Biden’s Vow of US Military Response Over Taiwan

The president followed his remarks Monday by unveiling an Indo-Pacific trade pact designed to advance U.S. corporate interests and counter Chinese influence in the region.

U.S. President Joe Biden at the Department of Defense
in 2021. (DoD, Lisa Ferdinando)

By Kenny Stancil
Common Dreams
Critics of U.S. imperialism sounded the alarm Monday after President Joe Biden said that he would use military force in response to a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.

“That’s the commitment we made,” Biden said at a press conference held jointly with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during a visit to Tokyo, abandoning the “strategic ambiguity” that U.S. presidents have long maintained to obscure how far Washington would go to protect Taiwan, which China considers part of its territory.

“We agreed with the One China policy, we signed on to it,” said Biden, “but the idea that [Taiwan] can be taken by force … it’s just not appropriate.”

Biden has provided billions of dollars in weapons to help Ukraine stave off Russia’s ongoing military assault but refused to deploy U.S. troops for fear of triggering a direct confrontation between the world’s leading nuclear powers. However, he said Monday, the U.S. would go further on behalf of Taiwan.

“You didn’t want to get involved in the Ukraine conflict militarily for obvious reasons,” a reporter said to Biden. “Are you willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan if it comes to that?”

“Yes,” Biden responded tersely. The president argued that the need for the U.S. to intervene in Taiwan if China attacks the island is “even stronger” following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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As The New York Times reported:

“The White House quickly tried to deny that the president meant what he seemed to be saying. ‘As the president said, our policy has not changed,’ the White House said in a statement hurriedly sent to reporters. ‘He reiterated our One China Policy and our commitment to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. He also reiterated our commitment under the Taiwan Relations Act to provide Taiwan with the military means to defend itself.’ ” 

But Mr. Biden’s comments went beyond simply reiterating that the United States would provide Taiwan with arms, because the question was posed as a contrast to what he had done with Ukraine. The president made no effort to qualify what he intended when he agreed that he would ‘get involved militarily.'”

Map of the Taiwan Strait. (Wikimedia Commons)

“It is truly dangerous for the president to keep misstating U.S. policy toward Taiwan,” historian Stephen Wertheim, a senior fellow in the American Statecraft Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, wrote on social media. “How many more times will this happen?”

This is not the first time Biden has “ignored the practiced imprecision of his predecessors with regard to China and Taiwan,” the Times noted.

Last August, in an attempt to reassure allies following the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, Biden promised that “we would respond” if a fellow NATO member were attacked. “Same with Japan, same with South Korea, same with Taiwan,” he added.

However, the Times reported:

“Taiwan … has never been granted the same U.S. security guarantees as Japan, South Korea, or America’s NATO allies, and so the comment was seen as significant. Two months later, Mr. Biden was asked during a televised town hall if the United States would protect Taiwan from attack. ‘Yes, we have a commitment to do that,’ he said. That also set off a frantic scramble by the White House to walk back his remark by insisting that he was not changing longstanding policy.”

Biden’s remarks came just before he formally unveiled the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), a new 13-nation trade pact meant to advance U.S. corporate interests and counter Chinese influence in the region. Though it excludes Taiwan in a diplomatic nod to China, the IPEF has already been criticized by the Trade Justice Education Fund for partnering with countries that have “abysmal labor rights records.”

“Biden escalates tensions through a trade deal to secure U.S. interests in Asia and the Pacific and threatens U.S. military retaliation against China,” tweeted journalist Nick Estes. “The forever war continues.”

Kenny Stancil is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

This article is from  Common Dreams.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the people quoted and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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21 comments for “Biden’s Vow of US Military Response Over Taiwan

  1. lester
    May 25, 2022 at 20:57

    There are lots of independence movements around the world which are NOT “helped” by the US government. The Shans in Burma, for example. I’m sure they are all better off for being ignored by the US.

  2. lester
    May 25, 2022 at 19:48

    I hope the Japanese prime minister tells Biden and his advisers about Japan’s attempt to subdue China, 1931-45, and how futile it was.

  3. robert e williamson jr
    May 24, 2022 at 13:31

    Look everyone knew, or should have, the choosing the lesser of two evils was what we were getting with Biden.

    The deplorable democrats got what they wanted for sure, no challenge to the big money deciding who would be the democratic candidate. But at what price? None to the democrats who were successful in returning to business as usual.

    Truth is it seems to have made little difference. The slow-con engineered by all those billionaire donors is plodding ahead per usual. Why is it so many thought that a career Washington Democrat would make any difference? I don’t think the dems looked at it that way, anything to get rid of Trump. As could have been predicted the press among others would have none of it.

    I agonized as I watched Obama be hamstrung by the defense – intelligence – MICCIMAT – establishment. Not one bit surprised that Washington had their way with him. More of the same ole same ole bs.

    Regardless some things did change. The US hawks, those ZIO-Cons and defense billionaires simply could turn away from the horrors of war. Too much money in it. So Putin played Russian Roulette and seems to have given himself on hell of head ache.

    As we were warned China is closing the gap economically with the floundering U.S. whose economy has been ravished by the inflation caused by the Fed printing money like never before. Money printed to take up the lack of revenue that blowing up government owned war machine ordinance, equipment and man power. None of which can be sold for a profit to be taxed.

    Vietnam should have been a lesson, it clearly wasn’t. The Dog damned Covid -19 didn’t waste the 6 to 8 trillion dollars that caused the majority of money fighting these wars cost.

    Very interesting that not one person in DC seems to understand that the country would likely have had enough money to cover the cost that a virus cost us.

    Still no signs of intelligent life inside the beltway.

    Thanks CN

  4. Alan
    May 24, 2022 at 12:46

    So, did Biden let slip his inner wish or the actual strategic thinking of his inner circle? Either way, it is a bad sign. At the same time that this gaffe is in the news, the US is getting its butt kicked in the Ukraine proxy war with Russia. We know from recent history in Afghanistan that humiliating defeats are not a discouragement for the War Machine, so war with China could be in our future. Why is there no peace movement in the United States???

    • renate
      May 24, 2022 at 17:55

      Who knows what Biden means anyway? All we know about Biden is that he is belligerent, likes wars, and lies. He is the salesman for the MIC.

  5. Robert Emmett
    May 24, 2022 at 11:30

    Knot-king. Fit to be tied, from Slavic Castle spake. Not king, but knave – his own tone to savor as self-lickin’-ice-cream-cone of his favorite flavor – before he lays him down to sleep & prays the lord his soul to take.

    Drop the dopey grin & bunkum, Unc. Blink once for yea, twice for nay as one last kind favor – a warnin’ for where we’re headin’ –

    “…Lincoln County Road
    or Armageddon.”

    (from “Senor/Tales of Yankee Power”, B. Dylan)

    n.b. In political jargon, a self-licking ice cream cone is a self-perpetuating system that has no purpose other than to sustain itself. (Wiki.)

    • Phoebe
      May 25, 2022 at 03:36

      Let’s elect a self-licking ice cream cone from Delaware as president and we’ll see if it can avoid nuclear war.

      When is a knot not a knot? Just a thought.

      • Robert Emmett
        May 25, 2022 at 13:57

        Why, when it is a not or perhaps sometimes naught.

  6. Peter Loeb
    May 24, 2022 at 09:27


    Joe Biden won in 2020 because among other things he promised sweeping domestic changes. Constituencies
    traditional in the Democratic electorate flocked to support Biden. What we got was the Joe Biden who
    as Senator was a favorite of defense contractors. As defense spending advanced almost unchallenged
    domestic s[ending went nowhere fast. (Where is it now?) When the military supplement passed the
    US House of Representatives not a single Democrat opposed it. (It passed the Senate on a voice vote.)

    As inflation surges over the world and the United States in particular, one wonders what kind of case
    Democratic candidates will have against rising prices. Meanwhile the defense contractors themselves
    will have what William Hartung called “a banner year”.

    For a description of how the defense industry lobbies read William Hartung’s classic book,”Prophets of

  7. susan
    May 24, 2022 at 08:37

    Somebody needs to rein Biden in – he has lost all sense of reality! First Russia and now China? Get a grip dude!!

  8. Moi
    May 24, 2022 at 02:59

    Most of the world agrees that Taiwan is part of China. This has been official US policy for the last 50 years.

    Biden now says that a sovereign nation, a superpower at that, is not allowed to undertake military action on its own territory.

  9. George Philby
    May 23, 2022 at 20:11

    If you want another war
    Like the one you caused before,
    Criticize the Chinese every day.

    How will you finance your war?
    Just take money from the poor.
    Build more weapons: they’re the things that pay.

    There’s nothing wrong with our society.
    War crims are having a ball.
    There’s nothing wrong for the rich and the strong,
    But the weakest go to the wall.

  10. robert e williamson jr
    May 23, 2022 at 16:44

    Appears that all those warnings from students of critical thought were for naught.

    I am specifically referring to those practices employed by presidents, more correctly Imperial Presidents justified by lies that open the door to the next Imperial President to do what the hell every he wishes. SEE G H Bush, B Obama, D Trump and J Biden. BTW wiki Imperial Presidency don’t take my world for it.

    The “War President” the most dangerous of the Imperial presidents. I’m simply saying beware.

    Once R Reagan had his way with the truth this happened, that door was permanently, up till now, breached.

    Congress working in concert with these “men filled with zeal but little or no understanding” to paraphrase Justice Brandies. Turns out, apparently , all that zeal was fueled by greed and lust for power!

    Thanks CN

  11. May 23, 2022 at 16:39

    I have said it before, and I will say it again: risking potentially nuclear great power hostilities over the equivalent of Puerto Rico unilaterally seceding from the United States without a Washington-approved referendum and then being threatened with US military force as a result is the height of ridiculous folly!

    To be clear, I think that residents of Puerto Rico and Taiwan alike should be free to decide their own political destiny with or without the approval of the United States and China, respectively, but on a scale of priorities, avoiding a likely civilization-shattering cataclysm or even human extinction surely ranks higher.

    • lester
      May 25, 2022 at 20:49

      We are free to give away bits of our own country. We are not free to give away bits of other people’s countries.

  12. Jim Thomas
    May 23, 2022 at 16:06

    Is there no one in Washington who can shut this fool up? Perhaps a more basic question is whether there is anyone in Washington who has the sense to know that he needs to quit his war mongering incoherent blather.

  13. Rob Roy
    May 23, 2022 at 15:50

    Recently, NBC laid out the US plan to begin a hot war with China, complete with graphs. Not only that: An exact time was specified: 2027. Get ready, folks to watch the whole earth die.

    • May 23, 2022 at 16:38

      Gonzalo Lira has a video post describing what you just stated would happen in the coming months. It would start slowly with the MSM and sanctions and then escalate to military actions. The U.S. needs to find a proxy to fight its war with China. Who will the proxy be? Australia? Japan? South Korea? I guess we will see…

  14. Vera Gottlieb
    May 23, 2022 at 15:40

    The American way of doing things: violence and force. So what else is new? What an odious nation – a cancer onto our world.

    • Jim Thomas
      May 23, 2022 at 16:17

      This is what the US calls its “Rules-Based International Order”, a fancy name for one rule, consisting of two parts:

      Part 1 – The rest of the world must follow US orders;

      Part 2 – Those who fail to follow US orders will be destroyed.

      The US does not practice diplomacy. That is why we have clowns like Antony Blinken masquerading as the head “diplomat”. The US only practices thuggery, something a street thug could do just as well, or perhaps better, than the Ivy League pretenders in the State Department. There is no competent leadership in Washington, D.C.

    • May 23, 2022 at 16:41

      George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and possibly FDR would be shocked to see what the Republic has become…

      …a frigging Empire!

Comments are closed.