At this point, Mr. Biden’s staff realized that he had gone further than he would have liked, moved toward damage control, and efficiently implemented the practice of a mandatory explanatory statement declaring that “our policy has not changed” and that Mr. Biden was merely “renewing” America’s commitment to providing Taiwan by military means to defend itself.
But Biden’s comment went so far as to provide the military means for Taiwan to defend itself, and was widely seen as indicating direct US military involvement.
Mr. Biden has ignored the strategic ambiguity of his predecessors regarding China and Taiwan before. Last August, while reassuring allies that we would “respond” if there was an attack against a fellow NATO member, he added: “The same with Japan, as well as with South Korea, as well as with Taiwan.”
However, Taiwan was never given the same US security guarantees as Japan, South Korea, or America’s NATO partners, so the suspension was considered important. Two months later, Biden was asked during a meeting on CNN if the United States would protect Taiwan from attack. “Yes, we have an obligation to do so,” He said.
Biden’s improvisation in Tokyo sparked a mix of backlash in Washington, with some political leaders praising his outspoken support for an ally while others mocked him for lack of discipline.
“President Biden’s statement that if pressure came to push the United States to defend Taiwan against communist China, it was the right thing to say and the right thing to do,” Senator Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, wrote on twitter.
On the other hand, Tommy Hicks Jr., co-chair of the Republican National Committee and a close ally of former President Donald J. Trump, saw incompetence rather than courage. “Another cleanup job from Biden’s spin room,” he wrote. “He can’t go abroad without saying something that his team has to come back to in minutes. It’s reckless and embarrassing.”
“Infuriatingly humble alcohol fanatic. Unapologetic beer practitioner. Analyst.”