In 2015, Robert Parry, the late investigative journalist and founder of Consortium News, wrote an article titled "The Mess that Nuland Made." It summarized the aftermath of the 2014 coup in Ukraine that was engineered by Victoria Nuland, who served in Obama’s State Department and is back working for the Biden administration.
Nuland’s coup sparked widespread unrest in Ukraine, Russia taking Crimea, and the war in the eastern Donbas region. The day that Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine, the title of Parry’s salient article wouldn’t get out of my head. Nuland’s meddling in Ukraine reflected an overarching neocon, deep state agenda, but the chaos that has ensued since will always be her legacy, and her mess.
Now, as China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is lobbing missiles toward Taiwan and holding its largest-ever drills around the island, another woman that is a fixture of the establishment in Washington is to blame: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was nothing other than a purposeful provocation that was intended to evoke the response that the PLA has given to justify more US military expansion in the region. Her trip didn’t benefit Taiwan, and it certainly didn’t defend democracy as she claimed it would.
Just as the US backing the removal of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was a pivotal moment, so too is Pelosi’s provocation. Beijing has warned over and over again that Taiwan is a "red line" and that US support for the island’s "independence forces" will lead to war. But Pelosi, and the rest of the blob, didn’t listen, just as they didn’t listen to Russia’s warnings over Ukraine, and now Ukrainians are dying by the thousands.
We may still be a long way away from a hot war, but China will not back down, and there’s no sign the US is going to change course. Ultra-hawks in Congress are cranking out legislation to fundamentally change US policy toward Taiwan by sending them billions in military aid and requiring sanctions on China in response to a Chinese attack on the island, which would change the decades-old policy of "strategic ambiguity."
Where’s the opposition to all this madness? There is none, at least in Washington. Ro Khanna, the progressive House Democrat from California, who is so good on the wars in the Middle East, morphed into a neocon before our eyes when asked if he thinks Pelosi should go to Taiwan.
"We’re not going to let the Chinese Communist Party dictate where the Speaker of the House should go," Khanna puffed to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. "We shouldn’t allow them to bluff and dictate to America, the greatest nation in the world, where our Speaker of the House should travel."
Pelosi’s provocation also gained backing from her Republican colleagues as escalating tensions with Beijing has strong bipartisan support.
Like Nuland’s role in the Ukraine coup, Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan reflects an overall agenda in Washington, a "pivot" to the Asia Pacific that started under Obama, was ramped up by Trump, and accelerated even more under Biden. But now, as analysts are predicting that these massive PLA drills will become routine, this is the legacy the 82-year-old Pelosi will leave behind, and what lies ahead will be her mess.
Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com and host of the daily podcast Antiwar News with Dave DeCamp. He is based in Virginia and can be reached at Davedecamp@protonmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @decampdave.