When Chinese officials chased Nancy Pelosi out of Tiananmen Square 31 years ago, the incident launched a surprising foreign policy approach that has pitted her against presidents of both parties and at times aligned her with conservatives.
Now, she wants to bookend her career on the world stage with a trip to Taiwan — whether the White House likes it or not.
The speaker’s strong progressive stance on global affairs dates back to her tenure atop the House Intelligence Committee and the panel that controls the State Department’s budget. She voted against the 2002 Iraq war authorization, while her Senate counterpart Chuck Schumer supported it. But she has also talked tough when it comes to what she sees as a defense of democratic ideals and human rights, pushing the Obama administration to strike Syria after its government used chemical weapons in 2013.
Pelosi’s hawkish independent streak, though, is best encapsulated by a decadeslong antagonism of China that’s come to define her time in public service. In an interview this week, Pelosi said she views her goals in U.S. foreign policy as threefold: security, economic interests and “honoring our values.”
“If you cannot stand up for human rights in China because of commercial interests, you lose all moral authority to speak out for it in any place,” Pelosi said. [Continue reading…]