House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has touched down in Taiwan despite threats from Beijing to intercept her plane and take action. The decision to go ahead with the trip has won her rare praise from conservatives — although not all of them.
On the Monday and Tuesday editions of his show, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson criticized the visit, at least at the moment, arguing President Joe Biden’s administration and the Democrats were sending mixed messages on both Taiwan and China — one that could get the United States into a shooting war with our main adversary.
China, it’s worth noting, has not followed through on the worst of its threats — yet. However, on his Monday show, Carlson noted Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijan made clear there were potential consequences.
“If House Speaker Pelosi insists on visiting Taiwan, China will take resolute and strong measures to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Zhao said.
Meanwhile, as state media noted, “If U.S. fighter jets escort Pelosi’s plane into Taiwan, it is an invasion. The Chinese army has the right to forcibly dispel Pelosi’s plane and the U.S. fighter jets, including firing warning shots and making tactical movement of obstruction. If ineffective, then shoot them down.”
The Biden administration has dithered on its official take regarding Pelosi’s trip. In July, according to Newsweek, Biden had noted the Pentagon thought the visit was “not a good idea.”
That looked like weakness — so, in the interim, the administration made it clear this was Pelosi’s decision and hers alone.
“You know, I’ve been asked about, I know you’re asking specifically about the rhetoric that we’re hearing from China, but as it relates to the speaker’s travels, it’s something that we’re just not going to speak to right now,” said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre when asked about Chinese state media urging Pelosi’s plane be shot down. “That’s a hypothetical.”
To Carlson, he didn’t get the Biden administration’s hesitancy on the matter — particularly since Beijing made it clear they thought Pelosi landing on a democratically self-governed island China happens to lay claim to was potential justification for launching World War III.
Should Nancy Pelosi have visited Taiwan?
“This is one of the weirdest moments in the weirdest presidency in American history. The Biden administration is provoking a hot war with China, which by itself would seem to be headline news, but why?” Carlson said.
“It might make a kind of sense if Biden had been a China hawk over the course of his career, if he wasn’t taking money from the Chinese government — which he has — but of course, he’s the opposite of a China hawk. He is a toady to China. Since the day Biden was elected, he has helped the Chinese government in ways that no American president has ever even contemplated.”
A partial list: Not pressing China on the origins of COVID, stopping a counterespionage program aimed at Beijing’s spying in the United States, dropping tariffs on goods from China, selling them oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and buying green energy products from China.
And then there was John Kirby, National Security Council member, who came out on Monday and said, “We do not support Taiwan independence.”
Tucker Carlson calls Pelosi’s probable visit to Taiwan “one of the weirdest moments in the weirdest presidency in American history.” pic.twitter.com/YEOIjPjzCB
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) August 2, 2022
Yes, Pelosi’s plane landed without being shot down or interfered with by the Chinese military. But as Carlson pointed out, that didn’t necessarily mean the administration and Pelosi called Xi Jinping’s bluff and caused him to fold.
“To Chinese leaders, the concept of diversity, equity and inclusion, those concepts make no sense at all. At best, they’re bizarre. It’s one of those incomprehensible jokes that Western liberals tell,” Carlson said Tuesday.
“So, when Nancy Pelosi took off for Taiwan today aboard a U.S. military jet, the Chinese government did not issue a statement applauding her remarkable display of spunky girl power. No one in Beijing congratulated Nancy Pelosi for breaking glass ceilings as the very first speaker in history to identify as a woman. No one in China even mentioned that.
“Instead, Chinese leaders treated Pelosi’s arrival like an invasion. Air raid sirens sounded in coastal towns in China as her plane approached. When she finally landed, the Chinese military announced live fire exercises in the airspace around Taiwan for the next four days,” he continued.
“China’s Foreign Ministry declared that Nancy Pelosi’s mere presence ‘gravely undermines peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.’ Proving that in Asia, as at home, things rarely improve when Nancy Pelosi shows up.
“So, the question really is, why did she go in the first place? That’s the real question — and the official line in Washington, as always, is totally implausible, is that Pelosi’s trip was designed to ‘reaffirm Taiwan’s status as a U.S. ally.’”
Carlson’s answer: “It’s possible that the Biden administration are so completely incompetent, the people who run the White House are so utterly blinded by their own arrogance and their ineptitude, that they just don’t appreciate or even understand the implications of what they are doing.
“So, Nancy Pelosi got bored of spending the summer in Napa and she wanted to take a free trip to Asia where she can pretend to be a statesman for a week. Girl power. Let her go.”
Tucker Carlson examines Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan:
“It’s possible that the Biden administration are so completely incompetent … that they just don’t appreciate or even understand the implications of what they are doing.” pic.twitter.com/HAEnMF9qat
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) August 3, 2022
Witness the same John Kirby, suddenly sounding a bit harder on Beijing when he spoke to Fox on Tuesday: “The aggressiveness, the coercion, the increase in tensions in the last weeks and months have all come from the Chinese side. What we have said is that there’s no reason that this visit should escalate tensions in any way whatsoever.”
You may call Carlson an old-school isolationist, but no jury in the court of public opinion — no matter how stacked with CNN viewers it may be — would call him an apologist for Beijing. Even if you disagree with the crux of his argument, it’s worth examining the administration’s history of pusillanimity toward China before asking why the White House let a potential Archduke Franz Ferdinand moment go forward so Pelosi could “reaffirm Taiwan’s status as a U.S. ally” — even as the White House definitely wasn’t doing it.
Carlson noted, “if you were trying to give Beijing a pretext to seize Taiwan, this is exactly the kind of trip you would take” — and that the Chinese may not be bluffing. After all, it controls massive swaths of the global marketplace — including 90 percent of the world’s antibiotics” and “80 percent of the world’s lithium batteries, 96 percent of the shipping containers used to transport goods across the world, mostly from China, are made in China.”
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) August 3, 2022
And then there’s the speaker herself, who’s been experiencing the same diminishing returns that President Biden has. “If you’re trying to provoke your enemies and terrify your so-called allies, you’d probably pick Nancy Pelosi as your representative in Taiwan,” Carlson noted.
If one doesn’t necessarily agree with Tucker over his quarrel with Pelosi’s trip, he still makes a salient point: If the White House and Pelosi are going to risk World War III, have some consistency.
Neither Pelosi nor Biden has to deliver the 2022 remix of “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”
However, the White House and congressional Democrats cannot appease Beijing on most days of the week, and then, when Chinese media was threatening to get America into a shooting war over a visit to Taiwan, suddenly try to straighten up that vestigial spine.