WASHINGTON, DC, Dec 16 — Is the U.S. about to go to war with China over the independence of Taiwan? It might look that way, as the Communist Chinese super-power overtly threatens the island nation with warplane overflights. They’ve been at it for quite a while since President Biden took office, perhaps because Beijing sees the Biden administration as a weak sister. But Mr. Biden has said that America will help defend Taiwan in the event of a shooting war.
One can only question what the president told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in an October interview. He sounded pretty determined that the U.S. would, indeed, come to the aid of Taiwan. Cooper asked, “are you saying that the United States would come to Taiwan’s defense if … China attacked?” To which the president said: “Yes, we have a commitment to do that.”
In a separate CNN interview with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, she said she has “faith” that America would come to the rescue should China trigger a shooting war.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, speaking at a conference in California, said that the Chinese warplane incursions look “a lot like rehearsals” for war. Shortly after that, Secretary of State Antony Blinken seemed to minimize the potential of the U.S. going to war with China. He told Reuters: “We’re committed to helping Taiwan develop and maintain the capability to defend itself. Nobody wants to see this develop into a conflict in this region, so we’re going to do everything in our power to help prevent conflict and dial down the temperature whenever possible.”
Over the past several months, as the ruling Communist Chinese Party [CCP] continues its war-mongering Taiwan fly-overs grew more frequent and more aggressive, Congress has been kept busy considering a variety of bi-partisan laws that would make it easier to lend help should the Chinese Communist Party [CCP] attack. So far, none of them seem to call for the U.S. sending troops to help repel an attack on Taiwan, but some of them potentially infer a shoulder-to-shoulder defense if it becomes necessary.
As Newsweek put it just last month, “Pending in the Senate and House of Representatives of the 117th Congress are more than five dozen bills with the potential to boost Taiwan’s chances of maintaining deterrence across the Taiwan Strait and prolonging the status quo that has held for over seven decades. Many revolve around the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), the central piece of legislation guiding U.S.-Taiwan relations since 1979, also aiding Taiwan’s development of a credible self-defense capability over the years.”
Among the legislative initiatives is the Taiwan Defense Act [TDA], which was introduced in both houses of Congress in June. In a statement she issued when the bill was introduced, one of its sponsors, Representative Vicky Hartzler [R-MO], a member of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, had this to say: “It is paramount for the United States to do everything possible to combat the CCP’s threats towards Taiwan and its autonomy. As a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, I stand committed to supporting efforts such as the Taiwan Defense Act, which identifies our military capabilities against China, pushes back on their aggression, and stands up for freedom and liberty.”
It is interesting to note that the TDA, too, is vague, at best, when it comes to the notion of committing U.S. armed forces to defend Taiwan should the Communist Chinese Party decide to launch a strike on Taiwan. It doesn’t say we will, nor does it say we won’t. It’s called “strategic ambiguity.” Thus, China can only assume that they would face the U.S. if they attempted to invade. It also prevents Taiwan from thinking they should declare its independence. Taiwan may be self-governed, “but a formal declaration of independence would almost certainly trigger a crisis,” according to a report by NPR.
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