At Foreign Affairs Ryan Hass, looking at the bright side, sees a benefit in Speaker Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan:
Some argue that China’s recent actions would have happened sooner or later, regardless of whether Pelosi visited the island. Even if one accepts such debatable logic, Pelosi’s trip created a pretext for China to accelerate its plans. But now that the damage is done, it is imperative to focus on what comes out of this crisis. It is not inevitable that the situation in the Taiwan Strait is locked into a path of permanent deterioration. Taipei’s response has been calm and nonescalatory. With discipline and clarity on objectives, U.S. policymakers might still be able to seize the moment to arrest the slide in cross-strait relations and put Taiwan on a more solid footing.
Direct leader-level diplomacy is a requirement to ensure that each side knows the other’s concerns and requirements. Discipline and discretion are the currency of crisis management. Clever arguments without credible deterrence contribute little to managing challenges. And China’s leaders will not take steps to defuse tensions unless they believe their concerns are being heard.
Even as Washington and Taipei demonstrate that they will not be intimidated into backpedaling on Taiwan’s security, they should also focus on lowering risks, bolstering deterrent capabilities, strengthening Taiwan’s footing, and advancing U.S.-Taiwan relations. Beijing’s overreaction to Pelosi’s visit has created opportunities for progress along these lines. Such opportunities should not be squandered.
Is that actually true? Were those opportunities not there before?