Defending Taiwan: Part Two.
A divided Biden Administration stumbles toward war.
This is part two of a two-part series. Part one is here.
Having committed the United States to the defense of Taiwan, a series of questions arise from the President’s statement. Among them, the top two are: is the President in fact making policy; and can the United States make good on the President’s commitment? A third question emerges from these two, which is whether the President’s commitment is a stabilizing or destabilizing phenomenon — in other words, whether he has made a U.S.-China war over Taiwan more or less likely.
The question as to whether the President is making policy with explicit policy statements would be a preposterous one in nearly any other era of American history and governance. The President is invested with powers approaching that of the Papacy speaking ex cathedra in national-security affairs, and so a Presidential statement that the United States will defend a given spot in the world is, ordinarily, sufficiently definitive. This is especially so when the Presidential statement in question — that the United States will defend Taiwan — has been given three times, most recently yesterday. But what is ordinary any other time is not now. Nearly as soon as the President spoke, the usual suspects of Executive-Branch officialdom were scurrying to press to “clarify” and undermine the elected representative of the whole people of the United States.