So much for China owning Biden. MAGAs need a new meme.
This morning CNN did a story on Biden’s answer to a question posed to him in Japan. A reporter said that the United States chose to “not get involved militarily in Ukraine” and then went on to ask if the United States is willing to get involved “militarily” to defend Taiwan if China attacked. Biden was likely leaning on decades of experience when he said, “Yes, that’s the commitment we’ve made.” Biden went on to say that China cannot be allowed to destabilize the region by simply attacking a country by force.
The comment took Biden’s aides in the White House by surprise, even though this is the second time this has happened, and White House aides have already started to walk back the comment, saying that American policy hasn’t changed. Biden never said it had.
American policy has been called “strategic ambiguity” in its promise to provide help in defending Taiwan. Biden’s comments in Japan were very strong and yet also very ambiguous. It is also critical to note that Biden didn’t reject the “One China Policy” where the U.S. recognizes that Taiwan is historically Chinese but it must be peacefully reunited, which includes the willingness of the Taiwanese government. It’s the uneasy structure that has served Taiwan and the U.S. well for over fifty years.
But China is far stronger now than it was fifty years ago when it was mostly a poor, rural country, and that’s what makes Biden’s answer brilliant and experienced. It is “surprisingly strong” and yet he didn’t give anything away.
The reporter is the one who declared that the United States has not gotten involved “militarily” in Ukraine and then asked about Taiwan. If pressed on this issue, Biden and his White House can (and likely will) respond with, “We are militarily involved in Ukraine. We have sent billions of dollars of weapons and provided other aid. We do not have U.S. troops on the ground. but we are involved and the United States would absolutely be involved militarily in some way in Taiwan.”
There you go, firm but very ambiguous. Additionally, Biden surely wanted to send a message to Putin as much as China. “You don’t know what we’re doing.” This is 2022. Suppose a United States military satellite finds a key Russian leadership encampment or the pride of the Russian Navy in the Black Sea, the Moskva, and feeds the GPS coordinates into an American-made weapon held by Ukrainian hands. In that case, it’s pretty damned ambiguous as to whether the United States is responding militarily.
Now, we don’t know the level of U.S. involvement because no one outside the military-intelligence structure knows the precise level of involvement. But, as said, this is 2022, and wars are fought as much from computers and satellites as troops on the ground. It would be fairly naive to think that the United States is not feeding intelligence to Ukraine, which could be at least as valuable as 25,000 American troops.
The pride of the Russian Black Sea fleet is now at the bottom of that Black Sea, and a shocking number of Russian generals are dead. Is it Ukraine’s luck? Smarts? Or was it a combination of Ukraine’s bravery and intelligence working with U.S. intelligence? No one knows, including Putin and, most important in this context, including China.
No, the United States has not changed its policy. Biden is just that savvy and experienced. Plus, it is a little tougher to MAGA the “Chi-Com Puppet” meme this morning. MAGA that.
Video of President Biden:
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