Nancy Pelosi should not have visited Taiwan at this time. Contrary to other opinions, sometimes it’s best for American politicians to relieve themselves from the need to prove our strength. The international community, both enemies and allies alike, know how strong America is and what our military is capable of. During my time in the Indo-Pacific region as a senior advisor to the commander of Pacific Air Forces, we knew not to be overly zealous in our relationship with Taiwan. Unfortunately, it seems as if Pelosi was on a self-serving agenda. Rather than show discernment, she felt it was more important to signal the U.S.’ resolve in the name of democracy on the world stage. In a time when large, aggressive countries are flexing their power, we seem to be stoking provocation’s fire. We need to tread carefully with China, not strain tensions.
If the purpose of Pelosi’s visit was to make Taiwan safer, that goal was not achieved. All we have to do is look at the live fire drills that occurred right after her visit, which consisted of Chinese Naval warships in the Taiwan Strait, firing missiles, and sending planes over Taiwan. Alarmingly, China is now ceasing climate and counternarcotics collaborations with the US, and Beijing has canceled military communication and maritime deconfliction – the most concerning retaliation. Adding insult to injury, Pelosi’s trip cost the American people millions of tax dollars to cover her travel and security.
Your average warmongers, such as Nikki Haley and Lindsey Graham, have hailed Pelosi’s visit – it affirmed their hawkish agenda and promoted the false ideology of America’s exceptionalism. By giving them credence, Pelosi played right into their hands.. For political purposes, Democratic congress members felt a need to support Pelosi, while the President stayed silent, other than saying that the military was against her visit. Well, guess what? It is our service members’ lives that are on the line as a result of these politicians’ egos and blunders, which could lead to hostilities.
Some have said it was in both our democratic and economic interest for Pelosi to have gone to Taiwan, because of the computer chips that Taiwan provides to us and the rest of the world. Well, if a war breaks out because of her visit, chips will be the last thing to worry about. I am confident that China would be more ruthless in a war with Taiwan than Russia has been with Ukraine.
Now, more than ever, it’s imperative to work with China and not embarrass or discount its interests. For the most part, China practices a noninterference policy to stay out of other countries’ affairs, though that policy might be adjusted in the future. They see their issue with Taiwan as an internal issue. Any move of independence by Taiwan or perceived meddling of their interest by the US will drive them into a military conflict..
So other than our symbolic support for a democratic country, it’s hard to see the positive outcomes from Pelosi’s visit. As a former advisor in the region, all I see is another foreign policy misstep that could lead to another needless war on the backs of American service members and their families. Thanks to our ambition of being the leader of the world, we have turned China from an economic competitor to an enemy. I predicted years ago that Russia and China would eventually get tired of our arrogance and challenge us. That day is here.
CMSgt, Retired, Dennis Fritz is a former United States Air Force Command Chief and Senior Advisor to the Commander of Pacific Air Forces and current Director of the Eisenhower Media Network.