House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. © Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Newly appointed Republican speaker of the US House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy is reportedly preparing for a visit to Taiwan. The news should not surprise anybody.

Beholden to his party’s right wing, which blocked his election 15 times, and a scathing opponent of China, it is to be expected that McCarthy is both out to make life as difficult as possible for the Biden administration and to derail any stability in Washington’s relations with Beijing, pushing for further hawkishness where possible.

In anticipation of this visit, the Pentagon is making contingency plans already. When Nancy Pelosi controversially visited Taiwan in August, it generated a crisis as China responded with fierce military exercises, raising alarm about a potential war brewing between the US and China over the island’s fate. Of course, there is nothing the Republican Party in particular would like to do more than to steer US-China ties towards conflict in the bid to introduce even more hard-line policies against Beijing and to intensify an already emerging cold war.

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