Nancy Pelosi’s Utterly Reckless Election-Season Gambit.

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by David Stockman, Lew Rockwell:

We don’t know how it could have been any clearer than this warning from Chicom mouthpiece and ultra-hawk, Hu Xijin. Prior to America’s other senile leader putting herself in harms’ way by touching down in Taiwan today, Xijin let loose a volley of histrionics that left little doubt as to where Beijing stood:

“If US fighter jets escort Pelosi’s plane into Taiwan, it is invasion,” Hu Xijin of Global Times wrote on Twitter. “The [Chinese military] has the right to forcibly dispel Pelosi’s plane and the US fighter jets, including firing warning shots and making tactical movement of obstruction. If ineffective, then shoot them down.”

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For want of doubt, an official Chinese spokesman chimed in shortly thereafter:

At a daily press briefing on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying reiterated China’s opposition to Mrs. Pelosi’s visiting Taiwan……No matter for what reason Pelosi goes to Taiwan, it will be a stupid, dangerous and unnecessary gamble,” Ms. Hua said. “It is difficult to imagine a more reckless and provocative action.”

She got that right. Pelosi has now completed an utterly “stupid, dangerous and unnecessary gamble”, and for what earthly purpose?

Mainly to provide obeisance to the dead hand of history, we’d say. Indeed, there is no more egregious case of the latter than Washington’s 75-year obsession with the political status of Taiwan.

Yet the latter is a geopolitically irrelevant piece of island real estate the size of Maryland that has everything to do with US domestic politics and nothing whatsoever to do with the safety, security and liberty of the American homeland.

So let’s start with the facts. The Chinese supremacists of the Middle Kingdom through the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD) considered Formosa a pile of mud inhabited by savages and of no interest to China’s rulers. But when the Spanish and Portuguese colonized parts of the island, the successor Qing dynasty did an about face, expelling the Europeans and establishing administrative control over the territory from 1683 onwards.

The latter included the welcoming of Han and other Chinese settlers on Formosa, such that by 1811 an estimated 2 million Chinese immigrants had settled on the island. For all practical purposes, therefore, by the end of the 19th century today’s Taiwanese society and economy had become an integral part of China.

But that’s when history took a fateful turn that has everything to do with Beijing’s current hysteria about Pelosi’s blatant provocation. To wit, the Qing government was humiliated by defeat during the 1895 Sino-Japanese War and forced to cede Formosa to Japan in a one-sided peace treaty.

Moreover, for the next 50-years Formosa became the industrial and military launch pad for Imperial Japan’s relentless and ruthless expansion into China and southeast Asia generally, including the occupation of Manchuria and Korea. By the height of the the Allies’ WWII battle against Japan, in fact, Taiwan became known as the “unsinkable aircraft carrier” that enabled Japan’s brutal attacks on China’s main cities.

Accordingly, a major provision of the Cairo Declaration of 1943, which established the Allies war aims in the Pacific, was the return of Formosa to Chinese control. And from the viewpoint of Chinese patriots, nationalists and communists alike, the very idea of Formosa being controlled by a hostile foreign power became a “never again” line in the sand.

As it happened, Formosa was returned to China under a United Nation’s mandate at the end of WWII. The only question which remained was who would rule the mainland and therefore Formosa too—-the nationalists under Chiang Kai-shek or the communists under Mao Tse-tung.

That question was settled with the communist victory in 1949, and that should have been the end of the matter. But by then the Cold War was turning red hot and the out-of-power Republicans, egged on by the Luce publishing empire and the so-called China Lobby, waged a vicious “who lost China” campaign that ultimately degenerated into the McCarthy witch hunts and America’s equally foolish participation in the Korean War.

Stated differently, had Washington possessed the sense to recognize that Mao’s red totalitarianism was destined to become a social and economic basket case that posed no threat whatsoever to America’s security, the status of Formosa would have never mattered. In that event, Washington could have allowed Chiang Kai-chek’s band of butchers and bandits to whither on the vine on their island redoubt and eventually disappear from the face of history.

In fact, without continuous, fulsome US diplomatic, military and economic assistance, that is exactly what would have happened during the long-decades of the brutal Kuomintang dictatorship after 1950. And America’s security would have been no worse for the wear.

Ironically, approximately 25-years later it took the worst of the red-baiters and who-lost-China demagogues, Richard Nixon, to partially correct Washington’s pro-Taiwan mistake. Owning to his historic election year trip to China in February 1972 and President Jimmy Carter’s subsequent abrogation of the mutual defense treaty with the Republic of China on Taiwan in 1979, any legal or moral obligation to defend Taiwan against China lapsed 43 years ago!

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