A major policy shift in the offing? Anybody’s guess.
With President Joe Biden so easily giving up the ghost in Afghanistan, all kinds of questions have been raised about which country will we betray next?
At the head of the list is Taiwan, the independent island nation a few miles off the coast of China that the Chinese Communist Party claims as its own. The CCP has ramped up the the-island-is-ours rhetoric, and combined with its moves against Hong Kong, the fortification of China Sea islands and other aggressive moves, the threats need to be taken seriously.
Taiwan’s relationship with the mainland regime and the United States is complicated, going back to the 1950s when the CCP won the civil war with the independent forces that, some say, were likewise betrayed by the United States.
Chiang Kai-shek and his Chinese Nationalist Party forces fled to Taiwan to escape Mao Zedong’s Communist army. In return, the CCP constantly shelled Quemoy and Matsu, fortified CNP islands a few miles off the coast of the mainland. (It was a major issue during the Kennedy-Nixon election, Kennedy said the CCP should abandoned the islands; Nixon wanted them defended.)
Asked during an ABC interview on Thursday, Biden seemed to say that the U.S. absolutely would defend Taiwan. He pronounced:
They are … entities we’ve made agreements with based on not a civil war they’re having on that island or in South Korea, but on an agreement where they have a unity government that, in fact, is trying to keep bad guys from doing bad things to them.
We have made — kept every commitment. We made a sacred commitment to Article 5 that if in fact anyone were to invade or take action against our NATO allies, we would respond. Same with Japan, same with South Korea, same with – Taiwan. It’s not even comparable to talk about that.
Turns out that Biden’s position is a “deviation” for long-standing policy of “strategic ambiguity.” An unnamed State Department official said U.S. “policy with regard to Taiwan has not changed.” Biden had misspoken said “analysts.” Let ’em guess if we’d defend Taiwan is the plain language policy.
“Strategic ambiguity” has been the policy since the United States recognized the communist mainland in 1979 as the legitimate China, abandoning its pledge to defend the Taiwan government. It was, in effect, a genuflection to the communists.
To unwind the complexities I recommend reading “U.S. position on Taiwan remains unchanged despite Biden comment, official says,” from CNBC.
The one thing that is clear: It’s ambiguous. Wish us luck.To subscribe to the Barbershop and be notified when I post, type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.