Larry Horist | Nov 18, 2022 | 52
Biden Commits the U.S. to Defend Taiwan – Good Idea or Not?
Joe Biden announced that he would defend Taiwan if militarily invaded by China.
“Are you willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan if it comes to that?” Biden was asked.
“Yes,” Biden responded. “That’s the commitment we made. Look, here’s the situation. We agree with the one China policy… but the idea that to be taken by force, just taken by force, is just not appropriate. It will dislocate the entire region and be another action similar to what happened in Ukraine.”
His administration is saying that this is not a new policy. But it is. In fact, China may view this as a declaration of war. Or they may view it as a sign of senility, as happened when he declared his goal was regime change in Russia (i.e. removing the legitimate government of a sovereign nation, i.e. war).
On one hand, I favor this. Our policy with China in the past has been to tippy-toe around China and tolerate their tantrums whenever someone trades with, assists or even mentions Taiwan as an independent state. It was time to move on from this policy, and Trump or Obama should have made more moves in this direction.
This is a bold move by the Biden Administration, a move they desperately needed to shore up their international image, having abandoned our allies in Afghanistan, having screwed up any opportunity to prevent the Russian invasion of Ukraine or support Ukraine’s defense and having no strategy whatsoever to deal with a soon-to-be-nuclear Iran.
This is a disruption to China’s intended hegemony in the region, and it lets other countries know that the U.S. still has an interest in the area.
On the other hand, what has Biden gotten us into? China has seen continuous weakness and ineptness from this Administration. If there is any inkling of backing down from this commitment, China will strike and take Taiwan. It might be neat and clean or it might be long and drawn out, but China does not care. The rhetoric from China, and everything we have seen from their leadership, says that once begun, the commitment to an invasion of Taiwan would be a total. Biden is betting that our commitment to defend Taiwan would be more likely to prevent that invasion.
It means that we must have assets in the area within reach of Taiwan all of the time. I like this idea under most circumstances, I believe that China is our biggest threat. The question is whether the Biden Administration has the fortitude to keep this up. After all, he is considering relieving Trump era tariffs on China just for the political expediency of a small effect on domestic inflation.
Additionally, Biden will have to contend with a Republican Congress next year. While I’m confident that the Republicans will be more hawkish than the current Congress, the political games will make things messy.
On a third hand (for those of you with three), maybe this was an accidental gaffe and the Administration will walk it back. For once, I am hoping that Biden sticks to his guns.