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American Taiwan policy makes no sense … especially in view of Afghanistan.

American Taiwan policy makes no sense … especially in view of Afghanistan.

In other commentaries, I have noted President Biden’s propensity to make strong or tough statements with little to no action in the aftermath.  In some cases, his statements were – as they say – “rolled back” after he said them.  You will recall how Biden had said that Russian President Putin had to be removed from office only to have the “White House” say that bootin’ Putin was NOT the position of the United States – but more of a “personal opinion” of a guy who just happens to be the President of the United States.

(Does it bother you as it does me that our nation’s policy is determined by nameless and faceless bureaucrats and not by the person we elected to be in charge of our national policy?  He can be wrong, but THEY are never wrong.  THEY have the last word.  But I digress.)

We have seen this occurrence several times with regards to American Taiwan policy.  At least four times, Biden has said emphatically, definitively, and without equivocation that if China were to invade Taiwan, the United States would send our military – boots on the ground – to defend the island.  He left no room for misinterpretation.  If Xi plays Putin and sends soldiers to invade Taiwan, they will be facing the mighty American military. Uh huh!

Given Biden’s track record for following through, I strongly doubt he would send a single platoon.  I suspect Chinese President Xi knows it – and so does the Taiwanese government.  In fact, Xi publicly warned Taiwan that they could not rely on Biden’s promise.  The people of Afghanistan have tragically experienced the emptiness of Biden’s tough talk.

Afghanistan and Taiwan are two VERY different situations – and based on the significant differences, one might assume that we would be more likely to intervene militarily in Ukraine than in Taiwan.

The big difference is that Ukraine is an independent nation that has internationally accepted borders (except for Putin, of course).   It is a member of the United NATIONS – in fact, a founding member.  It was a member during its days as a captive NATION of the old Soviet Union.  It is a member today.  (It  is noteworthy in view of Putin’s claims that the old Soviet leaders viewed Ukraine as a separate nation even as they fully occupied it.)

Conversely, Taiwan is not a member of the United Nations because it is not recognized as a NATION by the world community.  Officially, Taiwan was – and is – part of China.  That is how the world community sees it.  Only two countries have an embassy in Taipei.  The United States is not one of them.

For more than 50 years, America has operated under what is called a “One China Policy” – meaning that mainland China and Taiwan are one.  This is true even as America engages in trade with Taiwan, and sends military equipment for the defense of the island against the nation that America recognizes as the legal sovereign over Taiwan.  Taiwan, itself, has not declared itself independent from China – nor even nationhood.  And now Biden pledges to send American soldiers to die for a piece of world real estate we claim belongs to the nation that would invade?

Perhaps the British should have done the same when their lease of Hong Kong expired.  But they chose to hand that island community back over to Beijing in a formal ceremony.

Now ponder this.  Biden refuses to put boots on the ground in a sovereign nation that is an ally of the United States and a potential future member of NATO — Ukraine.  A nation that has been invaded by an indisputable enemy of the United States and the free world.  But when it comes to an island that the world – and the United States – recognizes as part of China’s sovereignty, he says he will definitely send in the troops.

When Biden assured Taiwan that he would send in troops to fight the Chinese several times, he was corrected by “the White House” and the State Department each and every time.  Who is in charge?

Biden has an impossible strategy – offering to use the American military to defend geography that officially belongs to China – the potential invader.  Does a nation really invade its own property?

Fortunately, China is not poised to invade Taiwan – so Biden can bluster all he likes.  And those mysterious “officials” can make him look like something other than the man in charge.  For a lot of reasons, I do not believe that China has any plan to invade Taiwan.

I see Biden’s tough talk regarding Taiwan as another gaffe.  It does no good for anyone to keep suggesting that China is about to invade — and that we will fight them.  We should at least wait until there are some obvious preparations to ring the alarm.

Having said all of the above, let me make one thing very clear.  I am all for the protection of Ukraine and Taiwan – and often opined that we should have won the war in Afghanistan.  I do not believe we are doing enough to defeat Putin and the real war in which he is currently engaged.  I think we should continue to supply weapons to Taiwan.  But I am inclined to do away with the One China policy if we really intend to fight to liberate Taiwan from China.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Charles

    Biden is a coward and a moron

  2. Tom

    Larry, just to be clear, Trump is the one who negotiated the abandonment of Afghanistan and then did not stick to plan. Biden inherited the Trump designed mess, and then made the mess more messy! Shame on you for conveniently skewing your post to not mention the mess Trump negotiated! Next, shame on you for not knowing your history. Ukraine is not a NATO member. Ukraine is a NATO partner country, which means that it cooperates closely with NATO but it is not covered by the security guarantee in the Alliance’s founding treaty. Errors in history for a person such as yourself that holds yourself in such high esteem for accuracy are unacceptable! Next, the USA operates under the policy called “H.R.2479 – Taiwan Relations Act” which includes “acknowledging” China’s view that Taiwan is part of one China. We only “acknowledged” their statement as existing, we did not “recognize” China’s view as a matter of policy. Your statement, “And now Biden pledges to send American soldiers to die for a piece of world real estate we claim belongs to the nation that would invade?” is dead wrong. WE NEVER CLAIMED TAIWAN BELONGS TO CHINA!!!! We simply “acknowledged China making that statement, we did not recognize that statement! You are being horribly inaccurate here! Next, you contradict yourself. In the beginning you claim Ukraine is a member of NATO then in the middle you say it is a “potential NATO member”. This is very shoddy! I expect better from you! Next, your statement, “But when it comes to an island that the world – and the United States – recognizes as part of China’s sovereignty, he says he will definitely send in the troops.” is horribly inaccurate! WE NEVER RECOGNIZED!!!! WE ACKNOWLEDGED that China made that statement and that is all. Please learn the nuances of diplomatic language before you attempt to write as an expert on it! Then you continue this horrible inaccuracy by saying, …”use the American military to defend geography that officially belongs to China” It is not recognized that Taiwan officially belongs to China because it does not!!! It is only recognized that China will represent Taiwan in world issues to the UN. Next, if you read the TRA of 1979, you will see that most of what Biden said was in accordance with the TRA. Also in the TRA is that the USA reserves the right to help Taiwan resist any takeover by coercion or force of any type. Lastly, in order to get rid of what you call the “One China Policy” this will require a revision of the TRA. Larry, sorry to scold you on this post but it is horribly inaccurate. Please consider reading the TRA and revising your post.

    • Joe Gilbertson

      No, Trump did not do that.

        • Pugster

          ALJAZERRA? You just slaughtered your credibility.

          • Joe Gilbertson

            Actually, Al Jazeera provides good reporting when they don’t need to be biased. Doesn’t hurt to check them.

          • Tom

            Actually not, but there are many articles that say the same thing. I picked that one because it had a video for Joe to make it easier on him. Here, try this one. It says the same thing!

            And so that all is fair, here is a site you can go to if you wish to know how news agencies are compared and how they rate to a standard and against each other. In the case of this article, since it includes a video clip of the general, it is fairly accurate. See

          • Tom

            I agree Joe. Before I posted, I checked three other US based articles. They all said the same thing. I just used the one I posted because it had a video.

          • frank stetson

            I agree about Al Jazeera too. Even provided less bias on US covid stories than the US media outlets.

        • larry Horist

          Tom … Trump did not follow through because the Taliban did not meet the conditions. Come on, man. Biden owns it.

          • Tom

            Actually Trump should have increased the troops (or at least not drawn them down) and stayed there until the Taliban met the conditions. But Trump made a timeline instead of a merit based system to determine when troops would leave. And he pulled troops out prematurely so he could meet a campaign problems. Come on, man, accept the truth that Trump did not do this, and he allowed the Taliban to show him “The Art of the Deal”, and so he is in error. Trump created the mess. Biden made it more messy.

    • larry Horist

      Tom. ;You are correct that Trump entered into an agreement with the Taliban — which I criticized. It was conditional and the Taliban did not meet the conditions so Trump let it slide. That was the right move. However, nothing that Trump did was binding on Biden. He owns the Afghan fiasco lock, stock and barrel.

      You are just dead wrong about America’s One China Policy. That is why it is called ONE china. That is also the policy of the rest of the world. Taiwan is not an independent nation … even Taipei has not declared independence from China. The One China Policy is not what I called it, it is the official policy of the US. Why do you think that Taiwan is not in the UN or any other international body as a nation … participates in the Olympics under China sponsorship. If it is not a nation … not INDPENDENT … what is it? Our policy supports the peaceful REUNIFICATION OF Taiwan and the Mainland. Before the invasion by Chiang Kai Shek, it was a province of China. Japan gave soverienghty over Taiwan to China in the 1952 peace treaty signed in Taipie. Nothing in international law or diplomacy has changed that status. It is a separation not a divorce. Beijing and Taipei are still officially married. Sorry Tom, but you are way wrong on this one.

      • Tom

        Larry, please read the TRA of 1979. It specifically states that the US will view ONE CHINA for diplomatic representation, not because it belongs to China. My criticism is based on your use of the word “recognizes” which is very dead wrong. The US only “acknowledged” that China made the statement and feels that way. Please check the diplomatic dictionary for the definition of the two words. Then you will see your error. In 1982 China tried to change the wording to “recognizes” and the US vehemently disagreed and stated to China that the wording is correct as is. Shouldn’t this tell you something?

        From we see the meaning of “Recognition”
        “Commonly used in connection with the recognition by one state of the existence of another state (for example when a new one is formed), or the existence of a government which is in effective control of a state.”

        According to the TRA, The USA does not agree that China is the government that controls Taiwan, that is why we stood so strongly against the word “recognizes”. Since Taiwan was not at the time a country, the US agreed with the need for China to represent Taiwan in world forum issues such as the UN. But we never agreed with China owning Taiwan or controlling it. Our position was that Taiwan was self governing and could stand on its own until peaceful reunification (end of their civil war conflict) could be achieved by mutual agreement of both China and Taiwan. The USA merely acknowledged the way China feels on the issue as having made the statement. Your statement attempts to change the diplomacy which we must be careful not to do. It could have international repercussions.

        Please remember that I am an unaffiliated independent voter who neither likes Biden or Trump. They both let us down. I simply seek the honest truth. Again, please read the TRA.

  3. Ben is back

    Yes Trump did that. And more.

    I never thought I’d see Taiwan and Afghanistan in the same passage. Nicely played, brilliant.

    • Tom

      LOL, I agree Ben. Larry did nicely play it and brilliantly entangled two topics, Taiwan and Afghanistan, which I do not feel are comparable in these regards. I liked your comment!

  4. frank stetson

    Hey, it’s midterms and Larry is digging deep into his fear n loathing bag dragging out all the Republican tropes and stereotypes he loves. He keeps complaining about us telling what he is thinking while missing the fact that we don’t believe he thinks…. :>)

    Then he calls you a stupid bastard for lodging a personal attack.

    It would be nice to have discussions, but they keep going for the slam instead of a volley.

    I am glad Boca is West Coast though.

    I do agree that Trump started this but Biden was on his own watch when he failed. I don’t agree that Trump just let it slide because the Afghan’s did not live up to their agreement. He ooooops it. US Presidents just don’t let things slide. Or at least they shouldn’t. How does that move the process forward. Likewise, Presidents don’t just have a do-over when they take office. It’s not as if it’s “here’s Biden, everything Trump is over…..” US Presidents attempt for world stability, adhering to past statements, treaties, agreements are part of that. The world would be a much more confused place if we followed Larry’s transfer of power opinions. So, of course Biden would look to conclude what Trump started, failed at, and forgot to tell anyone about….. (sound familiar). The fact he screwed the pooch though is all Biden, IMO.

    A nice portion of my family will be in Taiwan soon, hope they keep their shit together, looks like a nice trip.