Senators Debate Military Authorization for Taiwan

A debate is ongoing on Capitol Hill over whether to preemptively authorize President Joe Biden to use military force in defense of Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion, according to Politico.

The strategic ambiguity doctrine detailed in the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act stipulates that the U.S. is ”noncommittal” about whether it would defend Taiwan from an attack or invasion by China. Some, however, would like to see this doctrine revisited.

”If we are going to intervene in a way that would limit the scope of conflict, prevent China from invading Taiwan, or deter them, then we could avoid a full-scale war,” said Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va.

Further, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., introduced legislation that would send $3 billion each year to Taiwan to increase military spending to prepare for a possible Chinese attack.

Seeing little ambiguity, however, is Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass.

”I’m not interested in a cold war or a hot war, and I think that we ought to be focused on finding ways to prevent any kind of confrontation.”

The debate developed after a recent CNN town hall. When asked if the U.S. should protect Taiwan in the event of an attack, the president said, ”Yes, we have a commitment to do that,” seemingly contradicting the strategic ambiguity policy.

The White House quickly clarified, however, that this was not the case.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, told interviewers this week that the U.S. can ”absolutely” defend Taiwan.

”The Chinese are clearly and unambiguously building the capability to provide those options to the national leadership if they so choose at some point in the future,” he added.

A senior administration official told Politico that the White House will ”continue to engage with Congress on these important matters” and that the Biden administration will not revisit the strategic ambiguity policy.

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