Much is being made of President Biden’s remarks regarding Taiwan yesterday. From Reuters:
BALTIMORE, Oct 21 (Reuters) – The United States would come to Taiwan’s defense and has a commitment to defend the island China claims as its own, U.S. President Joe Biden said on Thursday, though the White House said later there was no change in policy towards the island.
“Yes, we have a commitment to do that,” Biden said at a CNN town hall when asked if the United States would come to the defense of Taiwan, which has complained of mounting military and political pressure from Beijing to accept Chinese sovereignty.
While Washington is required by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, it has long followed a policy of “strategic ambiguity” on whether it would intervene militarily to protect Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack.
On the one hand that would appear to be a change in U. S. policy, away from “strategic ambiguity”. On the other hand it’s almost verbatim what President Bush said back in 2001. I thought it was imprudent then and I think that strategic ambiguity was a better policy. But I think we can now pronounce the policy officially dead.
Things are different than they were in 2001. China is assuming a “near peer” status, some would even say their forces are superior to ours. Why poke the bear? I can only speculate that President Biden sees some need to reassure Taiwan. I’m unconvinced that’s the right policy.