Nancy pelosi

Nancy Pelosi knows how much Taiwan matters

In the coming hours, Nancy Pelosi is expected to arrive in Taiwan. The plane that is thought to be carrying her is approaching the island from the east to avoid the Taiwan Strait and any attempt by the Chinese to fly close to her. As Speaker of the House of Representatives, she will be the most senior US figure to visit Taipei this century. The economic effects of a Taiwan invasion would dwarf those of the Russian invasion of Ukraine Beijing is furious about Pelosi’s decision to go. It has warned that its military ‘won’t sit idly by’ if she does touch down and is planning various displays of military

Is the US thinking straight about Taiwan?

As the Tory leadership candidates tussle over China, it is well worth reading this essay by the US strategist Hal Brands, who says that contrary to the common perception, the first world war did not happen by accident. Rather it was a product of ‘a determined but anxious Germany… willing to take risks to achieve goals it could not attain through peaceful means.’ The obvious parallel today is with China. It is a peaking power and it may well choose to take risks sooner rather than later. The US, at the moment, is in danger of sending the wrong signals. Last week’s suggestion that Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House,

Bono’s ‘poem’ was an insult to the craft of verse

Poet’, said Robert Frost, ‘is a praise-word’. So it is. That explains in part the unabashed delight with which Colm Tóibín, speaking in our current Book Club podcast, talks about publishing his fine first poetry collection Vinegar Hill – decades of international acclaim as a novelist notwithstanding. Poetry is a high-status artform, perhaps the highest. Yet unlike most other artforms, very many people seem to think of it as something that anyone can do. You wouldn’t expect to be able to write a symphony, or build a suspension bridge, or win Wimbledon, without many years of apprenticeship and intimate attention to the work of those who have excelled in those

Biden is losing America

Plummeting polls are sending a clear message to the Biden administration, but the President is deaf, dumb and blind to it. And it’s not just the polls. Take congressional retirements. Democrats who chair congressional committees, reading the grim poll numbers, figure life will be a lot more comfortable as highly paid lobbyists than as powerless minority members. They are retiring in droves. Historically, retirements by well-informed insiders are strong predictors of the next House majority. Local elections are sending the same message. They tell Democrats they have moved too far left and that voters’ quality of life is suffering. Voters are especially troubled by inflation, Covid and crime. They are