The fate of the remnants of international stability depends on the 82-year old woman
Oh, those charismatic old American ladies who can't stand being told what to do! The fate of international stability (or rather, what remains of it at the moment) now depends on one of them – 82-year-old Nancy Pelosi. You don't really understand who she is? Then get acquainted: in her youth, Madame Pelosi personally attended the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy, and now she works as the speaker of the US House of Representatives and is thus the number three person in the American state hierarchy. From the point of view of current Russian political customs, man number three is the same as man number three hundred thirty-three. Number one – the president of the country – ordered, number three readily saluted. But in America things are somewhat different. President Biden spent more than two hours on the phone with his Beijing counterpart Xi Jinping. But the fog that shrouded the relationship between China and the United States, this did not dispel. It all depends on the decision of the willful Nancy Pelosi. If she wants extreme sports and visits the island of Taiwan during her Asian tour – one deal. If she decides to “not make waves”, it’s completely different.
Anticipating Nancy Pelosi's decision, the Kremlin, through its spokesman Dmitry Peskov, expressed its full support for Beijing's position: they say that Madame Speaker should find another route for her political tourism. Putin's spokesman, in particular, said: “Of course, I agree. We respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China and believe that no country in the world should have the right to question this or take any steps of a inflammatory or other nature. And we are convinced that such behavior in the international arena can only cause additional tension.” Clear, precise, logical – and completely predictable. The probability that the Kremlin will say something fundamentally different on the issue of “one China” (the leadership of the island of Taiwan, as you know, is trying to become a “second China”) was not even zero, but went somewhere in the area of negative values. But, if we talk about Moscow's real position on the confrontation between Beijing and Washington, then here, if you use the stamp, “there are nuances.”
Calling relations between the Russian Federation and China, China and the USA, Russia and the USA a classic love triangle does not turn the tongue. There is no love in this triangle – no from the word at all. The lines of Moscow-Washington and Washington-Beijing relations are built, as you know, on rivalry of varying degrees of intensity. And the line of Moscow-Beijing relations is based not on mutual political love, but on bilateral pragmatism. But if love is completely absent in this political triangle, then such a familiar “companion of love” as jealousy is present in abundance.
The United States is trying to tear China away from Russia as much as possible. In Moscow, they are striving for the exact opposite. By provoking China, Nancy Pelosi is objectively playing to Russian interests. But the question is: is it beneficial for Moscow if this provocation is carried to its logical limit – if the American speaker fulfills his threat and still visits Taiwan? If this scenario is realized, then Beijing will be forced to do something. Otherwise, it is a loss of face, which is categorically unacceptable for Xi Jinping on the eve of his re-election (or, would it be more correct to say, reappointment?) to the post of supreme leader of the PRC. And this “something” cannot be reduced to another statement in the style of “we will not tolerate”. Such statements have already been more than enough. This time, the strong statement must be backed up by action showing that despite US support, “the Taiwanese separatists have no chance.” In other words, Beijing will either have to threaten the possibility of carrying out its “special operation” in the Taiwan Gulf (more likely), or even go ahead with such a “special operation” (extremely unlikely right now, but absolutely not excluded in the future).
So, is such an extreme scenario profitable for Moscow? I do not dare to give an answer to this question. On the one hand, it is somehow more fun to conduct special operations together (please forgive my cynicism), on the other hand, bringing the world closer to the threshold of the Third World War is not at all comme il faut. And the growing crisis in the world economy, which is inevitable in the event of an aggravation of the conflict between China and the United States, does not necessarily correspond to Russian interests. In short, “the topic has not yet been disclosed.” And I'm betting that Nancy Pelosi will still “hit the brakes” and not make her disclosure inevitable. But the notorious “Chekhov's gun” has already been brought to the stage of US-China relations. Even if it doesn't fire now, it will fire later in one way or another. Russia has something to think about – even against the background of the fact that Moscow already has plenty of its own reasons to think.