Guest Editorials, Opinion

McCarthy does it right in meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who doesn’t always speak for America, did so with moral clarity when he met visiting Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen last week along with a bipartisan group including the House’s No. 3 Democrat, Pete Aguilar, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, and praised “a successful democracy, thriving economy, and global leader in health and science.” Those words could’ve been spoken by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, McCarthy’s longtime partisan combatant (and fellow Californian). Both know that Taiwan is so many things mainland China is not, chief among them a stalwart U.S. ally and a place where genuine freedom thrives. 

These days, the unified support of the United States is crucial for the Asian island nation (population: 24 million, 169,000 active military personnel), as China (population: 1.4 billion, 2 million active military personnel) breathes down its neck with ever more heat. Beijing, refusing to acknowledge Taiwan’s independence, wants it “unified” with the mainland. Translation: Furthest-thing-from-democratic China wants to take over its smaller, democratic neighbor, like Russia is trying to do to Ukraine. 

So it was little surprise to hear the harrumphing from Beijing this week, with threats of retaliation if McCarthy dared to meet with Tsai: “We firmly oppose this and will take resolute countermeasures,” said the spokesman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office. He’s free to put those thoughts on TikTok and see if they go viral, but they’re not changing the position of what used to be called the Free World. 

China’s objectives are transparent: to squeeze the life out of Hong Kong, turning what was a vibrant and creative global city into a docile piece of economic machinery, and dominate Taiwan — to become an unrivaled and consolidated power that brooks no dissent. 

The United States, which is supposed to care about human rights and government of, by and for the people, should see those ambitions as contrary to its values — and use every ounce of soft power it has to stand with those standing in front of the Chinese tanks. President Biden has backbone; he’s got to exercise it. 

This editorial first appeared in the New York Daily News. This commentary should be considered another point of view and not necessarily the opinion or editorial policy of The Dominion Post.