A conservative think tank member sees two possible reasons for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan visit — one good, one cynical.
Hudson Institute senior fellow Michael Pillsbury noted Pelosi has acted as a human rights activist against China since the 1990s. He told “Life, Liberty & Levin” host Mark Levin that Pelosi was almost arrested during the Tiananmen Square protest that turned deadly. Pillsbury added she is a friend of the Dalai Lama and helps keep the Tibetan exile government alive.
The think tank’s senior fellow thinks there may be a more cynical reason behind the California Democrat’s visit, though.
“Republicans had been capturing the national sentiment on China as a threat,” he explained. “You get polls coming back — 70 percent, 80 percent of the public thinks that. And Democrats were positioned poorly. They seemed to be helping China, apologizing for China.”
“Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump — these were champions [who] do something about China,” Pillsbury added. “I think Nancy Pelosi and her team recognize this.”
PIllsbury said the proof will be in the pudding when Pelosi returns to the U.S., saying he will be impressed if she embraces Republican initiatives on China.
“If she comes back and gives a cold shoulder to everything Republicans want to do, then we’ll have to say this is a hypocritical trip and has not really stopped the Chinese 100-year marathon,” Pillsbury said.
Rebeccah Heinrichs, another senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, noted former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich had visited Taiwan in the ’80s and supported Pelosi’s right to go there. Heinrichs added, in a panel discussion with fellow Institute members H.R. McMaster and Patrick Cronin, that Pelosi’s visit would have been less controversial if she followed the practice of Gingrich.
“Once it became public, she had to go through with it,” Gingrich told The Guardian. “Otherwise Xi Jinping would have got the impression that we could be bullied. She had no choice once it was public and it was disappointing to have the Biden administration confused by that reality.”
Heinrichs noted the Georgia Republican had included senior members of the Democratic Party on his trip to the island nation of 23 million people. No Republicans reportedly accompanied Pelosi to Taiwan.
A leaked announcement of Pelosi’s plan to visit Taiwan drew fierce criticism and anger from the People’s Republic of China, which claims Taiwan as part of its country.
The controversial visit by the speaker is unlikely to help diplomatic efforts by the Biden administration to enlist China’s support for sanctions against Russia.
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