Director of National Intelligence Calls For the US to Escalate Tensions with China Over Taiwan
On March 9, 2023, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said that the United States should send a firm message to China that it is willing to go to war over Taiwan. Haines alluded to President Joe Biden’s comments that his regime would defend the island should China launch an attack against it.
Dave DeCamp of Antiwar.com observed that Haines made the comments during a House Intelligence Committee hearing when Utah Congressman Chris Stewart asked her if she believes the US should change its policy of “strategic ambiguity” with regards to defending Taiwan. “I think it is clear to the Chinese what our position is, based on the president’s comments,” she stated.
Back in September 2022, Biden was questioned about how the US would respond to a situation where China invaded Taiwan. He responded, “Yes” when he was asked if he would deploy US troops to Taiwan in the case of a Chinese attack.
Unlike the prior occasions Biden made a commitment to defend Taiwan against a Chinese invasion, the White House did not backtrack. Kurt Campbell, the National Security Council Coordinator for the Indo-Pacific, said that Biden’s remarks at the time “speak for themselves.”
For some time, the US has maintained a policy of “strategic ambiguity” with regards to Taiwan. In other words, it would not explicitly announce that it would defend Taiwan in the case of a Chinese attack.
At the hearing, also said that “it’s not our assessment that China wants to go to war” over Taiwan. China’s position is that it aims to achieve “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan but has not completely discarded the use of military force to achieve reunification
China has been dialing up its military activity close to Taiwan in response to the US’s gradual departure from strategic ambiguity and its pivot towards Taiwanese independence. Should the US facilitate Taiwanese independence, it will likely provoke China to invade Taiwan. The result could be a conflict that would make the Russo-Ukrainian conflict look like a walk in the park.