Washington – If the global power struggle between China and the US can be turned into a real military conflict, many experts and administration officials say, it is Taiwan’s fate.
Beijing has increased its military persecution in recent times, including 15 Chinese warplanes flying near its shores, to the rogue region. In reply, Biden Administration Officer Trying to calibrate a policy that protects a democratic, technology-rich island without provoking armed conflict that would be disastrous for all.
Under a long-standing – and famously firm – policy derived from America’s “one China” stance that supports Taiwan without independent recognition, the United States provides political and military support for Taiwan, But apparently the Chinese do not promise to defend against attack.
However, as China’s power and ambition increases, and Beijing assesses Washington as weak and distracted, there is an ongoing debate as to whether the United States needs to reduce the risk of a miscarriage with China on the island. A clear commitment to defense must be made. Leading unwanted warfare.
The debate reflects a core Foreign policy challenge seizes Biden administration As it formulates its comprehensive Asia strategy. At the White House, officials at the State Department and the Pentagon, which are reviewing their military posture in Asia, are reevaluating the fundamentals of US strategy for a new and more dangerous phase of competition with China.
US officials warn that China is becoming more capable of attacking island democracy About 24 million people, about 100 miles off the coast of mainland China, whose position Beijing has celebrated as Chinese nationalists retreated and formed the government there after the country’s 1949 communist revolution.
Last month, the Indo-Pacific region’s military commander, Edim Philip S. Davidson, reported that he sees as a risk that China may seek to recapture Taiwan within the next six years.
The US has long avoided saying how it would respond to such an attack. While Washington supports Taiwan with diplomatic contacts, arms sales, strong language, and even occasional military maneuvers, there is no guarantee. No statement, doctrine or security agreement compels the United States to come to the rescue of Taiwan. The 1979 congressional law stated that “any attempt to determine Taiwan’s future other than peaceful means” would be a matter of grave concern to the United States.
The result is known as “strategic ambiguity”, a careful balance intended to both provoke Beijing or refrain from entangling Taiwan in a formal declaration of independence that could lead to a Chinese invasion.
Biden administration officials, who are drafting their China policies, are paying particular attention to Taiwan, and are trying to determine whether strategic ambiguity is sufficient to protect the island from Beijing’s designs becoming increasingly vulnerable. is. But they also realize that Americans may adversely look at new, far-flung military commitments after two decades of bloody and costly conflict in the Middle East.
That is why Admiral Davidson barked last month, questioning the departure of the standard government message when he admitted in questioning that the policy should be “reconsidered”, “I look forward to the conversation.”
“I think there has been a change in people’s thinking,” Richard N., former director of policy planning at the State Department, under President George W. Bush and now chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations. Haas said. “What you’ve seen last year is an acceleration of concern in the United States about Taiwan.” He described a meaning that “this fragile situation that had been successfully managed or cunningly manifested for decades suddenly aroused the possibility that the era had ended.”
Mr. Haas helped to discuss the subject after it was published last year. Essay in the September issue of Foreign Affairs The magazine declared that strategic ambiguity “ran its course.”
“Haas wrote with his colleague David Sachs,” The time has come for the United States to bring a policy of strategic clarity: which makes it clear that the United States will respond to any Chinese force against Taiwan.
Mr. Haas and Mr. Sachs said that Chinese leader Xi Jinping was President Donald J. One can question America’s willingness to defend its alliances after four years under Trump, who went to prison against “endless wars” and the United States’ relationship and openly questioned security commitments. While more hawk-sounding, a clear pledge would be safe, he argued.
“Such a policy would reduce the chances of Chinese MissCall, the most likely catalyst for the war in the Taiwan Strait,” Mr. Haas and Mr. Sachs have written.
In recent months, the idea has been rolling out, including on Capitol Hill.
Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida has introduced a bill that would authorize the president to take military action to protect Taiwan against a Chinese attack – leaving America’s intentions unclear. When Mr. Haas testified before a House Foreign Relations Committee panel on Asia last month, he was confirmed with the question of how to stop the Chinese threat to Taiwan.
in Comment in february In an event organized by the Washington Post, Robert M. Gates, a former defense secretary and CIA director who served under the presidents of both parties, including Mr. Bush and Barack Obama, called Taiwan an aspect of the US-China relationship that concerns him. majority of.
Mr. Gates said that it “may be time to abandon our long-term strategy of strategic ambiguity towards Taiwan.”
Another unexpected follow-up to this notion, argued former Rep. Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat and a long pigeon on military issues, argued an opinion essay Based on human rights in The Hill newspaper last month, the US must guarantee that a thriving Asian democracy is “protected from forcible absorption into a human brutal regime that exemplifies fundamental human rights abuses.”
Mr Frank cited China’s “imperviousness to any other idea” as “protecting 23 million Taiwanese from losing their original rights” due to “emphasizing another view”.
Despite limited value in regional contexts, Taiwan has gained greater strategic importance in recent years as one of the world’s leading semi-manufacturers – the high-tech equivalent of oil in the emerging supercomputing showdown between the United States and China, Which has to be faced. Microchip supply shortage.
Those factors, combined, have offered the Biden administration to demonstrate support for Taiwan in what some experts call astonishing coercion.
When china Sent dozens of war planes On the Taiwan Strait a few days after Mr. Biden’s inauguration in January, the State Department issued a statement announcing America’s “rock solid” commitment to the island. Mr. Biden had raised the subject of Taiwan with Mr. Xi during his phone call in February, and Secretary Antony J. Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan Raised their concerns About the island during their meeting last month in Anchorage with two top Chinese officials.
“I think people are backward to say to China, ‘Don’t get me wrong – we strongly support Taiwan,” said Bonnie Glaeser, director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Ms Glaeser said she was surprised by the Biden team’s initial approach towards Taiwan, which has so far maintained the Trump administration’s enhanced political support for the island, with some critics calling it over-stimulating. He said Mr. Blinken had recently urged the President of Paraguay in a phone call to maintain his country’s formal relations with Taiwan despite pressure from Beijing and the US ambassador to Palau, an archipelago state in the Western Pacific, Recently joined a diplomatic delegation. From that country to Taiwan.
“It’s really outside of normal diplomatic practice,” Ms Glaeser said. “I think it was quite unexpected.”
But Ms. Glaeser does not support a more explicit US commitment to protect Taiwan. Like many other analysts and US officials, he fears that such a change in policy could provoke China.
“Perhaps Xi is then placed in a corner.” This could actually lead to the decision to invade China, ”he warned.
Others worry that a solid US security guarantee will force Taiwan’s leaders to formally declare independence – an act that may be symbolic, but given the island’s 70-plus years of autonomy A clear red line to Beijing will be crossed.
“Taiwan independence means war,” China Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said in January.
Some analysts say the Biden administration could manage to shut down without provoking China through more powerful warnings to prevent the lack of a clear promise to save Taiwan. US officials may also issue a private warning to Beijing that there is no danger of Mr Xi losing publicly.
Elbridge A., a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy and force development under Mr. Trump. “We need China to understand that we will come to protect Taiwan,” Colby said.
The United States has long provided military hardware to Taiwan, including Billions of dollars in arms sales Under the Trump administration, which had fighter jets and air-to-ground missiles that allow Taiwan planes to attack China. Such a device is meant to reduce the need for US intervention for Taiwan, which should come under attack.
But Mr. Colby and others say the United States should develop a more credible military detention to match recent advances by China’s military in the Pacific.
Mr. Trump’s National Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee last month that the current ambiguity was substantial.
“China should be given the message, ‘Hey, you can assume that the United States will not respond’ – but that was the assumption made in June of 1950, as well as when North Korea attacked South Korea,” Mr. McMaster said.