Is it a weird new tactic in “strategic ambiguity” to have different parts of the administration saying completely different things in totally unambiguous ways? asks Caitlin Johnstone.
By Caitlin Johnstone
The president of the United States has once again committed the U.S. military to direct hot war with China in the event of an attack on Taiwan, a commitment that was once again walked back by his White House handlers.
In a Sunday 60 Minutes interview, Biden was asked point-blank by CBS News’ Scott Pelley if U.S. forces would defend Taiwan from an attack by the mainland.
“Yes, if in fact there was an unprecedented attack,” Biden said.
“After our interview a White House official told us U.S. policy has not changed,” Pelly narrates after the comment. “Officially, the U.S. will not say whether American forces would defend Taiwan. But the commander-in-chief had a view of his own.”
“So unlike Ukraine, to be clear, sir, U.S. forces, U.S. men and women would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion?” Pelley asked.
“Yes,” Biden replied.
This is by my count the fourth time the U.S. president has made such remarks in transgression of his government’s standing policy of “strategic ambiguity” on this issue only to have them walked back by administration staff.
This past May Biden said “yes” when asked by the press if the U.S. would defend Taiwan militarily in the event of a Chinese invasion, adding, “That’s the commitment we made.” A White House official later stated that the president’s comments did not reflect a change in U.S. policy.
At a CNN forum in October of last year Biden responded in the affirmative when asked by an audience member if the U.S. would intervene to defend Taiwan, and said “Yes, we have a commitment” when asked to clarify if he meant intervening against an attack from China. Again, the White House quickly clarified that “there is no change in our policy.”
Donate to CN’s 2022 Fall Fund Drive
In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in August of last year Biden implied that the U.S. would defend Taiwan as it would a NATO ally, saying that the U.S. has “kept every commitment… same with Taiwan” when asked if China might be emboldened to attack the island by the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan. Again a senior administration official told the press, “Our policy with regard to Taiwan has not changed.”
(It is worth noting at this time that Biden’s repeated assertion that the U.S. has a “commitment” to defend Taiwan militarily is objectively false; that hasn’t been the case for over 40 years.)
I’ve listed these statements in reverse chronological order, and you can see they get more vague the earlier they are. Now you’ve got the president clearly and explicitly saying that he will send U.S. troops to kill and be killed in a direct hot war with China to defend Taiwan.
The White House says official US policy hasn't changed on Taiwan, but it doesn't matter. Biden's made clear this is his policy, and whether he would follow through or not, that's the message that's been conveyed to China. This isn't dementia, it's deliberate. https://t.co/Lg5ZpTqieF
— Dave DeCamp (@DecampDave) September 19, 2022
I don’t know why the U.S. president keeps verbally committing his armed forces to a third world war against a nuclear-armed nation only to have it walked back over and over again by the administration he’s supposed to be in charge of. Is this just some neurological glitch in an aging brain which promoted war and militarism throughout its entire time in office?
Is it some weird new tactic in “strategic ambiguity” to have different parts of the administration saying completely different things in totally unambiguous ways? Is Biden just a crazy warmonger? I don’t know. But what I do know is that all this chaos and confusion is happening at the worst possible time.
As Brett Wilkins explains for Common Dreams, a new bill from the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee threatens to bring the world much closer to a horrific war due to the way it would upend existing U.S. policy on China with its recognition of Taiwan as a major “non-NATO ally” as part of a commitment to send billions of dollars worth of weapons to the island.
Fears of what this could unleash upon our world have caused even fairly reliable empire facilitators like Ed Markey to vote against the bill, which Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning says would “greatly shake the political foundation of China-U.S. relations and cause extremely serious consequences to China-U.S. relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”
This is just one of the ways that tensions with China are being ramped up with astonishing speed over Taiwan, among them also the normalization of sending an increasingly high number of U.S. officials to Taipei in steadily rising contempt for Washington’s One China policy which has kept the peace along this flashpoint for decades.
This Taiwan situation is getting uglier and uglier, much faster than many expected, and the president of the world’s mightiest war machine is either too stupid, too bloodthirsty, too careless or too demented to navigate this situation with the sensitivity it deserves.
Things never should have been allowed to get this far, and the U.S. empire is showing us every indication that it intends to take things much, much further.
Caitlin Johnstone’s work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following her on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into her tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy her books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff she publishes is to subscribe to the mailing list at her website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything she publishes. For more info on who she is, where she stands and what she’s trying to do with her platform, click here. All works are co-authored with her American husband Tim Foley.
This article is from CaitlinJohnstone.com and re-published with permission.
The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.
Donate Today to CN’s
2022 Fall Fund Drive
Donate securely by credit card or check by clicking the red button:
Yes, actually, releasing opposing and irreconciliable points of view has become a PR tactic–the rhetoric shifted most noticeably around the invasion of Syria.
Of course, Biden could just be daft.
“…Is Biden just a crazy warmonger?…
the president of the world’s mightiest war machine is either too stupid, too bloodthirsty, too careless or too demented…”
Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.
Something like this humble draft, introduced (perhaps here is someone with access to the higher administration) as quickly as possible at U.N. Level potentially might help:
It is a challenge to transition the giant industries including all the connected “jobs” from a destructive towards a constructive process/ progress.
There is really a lot(!) to do to “repair”- looking at the human/ industrial made huge social and environmental damage in history and at present around the planet (including the oceans).
Let’s shift (almost in the first place) the military budget (~ 2 trillion dollars per year) in a step by step international binding agreement within a 12 year time-frame to regenerating nature and social balance.
The attached industries will follow consequently.
Let our (military) guys and girls be good “forces”/ stewards for a healthy and as far as possible resilient planet, and a socially stable global society including all wonderful creatures sharing the world with us.
By training the staff correspondingly and thoroughly.
That would be really great & smart for national and global security!
And lets make them finally undertake the long overdue clean up of all the highly dangerous, poisonous and tremendous mess, the military and their industries have been leaving or dumping about everywhere around the planet during and after past (world) wars.
Including the deadly nuclear waste time bombs rotting somewhere.
Dangerous work for decades.
There is only one garden Eden we very likely are ever able to reach ^^
The entire weapon industry (military- industrial complex) must become state owned and controlled for no monetary profit.
Just maintained for the really necessary defense needs.
Not more than that!
And this can be probably done very well with just ~10% of the present budget/ cost in about every country.
In the hands of a shareholders dictated industry they always will be looking for more profit every single day and year by year.
And if there is no conflict/ crisis they will create one at its “best”. They even are in for multiple conflicts/ crisis if maximum profit is on the horizon.
Again and again, always based on malicious propaganda, spread by “government” agencies, evil willing „think tanks“ and allied media.
Accepting/ causing millions of civil deaths and natures destruction.
There is a choice for what to use global yearly military spending’s…
… of now more than 2.000.000.000.000,. $ each year.
We got to want it and insist on it!
The warmongering American dictator Biden is overreaching his constitutional powers once again in talking about “his” decision to engage in combat against China over the governance of Taiwan as if this war were already a fait accompli and as if the United States has any prerogatives whatsoever over the future of what has been a Chinese province for thousands of years and happens to exist on precisely the opposite side of the planet–about as far away from Washington as you can get. Maybe China should challenge Washington’s rule over the half of this country that objects to the nonsense spouted in the White House. Whether this country goes to war with China or not is the prerogative of the US Congress, not the president. Moreover, I should think that the American people ought to be questioned about whether THEY want to engage in this war that Clueless Joe lusts after. Under the constitution he only decides which hare-brained general(s) gets to draft the military strategy of waging such a war…unless Loco Joe thinks he is as competent as the original Hitler to micromanage the battlefield.
I would also enquire of Dopey Joe how he intends to pay for what would be such a devastating and expensive war with the richest and second (maybe third) most powerful military on the planet. One must factor in both the costs of the mobilisation, the invasion, the execution, the occupation (assuming an American victory) and also the enormous costs of rebuilding after what would escalate almost spontaneously into a world war that would probably involve the use of nuclear weapons. The “pro from Dover” has already gifted approximately one hundred billion dollars of taxpayer money to Ukraine to fight its genocidal war of aggression against the ethnic Russians they claim as their own people. To call that financial transaction a “loan” or a “lend lease” is simply an outrageous lie, as the walking corpse of the notoriously corrupt Ukrainian government has no ability nor intention to ever pay back that money. In fact, what those miscreants in Kiev have done with MOST of the weapons actually shipped to that den of thieves was to sell them on the international black market.
Taiwan probably won’t do that as they seem fairly civilised and honorable compared to Washington and its other lackeys, but some of the other fall out from an American-instigated war on their turf will be wide ranging, most notably upon all the technology that depends upon the most sophisticated computer chips that they manufacture in Taiwan and nowhere else presently. Those manufacturing plants would be among the first casualties of Joe Biden’s Great Chinese War. The loss of all those chips would impact not only the manufacture and operation of all the new motor vehicles made worldwide today, as well as all space programs both public and private, all aeronautics and most modern factories dedicated even to simple consumer goods, but most notably, also to all the damned smart bombs, missiles and other high tech weaponry that the US military manufactures and deploys to keep the fascists in Washington in power. Seems like Dopey Joe would be shooting himself not just in both feet but in his totally empty head as well if he keeps his word and goes for the glory of destroying the Chinese civilisation as competitor to American hegemony. I’ll tell you one thing, it sure won’t get the fool re-elected.
Biden also declared the pandemic is at an end.
Perhaps President Biden was referring specifically to the U.S.? Yet an analysis last week by CBS News found that U.S. COVID-19 deaths were averaging 478 per day, “higher than in July 2021 when the average was 168 deaths per day and also higher than in June 2022 when the average was 258 deaths per day.” (from hxxps://www.msn.com/en-us/health/other/biden-is-wrong-the-covid-19-pandemic-isnt-over/ar-AA120iSe)
His reasoning as stated was the Auto Show in Detroit was a go-ahead, and attendees were mostly mask-free. Perhaps his handlers should do a better job muzzling this moron, who is seriously out to kill us all apparently.
Failure of diplomacy leads to war. Where is our “Secretary of State”? Last I saw sleepy Joe there were two loser Generals one on each side. The media parade loser Generals almost every day to explain to the peasants how bad the Ruskys are doing in the Ukraine. All itching for another Asian war to send another generation to martyrdom.
We’ve seen this kind of president before, the kind that says he will make war when his own administration consistently says the opposite. That gentleman’s name is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and he was the President of Iran during Bush and Obama.
President “windbreaker” threatened to bomb the US so often the American public couldn’t stop laughing and it made the religious leaders of Iran seem quite rational by comparison. Are we supposed to be comforted by Pentagon reluctance to begin WWIII?
Caitlin, you have shouted out to the world the equivalent of “the emperor has no clothes” by calling “sleepy” Joe a blood thirsty war monger which, of course. he is throughout his whole career in Washington.
Demanding no negotiations between Ukraine and Russia early on in this war has been, I think, to cover up his and his son’s corrupt dealings in Ukraine. It’s sort of a “twofer” for Sleepy Joe.
Every day it seems when Sleepy Joe opens his mouth over Taiwan, Russia and China get closer and closer. So much for Sleepy Joe’s wet dream of world hegemony.
Strictement de l’ingérence dans les affaires internes d’un autre pays.
Et si la Corse se faisait envahir, si le Québec se faisait envahir, si toute province ou région administrative d’un autre pays se faisait envahir.
Ça ne regarde en rien Washington. Attitude strictement impérialiste fasciste.
So why didn’t Biden threaten China with their takeover of Hong Kong ? Why was that ignored?
What ever happened to diplomacy to work out issues? I see diplomacy as the adult thing to do and for the sake of war prevention, not this ongoing warmongering. The majority of the world’s population wants Peace !
In 1839, in the First Opium War, Britain invaded China to crush opposition to its interference in the country’s economic, social, and political affairs. One of Britain’s first acts of war was to occupy Hong Kong, a sparsely inhabited island off the coast of southeast China. In 1841, China ceded the island to the British with the signing of the Convention of Chuenpi, and in 1842 the Treaty of Nanking was signed, formally ending the First Opium War in return for a 99-year lease. At the end of the Second Opium War (1856-1860), China was forced to cede the Kowloon Peninsula, adjacent to Hong Kong Island, along with other area islands. However, Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping told the UK that China will reassert sovereignty over the “special region” after June 30, 1997. Of course, that was the agreement, China lived up to it part of a rotten deal. But Margaret Thatcher did not want to play fair, and the UK put demands on China before the UK would let Hong Kong go.
Pamela, to be clear, China did NOT take over Hong Kong, it always was Chinese. The British empire ‘took over’ Hong Kong in the 1840s as part of the opium wars (ie. pushing drugs from India to undermine the Chinese economy). As part of the colonial force projection Britain ‘obtained’ a 99 year lease on Hong Kong in 1898 from the Chinese authorities. This expired in 1997.
Yes, Biden is that bad. He is a hardcore warmongering neocon.
If Biden tries to claim ignorance, remind him that he was a first term Senator who voted in 1979 on the legislation that resulted from President Carter’s diplomacy. The actual roll-call from the 1970’s is harder to find, but there were only a handful of no votes, and it is unlikely that the Corporate Senator from the Corporate State of Delaware was one of them. Most likely the ‘no’ votes came from the McCarthyist faction of the Republicans still searching for Commies who support China so they can tie them to a stake and burn them.
Biden was elected in 1974, after Vietnam and during Watergate, in the role of a “Young Face for the Same Evil Establishment”. Thus, he would never have gone against the Establishment and a Democrat President on this. So, for the current law on One-China (which China would like to see enforced), Joe Biden can put his “I Did That” sticker there. Too bad he can’t remember.
Who knew that by the time he finally became President, the ‘McCarthyists’ would be the mainstream Democrats, attacked by Biden’s Republican Friends and Partners as Radical Extremist Leftists in bed with China’s Communist Billionaires? All though, when Bernie starts on one of his extreme nationalist rants about ‘foreign workers’, perhaps the Progressives are today’s McCarthyists, with Biden and the Corporate Democrats well to the right of McCarthyism? At least back then, we still exchanged ballet tours to try to improve understanding and relations. Something that would be unthinkably liberal for today’s even left-wing Democrats.
The US policy with regards to Taiwan is mired in cold war logic. Same goes for our continual antagonization of Russia. We have never been been the “city on the hill” that we proclaim. Our Republic is out of balance. A third of our population now favors of a fascist dictator.
We could fix ourselves… but bold and novel changes are necessary. To that end the US needs to proffer honest respect to the rest of the world….which means accepting alternative economic and religious systems.
There are no possible fixes without sustainable economic/climatical systems….and a fixed sustainable human population. The world needs to agree on these fundamental points ASAP… and the US should lead this discussion at the UN.
Once we begin to move in in a truly sustainable direction we will gain confidence and momentum. Future compromises and decisions will be attainable.
We are all humans first…before we are nations, religions or races. To survive on our shrinking planet …we must remind ourselves of this… in all our endeavors.
Biden is a halv-senile teleprompter reader. He repeats what he has been told to say. He is a “nobody” really. Those who really matter are not seen and they are clamouring for war with China and Russia. They would rather see the world go up in flames than loose their hegemony. We know who the warmongers are – same o, same o
It’s really not at all clear to me who actually runs US foreign policy. The Blob seems to be a continuous thread running through all administrations having a mind of its own and being more or less unstoppable. There is a systematic pattern of escalation with China extending over many years and administrations. The President (no matter which party) seems to pretend that he is the source of the policy or that he supports it. Maybe Biden is playing some kind of good-cop/bad-cop thing, where he is one of the two – the Blob and the President as the two cops – but which is the good-cop and which is the bad-cop? I guess Biden wants to look like the bad-cop (tough guy) if you buy this scenario.
I’ll give Viacom a little credit. Historically, ’60 Minutes’ does an excellent job of exposing Democrats as Evil War Criminals.
From Mad Maddie Albright’s interview where the she claimed that killing 500,000 children under the age of five ‘was worth it’, to Killer Joe Biden dreaming about Nuclear War with Russia while also wanting to start the war with China, the one thing the idiot-left can’t do is to imitate the ‘Good Germans’ routine and claim they knew nothing.
The Democrats come out and state it on National TV. The Democrat voters know exactly what evil they are supporting and electing and empowering. They can point to Global Nuclear War with Pride and state “We Did That!”
I just hope that when we all reach the Holy Gates and St. Peter, that I’m not stuck in line behind Joe Biden. Because when St. Peter has to start going through the list of every single human being that Joe Biden has killed, well, that’s near enough to the definition of Eternity. I want to spend Eternity listening to Jerry and Janis jam, not stuck in a never ending line behind Killer Joe trying to BS St. Peter.
“A US president is not the fella that runs the railroad”
Uhhhh, since the US President just decreed that Railroad workers have to take a real pay cut, as the Biden-approved pay increase stays well below the under-estimated Biden-flation rate, plus pay more for health care, and work an insane schedule where its hard to even see a doctor, all to keep the Wall Street profits up and the War machine humming —– well, yes, Biden does run the railroads. What do you think this is, a democracy? Get back to work.
Biden’s President Emergency Board enforces what the Railroads demand from workers. Joe, Nancy, Chucky (and Bernie will go along) swear that if the workers try to fight for their rights any strike will be made illegal. Biden hammers out a deal where the Bosses get exactly what they want.
So yeah, they do run the railroads.
Ask an actual worker. The best time to catch one during their crazy work schedule is when they are in the hospital after yet another accident. Sooner or later it will even conveniently be in your town.
Seems to me that a combination of the MIC and the Corporate Industrial Complex (?) runs the USA. They have the guns, the money, the infrastructure and the influence/lobby groups. Plus, they control large swathes of workers (ie. employment) across the country.
It’s impossible to go up against these guys, and if you do you’ll get a bullet to the brain. The Government/Democracy is a charade for the masses – if it worked it would be banned.
That’s what happens when you elect morons. This country has been doing just that for decades. Anyone, like Kucinich, who shows the slightest tint of progressivism, gets flushed down the toilet by the fascist hierarchies of “both” parties…
Excellent comment. We only elect morons because we can’t and won’t allow/ even imagine a Kuccinich, Nader or the sell out Sanders, to run for office. The next election is not far away and once again we will be faced with the same horse-shit Democratic (and Rethuglican) lack of choice. This LOTE scheme has led us to the brink, yet, I will be urged to vote D – we are rather screwed and the stakes and disaster consequences are enormous.
Our leaders must be sleepwalking in a tulip field. Don’t they recall the Korean War when some Chinese soldiers didn’t even have boots. Well, they all have boots now and much else. The Chinese have been promising to incorporate Taiwan since 1949. This fact is closing to almost 100 years and nothing has happened. If left alone perhaps this incorporation will entail an economic one instead of a military confrontation. A military confrontation will play into the hands of the U.S. weapons suppliers, the same people who have exacerbated the Ukraine situation. These companies have to be giddy with glee at the prospect. Logistics will play enormously in any conflict with China considering the supply line differences. As president Xi has said: The US will be playing with fire.
I am 82 yrs ‘young’ and yet, fervently look forward to the day the US ends up burning its fingers badly…with the hope of learning a lesson it has refused to learn up to now: mind your OWN g.d. business.
“…China attack on Taiwan…” is silly and nonsensical.
Can the United States launch an attack or invasion of Montana?
The US hasn’t experienced a hot war since the Civil one. All the other wars were actually fought in somebody else’s country (a couple of bombs landing in Oregon in WWII don’t count and Hawai’i was a territory at the time). We’re very good at wanting to start a war in somebody else’s country.
That’s what happens when you elect morons. This country has been doing just that for decades. Anyone, like Kucinich, who shows the slightest tint of progressivism, gets flushed down the toilet by the fascist hierarchies of “both” parties…
The bombastic rhetoric of our aging blowhard of a POTUS is going to eventually stumble the rest of us into a nuclear WW III with either Russia or China…or maybe even both.
One can only wonder whether even the borders of Northern Ireland are safe with the Biden administration and its team of woke, yet diverse team of rival nitwits, Nimrods, and ne’er do wells. D*mn!
mic controls usa w.h. and congress.
Warmongering and sober-rattling are symptoms of a dying empire.
Let diplomats — honest, fearless & intelligent— sit with other nation and find ways to live in peace.
A US president is not the fella that runs the railroad. Rich donors, so-called ‘think tanks’ and the CEO’s of both the armaments and financial corporations are the real power behind the Big Chair. How much has the US devoted to just the Ukraine? Billions. Taiwan? Likewise, billions. For Americans however, next to squat.
Presidents are chosen depending on how malleable they are, how willing they are to tow the F.I.R.E. line. If Bushit Jr., the Clintons – both of them, and Trump are indeed the very best America has on offer, then frankly, America is screwed.
Corruption on a level that equates to the worst of any banana republic – only we dress better – is leading the state to its final act. Civil war.
The most dangerous country in the world is led by a senile idiot. How can US forces “defend” Taiwan? If the Chinese decide to take over Taiwan, they will do so, and the US won’t be able to do anything about it. I’m guessing the Taiwanese know this too.
Senile or sane…it is the most dangerous nation on this planet.
Have you noticed how Dozey Joe often starts speaking by saying “Look” or “Well. look”? It’s as if what he really means is “Look, moron, I’ll make this as simple for you as I can, so pay attention ’cause I’m only going to say it once”. One can One can only imagine what kind of exotic drug cocktail is being used just to keep this doddering old fool upright and semi cognizant. It’s high time for him and all his corrupt to the bone ilk to simply tell the truth once and for all and then shut up forever.
Haven’t we had enough of war? The residents of Taiwan should be given the opportunity to vote as to how they want to be governed. Isn’t that better than bloodshed?
So is Senile Joe threatening an Iraq-style invasion? Or a nuclear first strik? Let’s hope the generals frustrate his senile fantasies about killing Chinks1.
By all appearances, swapping Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo, Steve Bannon, and Peter Navarro for Joe Biden is like swapping the Gang of Four for Hua Guofeng where the “madman theory” is concerned (and many other matters besides).
I guess we just have to give these morons enough rope to hang themselves …
A hot war with China would not be limited to China.
As long as the cash registers from the arms suppliers keep ringing…
We gave them lots of rope, but it’s not their neck that’s in the noose. It’s ours.