Biden Raises the Stakes

President Joe Biden is changing America’s decades-old policy toward China by promising to defend Taiwan against China. This also relates to the war in Ukraine.

Biden has affirmed that the United States would defend Taiwan against a Chinese attack, confirming the statement when asked. This is in fact a change in America’s policy toward China, even if the White House denied it again after the president’s remarks.

In accordance with the previous decades-old policy of “strategic ambiguity,” the leadership in Beijing could not be sure whether America would really go to war for Taiwan. Now it must expect that this commander in chief, at least, would do it.

A Deterring Effect

This has a deterring effect, and that is likely Biden’s strategy. China’s show of force after Nancy Pelosi’s most recent visit to Taipei made it clear that Beijing is not shying away from an escalation.

Viewed strategically, the American stance on the war in Ukraine is also playing a role here that should not be underestimated: It is creating doubt about America’s willingness to intervene militarily on behalf of allied states. Beijing will pay close attention to Western sanctions against Russia and arms shipments to Ukraine. However, these also show that the West’s solidarity with countries that are not formal allies has limits.

Taiwan is also such a country. By plotting a different course here than with Ukraine, Biden is raising the potential stakes for Beijing –- but also for America itself.

About this publication

About Michael Stehle 71 Articles
I am a graduate of the University of Maryland with a BA in Linguistics and Germanic Studies. I have a love for language and I find translation to be both an engaging activity as well as an important process for connecting the world.

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