US-China relations will continue to worsen; Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan is a political move for the midterm elections, Matt Gertken

Relations between China and the United States have not been as strong as they were before 2008 and will continue to worsen, said Matt Gertken, chief strategist, geopolitical strategy and US political strategy at BCA Research.

His comments come after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan. During her trip, Pelosi publicly stated that Taiwan is an independent nation, which China disputes. Beijing claims Taiwan is a rogue province of China.

“Over the last eight or 10 years, we’ve seen the United States and China no longer engage as they did between 1972 and 2008,” Gertken said. “This will continue. We are not compromising, we are delinking our economies.”

He added that China and the United States could end up fighting each other through “proxy wars” over regions such as Vietnam and Taiwan. The United States has a defensive arms agreement with the latter.

Gertken stated, “Basically, they say the US [to China]”you can’t attack Taiwan and try to unify like that. Of course, China says yes. And ultimately, in terms of capabilities, this is a game of chicken that China will win.”

Gertken spoke with David Lin, anchor and producer of Kitco News.

Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan

Pelosi defended her trip to Taiwan on Tuesday, saying China’s President Xi Jingping “acts like a bully” and “has his own insecurities.”

Gertken claimed the Biden administration had signed off on Pelosi’s trip.

“The United States military helped escort and provide Pelosi’s ride,” he explained. “So it’s clear that the White House was involved and coordinated this trip.”

He added that the United States felt the need to “increase deterrence measures around Taiwan” to prevent China from attacking the island nation, leading to “a Ukraine-like situation.”

The timing of Pelosi’s trip precedes the U.S. midterm elections in November, suggesting political calculations surrounding her visit.

“The Biden administration is willing to take foreign policy risks, because it can get some wins that will help the Democratic Party in the midterms or, if there’s a crisis event, Americans will rally around the flag and this will also help the Democratic Party.” he explained.

A trap of Thucydides?

Harvard political scientist Graham Allison coined the term “Thucydides trap” to refer to a situation in which a rising power challenges an established and dominant power, resulting in war between the two nations. Allison used 16 historical case studies to support his claim.

Allison’s theory is used to suggest that China, a rising power, and the US will enter into a kinetic conflict.

Although Gertken agreed with Allison’s hypothesis, he suggested that the conflict would manifest itself in the form of “power wars”.

“South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and probably the Philippines are economies that will continue to be troubled by domestic political vacillations as their countries try to balance themselves, and also power wars,” he said.

However, Gertken said he does not foresee any kind of conflict in the coming years.

“We have mid-term elections in November, in Taiwan and in the US,” he said. “We also have a presidential election in 2024, so from China’s point of view, it would make sense to see the outcome of that election before deciding to do something as risky as invading Taiwan… I think the status quo will remain for at least the next two years.”

For Gertken’s thoughts on the Inflation Reduction Act, watch the video above.

Follow David Lin on Twitter: @davidlin_TV (

Follow Kitco News on Twitter: @KitcoNewsNOW (

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