PATRICK LAWRENCE: The Pelosi Fallout

The U.S. now operates as a bulwark against time and history — a hopeless but destructive project.

Taipei skyline at sunset in 2020. (CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

By Patrick Lawrence
Special to Consortium News

We witnessed a major breach in trans­–Pacific relations last week in consequence of Nancy Pelosi’s self-indulgent, utterly failed maunder through East Asia. We also watched a turn of great magnitude in global geopolitics, given China’s inevitable rise as a world power and America’s inevitable decline.

It may be — it is too soon to tell just yet — that last week’s events will prove to be enduringly momentous, warranting their own chapter in the history texts of the future.  

I see good and bad in this, and in my view the former will outweigh the latter in the medium and long term.

As readers will know, I am always on for another failure in American foreign policy. House Speaker Pelosi just gave us the biggest and best we have seen in years, although the Ukraine mess is a contender for the title. Equally, I favor each step the non­–West takes toward the condition of parity it seeks, and that I count as a 21st century imperative. We will see many of these in the post–Pelosi era, if I may call it that. 

During the two-and-some hours Xi Jinping and Joe Biden spoke by telephone prior to the Pelosi misadventure, the Chinese president made a few points it is useful to note. Here is one, as Global Times, the English-language paper owned by People’s Daily, summarized the Foreign Ministry readout of the call:

“Faced with a world of change and disorder, the international community and the people around the world expect China and the U.S. to take the lead in upholding world peace and security and in promoting global development and prosperity. This is the responsibility of China and the U.S. as two major countries.”

The key thought there is joint responsibility, the duty the People’s Republic and the U.S., as the world’s most powerful nations, share toward the rest of the human community. I read it as some 5–to–midnight effort on Xi’s part to talk sense into Biden.

Sudden Breach

When Pelosi went ahead anyway, the breach was sudden. Apart from the live-fire military exercises, which we read Sunday are going to be held regularly, Beijing severed diplomatic relations with the U.S. in a range of areas — drug interdiction, illegal migrants, cross-border crime and so on. Among these, are several big ones: Talks on climate change and contacts on the defense side, at policy and operational levels, are canceled. So are consultations on maritime security.

In effect, Beijing has given up on the joint responsibility Xi urged Biden to think about. Any spirit of bilateral cooperation that survived the past several years of Washington’s diplomatic assaults, military provocations, and the whittling away of Washington’s commitment to the One China principle is now dead.

This noted, I do not read China’s move as an indication it intends to abandon its efforts on questions such as climate change or maritime security. Not at all. I anticipate it will act responsibly; it will simply not bother acting in any kind of concert with the U.S.   

The dangers implicit in China’s policy response to Pelosi’s stupidity are obvious. The larger point is that, once again, a person who is of low intellect and unworthy of respect has tumbled the world into a completely unnecessary new era of tension, the bitter taste of which we are soon to know.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Taipei last week with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen. (Wang Yu Ching, Office of the President, CC BY 2.0)

It has been clear for some time, as I have argued severally in this space, that Cold War II was to be a two-front proposition. The second front is now officially open, given the extent China has just severed ties with the U.S. We are beyond rhetoric and figures of speech now, and Cold War II will start to get expensive — for both sides, unfortunately.

China is sure to escalate its military modernization programs, especially in areas such as nuclear submarines, where it is weak relative to the U.S. Pentagon spending will rise commensurately, we can safely assume. This may be what the military-industrial complex and its clerks on Capitol Hill have sought all along. What good is a Cold War that consists mostly of words? There is no money to be made in words. Now comes the open-ended spending on hardware.

“We are beyond rhetoric and figures of speech now, and Cold War II will start to get expensive — for both sides, unfortunately.”

Americans are now on notice: The Chinese no longer want or expect anything from them. This is a very disadvantageous position for Americans to be in. Leverage, pressure, coercion, whatever you want to call it: The U.S. is in for a notable loss in these respects. Now that I am on the subject of self-inflicted damage, let us consider the rest of it.

The Biden regime’s thinking about China, such that it has been capable of any, has been amateurish as far back as the 2020 political campaigns. Antony Blinken, the secretary of state, and Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, and the man they advised had this idea that they could cooperate with Beijing on serious but soft stuff such as climate change, compete with China on the economic side and confront China on security questions — Taiwan, the South China Sea, proliferation and related issues.

I invite readers to the comment thread because I would truly like to know: Is there any reason under the sun China should give this cockamamie notion — let’s work together while we threaten you right up to your shoreline — a second thought? If there is, Beijing missed it: The Chinese have never taken this silliness seriously. Look again at the list of areas where it just cut ties. It announces this openly while indicating that China no longer holds out any hope that the U.S. will grow up.

Another entry in the loss column: Nancy Pelosi just led America further down the road into the isolation the 21st century has in store for it given that its foreign policy cliques appear incapable of reading our time accurately.

Choosing a Side

 (U.S. Army, Mikki L. Sprenkle, National Archives Public Domain Archive)

The U.S. has for a long time tried to persuade, cajole, or coerce Asians to choose a side in the Sino–U.S. rivalry. This has so far resulted in a lot of humoring, parrying and hollow gesturing to keep the clumsy giant mollified. Pelosi’s tour  through Asia — Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan — was a kind of put-up-or-shut-up moment. She made the with-us-or-against-us question concrete. And Asians shut up: None had anything favorable to say to the U.S. about the Taiwan crisis. We now know: East Asian “allies and partners” are simply not going to follow the U.S. into a dangerously adversarial standoff with China. 

Now to the Europeans. Well, the British will follow the U.S. where wise men fear to tread because they have this restorationist “global Britain” dream in their heads. Do you think the European Union will back the U.S. in an open conflict over Taiwan — or in most other fights the U.S. is inclined to pick, for that matter? I see no chance of it.

What proportion of humanity does seem ready to cast its lot with the U.S. as trans–Pacific relations get hot in the way of U.S.–Russian relations? We cannot say with precision, but as a thumbnail measure, those nations refusing to recognize the sanctions regime Washington has led since Russia’s intervention in Ukraine account for two-thirds of global gross domestic product.

Assuming the U.S. policy cliques continue making their customary mistakes, and at this point I do, the Sino–U.S. breach Pelosi just made acute will force the same choice on this two-thirds of the planet that the Ukraine crisis has. Ladies and gentlemen, place your bets.

The estimable Chas Freeman, the retired ambassador from whom I never stop learning, considers the just-noted percentage and reckons that as China continues to emerge as a global power, the Group of 7 advanced post-democracies will be eclipsed by an ever-more consequential Group of 20, in which China will figure prominently. I can’t stand the phrase “game-changer,” but for those who don’t mind it, Freeman is describing one.

As China gives up on the nation whose foreign policy has in recent years been reduced to playing the role of spoiler, work on the new world order often considered in this space is very likely to accelerate. Post–Pelosi ties between China and the Russian Federation will continue to elaborate and consolidate — this is more or less a given among those who think sensibly about the topic.

We will see rapid advances (another frequent topic in these columns) in the partnerships and trade and diplomatic arrangements — no formal alliances just yet — among non–Western nations in all hemispheres.

All to the good, the perils Pelosi has just inflicted upon us notwithstanding.  

The U.S. now operates as a bulwark against time and history — a hopeless but destructive project. I do not think this is at all reductionist. China just emerged as the site where this contradiction is destined to be sharpest. Nancy Pelosi speaks for a power elite that simply does not like the 21st century and insists that, somehow, America can make the rest of the world remain with it in the 20th.

Don’t think so, actually.

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, author and lecturer. His most recent book is Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century. His Twitter account, @thefloutist, has been permanently censored. His web site is Patrick Lawrence. Support his work via his Patreon site.  His web site is Patrick Lawrence. Support his work via his Patreon site

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

72 comments for “PATRICK LAWRENCE: The Pelosi Fallout

  1. robert e williamson jr
    August 10, 2022 at 20:18

    The U.S. would be better served by closely reviewing the needs of it’s people and their country and in that order!

  2. Stephen
    August 10, 2022 at 15:47

    “..the British will follow the U.S. where wise men fear to tread because they have this restorationist “global Britain” dream in their heads.”

    As an English person I think you are right. Our government class still think they are the Greeks to your Rome. They are deluded and we need to stop projecting our lost great power status via being in foreign policy terms a U.S. puppet. However, the level of corporate media propaganda here is so intense with respect to China and Russia that I fear for the worst.

  3. Knot Galt
    August 10, 2022 at 14:02

    Taiwan produces 97% of the world’s semiconductors. This is what all the fuss is about.

    China supplies the raw materials that go into making semiconductors. China, beyond the primary feeling of cultural superiority, would like to control semiconductor production as a virtual monopoly to the rest of the world.

    Pelosi made the trip because of American corporate interests demanded she do so. Right now, The U.S. is dependent upon production and that the U.S. keep getting the chips for relatively cheap. Of course, Intel has a new fab factory that is scheduled to open in the next couple of years bringing in a state-of-the-art chip; but it’s not up and running yet.

    So I imagine the U.S. wants a war more than China. Turning Taiwan into a heap of ash helps American business interests. China, on the other hand, needs the Taiwan fabs to remain in working order. Pelosi’s visit keeps chips coming “just-in-time” until the U.S. decides it doesn’t need Taiwan anymore and then the island will be destroyed so that China doesn’t get it. And the false U.S. narrative continues.

    • c1ue
      August 11, 2022 at 08:40

      Taiwan does not even remotely produce 97% of the world’s semiconductors.
      China does not supply most of the raw materials that go into semiconductors.
      You have no idea what you are talking about, regarding the semiconductor industry.
      Here is what the Semiconductor Industry Association says:
      Largest semiconductor producer in the world? The US at 45% followed Korea at 24%. Taiwan is at 6%.
      Wafers and photoresist come from Japan. Manufacturing equipment comes from Europe and the US. Neon from Russia via Ukraine. etc etc.

    • Mark J Oetting
      August 11, 2022 at 12:33

      It would seem to me that American Corp. interests would be best served keeping the supply of micro chips from Taiwan secure since they at the behest of Wall Street outsourced all their manufacturing capability to Asia to increase short term profits, bonuses and stock buy backs. More likely Pelosi made the trip to support the Neocons and Liberal interventionists and other members of the MIC who are the only ones to benefit. She and her ilk are too ignorant to realize they are shooting themselves in the foot. If China decides to stop exporting raw materials to Taiwan the US economy is toast

  4. D.L. Sharp-Gralinski
    August 10, 2022 at 13:57

    Empires come and go. One very old woman in a pantsuit and blue shoes cannot hasten or impede this process. Is China bound to be on the rise as a world empire? Yes, so what? Did it have to be this way? No, the US had a chance after WWI and WWII to pursue detente with China. It did’nt for reasons too numerous, pointless and dopey to mention now. The US was never much of an empire and the entire world knows that. As a country, most of our good fortune has been mostly due to surviving WWII pretty much unscathed. Well, that advantage is now and has been for sometime non-existent. Will there be great war – maybe, but I doubt it. China will now make ignoring what ever it is we say we want the policy to follow. Which by the way, was also always going to happen.

  5. Dave
    August 10, 2022 at 00:25

    Thank you for this article! I’ve been thinking about other countries to move to. I’m embarrassed for one thing.

    I’ve been feeling for a long time that, as a fading Empire, we really need to fade gracefully. This Pelosi horror is about as far from graceful as I could ever imagine. But, as our fading accelerates, this empire may be forced to learn more gracefullness just as a kid thrown into the pool learns to swim.

    How long do you think this expensive new Cold War will go on before this country has to admit that the only sensible thing is to drastically cut the military budget, bring the troops home from everywhere and put them and any person in need of work to the task of building our green energy and mass transit infrastructure?

    • Susan Siens
      August 10, 2022 at 15:53

      Please read Bright Green Lies to comprehend the utter worthlessness of “green” energy and even mass transit. If any of us are to survive, we can no longer live this way.

  6. Lois Gagnon
    August 9, 2022 at 22:01

    It blows my mind that there are so many in the US that are still lapping up the Russia/China bad propaganda. How can they not see the decline of living standards all around them compared with the rest of the industrialized world? More and more money goes to the military while our basic needs go unmet. As long as the establishment has Trump to frighten liberals with, they’ll keep drinking the Kool-Aide. And they’ll keep voting for cretins like Nancy Pelosi. If you’re not embarrassed to be a US citizen, you’re not paying attention.

  7. Charles A Gillard
    August 9, 2022 at 21:31

    I see this in it broadest sense as a continuation of centuries long religious culture war as we seem to think God has us on a roll for world dominance. What else should military strategy of full spectrum dominance mean? Looking to the Supreme Court we see an agenda to take over secular society for religious interests. If it looks like a crusade hidden behind faux democracy and faux rules based world system maybe it really is a religious superiority fantasy!

  8. Edward K. Wall
    August 9, 2022 at 21:27

    For once and for all, stop calling the USA “America.” It is an imperialist term. The USA is 22% of the land mass of America, one of its states is not even in America. America and Americans consist of 33 or so different countries. Christ, not even the Brits or the Germans ever claimed that the UK or Germany were exclusively Europe and European.

    August 9, 2022 at 19:59

    A really excellent article. The balance of power has, as you explained, shifted East. The US has become a doddering laughing stock to those of us who have been able to withstand the corrosive effects of brainwashed media echo chambers.

    Thank goodness an enlightened, Taoist-Confucian China is in the lead. China has prefaced its democratic Constitution with the aspiration to create THE GREAT HARMONY.

    To fit in to this world, the West has much to learn. Can we do it?

  10. Daniel Borgstrom
    August 9, 2022 at 17:47

    So Nancy played chicken. Well, that’s what teenagers sometimes do. It reminds me of that 1955 movie “Rebel Without a Cause.” But Nancy Pelosi isn’t really a teenager, is she? Someone told me she’s 82.
    But not to worry. As the years pass she will perhaps grow in wisdom, and (if she hasn’t gotten us burnt to cinders in a nuclear holocaust by then), she may yet lead us on a road to world peace. So, folks, let’s put our hopes on Nancy Pelosi.

  11. Peter Loeb
    August 9, 2022 at 16:26

    The most cogent response is the one above by Bob McDonald. And yet most of the Democratic party affirms
    its support of greater expansion in our defense (and related). Joe Biden and his administration are reflecting
    the neoliberalism of past administrations, of both parties. His involvement with these views was nurtured
    in these eras and his policies reemphasize them. And rather than perceive them as past history an someone
    else’s “fault” , they are very much a part of the way we see our role in the world. It is very much “them” but
    also “ours”.

  12. Vera Gottlieb
    August 9, 2022 at 16:12

    Mao ZeDong (spelling???) supposedly once stated: “The East wind will prevail over the West wind”…

  13. Mike
    August 9, 2022 at 16:02

    I really cannot believe that Pelosi chose to go to Taiwan, nor had the sense not to go when told to do so. It seems that was her turn as part of the step by step provocation of China – by sending, over the past few years, higher and higher ranking government officials. Presumably, the Vice-President is next.

    Biden stepped up the aggressive provocations with Russia and Ukraine very shortly after taking office. A lot of this was in the form of false accusations but also with agreements like the September 2021 White House agreement with Ukraine.

    I am wondering if Biden, and the Blob, aren’t thinking that the best way to stop China from passing the US economically and technologically, is to have a hot war. They may also think that this would be a way to pull a fractured US society back together.

    • rosemerry
      August 10, 2022 at 02:43

      You may like to read Brian Berletic’s article (the new Atlas, also on Patreon) on the real likelihood of the USA ‘with the mightiest military in world history!’ actually winning against modern China. Look how the USA is winning in Ukraine, with billions of dollars and the might of NATO!!

  14. BB
    August 9, 2022 at 15:35

    The most important thing now is to urgently do everything possible to prevent the arrogant US ruling elite from dragging the world into the abyss of nuclear war.

  15. Jeff Harrison
    August 9, 2022 at 15:02

    The US clearly thinks that it can command the world. I find this attitude amusing from a country that claims that the people have the power but then the people are promptly ignored as it becomes clear that the oligarchs are the ones who actually have the power. The United States is a lot like Donald Trump. Donnie Murdo thinks of himself as a crackerjack business weenie but he’s not. He’s a grifter who was born with a golden spoon in his mouth. He started out on third base and wound up back in the batter’s box several times because he got called out. Similarly, the US was a second rate power even after it defeated (much to our surprise) the aging and flawed empire of Spain but we did get to strut around a bit after that. It wasn’t until the Europeans scored two tremendous own goals known as WWs I & II that left the Americans the last industrialized nation left standing. It’s taken essentially 100 years to bring the world more or less back to where it was at the beginning of the twentieth century. In the meantime, much of the rest of the world has caught up and the US has been demonstrating that, like Donnie Murdo, we have neither the skill or the wit to exercise the power we actually have. The thing is, I think the Chinese do.

  16. Balu
    August 9, 2022 at 14:13

    “… America can make the rest of the world remain with it in the 20th.…”
    You mean go back to the 16th century. When witches were burned, women were “property” and ….

  17. Dan D
    August 9, 2022 at 14:05

    As to your invitation, was it China’s (or Russia’s) decision to split off the unipolar world from, well, most of humanity? Maybe the foggy bottom/company crowd realizes that world hegemony and especially the reserve currency can no longer exist in the real new world order. The war in the Ukraine and possibly Taiwan will ensure a formal definitive or complete split. Is the plan to have a new Marshall Plan for Europe after its energy starved industry collapses? Will there be overtures to Venezuela and Cuba in an attempt to shore up and hang on to the hemisphere? It’s as if the U.S. is in check, but instead of making the rational move to continue the game will make an aggressive move that will only end in checkmate. These are interesting but also surreal and frightening times.

  18. Jeano
    August 9, 2022 at 13:53

    This woman! Honest to god! And the Dam Dems for LETTING her! Thank you Mr. Lawrence for your comments on this.

  19. Realist
    August 9, 2022 at 13:52

    Do you think that Nancy knows why her parents used to tell her that if she dug a hole deep enough she would emerge in China? Seriously, you do remember that she actually used this childhood tale as the basis for her lifelong interest in the exotic country of China, nothing more sophisticated or connected to the bruh-ha-ha she has been causing through her dramatics. Nancy has presently continued to dig more holes but none will connect with China, its leadership or its people. Nancy, your parents taught you that “not-quite-so” childhood tale to make the point that China is on the exact opposite side of the world from America. It is as far away from us as is physically possible. Did your folks not teach you other relevant lessons that would conspicuously seem to apply here, Nancy-Cakes? Lessons like MYOB, especially when you are far away from potential adversaries and their sundry problems which need not concern you one iota. Does it not seem logical that if legitimate interest (let’s call this parameter the “justified meddling index”) in other civilisations varies inversely with the distance, China should be the last other sovereign nation the United States should be trying to micro-manage? And on what basis? Your set of personal preferences as a pseudo-liberal Democrat in extreme right wing America? In how many other ways (linguistic, cultural, religious, political, philosophical, artistic, aesthetic, the list is very long) are Americans and Chinese vastly separated by values, customs and beliefs. At what point do we stop assuming that we are entitled to re-program every other society we encounter to become simulacra of Americans? Maybe that’s why even highly advanced space aliens keep a low profile around us, knowing how we would arrogantly try to manipulate them in any and every way possible. Just go home and count your capital gains from all your insider trading, Nancy, we’ll all stay safer that way.

    • Tim N
      August 10, 2022 at 08:28

      Pelosi believes in every myth about the US that was taught to her in grade school. Even more so as she’s gotten older. A contemptible person, but I have some hope because of her age. Of course Kissinger is 99 . . . .

  20. Geoff Burns
    August 9, 2022 at 13:05

    China is our largest trading partner. Our standard of living is dependent on Chinese imports. Think inflation is bad now? Imagine what it would be without them. One would think we’d try to get along with the Chinese, but our combative role in the world (wars and sanctions, threats) is pushing countries like China, Iran, Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Bolivia, Honduras, etc., etc. to form an alternative to the present world trading order. This does not bode well for our future, and it is completely avoidable. It is a cruel policy based on hubris and stupidity. In the long run its greatest victim will be us.

  21. Joseph Tracy
    August 9, 2022 at 12:49

    Very thoughtful article giving as much clarification as possible to the current status of a US government that seems to rule by habit and imperial whim. The entire topic though, seems more fraught than even the best criticism can address. Taiwan currently has as functional an economy and representative government as any European nation or US state. What would be an appropriate means of transition to include Taiwan in China? The Us’s own ‘One China’ so-called policy would seem to make such a transition inevitable, but is it really a policy, and if so what in the world does it mean? Has it ever been elaborated by any state department or president at any time? When the topic is broached no writer I have read has provided any reference to any elaboration. Shouldn’t it be a project of those who believe in representative accountability to demand some elaboration of core US policies concerning China?
    Since the Pelosi policy is the threat of War , including nuclear war, maybe the Taiwanese themselves should have a referendum on that idea.

    • Litchfield
      August 9, 2022 at 20:19

      It sure seems like the greatest threat to Taiwan independence—the de facto variety—is the USA.

      Joe Biden can be excused for this dangerous, crazly stunt because he has dementia.

      Nancy supposedly does not suffer from dementia. She is just incredibly dumb.

      Any “moral high ground” gains (vis-a-vis the November election) the Dems might have gained from the abortion slapdown in Kansas have been played away by the Taiwan dumb-effery.

      Serious commentators such as Alexander Mercouris are simply speechless and gob-smacked at the —can’t find the right word—of the USA in picking fights with Russia, Iran, China, now Turkiye, and who knows which major land is still in their sights.

      For me the most outrageous aspect of all of this is that in the face of supposed climate change and coming Peak Everything, our “government” is wasting precious dwindling energy and mineral resources on manufacturing war material and blasting fossil fuels into the air to pretend to be ready to fight wars they CANNOT WIN. Plus sending our own scarce financial resources to Ukraine instead of meeting the needs of American citizens.

      Not one word coming out of the Biden admin’s mouth regarding “climate change” and “green energy” and “conserving resources” (actually, they never say the latter) is a lie. Pay attention to what they do, not to what they say.

      • Tim N
        August 10, 2022 at 08:32

        There is definitely something going on with Pelosi insofar as mental acuity goes. I think she’s a boozer. She appeared to be drunk at the last State of the Union, or pilled up and drunk. She says truly nutty and incoherent stuff routinely. But one thing is constant: her contempt for anyone not at her level of high corruption. This she finds impossible to hide.

        • Susan Siens
          August 10, 2022 at 16:01

          I think at her age she’s probably taking 10 or 12 meds daily as Big Pharma wants us all to do. This is never good for one’s brain function.

      • Vesa s
        August 11, 2022 at 03:37

        The best way for US people to understand what war is, would be to wage it in US soil. US citizens should be teached a lesson by sending missiles to their homes, schools and hospitals. The only war they know is shown in TV. The gun violence in US has killed 25000 people this year so far (three times the amount of civilians killed in Ukraine) but that is not comparable to terrors of war when almost everybody must live under the horrible fear and in rubbles of their homes.

  22. August 9, 2022 at 12:45

    “Is there any reason under the sun China should give this cockamamie notion — let’s work together while we threaten you right up to your shoreline — a second thought?”

    The same question needs to be asked of Russia. Is there any reason under the sun Russia should give this cockamamie notion — let’s work together while we threaten you right up to your borders — a second thought?

    • BB
      August 9, 2022 at 15:38

      You are absolutely right about Russia!

  23. August 9, 2022 at 12:39

    Mr. Lawrence displays not a shred of concern for the people of Taiwan, who in overwhelming number do not want to be part of the PRC; nor for the Filipino fishermen pushed out of their traditional fishing grounds that Chinese industrial fishing ships vacuum them; nor for Vietnam that cannot survey the resources under the surface of the sea without Chinese ships harassing civilian survey ships.

    The antagonism between the established imperialist U.S. and expansionist China cannot be resolved peacefully by cheering on the latter.

    • GBC
      August 9, 2022 at 15:39

      An Asian version of our “National Endowment for Democracy” [sic], that is, another CIA cutout, has been assiduously rewriting Chinese history for Taiwanese students for decades to downplay the extent of the historic ties between the island and the mainland, with the express intent of preventing eventual reunification. This should be an internal dispute for the two sides to work out diplomatically, without the US meddling. As with Ukraine, where the focus is really an effort (failing badly) to weaken Russia, the US intent is not Taiwan’s welfare, instead it’s intended to weaken China.

    • Susan
      August 9, 2022 at 17:05

      Maybe that is because like every color revolution and Coup that America runs it has nothing to do with what people want. Taiwan has referendums yet they have never had one about independence. Why? Because most of Taiwanese believe they are part of China. Their families are in China the livelihood is dependent on China. 60% of their flights are to and from China. The economy is very dependent on China.
      Vietnam is currently working with the Chinese on economic as well as transportation issues. My guess if you ask anyone in Vietnam who the trust more the US or China, it would be China hands down. matter of a fact all of Asia is refusing to take sides because they do not trust the US who has bombed each and everyone of them, yet that fear of the US also holdS them from standing up to them.. Just look at Japan. Run exclusively for the US navy. People in Okinawa really love the US military …not. The Same with South Korea another us run hostage. Do they fight among themselves sure but then the uS bosses come around and try to dictate what they must do. Remember who dropped 2 nukes on Japan. Carpet bombed Korea and used both biological weapons and chemical weapons. Carpet bombed Indonesia, Vietnam Cambodia Laos China wreaked havoc in the Philippines exploded massive numbers on Nuclear weapons in the Marshal Islands…all before it went to the Middle East.

      • Litchfield
        August 9, 2022 at 20:21

        Thank you, Susan.

    • C. Kent
      August 9, 2022 at 22:58

      Charles – The people of Taiwan are not oppressed by China, and Formosa has been a part of China for longer than the US has been a nation. If Taiwan is under a veil of Chinese power that merits US arms and threats, then the women in Indiana should be asking the EU for legal and material help against their white Christian legislature. If you don’t realize that for the West Taiwan is about banking and finance ie $$$, & a convenient position from which the US Navy can operate, you need to spend a few years reading history. While you are at it you could look into realist geopolitics.

      What is laughable and dismaying and angering about this Pelosi clown show is how the USA presumes itself to be exceptional. It’s flies in the face of US war-making (Vietnam to Syria), malfeasance (denial of civil rights to women & minorities), unethical business practices (United Fruit in Guatemala to Conoco in Afghanistan), strong arming and interference all over the planet (support for right wing dictators, overthrow of at least a dozen elected governments) since WW2.

      We have had all the power for 70 years, and done no better with it than a below average run of Ancient Rome, whose soldiers raped and pillaged that empire to greatness at the point of a sword. I gotta laugh at your pittance of examples of Chinese bullying in the South China Sea while the US has over 500 military bases around the world and has killed millions since Vietnam. You are unserious.

      The US needs to flush out the careerist operatives mishandling this nation’s foreign affairs since the Dulles brothers first brought murder and mayhem to US foreign policy in the form of the CIA. It needs to kill off the Neocon & Neolib parties. It needs to atone for stamping all over the world with it’s big militarist feet. The US desperately needs to change and not for the sake of China, for the good of our kids.

    • Tim N
      August 10, 2022 at 08:37

      You seem to have missed the point.

  24. Sammy Byte
    August 9, 2022 at 12:36

    There is one thing I notice about the propaganda. From the US POV, in Russia, everything is Putin’s fault. Everything. It might be a group of hackers who spend more time avoiding the Russian government than anyone else, but if they attempt to hack into a DMV, it is Putin personally at the keyboard hacking your RealID info.

    But, with America, the blame is always diffused and distributed far away from the actual decision makers. A part of that is the nature of this ‘democracy’ of the oligarchs, by the oligarchs and for the oligarchs. As such, the faces on the tellies are not the decision makers. But, even at that level, everything gets diffused far away from power as possible.

    So, it is not Joe Biden that assassinates an American journalist in the Occupied West Bank, its not even the Israeli government, but, to the level it is admitted, it was a rogue sniper. It is not Joe Biden who keeps the Trump tax cuts in place, but instead the Senator from Fossil Fuels. It is not Joe Biden who is shelling nuclear power plants and hotels full of journalists, but the Ukrainians, and then of course, it is not Zelensky himself but others deeper in the chain of command who can be blamed if needed.

    And now, we’ve been told for the last week or so, it is not Joe Biden, and it is certainly not the power behind the government that is pushing the world closer to nuclear war than back when Khrushchev put missiles further from Florida than Taiwan is from China. Nope, it all gets blamed on one far right-wing, pro-war politician who’s probably about to announce her long-overdue retirement. Since in this case, we can’t blame it all on Putin.

    To act effectively, one must see the world as it is. If you are blinded by delusions, then it is very unlikely that you will even try to correctly address the problem, much less win the fight against the powerful to actually correct the problem. It is not Joe Biden’s fault, but we could be at least closer to the truth if we put a big sign on Joe Biden’s desk that reads “The Buck Stops Here”. Until we restore a functioning democracy and can thus address the deeper issues, we should at least do that much.

  25. Carolyn L Zaremba
    August 9, 2022 at 12:21

    Great article. I think you’re quite right. The United States is far down the road its way to Ozymandias-ism and doesn’t recognize that fact. Much like the British Empire–which the UK’s present ruling class refuses to understand is long over–the U.S., through its bullying accompanied by enormous slashes of hubris and ignorance, will thrash around dangerously but eventually will lose. In the meantime we will pay for it in increasingly vicious wars and sanctions, while the environment continues to be destroyed and nuclear weapons are talked about as though they were popguns.

  26. Alex Nosal
    August 9, 2022 at 12:13

    I really feel that China’s best shot at replacing the corporate funded regime in the U.S., is to take Israel’s lead. Israel has shown over the last few decades how easily both political Parties can be bought. Almost every Congressman, regardless of Party affiliation, has accepted ‘donations’ to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars per candidate to buy their unabashed support for anything Israel does. The results are obvious ranging from over three billion dollars a year granted by Congress to Israel for ‘defence’ to having every single UN resolution to rein in Israeli apartheid and war mongering vetoed immediately by the U.S. regardless of how heinous their crimes were.
    Unfortunately, members of the corporate Party’s would not be allowed to accept donations from the “enemy du jour”, however an actual Party that represented peace, truth and reconciliation, would enthusiastically welcome outside support to help average Americans finally remove the two autocratic Party’s from power. The American Socialist Party is but one example where their funding is almost non-existent, but a sudden infusion of cash could catapult them into being a serious contender in any election. Just imagine how much popular support a Party would garner that avowed peace over war or unconditional support for whistleblowers and journalists like Edward Snowden and Julian Assange? Throw in a platform that ushers in universal healthcare, cancels student debt, raises the minimum wage and rejects outright the flawed electoral system, and you have a recipe for a political landslide.
    Naturally the corporate controlled mainstream media would ignore, marginalize and demonize any Party that threatened the country with a representative democracy, but a well funded movement would still find numerous media sources that would happily accept cash to promote a candidate that actually has the public interest as a guiding principle. The majority of Americans distrust both Party’s and with good cause, however a viable alternative really hasn’t presented itself since the days of Eugene Debbs. If China, Russia and frankly the entire world supported the push for the removal of the special interest funded party’s in the U.S. by funding an actual ‘pro-democracy party’, the American people would be eternally grateful and would offer a far less expensive and far safer response to the brutal Wall Street sociopaths that are currently occupying Congress, the Senate and the White House.

    • August 10, 2022 at 11:15

      Socialist party has to change their name to gain any ground in America. I suggest “Freedom Party” . Americans have been conditioned to hate the word “socialist or socialism” regardless of, if they understand it or not. “2 minute of hate” works very well in reality.

  27. Zim
    August 9, 2022 at 12:07

    Pelosi the Idiot has just yanked the yoke making the inverted flat death spin of US imperial collapse that much tighter. A good thing as far as the rest of the world is concerned I’m sure. #PelosiMustGo #EndTheEmpireOfLies

  28. Frank Lambert
    August 9, 2022 at 11:55

    Astute as always, Mr. Lawrence! Comments from your readers, you ask?

    The U.S government believes we are the the exceptional people of the world and when we say “jump” we expect other nations to respond quickly by saying “how high?” and when they don’t follow our policy commands, we threaten them with sanctions or wage war on them.

    The 20th Century “was” the “American Century” but it’s obvious the 21st Century will be the “Asian Century” as China is regaining its place in the world, by practicing what it preaches, as in “cooperation, not confrontation,” and has been serious in building the Silk and Road Initiative which Uncle Sam has been trying to undermine since it’s inception. The same with a reunification of North and South Korea. We sabotaged (with money and other gratuities) the early stages of talks between those two nations.

    Imperial America is declining, and much of the world is looking towards China and Russia as the hope of the future.

    • Richard Coleman
      August 10, 2022 at 19:53

      “The U.S government believes we are the the exceptional people of the world”

      No. The U.S. government believes THEY are the the exceptional people of the world, along with the power elite, MIC, etc. We the people don’t enter in to it.

  29. Sammy Byte
    August 9, 2022 at 11:41

    I doubt seriously that this was “Nancy Pelosi”. Oh, it was the face of the old corporate-loving, war-mongering, capitalist that stuck in to Taipei under the cover of darkness. But, the notion that Nancy was the cause of this and the source of the problem appears to be rather silly.

    Of course, the President from MasterCard did try to pretend it was Nasty Nancy’s fault. But, give me a break. Does anyone actually believe that?

    Or, is it far more likely that the US military, the many intelligence agencies, and the group generally known as ‘The Deep State’ are behind this? Does anyone believe that Nasty Nancy could have flown a government plane supported by a major military operation as well as the full mobilization of the Propaganda Power of America, all on her own say so.

    The answer is plainly No. So, in terms of our rhetoric, we need to be truthful and stop pretending that this is all the doing of the far-rightwing ‘representative’ of the San Francisco Oligarchs. Nope, Nasty Nancy may have been the face-lift before the cameras, but this was not the actions of Nasty Nancy, and the anti-war people are deceiving themselves if they think that this is true. And the problem with not seeing the world clearly is that it makes one powerless to act effectively. And, hmmm, isn’t a failure to act effectively pretty much the trademark of the anti-war and progressive forces? Maybe the problem is not correctly identifying the problem?

    • Tim N
      August 10, 2022 at 08:46

      Sure looked like Pelosi’s actions to me. There is no daylight between Pelosi and the neocons running policy at the moment. Was it Pelosi’s idea? Very likely; they all think alike, so it happened as it did.

  30. August 9, 2022 at 11:39

    Is there any reason under the sun China should give this cockamamie notion — let’s work together while we threaten you right up to your shoreline — a second thought?

    NO, seeing as a matter of “fact” that China’s “shoreline” extends all the way to Taiwan, where, again as a matter of fact, during World War II every attack on Chinese soil originated. If Texas had never joined the Union as a “state” would the U.S. allow China or any other nation to arm an independent TEXAS: HARDLY! Wake-up AMERICA, admit our decline, and begin to build on a future of cooperation with the rest of the world: It’s our only hope.

    In all honesty, I don’t see this happening. And with a continuation of American Foreign policy, from the article: ” China is sure to escalate its military modernization programs, especially in areas such as nuclear submarines, where it is weak relative to the U.S. Pentagon spending will rise commensurately, we can safely assume. This may be what the military-industrial complex and its clerks on Capitol Hill have sought all along. What good is a Cold War that consists mostly of words? There is no money to be made in words. Now comes the open-ended spending on hardware.” Who will suffer the most? The Joe-average U.S. citizen whose percent of our GDP continues to shrink as social spending, merge as it now is, will continue to decline as orders for more and more military hardware increases. Will the average citizen in China get the same treatment as their counterparts in America? Hardly! as China prides itself on a socially conscience economy.

    To conclude, what I believe will happen is this: The way in which Ronald Reagan spent enormous amounts of U.S. capital to bankrupt The Soviet Union, the reverse will happen as China is not under the constraints as exist here in the U.S. (China has a national bank which prints money without debt restraints whereas the U.S. has The Federal Reserve owned and operated by the BIG Wall Street Banks which charge enormous “interest” on money that’s printed. In the end, America will go belly-up just as The Soviet Union did).

  31. ray Peterson
    August 9, 2022 at 11:27

    Pelosi is one of the witches at the cauldron in Macbeth, and he
    is the U.S. run by “foreign policy cliques” America’s neocon
    puppets to the military industrial complex of both Democrats
    and Republicans.
    But “incapable of reading our time” and history? Unfortunately
    they have perfect vision, because blind to humanity they have a
    hawk like focus for U.S. war industry profits, “The Public
    [humanity] be Damned!”

  32. RT Slattery
    August 9, 2022 at 11:22

    Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, blue and yellow flags wave on. One dares not speak of Pelosi’s recklessness or whatever is happening in China, for fear of offending someone. The streets are free of anti-war protests and graffiti, though still lined with desperate souls living in cars, tents, and pallet shacks. Thank God Trump is back in the news to blame!

    • Susan Siens
      August 10, 2022 at 16:06

      That’s interesting, RT. A neighbor had one up and now it’s gone. I haven’t looked at the barn of a local liberal where she had a cloth tacked up in blue and yellow; I must do so tomorrow.

  33. KIM
    August 9, 2022 at 11:00

    Three points uppermost in my mind as I read your post.

    1) “We cannot allow the US to consider itself the ‘world policeman’ and treat other countries like George Floyd, whom they intimidated and strangled at will.” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying on Twitter.
    2) Russia More Than Triples Current-Account Surplus to $167 Billion (Bloomberg headline)
    3) BRICS: Three More Countries To Join the Bloc -Turkey, egypt, Saudi Arabia (Telesur, July 2022)

    The huge costs of U.S.’s ridiculous provocations and their unintended consequence of consolidating allegiances of countering forces, and even enriching them, are finally beginning to sink in, but, sadly, not in DC. I truly doubt any U.S. attempt to garner support for a proxy war against China in Taiwan like its current failing one in Ukraine will get much traction.

    • BB
      August 9, 2022 at 15:43

      Provoking others is a dangerous policy.
      Provocateurs often end badly.

  34. Bob McDonald
    August 9, 2022 at 10:58

    It’s America’s massive balance of payments deficit that finances its budgetary deficit. If US imports from China and other east Asian countries decline substantially, the US dollar may very well collapse. Simple fact of the matter is the US cannot bring the factories (and jobs) home until government debt is paid down. China knows this. It holds all the cards.

  35. Brian Bixby
    August 9, 2022 at 10:47

    The penultimate sentence in this piece, “Nancy Pelosi speaks for a power elite that simply does not like the 21st century and insists that, somehow, America can make the rest of the world remain with it in the 20th” is a perfectly spot-on summary of the entire Democratic Party “leadership” today.

  36. vinnieoh
    August 9, 2022 at 10:34

    Well Patrick I can think of one reason why China would hesitate: it boils down to US leadership being suicidally/homicidally crazy and China’s weight of arms has not sufficiently matured to prevent major damage to them in their own territory. Just speculation on my part – I have no real way of knowing how to guess the outcome of a full-fledged open conflict. I’ve always considered it hubris for the US to believe that it could prevail in such a conflict in China’s front/back yard so to speak. But as I’ve said – US leadership is absolutely nuts and delusional.

    On a slightly different note: it seems that the excesses of the Christian Nationalists here at home has awakened many to the dangers of same and many are now more willing to push back against that strain of revisionism. Would that the same would happen wrt foreign policy. Unfortunately, that is even more firmly entrenched in the clutches of big money, and it seems no commonsense transparent example of how continuation of same is bad for ordinary Americans seems to have any impact on policy and leadership decisions. Is it any wonder? (rhetorical) no, the political class is owned by the oligarchs.

  37. Bob Gardner
    August 9, 2022 at 10:25

    I’d be more impressed if Pelosi got a military helicopter to fly her into Gaza without the permission of the Israeli government. Because nobody should be able to tell US. Congress members where they can and cannot go.

    • Cara
      August 9, 2022 at 14:45

      Spot on! Great comment in a thread with many excellent observations.

  38. Tim N
    August 9, 2022 at 09:37

    It’s perfect that the dim-witted, narcissistic Pelosi should be at the forefront of US “foreign policy.”

  39. susan
    August 9, 2022 at 09:22

    Pelosi is a moron – why does she keep getting re-elected? She needs to go home and eat her freezer full of ice cream!

    • LarcoMarco
      August 9, 2022 at 17:08

      Sadly, Shahid Buttar finished third in the CA-11 primary, so he cannot get coverage in the local media when he rails against Woozy Peloozy leading up to the November general election.

  40. mgr
    August 9, 2022 at 08:35

    Thank you, Patrick. I deeply believe that cooperation among people and between peoples is the key ingredient if we are to survive, even thrive, as a species on this planet. Kill that and nothing else works. Promote that and everything else becomes possible. For myself, this is the dividing line in the history of this moment. Where do people and their nations stand? The looming impact of climate change consequences, which are non negotiable, enforce this. They are expanding right now. It will never, not for generations, be less or better, only more, year after year. That is the context in which humanity must learn to survive together. Look how hard it is in a favorable environment. Greed is hard to control regardless of the weather.

    Sadly, the terms “cooperation” or “peace” never even come up in Western rhetoric. Instead, there’s a vague reference to rules and orders that seem to appear on whim and are oriented in a strictly Western direction. What happened to the sanctity of international law, hammered out between nations, ratified at home, used, tested and documented over decades and longer? Or there are references to defending democracy and freedom, usually coupled with new military expenditures. This is obviously not the democracy of self-determination but rather the democracy of neoliberal economic expansion.

    I am sure that there are many elite who love the idea, probably feel that they are already living in it, of a feudal society comprised of few “nobles” and many “serfs.” This was forecast with the stunning reality of the “Democratic Party” that emerged around 2015 as well as the equally stunning research on wealth concentration by Thomas Piketty and others. Without strenuous efforts to change course now, also true in reference to John Pilger’s excellent article here on Consortiumnews about heading toward nuclear war, that is certainly where society is headed. Of course, it will be a totalitarian society as well. BTW, if you are not in the <1% class, you are a serf, along with your family, from here and now on out. There is no "upward mobility" in a feudal society.

    There is a saying that if you are not careful, you just might end up where you are headed. Under the Western "rules based order" and America's uni-polar world, I see nothing but continuing conflict and division at home and around the world. The goal of the "rules based order" is not cooperation but submission. But ultimately, people do not submit. Sometimes they just wait. I imagine that at best America is facing an unending game of whack-a-mole around the world that will inevitably bleed it dry. Not to worry though, some people will get rich. However, it is already going mad. Of course, this does not bode well.

    In the meantime, countries like Russia and Chinese are designing and implementing a new world order where cooperation and respect are intended to play a big role. Whether they can succeed to this ideal or not, we can only hope. And that's because that in a world of uncertainties, the one thing that is certain is that the current Western order cannot. Had their chance over the last 30+ years. Blew it big time. Set the world on fire for self-profit. If you are unable to foster inclusive cooperation, peace and stability, you are useless. The bedrock reality is that everything of lasting value rests upon the foundation of peace and cooperation between people and peoples.

    So, I certainly agree with your underlying perspective.

  41. Gummy Bear
    August 9, 2022 at 08:32

    All’s well that ends well. Sayonara American hegemony. They world will be safer, at least in the long term, under future international affairs.

  42. Mary Caldwell
    August 9, 2022 at 06:56

    “The dangers implicit in China’s policy response to Pelosi’s stupidity are obvious.

    The larger point is that, once again, a person who is of low intellect and unworthy of respect has tumbled the world into a completely

    unnecessary new era of tension, the bitter taste of which we are soon to know.”

  43. TP Graf
    August 9, 2022 at 06:39

    “As readers will know, I am always on for another failure in American foreign policy.”

    To that I can only add, long live gravity.

  44. RZ
    August 9, 2022 at 04:25

    Britain hit peak military power in WW2, having lost economic superiority some time in the previous 30 years.
    The situation is similar in the US, they have fallen from 50% of the global economy to 15-18%. US military seems unable to successfully complete important missions.
    UK politicians are still deluded about British military and industrial might nearly a century later. Americans are going to have to wait quite a while before the US political class realises their time is past.

    • August 9, 2022 at 13:43

      Actually, the British empire ended but not their power over the US. I will explain, after the war for independence was not really won, the empirical strangle hold financially was verry much in place and has been ever since as in the destruction of the Second National Bank by the lol war hero President Jackson, on behalf of the British. Hamilton and Franklin were trying to make us an independent nation by having our own National Banking system but failed as did Lincoln. They appear to be our lapdogs when just the opposite is the case. The FED or as it is known as the creature from Jeckyl Island was the final coup and they have destroyed us from within and liberalism has been the downfall of the USA, not the one we got but the one we should have been. Do not make the mistake of thinking the British empire is gone as it was just carried on by us. Don’t believe? The history is there for the reading. Mat Ehret, Canadian Historian has written extensively about this as well as the LaRoushe Organization. Want to know what happened? Just read and learn. What we have now as lol leaders are simpletons with a useless brain when all they need is a spinal cord.

    • Litchfield
      August 9, 2022 at 16:21

      Quite right.
      In the meantime, it’s each man and woman for him/herself.
      Sauve soi qui peut.

  45. Aaron
    August 9, 2022 at 04:22

    That was a good read. Kind of summed everything up nicely.
    What l cannot understand is the State Department always announces the secret bits out loud. As in, China must be brought on side to subdue Russia. We want to break Russia up then cut off the gas or what ever from going to China.

    Because Russia is a nut too hard to crack with a sledgehammer, let’s pivot too Asia and whack China. The US is like a old vinyl record with the needle stuck and skipping up and down.
    Planet earth has moved into the 21 century and is down loading the latest tunes on 6G, and loving it.
    Sorry America, you are no longer the cool kid. There is no social death as permanent as that.

  46. davehaze
    August 9, 2022 at 01:59

    The obvious: Nancy Pelosi is a democrat. She is spurred on by Newt Grinich, Trumpites, Republicans, neocons and finally Democrats who have jettisoned any adherents of peaceful resolution through diplomacy from the party. Both parties are war mongers. There is no lesser of two evils. There is no one to vote for.

    • Geoff Burns
      August 9, 2022 at 13:26


    • Riva Enteen
      August 9, 2022 at 18:11

      “There is no lesser of two evils. There is no one to vote for.”

      There is no lesser of two evils. It’s the evil of two lessers,

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