"But how can you live and have no story to tell?" Fyodor Dostoevsky
"Pelosi's visit served no one's interests other than Nancy's"
We may need new words for 'stupidity' because the visit by Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan stretches our everyday vocabulary to the breaking point. To gain her moment in the spotlight, she jeopardised established protocols, the fragile world economy and risked war. But, hey, Nancy doesn't get it or doesn't care.
President Biden cautioned her not to undertake the trip. The U.S. military opposed her visit, and many seasoned diplomats warned her trip would trigger a severe reaction. Beijing long signalled her visit was unacceptable, making transparent that they would act.
Brian Hioe, the editor of New Bloom, a Taiwanese-based online magazine, in a wide ranging interview has highlighted unconfirmed reports that even Taiwanese officials sought to stop the visit. He goes on to note that much of the media coverage needs fact-checking. The international media cites Taiwanese press reports, which are coming from overseas outlets in a cyclic fashion. Once again, reporters are failing to cross-check and verify.
Yet, no matter how you cut it, Pelosi's visit served no one's interests other than Nancy's. In the process, she's eroded China/U.S. relations while endangering people on both sides of the straits.
So, when the times called for cooling actions, Nancy was busy pouring fuel on the fire. And while I know Pelosi will claim she seeks to protect the people of Taiwan, in truth, she's placed them in greater danger.
For egotistical reasons, she's stretched to near failure the foundations of Chinese/U.S. detente that Nixon, Kissinger and Mao established in 1972. These tenets and understandings kept the peace and prevented conflict as China ascended to the world stage.
Unfortunately, the region is less stable now that Pelosi has decided she'd go above such agreements. Hence, Beijing believes the principles it agreed with the US are no longer in play.
Meanwhile, it appears that the U.S. failed to appreciate the strength of feeling in China. Having pushed Beijing into a corner, they've come out swinging with a full rehearsal for an invasion. Moreover, they’ve severed links on tackling organised crime, illegal immigration and climate change.
Further, that Pelosi has ignited Chinese nationalistic fervour is far from helpful. Genuine anger feeds on the narrative that the West seeks to suppress China.
Other Asian nations are watching with increasing disquiet. Yet, they can't afford to take sides and ask was the visit worth it?
Likewise, scholars who understand the nuances, and educated journalists, assert that Pelosi overstepped the mark. Articles in The Spectator, New Statesman, and elsewhere openly question Pelosi's rationale. Even the readers of the Daily Mail are aware that Pelosi is reckless - see the sample comments above.
Elsewhere, Liz Truss, the U.K.'s prime minister candidate, speaking in a debate, made it clear she wouldn't visit Taiwan. At least some politicians get it. I can only conclude that Pelosi is indifferent to reality because she's made the people of Taiwan pawns in her game.
With tension now ramped up, the danger is an accidental clash between an angry, emboldened China and the US. Any conflict would be a disaster; the economic impacts would make the Ukraine war a side-show.
Poor Joe Biden must now deal with the mess created by Pelosi’s swan song tour. As an immediate step, he withdrew the U.S. 7th Fleet and postponed a missile test. No doubt, behind the scenes, assurances by Biden will reach Beijing. It remains to be seen if these get heard.
Pelosi is due to step down soon after over 30 years representing districts in San Francisco. She's profited handsomely from her time in politics with accusations of insider trading.
Lastly, join me in this stroll through her district, and marvel at the impact of Pelosi’s tenure.
Addendum: A reader brought to my attention this interesting exchange between Roger Waters of Pink Floyd and a CNN correspondent. Enjoy.
Walter De Havilland was one of the last of the colonial coppers. He served 35 years in the Royal Hong Kong Police and Hong Kong Police Force. He's long retired.