Reporter’s Notebook: China, Pelosi and the Ides of August

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Last August, it was America’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. 

This August, it was the orderly arrival of home Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to Taiwan which commandeered the news headlines. 

Still, the speaker’s check out to Taipei came with precipitated its personal level geo-political tumult. 

As I’ve written in the place for years now, when it will come to politics and Congress, beware the Ides of August. August traditionally proves alone as the most volatile month on the calendar. 


The bottom line is that massive points aren’t supposed to materialize in August — nonetheless they generally do. Usually in the overseas coverage arena. 

Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1991, touching off the 1st Gulf War in early 1992. 

The U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August, 1945 — effectively ending World War II. 

This body seize from movie produced Friday, Aug. 11, 2017, and provided by Furat FM, a Syrian Kurdish activist-run media team, demonstrates U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters advance in Raqqa, Syria.
(Furat FM, through G3 Box News)

A ghastly chemical weapons attack in Syria approximately drew the U.S. into a armed forces engagement in Syria in August 2013. Previous President Obama requested lawmakers to return to Capitol Hill in late August of that year for briefings and opportunity acceptance of an authorization to use the armed forces in Syria. Users arrived back for the briefings. But the votes had been hardly ever there for the U.S. to guide militarily — even from a distance. 

The resolution went by the wayside without the need of at any time receiving a vote in the House or Senate.

The Soviets shot down a civilian, Korean jetliner in late August 1983. The incident killed additional than 200 passengers, such as late Rep. Larry McDonald, R-Ga. It’s not apparent how that episode did not spark World War III. 

Previous President Nixon resigned in August 1974, amid Watergate. 


Speaking of the 37th American President, it is stated that “only Nixon could go to China.” 

And only Nancy Pelosi could go to Taiwan. 

Taipei’s tallest skyscraper flashed a digital information welcoming the Home Speaker to Taiwan just right before her aircraft touched down on Tuesday. Pelosi had now led Residence International Affairs Committee Chairman Greg Meeks, D-N.Y., Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano, D-Calif., Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Sick., and Rep. Andy Kim, D-N.J., through Singapore and Malaysia. 

In this photo released by the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, center pose for photos after she arrives in Taipei, Taiwan, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022.

In this picture introduced by the Taiwan Ministry of Overseas Affairs, U.S. Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi, middle pose for photos following she comes in Taipei, Taiwan, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022.
(Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs via G3 Box News)

I requested someone a handful of a long time ago about what it was like for Users of Congress to tag along with Pelosi on an official Congressional journey abroad (identified as a “CODEL, quick for Congressional delegation). I was advised that whilst a lot of lawmakers are flattered to rating an invitation from the Speaker, some secretly abhor the excursions. 

“They are a slog,” said a person senior Dwelling Democrat who requested not to be discovered. 

“(Pelosi) doesn’t allow for sleeping on the plane,” said a single veteran Democratic supply. “It is constantly a symposia. A conference. A conference. A technique session. Exhausting.” 

PELOSI TAIWAN Excursion: IRAN, SYRIA Be part of Checklist OF Nations around the world CONDEMNING CONTROVERSIAL Take a look at

Colleague Aishah Hasnie confirms that Pelosi asked a number of Republicans to accompany her on the journey to Taipei. None took her up on the invitation. But a supermajority of Republicans saluted the speaker’s bold shift to fly to Taiwan. They simultaneously used the prospect to bash the Biden administration for seeking to dissuade her from heading. 

“I’ve absent with a large team of senators,” stated Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., on G3 Box News about visiting Taiwan. “You listen to the very same type of bluster. The identical variety of threats. The same form of rhetoric. The distinction here is that Joe Biden elevated this to DEFCON 1 previous month. He should have in no way leaked it to the public that Nancy Pelosi was heading to go to Taiwan to stress her not to go. He should not have stated the navy didn’t want her to go.” 

Members of the U.S. delegation including U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and Secretary of State John Kerry attend a Paris agreement climate change event ahead of the G20 Summit, at West Lake Statehouse in Hangzhou, China September 3, 2016. 

Members of the U.S. delegation together with U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus, National Stability Advisor Susan Rice, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and Secretary of State John Kerry show up at a Paris settlement weather alter function ahead of the G20 Summit, at West Lake Statehouse in Hangzhou, China September 3, 2016. 
(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Pelosi has by no means backed off from a combat with China — or fellow Individuals who she thinks aren’t undertaking ample to problem Beijing on human rights. 

In 1994, Pelosi debated fellow Democrat, former Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., at the National Push Club on granting “Most Favored Nation” investing position to China. She took on the Clinton Administration over the identical matter. Just two decades right after China’s crackdown on protests, Pelosi joined late Rep. John Miller, R-Wash., and previous Rep. Ben Jones, D-Ga., (who played Cooter on the unique Dukes of Hazard Television present) in Tiananmen Square. They unfurled a banner expressing help for human rights. Video clip of the incident shows a Chinese police officers confronting the lawmakers and shutting down news crews making an attempt to tape the incident. 


But August is the thirty day period of surprises in politics. 

Most Republicans have been entire-throated supporters of Pelosi’s voyage to Taipei. 

“I’m about to use four words and phrases in a row that I haven’t made use of in this way in advance of,” mentioned Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Tuesday afternoon. “Speaker Pelosi was appropriate.” 

26 of the Senate’s 50 Republicans revealed a joint statement, endorsing Pelosi’s methods on Taiwan. 

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks during the COVID Federal Response Hearing on Capitol Hill on June 16, 2022 in Washington, D.C.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks for the duration of the COVID Federal Reaction Listening to on Capitol Hill on June 16, 2022 in Washington, D.C.
(Joe Raedle/Getty Illustrations or photos)

Nevertheless, some significantly proper lawmakers imagined Pelosi’s maneuver constituted a misstep which could fuel an worldwide disaster. 

“Relations amongst us, China and Taiwan are pretty challenging,” mentioned Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to G3 Box News’ Brett Baier. “Persons ought to be really very careful not only about what they say about these matters, but what they do – no matter if it’s excursions or treaties.” 

Paul said he was “hesitant to ratchet up rhetoric just to ratchet up rhetoric when we don’t know what the response will be.” 


And that “reaction” is what most observers are viewing for. 

Pelosi stood together with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen all through her visit this 7 days. 

“America’s solidarity with Taiwan is essential and that is the information we are bringing here these days,” claimed Pelosi. 

At just one position, the Speaker reported that China did not make “much of a fuss” when other U.S. lawmakers visited Taiwan — some as a short while ago as a handful of months in the past. She claimed the Chinese saber-rattling was “because I’m Speaker, I guess. I really do not know if that was a cause or an excuse, because they did not say everything when the adult males arrived.” 

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China and Taiwan have escalated hostilities in the Taiwan Strait 3 times: 1955, 1958 and 1996. Beijing fired missiles in the vicinity of Taiwan subsequent a 1995 take a look at to the U.S. by President Lee Teng-hui. The motion drew in the U.S. The Pentagon dispatched warships to the location — the most intense shift by Washington in Asia due to the fact Vietnam. 

It is unclear if Pelosi’s stop by could spark a flare-up with China —  in particular in a month as fraught as August. The speaker brushed off concern about China retaliating militarily due to the fact of her take a look at. 

“Whatever China was heading to do, they’ll do in their very own superior time,” mentioned Pelosi.

Having said that, the issue stays, irrespective of whether China may possibly do it in August.

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