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Max Baucus, United States ambassador to China during the Obama administration, offered sobering analysis of President Joe Biden on Wednesday after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan.
Pelosi became on Tuesday the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Taiwan in more than 25 years. She made the trip against the advice of the U.S. government and in defiance of China.
What did Baucus say?
Speaking with CNN host Jake Tapper, Baucus condemned Pelosi for her Taiwan excursion and explained how it makes Biden look bad.
"The deeper problem here really is that the visit by the speaker is really pushing America moratorium recognizing [Taiwan] as an independent country. That's a big problem here," Baucus said.
But, according to Baucus, Pelosi gets a "free pass" because she is not the president, and thus she does not "have to worry about conducting foreign policy worldwide." However for Biden, who is tasked with carrying out American foreign policy, he gets no free pass.
"Poor Joe Biden," Baucus declared. "He looks weak because he either told her not to go — and it looks weak in the Chinese eyes — or he's weak because he told her not to go, and she went anyway. And that makes us look a little bit weak to the Chinese."
Such weakness is a particular problem because the Chinese are experts in recognizing and exploiting weakness, Baucus explained.
"During the time I was serving in Beijing, one thing I really learned: Chinese understand strength better than do people in any other country, and they could smell a weakness a hundred miles away," he said. "We've got to be strong, but strong in the best sense. That really means where they respect us, not where we take silly actions like what the speaker just took."
\u201c"It's unnecessary and, in fact, I think it is irresponsible." Former U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan\u201d— The Lead CNN (@The Lead CNN) 1659482570
Unfortunately, Baucus predicted there will be "consequences" for Pelosi's visit.
"I hope they're not great, but I worry they might be," he said.
What did China say?
The Chinese Foreign Ministry released a lengthy statement on Tuesday that fiercely condemned Pelosi's visit.
"The United States, for its part, has been attempting to use Taiwan to contain China. It constantly distorts, obscures and hollows out the one-China principle, steps up its official exchanges with Taiwan, and emboldens 'Taiwan independence' separatist activities," the statement said, in part.
"These moves, like playing with fire, are extremely dangerous," the statement added. "Those who play with fire will perish by it."
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Chris Enloe is a staff writer for Blaze News