By: Seth Cropsey, opinion contributor
The bullseye of these provocations is Taiwan, whose democracy contradicts mainland China’s insistence on tyranny as the only appropriate form of governance and threatens its imperial ambitions. What’s more, Taiwan’s geographic position blocks the Chinese navy’s unobstructed access to the central Pacific.
Ending Taiwan’s self-government is a fundamental Chinese objective. But preserving the U.S. position as the dominant, benevolent Pacific power is as critical to America’s economic future as it is to U.S. global security. A U.S. failure to honor the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), to assist Taiwan if it were to be attacked, would undermine every U.S. security alliance. No American president can ignore this.
Prior to the U.S. presidential election — and in light of China’s expanding regional provocations — the U.S. foreign policy community began to examine how to improve Washington’s ability to deter China from using force against Taiwan. From this emerged the question of “strategic ambiguity,” under which a state deliberately refuses to articulate its response to certain actions.