It shouldn’t have taken courage to do what Nancy Pelosi did. Touching down in Taiwan, one of America’s key trading partners in the Pacific, as part of her swing through East Asia is justified on its merits. And yet, given the apoplexy her decision inspired among influential figures across the American political spectrum, Pelosi’s visit was commendably brave.

Almost from the moment the rumor began to circulate that Pelosi would make an appearance in Taipei, Chinese officials furiously pounded the table. “If the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives knowingly commits a sneaky visit to Taiwan, it will be a malicious provocation to China’s sovereignty,” the People’s Republic’s foreign minister declared. This “extremely dangerous” move would have profound consequences, and China would respond “resolutely.” Well, Pelosi went.

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