So they say China will launch military exercises around the island of Taiwan on August 4, encircling the island in a crescent shape from the sea and also from the air for four days. Thus, that would be a very harsh response, they say, to the United States as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, did not give up on her visit to Taiwan despite all Beijing’s warnings.
In my opinion, these are baseless assessments. This military exercise may have propaganda value as a show of strength in Chinese domestic policy. Maybe this way, Chinese President Xi Jinping will be saved from being overthrown at the Communist Party Congress, which is likely to be held in October. But with Pelosi’s August 2-3 visit to Taiwan, the USA seemed to score a goal against China. The US has tested how far China is ready to push the borders.
It can be said that Pelosi stacked the desk not only against Xi, but also against US President Joe Biden, and also upset Biden’s balance – a little more – before the Congress elections in November. Two birds with one stone. It should come as no surprise that Pelosi was greeted like a hero in the United States, and particularly in California, a heavily populated Chinese and Korean-American constituency.
The game against Biden
Don’t underestimate California. With 3.4 trillion dollars a year, it has a bigger economy than the G7 countries France, England, and India; If it were a country, it would be the fifth richest country in the world.
Also do not underestimate the Californian Speaker of the House of Representatives. Not just because it is the state that has sent 53 MPs to the 435-member House, that is the most MPs in the parliament from a state. It’s also because it ranks third in the US chain of management. In other words, if Biden were to resign, and something would happen to the Vice President Kamala Haris, who would replace him, the 82-year-old Pelosi would automatically become the vice president.
After Pelosi announced that she would also go to Taiwan on her Pacific trip, Xi called Biden. They had a video call that lasted over two hours. Xi warned Biden, quoted saying “Those who play with fire will eventually get burned. Thereupon, the White House leaked information to the American press. Biden had tried to dissuade Pelosi before the meeting with Xi, saying that the Pentagon found the visit to Taiwan risky. But, as he told Xi, the President had no authority over the Speaker of the House of Representatives, even though they were both members of the Democratic Party.
The fact that the White House is the source of comments in the US mainstream media which argues that Pelosi is harming national interests by distorting the relations with China, says a lot.
Preemptive shot to China via Taiwan
Of course, the scenario where Biden and Pelosi put Xi in a deadlock with their good cop, bad cop game should not be underestimated.
From a broad perspective, it would not be unreasonable to think that China, encouraged by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, also has an appetite for Taiwan. The only requirement in the foreign policy of the People’s Republic of China under the Communist Party is the official non-recognition of Taiwan; The trade that China has also gained is okay, but Beijing should be recognized in politics, not Taipei, the capital of Taiwan.
However, Pelosi did not listen to the warnings of Biden, whom Xi almost threatened, visited Taiwan’s female President Tsai Ing-wen and the parliament, and spent the night there; It was as if an unnamed official visit. She almost said to Xi, “Your words would not have an effect on me”.
This is a political goal. It was Pelosi, not Biden, who scored that goal.
Xi may want to show the domestic public that the score is 1-1, perhaps with the help of military exercise footage. The masses may believe it, but it may not be easy to convince the Communist Party leadership, as the Congress approaches.
Xi unrest in the Communist Party
Xi Jinping, who triumphed the 2017 Congress to the extent to be able to write his name on the Constitution, does not enter the 20th Communist Party Congress which is expected to be held in October with the same force. Surely not just because Pelosi did not give up on her visit to Taiwan.
China is not governed by a multi-party regime, but factions within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) are in similar competition. The main reasons for Xi’s loss of power are the demoralization that came from the extreme measures and the economic losses caused by the Covid-19 epidemic which started in China, Fu Ying, one of the Chinese foreign policy ideologues, had told YetkinReport while Corona was at its peak in 2020.
There is a team within the CCP who finds Xi’s rigid policies nationalistic. They are worried that Xi will lead China to the process of breaking away from the world again. They think that Xi will embark on an adventure by taking Russian President Vladimir Putin as an example and jeopardize 40 years of gains. Contrary to appearances, Beijing appears to have been affected by the sanctions imposed on Russia due to the Ukraine war.
It would not be right to call the opponents of Xi “young” in terms of age or “liberals” as the Americans label them, but they can be called the new generation. But it is still difficult to overthrow Xi. Therefore, their aim is to take a place in the 7-member CCP’s Politburo Standing Committee, or even become a majority.
Knowing this, the Americans are targeting Xi directly, not China, in their criticism.
In terms of global balances
The Taiwan crisis suddenly reminded the world how close we are to a crisis that will quickly spread to a larger and wider-scale war than Ukraine. And that a larger powder keg in the world than in the Middle East and now Eastern Europe is in the Pacific region.
The Taiwan crisis showed two other things.
First, the United States is now following a strategy where its own soldiers do not die, others face their rivals on behalf of them. Ukraine was a clear example of this, now there is Taiwan. But in Turkey, it seems that the USA will not want to give up on the PKK and its derivatives easily in Syria. We may soon see this in other parts of the world, for example in Central Asia and the Balkans.
Secondly, the USA, which cannot get what it wants politically as easily as before, seems to have drawn its biggest weapon. It is the dollar and the world trade and banking system that runs on the dollar.
This crisis, which seems to be over for now, has created a good opportunity to rethink what is going on.