President Joe Biden said Monday that the United States would intervene militarily if China attempts to take Taiwan by force, a warning that appeared to deviate from the deliberate ambiguity traditionally held by Washington.
The White House quickly downplayed the comments, saying they don’t reflect a change in US policy. It’s the third time in recent months – including during a CNN town hall in October – that Biden has said the US would protect Taiwan from a Chinese attack, only to have the White House walk back those remarks.
During a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo, Biden was asked if the US would be willing to go further to help Taiwan in the event of an invasion than it did with Ukraine.
First concern, I am not convinced that this is good policy. Our historic commitment to Taiwan is important and has been a stabilizer in the region for almost 70 years. If we do not defend Taiwan, then we are likely to see Japan and Korea rapidly rearm since they can’t rely on American support against a Chinese threat. This could lead to a much wider conflict. But there are a lot of layers of supporting Taiwan before we get to committing American lives to their defense.
Second concern, is anyone else concerned by the statement, “It’s the third time in recent months… that Biden has said the US would protect Taiwan from a Chinese attack, only to have the White House walk back those remarks.” If the president does not set foreign policy, who is? Why is the “White House” (read: nameless functionaries) determining our nation’s foreign policy instead of the president?