Mrs. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker, US House of Representatives, had a play in Taiwan, which in its initial phase was not dignified.
The play’s initial phase was like a Hide-and-Seek game: no public announcement about Taiwan visit and the planned visit’s time schedule; none definitely knew the Taiwan trip-plan, and then, her plane made an adventure like detour to the east before turning the plane’s nose towards Taiwan; and the landing was in the dark, the moments after her getting out of the plane was in the dark. She and the persons near the plane’s stair were hardly visible as one light, probably from a torch light, was focused to the ground. The entire scene was like a part from a detective-novel.
It was not a befitting scene for the 3rd-top most state leader from the most powerful state. China was neither going to bombard the moments of landing of her plane nor throw flame in front of her plane that took off from a South Asian country, as China neither plays stupid nor a kid. Rational minds don’t base plan on irrational imaginations. Her initial moments in Taiwan made it a comic.
The play’s main part, then, was exposed: It was a provocation to China. An incitive move it’s.
Taiwan is China’s part. This is a fact recognized internationally. The 3rd top most leader’s country recognizes the fact. Not only recognition, the country has reiterated the fact a number of times.
Can it so happen that that fact is questioned by the country’s 3rd-top most leader? Then, is there no cohesion in the state machine in the country? Shall anyone having knowledge about state machine accept the argument?
What is the state of the state machine if that is the fact – one part of the machine moves to this way while another goes the opposite?
Third or Fourth World countries are considered underdeveloped in many terms including organization of state machine. How many countries from this group experience this mode of functioning?
If the fact – opposite moves by different parts of the most powerful state machine – is accepted as an argument, then, many serious and significant questions related to the state, and its declarations, pledges and commitments will surface. Questions related to the state’s trustworthiness and reliability will also come up. Even, its lieutenants and proxies around the world will search answers to the questions, if not publicly, but earnestly. They’ll turn confused.
The state will damage its public reputation, also. It may happen that the state considers itself so powerful that it doesn’t bother about reputation. Or, it is well aware of its image already in public mind – commitments not kept, definitions formulated arbitrarily and self-conveniently. Whatever it’s, it doesn’t benefit the state, ultimately.
However, there’s no reason to draw conclusion that the state’s condition has rotten down to that state where the state’s different parts move towards different directions, where an important part of the state machine doesn’t bother about another important part’s commitment.
The state’s government for a number of times has affirmed One China policy. Now, another part of the state shows it doesn’t care about that affirmation.
Who is nullifying whom? Is it turning out as a comic? What would have the state said if similar incident happened in another state? Hasn’t the state said, a few days ago, the Talibans in Kabul are not going by the accord signed in Doha?
This argument will not expose the Taiwan play. It’s an exposure of the state. So, it can be left aside now as the main plot of the play is to be seen closely.
The Empire needs tension and confrontation in the Asia-Pacific. With a charged situation, the Empire likes to build up its rationality for its increasing military presence in the area. So, there’s the provocation in Taiwan. The Pelosi-White House style is I play good-you bad.
Moreover, the Empire likes to build up a chain of citadels around China. It’s required to contain China. So, there’s the Taiwan-play.
In addition, China’s forward journey is to be disturbed: Keep China engaged with a confrontation.
These led to the Taiwan-provocation by Mrs. Nancy Pelosi, who was identified in a derogatory way by a group of citizens of Taiwan. The citizens were protesting her Taiwan tour.
But shall China step into that trap? There’s no reason that will lead China to that trap. China’s history of political decision making doesn’t tell the practice of stepping into provocations. The country’s development – emergence as the world’s second largest economy – doesn’t tell its habit of playing with provocations. It follows a policy of strategic patience.
But, China means its utterances. Its history also tells this.
One major difference between the Empire and China is there’s no lobbyist playing politics in China. So, its plans and decisions on politics and war, on strategy and tactics, on policies and practical steps are not driven by lobbyists. The opposite is a well-known fact in the Empire. One is strength while the other is a weakness. This has been proven a number of times on the world stage, in a number of wars. There’re some well-documented histories related to this also, including of Chiang Kai-shek days.
Mrs. Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan play turned not only provocative, but nasty as it denies sovereignty of a country – China. The Monroe Doctrine and its corollary are known to all: The Empire considers a vast region of the world as its inner-yard; the Empire doesn’t like anyone other than itself there. Not only that region, the island-countries in the Pacific also be mentioned as the Empire’s concern: China’s friendly relations with those countries, an agreement with one of the countries, weren’t taken easily by the Empire. Rather, the Empire and its ally Australia jumped there to keep the countries in its camp. It’s a recent development. China’s economic ties with the Latin American countries are not taken easily by the Empire.
Now, one leader from a state is infringing sovereignty of China!
Shall the empire let similar incident happen in its sovereign territory, may be a far away island or a chain of islands, or in any territory of any of its allies? Shall India or Pakistan allow, as for example, this happen in parts of Kashmir the two countries control? Shall Japan allow the same in Okinawa or Indonesia in one of its islands? What’s with Turkey and the Greek Cypriots? What’s about Serbia position on Kosovo? No country shall willingly allow it.
Now, one leader from a state is asking China to do the opposite – accept violation of sovereignty.
But, the Empire’s playbook has some wrong assumptions; and one of those is regarding China. This wrong assumption was in the days-gone-away also. Its White Paper on China after the Mao-led Revolution is one of the evidences of wrong assumptions.
Today’s China has passed away its Kuomintang-ruled days. That China has gone away in 1949. Then, Mao came, and told about imperialism – Paper tiger.
The people, more than a billion, there in China have made great strides – its space-steps are enough to tell about its advancements. Its leadership is a show of its development: No comical character or a Bo Jo-like character emerges there. The country can’t be cowed down now.
A faction of the ruling classes in the Empire considers this fact while another faction ignores it. That’s a difficult condition for the Empire. The Taiwan-play may be a part of that factional fight. A few voices in the Empire have already questioned: What’s the advantage gained with this Taiwan-provocation?
Furthermore, the world is changing. In the past days, it’s difficult to find an instance of someone from an empire, especially an aggressive empire, apologizing to the empire’s dependent. But this has happened recently. That dependent is not standing as a dependent today.
So, it’s easy to assume China’s position – strength, not weakness, use tactical options, don’t play stupid. China-Taiwan trade volume shouldn’t be forgotten – a tactical option to China. China will go by its tactical options, which will not be easy for its competitor to swallow. Already the option of military drill around Taiwan has started playing a heavy role on international shipping, consequently global trade.
With this reality, the provocation coupled with the comical arrival-minutes in Taiwan shall stand as an ugly attempt to violate China’s sovereignty over Taiwan.
Farooque Chowdhury writes from Dhaka