Was the Speaker’s Visit to Taiwan a Glass Half-Full?

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?

4 comments… add one
  • bob sykes Link

    Again, the US is attempting to overturn the One China agreement and to establish and independent Taiwan. The US is also trying to cripple China’s electronics industry, especially in advanced chips, and to build a western Pacific alliance analogous to NATO to contain China. We aren’t in the least bit subtle about those policies.

    China will impose its rule on Taiwan at some point, that is absolutely guaranteed. Apparently the CPC is not ready yet to use force, but the US’ aggressive moves to separate Taiwan from China are likely to precipitate an invasion.

    Off topic:

    (1) The Director of the Polish Central Bank, Adam Glapiński, recently claimed that Germany has territorial designs on Poland and wants to recover territory transferred to Poland after WW II. He also claims Germany is plotting with Russia to dominate eastern Europe.

    (2) The Russian SVR claims that Poland is actively planning on annexing parts of Ukraine once the war ends.

    The second item is probably Russian disinformation, but the first is disturbing. Of course it could just be another example of Polish revanchism and lunacy.

  • IMO Taiwan and Ukraine are analogous in some ways. Just as Russia considers Ukraine to be theirs, so China thinks Taiwan is theirs. Both Russia and China are less likely to be able to enforce that ten years from now than today. Both have leaders who see some urgency in acting.

    On the other hand China is a lot more dependent on Taiwan than Russia is on Ukraine. And so are we.

  • walt moffett Link

    The opportunities were there but we tended not to listen and discourage Taiwan from doing things like buying new submarines. Policy seemed to walk a fine line so’s we don’t tick off China.

    Had to giggle at the thought of the US having “discipline and clarity on objectives”, and guffawed at “Discipline and discretion” when facing a conflict. Governing by leaks and reruns of the “What the Captain means” skit is way to prevalent.

  • Andy Link

    WRT Taiwan, my position is that the US should continue to do everything it can to maintain the status quo. And that means not poking China or giving them any justification for an attack while reiterating our position that the One China policy must be accomplished via peaceful means only.

    And importantly, this is what most of Taiwan seems to want as well.

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