The ebb and flow of the corporate news cycle almost always distorts and distracts rather than informs or enlightens. So it was this week with the coverage of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan, which produced the intended effect of eliciting lazy puff pieces lauding her “three-decade career of challenging the Chinese government on human rights and other issues,” as the New York Times’ Carl Hulse dutifully put it.
But make no mistake: Pelosi did not go to Taiwan to stand up to China. She went for her own purposes, to shore up a narrative about her legacy as a tough American political leader who has always stood up to autocracies like communist China in defense of democracy. Remember that time she unfurled the banner in Tiananmen Square and the police yelled at her? Of course you do. Hulse and his colleagues have made sure of it.
In reality, the Taiwan trip was pure political propaganda, lapped up and regurgitated by a sycophantic press unwilling to admit the obvious fact that Pelosi, like every other establishment figure in Washington, has never been serious about standing up to China.
Indeed, Pelosi’s long political career, much like President Joe Biden’s and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s, maps almost perfectly onto China’s steady economic and military rise, especially over the past two decades. Apart from occasionally staging a little political theater, Pelosi and her fellow Democrat leaders have done nothing to slow or even impede that rise — quite the opposite, in fact.
Consider just some recent examples. During the thick of the Covid-19 pandemic, in the fall of 2020, Pelosi blocked a bipartisan House bill that would have curtailed the influence of Chinese-government-funded Confucius Institutes at universities across the country. Around the same time, her House Democrats denounced a bill that would have called out Beijing for spreading the conspiracy theory that Covid originated in a U.S. military lab, absurdly calling the bill racist and xenophobic. (Read more from “If Nancy Pelosi Cared About Confronting China She’d Do More Than Stage Political Theater” HERE)
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