‘Strategic Ambiguity’ Too Confusing for Biden


Last week, Joe Biden said the United States would defend the island if it was attacked by mainland forces, contradicting a long-standing policy. The next day, while attending a summit meeting of Nato defence chiefs, US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin [in a face-saving operation] appeared to double down in supporting his boss’ statement.

And then, the day after that, the White House walked back on Biden’s statement, saying there was “no change” in Washington’s policy. Deja vu? Well, yes, Biden said the same thing in August, and the White House had to clarify that the old policy stayed.

What’s going on? Two possibilities: either Biden doesn’t know what he is talking about; or he actually does. The former would be a rich source for satire and comedy; the latter would be very scary because the South China Sea is already being turned into a powder keg. OK, the first possibility is also scary if the most powerful man in the world doesn’t know what he is doing. Alas, that wouldn’t be the first time the world has had to deal with that.

Confused, perhaps, by the belligerence of his own administration, Biden goes overboard about America’s defence commitment with Taiwan. In reality, Washington still prefers the status quo – exactly what the White House has clarified – rather than encouraging the island to move towards independence and risk an all-out war. It just wants to exploit the Taiwan issue as one of myriad areas of contention to confront China. But that requires a delicate balancing act and the US president periodically trips over. The elderly tend to lose their balance sometimes. [To say nothing of dementia patients.]

On the other hand, Biden may know exactly what he is doing. On paper, “one China” remains for Washington. But there is mounting evidence that the US is happy to encourage Taiwan to make its long-dreaded move, if still gradually, by stepping up its defence commitment to the island.

Strategic ambiguity originally had the goal of discouraging both unification by a mainland invasion and a unilateral declaration of independence by the island, hence the so-called status quo. Now, who knows where we are? With all the military hardware from the US and its allies moving in and out of the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait, Washington’s strategic intention doesn’t look so ambiguous any more.

Source: South China Morning Post

  1. Mark Vedder says

    The question of control of Taiwan by China is more economic than military. At a certain point, only the fossils in Taiwan will resist some kind of mutually beneficial teamwork. The issue on this side of the pond appears to be being run by counterpart fossils intent on maintaining a nonexistent geopolitical tension; great for the media dog-and-pony show, but meaningless in reality.

  2. ken says

    Biden goes overboard about America’s defence commitment with Taiwan.”

    If memory serves the Sino American Defense Agreement the US had,,, has expired but wouldn’t surprise me if the US would would without agreement.

    Assuming they kick out a third or more of Americas fighting forces I have no clue where they will get the manpower. America has little manufacturing ability and the covid lunatics firing those as well, I have no idea who will replace all the destroyed hardware.

    A wise man said when they trash the economy,,, as they have everywhere,,, they take you to war.

  3. aardvark-gnosis says

    Pry tell, Pre war insanity, just like the British that sucked in the USofA when they said they would protect Poland from Germany pree WWII… another giant ClusterF**K… The early forefathers were correct to stay out of foreign wars and affairs that can put our country in danger…

  4. Godfree Roberts says

    Says Michael Brenner, “The above behavior is not normal; it is pathological. It speaks of the disengagement from reality and is exceedingly dangerous, since it disregards the actual attitudes and actions of others in the relentless effort to project onto them caricatured images, simplified conceptions of who they are and how they can be manipulated suited to the crude script we authored. Information from without, and the understanding that it encourages, are filtered and excluded whenever inconvenient. Instead, it is the introverted world of self-delusion alone that sources our distorted cognitive maps”.

  5. Ra-Horkhute says

    “Hello!” is too confusing for Biden.

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