One way to view Mrs Nancy Pelosi's trip to Taiwan is as a bold assertion of principle. China has taken to bullying countries that maintain even the most innocent ties with the island, which it claims. Lithuania, population 2.6 million, has felt China's wrath for simply allowing Taiwan to open an office with an official-sounding name in Vilnius, its capital. Mrs Pelosi, the Speaker of America's House of Representatives, has been threatened, too. China says its army "will not sit idly by" if she visits Taiwan - something she has every right to do, and that Mr Newt Gingrich, her predecessor as Speaker, did in 1997. Perhaps her trip will inspire others to stand up to the bully.
Another view, though, is that the trip is a symptom of America's incoherent approach to China - the country's single most important opponent in the long run. If so, a trip designed to convey strength risks instead showing up the Biden administration's confusion and lack of purpose.