Biden’s Taiwan Policy Is Truly, Deeply Reckless.Would the US allow Mexico to join a military alliance with Beijing?May 9, 2021
In fact, polling suggests that while foreign policy elites in Washington overwhelmingly endorse going to war for Taiwan, ordinary Americans are deeply skeptical. A recent report by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs found that while 85 percent of Republican leaders support sending U.S. troops to defend Taiwan from Chinese attack, only 43 percent of Republicans among the public agree.
I suspect that figure would be even lower if respondents knew that some of America’s most experienced China experts — including former ambassador to Beijing J. Stapleton Roy and Chas Freeman, who served as Richard Nixon’s interpreter on his 1972 trip to China — believe such a conflict would risk nuclear war.
Recognizing the limits of America’s ability to deter Beijing does not mean abandoning Taiwan. The island is an inspiring democratic success story; for it to suffer Hong Kong’s fate would be a colossal tragedy. In an ideal world, Taiwan would of course enjoy all the prerogatives of independence. But smaller countries that sit in the shadow of superpowers often accept limitations on their external behavior. The United States would never allow Mexico to join a military alliance with Beijing.
What’s crucial is that the Taiwanese people preserve their individual freedom and the planet does not endure a third world war. The best way for the United States to pursue those goals is by maintaining America’s military support for Taiwan while also maintaining the “one China” framework that for more than four decades has helped keep the peace in one of the most dangerous places on earth.
Hawks will call this appeasement. So be it. Ask them how many American lives they’re willing to risk so the United States can have official diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
By Peter Beinart
Mr. Beinart is a contributing Opinion writer who focuses on U.S. foreign policy.
This is an excerpt from an article published by the New York Times.