Chas Freeman Denounces Biden’s Statement that the U.S. Would Defend Taiwan
May 24, 2022 (EIRNS)—China expert Chas Freeman spoke out in response to President Joe Biden’s statement in Japan that the U.S. would be willing to use force to defend Taiwan in the event that Beijing took military action against the island.
“The Chinese cannot ignore this statement, which is worse than a gaffe, because it provides China with a casus belli,” the former ambassador told the Asia Times.
“This is the fourth time this year that the White House has sought to walk back statements by the President committing the United States to go to war with China over Taiwan. Such walk-backs have zero credibility in Beijing, not least because they echo an apparent consensus in the Washington establishment that is reflected in defense budgets and force structure decisions.”
“Biden’s pledge to defend Taiwan militarily contradicts the Taiwan Relations Act,” explained Freeman. “Absent a vote in Congress to authorize war with China, he has no constitutional authority to make the commitment he just seemed to. But the Chinese are unlikely to be persuaded by constitutional niceties, especially given the rubber stamp Congress now puts on presidential war-making.”
“Biden’s statement strips the last element of diplomacy from the Taiwan issue and makes its management by non-military means infeasible,” he warned. “The Taiwan issue has been managed for 50 years by diplomatic understandings with Beijing backed by implied but not explicit military deterrence.”
Freeman, who served as the chief translator for Nixon’s 1972 trip to China, warned,
“The diplomatic understandings that enabled Beijing to hope for a peaceful resolution of its differences with Taipei have been progressively abandoned by the United States, leaving Beijing with no option short of the use of force to restore the national unity destroyed by the Chinese civil war and the Cold War U.S. intervention in it.”
“In all but name, the United States now once again has official relations with Taiwan,” he concluded. “There are once again U.S. forces operating there. And now the United States has apparently restored a defense commitment to Taiwan it abandoned to normalize relations with Beijing 43 years ago.”