Ambassador Chas Freeman on Pelosi’s ‘Extreme Irresponsibility’
Aug. 1, 2022 (EIRNS)—Ambassador Chas Freeman, the retired diplomat and Defense Department official, who is perhaps the nation’s leading expert on China and many other areas of the world, in an interview with EIR and the Schiller Institute today, denounced Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s possible upcoming visit to Taiwan as “an act of extreme irresponsibility on the Speaker’s part.”
The interview will be posted on the Schiller Institute website.
The visit will not help Taiwan, but greatly endanger it, he said. “Exactly what the Chinese will do, no one knows. They have many, many options, political, economic and military. It’s clear that the Speaker put herself in a position where she could not not go. She equally put Taiwan in a position where it could not not welcome her. And she put the Chinese government in a position where it could not not do something escalatory. The sad reality is that the White House and the military in Washington both see this trip as damaging rather than helpful. But the White House has not had the courage to block Mrs. Pelosi’s travel.”
On the Ukraine template, he said:
“I think the issue of Ukraine and the issue of Taiwan do have something in common, in that the primary lesson we should take from what has happened in Ukraine is that if you defy the forcefully expressed objections of a great power to your actions, you do so at your peril, and the peril of those whom you purport to protect. Russia was provoked into what it did in Ukraine, which does not justify what it did in Ukraine. It was unjustified, but provoked. A similar possibility exists in the case of Taiwan.”
Ambassador Freeman does not expect China to act immediately, but to take some overt step and make certain demands, while preparing for military action, only to be taken when they are certain it will be successful. Many in China, but not all, now believe, he added, that any chance for a peaceful reunification is impossible.
There are many in Taiwan, including the business community which has massive presence and investments in the Mainland, who do not want a war, but they are not in power. The ruling Democratic Progressive Party wants independence and is being driven by the U.S. to go along with the provocation.
Ambassador Freeman emphasized that there is a huge cultural difference between China and the U.S., which is not understood in the U.S. China has 14 bordering countries and several just offshore, as well as the U.S. 7th Fleet constantly offshore, while the U.S. has two bordering countries and is isolated by the oceans. China has one-third the arable land area of the U.S. and four times the population, who must be fed. Chinese history is
“full of instances of mass death through starvation, political upheaval or foreign invasion. So the Chinese attitude toward their government is, they want a can-do government. They want a strong government that will take responsibility for maintaining order and ensuring the well-being of their families. In the United States, we have a margin of error that’s so large, we want a government that does nothing, or as little as possible. ‘That government is best, which governs least,’ said Thomas Jefferson. No Chinese would ever say such a thing.... I think it is understood in China that the United States has been uniquely blessed with resources, space, separation from the rest of the world by oceans, benign neighbors, only two of them with land borders. And the Chinese are well aware that they share none of these blessings. That causes a lot of misunderstanding between the two countries, and it causes some Americans to see China as anathema.”
Ambassador Freeman said the “decoupling” being pursued by the U.S. will do as much or more damage to the U.S. than to China. He is not optimistic that the nations of the world can be brought together for a New Bretton Woods, but points to the BRICS progress toward a new trading currency outside the dollar. If the Saudis agree to let oil be traded in non-dollar currencies, he believes, the dollar will collapse.