When 30 FBI agents showed up at Mar-a-Lago to cart off boxes of documents, it was an authorized, legitimate and justified procedure to retrieve national security secrets being illegally kept there.

Or it was an unprecedented regime raid on the home and office of the foremost political rival of President Joe Biden that called to mind a "Third World country," the East German "Stasi," the KGB or the Gestapo.

And Jan. 6, 2021?

That was a riot, a disgraceful breach of the Capitol, involving assaults on Capitol cops that deserved to be and are being punished.

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When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defied White House signals that she not stop in Taiwan on her valedictory tour of Asian capitals, she ignited the worst diplomatic U.S.-China row in decades.

And how did last week's collision turn out for the United States?

Writes The New York Times:

Speaker Pelosi's trip to Taiwan began with her "plane departing from Kuala Lumpur and heading southeast toward the Indonesian part of Borneo, then turning north to fly along the eastern part of the Philippines. A more direct -- and shorter -- route would have been to fly northeast in a direct route over the South China Sea to Taiwan."

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When a man knows he is about to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully, said Dr. Samuel Johnson.

If there is any benefit to be realized from the collision between China and the U.S. over Speaker Nancy Pelosi's proposed trip to Taiwan, it is this: America needs to reflect long and hard upon what it is we will fight China to defend in the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea.

China, after all, is a nuclear-weapons nation with a manufacturing base larger than our own, an economy equal to our own, a population four times ours and fleets of warships larger in number than the U.S. Navy.

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When Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi added to the itinerary of a valedictory trip through Asia the island of Taiwan, she could not have been oblivious to the reaction she would produce in a stunned Beijing.

Thus, when the Financial Times revealed that the speaker would be visiting Taiwan, which China regards as a breakaway province, an enraged Beijing took the Pelosi visit to be a deliberate U.S. provocation.

Beijing's reaction appears authentic and understandable.

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That friendly fist bump with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman might not have been such a defining moment -- had Biden not first set himself up.

During the 2020 campaign, Biden said that when he encounters the prince, he would treat him like the "pariah" he was for having authorized the murder and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

As for Biden's depiction of how he confronted MBS behind closed doors, the Saudis dispute his rendition, and many of his own countrymen disbelieve Biden.

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