Americans who believed that Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election meant that “the adults were back in charge” of U.S. foreign policy now have multiple reasons to question their conclusion. The administration has made several significant policy missteps. The chaotic withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, which caused a severe loss of confidence among the NATO allies in Washington’s continued leadership role, is only the most prominent case. Mishandling the sale of nuclear submarines to Australia so badly that longtime ally France erupted in anger, accused U.S. officials of “lying,” and temporarily recalled its ambassador from Washington, ranks a close second. The list also includes misidentifying an Afghan aid worker as a terrorist and then launching a fatal drone strike on him and his family. […]
Biden responded by stating, “We made a sacred commitment to Article Five that if in fact, anyone were to invade or take action against our NATO allies, we would respond.” The same alliance had been forged with Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, he added.
Biden’s last comment was a gross misstatement of U.S. policy. The United States has treaty obligations regarding the defense of fellow NATO members, Japan, and South Korea, but it has no obligation to Taiwan. Washington has only a vague commitment under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act to regard a PRC act of aggression against Taiwan as a serious “breach of the peace” of East Asia. There is no firm commitment to defend Taiwan from attack, and for better or worse, Washington has adhered to a policy of “strategic ambiguity” about its likely response for decades.
The next day, U.S. officials rushed to assure Beijing and other countries that U.S. policy on the ultra-sensitive Taiwan issue had not changed despite Biden’s comment. Again, however, the significant problem was the troubling disconnection between administration statements and the official U.S. position. Läs artikel