-China policy were mute, a nullity, out the window and a thing of the past. That’s the rub, not the visit per se.

Nixon and Kissinger would never have reached first base with Mao and Zhou Enlai in February 1972 if Washington had not first accepted the concept of one China. That was the lynch-pin, embedded in the Shanghai Communiqué, which initiated the normalization process and led to the rise of China as the economic and political powerhouse it is today.

The Communiqué did not mean that Washington was throwing the island of Taiwan (formerly known as Formosa and a colony of imperial Japan) to the dogs. Washington simply acknowledged a geopolitical reality.  

To wit, that Taiwan was in fact a province of China—but which, for the time being, as the result of the Chinese civil war, was not integrated into mainland China. In sum, Taiwan was a China affair.

It did mean that Washington would not be actively encouraging the government on Taiwan, which had lost the civil war, to secede from China and become a separate nation.

For its part, Beijing agreed to a peaceful resolution of the Taiwan issue. In December 1978 President Carter and Deng Xiaoping, Mao’s successor, signed a Joint Communiqué establishing diplomatic relations which formalized these arrangements.

Ever since, China has been on the rise, which rise accelerated under Presidents Clinton and G.W. Bush, and especially with the entry of China into the World Trade Organization in 2001.

Now, almost forty-five years after the Carter-Deng communiqué, Washington is acting for all the world like it has changed its mind, and wants to delete previous agreements as they relate to Taiwan. Washington denies it, of course, but this is de facto what is happening. No wonder Xi is upset.

I see a clear parallel to this capriciousness with respect to Taiwan and Washington’s reneging on its promise to Moscow in the 1990’s not to expand NATO, which is now on Russia’s front porch. Washington’s NATO policy was deliberate, stupid and duplicitous. No wonder Putin is upset.

This is what U.S. foreign policy has become under multiple, bipartisan Administrations. An exercise in mischief-making and outright warmongering, all of it pointless and self-endangering. It does not make sense, unless there is a private agenda in play, that is being kept under wraps.

I take a minority view on the rise of China, an unprecedented event in world history, which is the presumed cause of Washington’s change of attitude. 

Nixon's diplomacy made China and paved the way for the rise of China. America—its federal government, its business and private industry—is responsible for that rise. 

China should correctly be regarded as a U.S. asset, not as a danger to the U.S. In a real sense, China is an annex of America. The two countries are co-dependent.
Could not the same be said for the entire Far East? Look at Japan. Thanks to the Second World War, is not America responsible for what Japan is today? Do we not regard Japan as an asset, a partner? Why not China, as well, for which America is equally responsible?

I regard Japan, South Korea, China and Taiwan as The Golden Quadrangle. A military conflict anywhere in that region would instantly crash the world economy and sink America, as well as being a colossal tragedy for the countries directly involved.

This is the disaster which Nancy and the Washington foreign policy establishment are risking by their foolishness. What is the motivation, the explanation? 

To avoid war and to prosper, Japan and Taiwan—as well as Europe and the U.S.—should respect China’s point of view and stop treating it like a threat or an enemy.

This should be easy to do, because China has become an important, indeed, an essential asset for the world at large, just like Japan has been for decades.