Andriy Blokhin -
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A fundamental aspect of politics is that domestic events impact international ones and the reverse. This month we have witnessed two events that appear to capture this truism.

The visit to Taiwan by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Aug. 3 received considerable attention and triggered a major reaction from China. In the latest of the many public threats directed against Taiwan, China’s ambassador to Australia Xiao Qian warned that China will use all means necessary to compel the unification of Taiwan and China. This message has been repeated by the new white paper, “The Taiwan Question and China’s Reunification in the New Era,” by Chinese diplomats and media, but without the effect Beijing desires.

Nevertheless, there is no doubt that Taiwan’s independence will remain a flashpoint in Sino-American relations and a threat to stability in the Indo-Pacific.

Half a world away, and not quite a week later, the Aug. 8 FBI search of former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence was another significant event. This seemingly wholly domestic event could have major international consequences for America’s global interests, its allies and partners, and its enemy, China.

The U.S. is a valuable ally for three reasons. First, because of its power — it possesses the military, diplomatic and economic might to advance the interests of allies and partners for security and prosperity.

Second, the U.S. is respected and prized as an ally because of the health of its political system. Global allies and partners understand this is a major reason that America has been a reliable ally since it entered World War II in 1941. To be sure, at times of domestic political turmoil, U.S. credibility has waned — such as when Richard Nixon’s fall because of Watergate emboldened China to seize the Paracel Islands from South Vietnam in 1974, and a year later for North Vietnam to conquer South Vietnam without fear of U.S. intervention to save Saigon.

The “fear of another Vietnam war” hindered also the U.S. response to the Angolan civil war, which began in 1975; to the Iranian Revolution and Somoza’s overthrow in Nicaragua in 1979; and to the expansion of Soviet and Soviet Bloc power in the Third World. In the 1980s, this fear also weakened Washington’s ability to support insurgents fighting Soviet-supported regimes.

Third, the U.S. stands as an example to the world because of its ideology and political culture.  The Washington Consensus model of democratic governance, free-market capitalism, and low levels of political and economic corruption serves as a template for developing states to follow, unites allied governments, and distinguishes the U.S. from its adversaries. Washington’s model for the world demonstrates that states can be democratic, prosperous and stable. All of this provides better allies for the U.S. and better protection for human rights.

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