Make Kitco Your Homepage

U.S.-China relations will continue to worsen; Pelosi’s Taiwan visit is a political move for midterm elections – Matt Gertken

Kitco News

Relations between China and the U.S. have not been as strong as they have been prior to 2008, and will continue to get worse, said Matt Gertken, Chief Strategist, Geopolitical Strategy and US Political Strategy of BCA Research.

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

“Over the past roughly eight to ten years, we’ve seen the U.S. and China no longer engaging the way they did between 1972 and 2008,” said Gertken. “That’s going to continue. We’re not engaging, we’re disengaging our economies.”

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

Gertken stated, “basically, the U.S. says [to China], ‘you cannot attack Taiwan and try to unify that way. Of course, China says they can. And ultimately, in terms of capabilities, that’s a game of chicken that China will win.”

Gertken spoke with David Lin, Anchor and Producer at Kitco News.

Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan

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

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

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

He added that the U.S. felt the need to “increase deterrents around Taiwan” to prevent China from attacking the island country, causing “a situation similar to Ukraine.”

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

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

A Thucydides Trap?

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 U.S. will enter a kinetic conflict.

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

“South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, and probably the Philippines are economies that are going to continue to be upset by political vacillations within, as their countries try to balance, and also proxy wars,” he said.

However, Gertken said that he did not foresee any kind of conflict occurring within the next few years.

“We have midterm elections in November, in Taiwan as well as the U.S.,” 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 these elections before deciding to do something as risky as invading Taiwan… I think that the status quo will be maintained for at least the next couple of years.”

To find out Gertken’s views on the Inflation Reduction Act, watch the video above.

Follow David Lin on Twitter: @davidlin_TV (

Follow Kitco News on Twitter: @KitcoNewsNOW (

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Kitco Metals Inc. The author has made every effort to ensure accuracy of information provided; however, neither Kitco Metals Inc. nor the author can guarantee such accuracy. This article is strictly for informational purposes only. It is not a solicitation to make any exchange in commodities, securities or other financial instruments. Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.