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.