Pelosi’s Trip to Taiwan Might Be Good for Her Legacy, but It’s Bad for Everyone Else
Why is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–Calif.) in Taiwan? It’s not, apparently, at the direction of the Biden administration, which smacked down the proposal when Pelosi’s office began floating it last month. “I think that the military thinks it’s not a good idea right now,” President Joe Biden said then. Congress is a coequal branch of government with the executive, of course, and Pelosi can travel wherever she chooses. But just because she can go doesn’t mean she should.
Pelosi’s trip is needless and reckless, with obvious downsides and no clear upside. In fact, the best possible result of this visit is maintenance of the status quo. The worst possible result is unspeakably grim.
The Chinese government has been testy about the Pelosi plan from the moment the idea was raised. Other U.S. officials have visited the independent, democratic island which Beijing claims as its own, including a surprise trip by a contingent of lawmakers this past May. But Pelosi became the highest-ranking American to travel to Taipei in 25 years when she landed there Tuesday night, and Beijing has insisted its military “won’t sit by idly” if Pelosi and her contingent threaten China’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The extent of that response remains to be seen. Even before Pelosi landed in Taipei, Taiwan reported a DDoS attack, which overloads a website with automated traffic so it can’t be easily accessed by real users, on its presidential and foreign ministry sites. More troubling than that is China’s suspension of imports on Monday from dozens of Taiwanese baking businesses. “I learned about the ban before I got off work last night,” a manager at a targeted food company told Reuters for a report published Tuesday, adding that he’d heard other “food companies saying their products had been rejected at China’s customs already.”
Then there’s the question of military action. After the May visit, Beijing sent 30 warplanes flying into Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), a fairly mild escalation of what has become a regular practice since early 2021, usually with fewer jets at once. Throughout this year, Taiwan has been preparing its air raid shelters in case a similar incursion turns violent. And as Pelosi’s plans took shape, the Chinese Navy “announced additional military
Article from Reason.com