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China, a Barking Dog Seldom Bites

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China threatened dire consequences if Nancy Pelosi traveled to Taiwan. It held military exercises, moved troops to the coast closest to Taiwan and warned again and again that if Pelosi visited Taiwan, there would be consequences.

But the threats stopped there.

What is curious is that the biggest critics of the trip have been the White House itself and some Republican analysts and politicians, even those who in the past have been highly skeptical and critical of China as an unnecessary provocation, including Tucker Carlson. 

The White House was rather cool to Pelosi’s potential trip, which then materialized. “We have said that we do not support Taiwan independence and we have said that we expect cross-strait differences to be resolved by peaceful means,” said National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.

On the one hand, the trip shows the deep foreign policy inconsistency within the Democratic Party. That the two members of the party with the most power have such diametrically different views on how to deal with the greatest foreign threat to the United States is troubling.

On the other, after 5 years of supporting Trump’s confrontational foreign policy with China, some Republicans seem spooked by a little symbolic travel. If one policy trip is too much, how do they plan to make China respect the U.S.? Confronting China is a bipartisan issue. In fact, it’s an issue that should concern all of us in the West. China said it wouldn’t sit idly by, which is exactly what it is doing.

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