September 21, 2022


U.S. President Joe Biden said U.S forces would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion… Asked in a CBS 60 Minutes interview broadcast on Sunday whether U.S. forces would defend the democratically governed island claimed by China, he replied: ‘Yes, if in fact, there was an unprecedented attack.’…

“The United States has long stuck to a policy of ‘strategic ambiguity’ and not making clear whether it would respond militarily to an attack on Taiwan. Asked to comment, a White House spokesperson said U.S. policy towards Taiwan had not changed.” Reuters

Both sides agree that Biden’s statements appear to reflect a change in US policy towards Taiwan:

The president sets our foreign policy — not unnamed, unelected aides. And Biden has said, in no uncertain terms, that U.S. military forces will defend Taiwan if it is attacked. He has said it not once, not twice, not three times — but four times in the past year…

“The failure of Biden’s advisers to fall in line behind the commander in chief borders on insubordination. They keep telling him it’s not U.S. policy to defend Taiwan, and he keeps saying it is. Maybe they think he forgot? Or that he’s confused?… Biden won 306 electoral votes. His aides got zero. That means when he speaks definitively — four times — on a matter of U.S. policy, that is the new policy of our nation, and his advisers need to salute and carry out his orders.”
Marc A. Thiessen, Washington Post

“The Chinese leadership are far more sophisticated readers of US politics than they once were. But these are the recent signals from Washington: Just last month, Nancy Pelosi became the first House speaker to visit Taiwan in 25 years. (China’s military mobilization in response showed its increasing capacity to strangle the island in a blockade). Last week, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee advanced a $6.5 billion Taiwan military aid bill. Now Biden has reiterated his vow to defend Taiwan…

It certainly looks like the US has moved from ambiguity to deterrence. And while war is hopefully a distant prospect, no one has prepared the American people for the possibility of defending a democracy many time zones away. Or for the extraordinary consequences a military showdown would have in terms of economic meltdowns, interrupted supply chains and semi-conductor imports. Not to mention the possible cost in American blood even from a limited maritime skirmish. A US clash with China would make the reverberations of the war in Ukraine look like a sideshow.”
Stephen Collinson, CNN

Other opinions below.

See past issues

From the Right

From the Left

Get troll-free political news.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.