US House Speaker Pelosi Set to Defy China and Visit Taiwan: Analysis

CNBC reports several Taiwan media outlets say that U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi will visit Taiwan on Tuesday, citing unidentified sources, amid reports that Taiwan is readying for conflict.

China has warned that its military would never “sit idly by” if Pelosi were to visit Taiwan.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry said it has no comment on reports on Pelosi’s travel plan and no further information to share with the media.

UN warns humanity ‘one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation’…

DesPardes asked some analysts in the Tropic of Cancer region for their comments on the developing scenario. Here are some of their analysis and views below:

Asia Pacific-based geopolitical analyst and author of several books on US-China relations tells DesPardes that “Pelosi’s final decision to either ignore all warnings and proceed to Taiwan, or to act with caution and go to Jakarta (for instance) instead, would be indicative of D.C.’s inference of what was in its strategic interest,” In his view, he says, “Either way, the choice Pelosi makes could erode future US choices. If she stayed away, US inability (or unwillingness, or both) to ‘defend’ Taiwan would be exposed. That would have a negative impact on the primate’s primacy.” According to him, “A decision, on the other hand, to visit Taiwan could trigger an escalatory spiral that would leave very little of Taiwan to defend, and residual grand-strategy to pursue.” He adds: “It is a no-win situation that was totally avoidable. Is this how superpowers stumble into ‘greatpowerdom’?”

According to a defense expert, “America will like to provoke the Chinese into a kinetic confrontation”. In his opinion, “the Confucianists have perfected the art of winning without fighting.” He thinks the “Chinese will resist the temptation of picking up a fight with the U.S.” The Taiwanese, he says, may end up paying some price”. According to him, “the Chinese may seize one odd island lying close to the mainland”.

A security analyst based in Islamabad thinks there is a domestic angle to the Pelosi-Taiwan matter: “Ahead of US midterm elections in November this year, the Biden administration has escalated crisis with China,” he says. “So it has linkages with domestic politics, as Democrats are likely to lose,” the analyst adds. However, he says, there is a strategic dimension as well. “After successfully locking Europe and Russia in a prolonged conflict in Ukraine, the analyst adds, “the U.S. is all set to focus on containing China via the Taiwan provocation.” In his view, “the U.S. wants to weaken Russia-China economic cooperation as it has helped Russia in lowering the impact of  Western sanctions.”

The “Chinese reaction has been predictably harsh,” the analyst says. “But it is also putting China into a commitment trap, as there appears to be no follow-up plan after the high pitch rhetoric against America.”

A veteran in strategic communication with decades of association with international media, and now heading a daily Urdu newspaper in Pakistan tells DesPardes that “China sounds very serious, very different — they sound as if they are saying don’t even think about it ۔۔۔ our military will take action۔” According to him, “one likely scenario could be that as soon as Pelosi leaves, the Chinese will walk in.”

Irshad Salim, Karachi (Aug. 1, 2022)