Powerful, aware of power, experienced in power - Nancy Pelosi does not shy away from conflict

She did.

Powerful, aware of power, experienced in power - Nancy Pelosi does not shy away from conflict

She did. Traveled to Taiwan, landed in Taipei on an American government plane. Despite the warnings from Beijing, despite the limited enthusiasm of their own government. A "commitment to democracy" is her journey, Nancy Pelosi tweeted as soon as she landed: "We reaffirm that the freedoms of Taiwan - and all democracies - must be respected." accused of fire".

What makes things worse for the authoritarian leadership in Beijing is that the speaker of the US House of Representatives is not traveling alone. Rather, she leads a congressional delegation that accompanies her to Taiwan.

"We must stand by Taiwan," Pelosi wrote in a op-ed for the Washington Post Monday.

In it, she praised Taiwan as an “island of resilience” and its successes in the fight against corona and in environmental and climate protection. Taiwan is a "leader in peace, security and economic dynamism: with an entrepreneurial spirit, a culture of innovation and technological capabilities that are the envy of the world," writes Pelosi.

The verbal attack on China's communists follows immediately: Pelosi writes that it is worrying that this vibrant, robust democracy is being threatened. In recent years, "Beijing has dramatically increased tensions with Taiwan." The People's Republic of China has increased patrols of bombers, fighter jets and surveillance aircraft near and even over Taiwan's air defense zone. Pelosi cites the US Department of Defense analysis that China's army is "probably preparing for a contingency to forcibly unite Taiwan with the People's Republic of China." Chinese President Xi Jinping said he would "reunite" Taiwan with China by force if necessary.

The White House had already warned Beijing on Monday against using a possible trip by Pelosi as a pretext for an escalation. Those close to President Joe Biden know full well that this is a historic visit. One of Pelsosis' predecessors, Newt Gingrich, also visited Taiwan. But that was 25 years ago. Biden spokesman John Kirby said Tuesday Pelosi's visit to Taiwan did not mark a change in US stance on either China or Taiwan. A reporter asked Kirby whether Biden supported the trip. The President "respects" the trip, Kirby replied.

Pelosi has been in Asia since Monday, with visits to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan on the agenda. Decades ago, the leading democrat showed a clearly critical relationship with the Chinese leadership, when it was not yet common in the USA and the motto “change through trade” also shaped politics here. But appeasement has never been Pelosi's thing.

As early as 1991, two years after the brutal suppression of mass protests in Beijing, she visited Tiananmen Square. Pelosi then unfurled a banner in honor of the killed protesters. This was in stark contrast to the policies of then President George HW Bush, who remained silent on the Tianammen massacre in 1989 and did not initiate a policy change.

Pelosi has always campaigned for the fate of the Uyghurs who are being persecuted by Beijing and forced to do forced labor. Rushan Abbas, founder and executive director of the non-profit Campaign for Uyghurs, highlights Pelosi's commitment. The civil rights activist, whose sister was kidnapped by Beijing and has since disappeared, thinks highly of Pelosi. Her visit to Taiwan is an expression of Pelosi's "unwavering commitment to defending freedom and democracy," said Abbas WELT: "Your support is more important than ever as the world has to choose between dictatorships and democracy." Pelso was "one of the few leaders Politicians who openly denounce China's Uyghur genocide, and we appreciate their courage and leadership."

Irony of history: Donald Trump, of all people, who shared a mutual dislike for Pelosi, initiated Washington's increasingly critical attitude towards Beijing. President Joe Biden is largely continuing this policy, softened rhetorically but all the harder on the substance.

Pelosi, of course, sees Trump as the type of authoritarian ruler who admires dictatorships and despises democratic processes, free elections and representatives of Western values. As Speaker of the House of Representatives from 2019, the power-conscious and power-experienced Pelosi made life difficult for Trump. Pelosi knows all the ins and outs of Washington politics. The non-politician Trump felt this to his anger, rumbled, called Pelosi "sick" and "crazy". And you? Tore up Trump's manuscript of his speech to the nation. The picture became iconic. Your mantra when dealing with powerful men? "No one gives you power. You have to take them from them.”

Pelosi is exactly that hated prototype of a top American politician, not only for Trump, but for many politically skeptical Americans. Pelosi comes from a political family of Italian origin and Catholic faith. Her father was the mayor of Baltimore. She built her career in her native San Francisco with an incredible ability to raise funds - primarily for her own party and causes. Closest ties to America's corporate world included. Pelosi's husband, Paul, is a gifted stock trader, and the family is extremely wealthy. At times, the Pelosi buy shares in companies that receive government contracts at this very time. Hardly anyone cares about that in the US.

Nancy Patricia D'Alesandro Pelosi, 82, has been a member of Congress for 35 years. The mother of five started her career in federal politics quite late. She represents a hard left and wealthy San Francisco constituency in Congress. She is Speaker of the House of Representatives for the second time, after 2007 to 2011. In return, she asserted herself among fellow party members, conscious of her own power. "None of us is irreplaceable," she said with a smile at the second successful attempt in 2019, "but some of us are just better at our jobs than others."

While Vice President Kamala Harris has not made much of an impact so far, Pelosi is leaving footprints. Not only, as her trip to Taiwan shows, when dealing with ex-President Trump. Pelosi is running again for the congressional elections in November. She once assured her group that she would not apply again for the post of spokesman. That being said, there are indications that the Democrats are losing their majority in the House and with it this function.

Nancy Pelosi is now in the late autumn of her career as a top politician. Time, then, to secure an entry in the history books. That also resonates with the trip to Taiwan.

"Kick-off Politics" is WELT's daily news podcast. The most important topic analyzed by WELT editors and the dates of the day. Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music or directly via RSS feed.

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