Leading Democrat Adam Schiff Wants ‘Less Abiguity’ Over Taiwan’s Defense

The US is not obligated to defend Taiwan, but hawks in Washington want that to change

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the head of the House Intelligence Committee, wants the Biden administration to be less ambiguous about its obligation to defend Taiwan. The current US policy of “strategic ambiguity” means it’s not clear if the US would intervene if China moves to take Taiwan.

“I think probably less ambiguity is better than more ambiguity,” Schiff told the Aspen Security Forum on Wednesday. “We need to be much clearer about our obligation to defend Taiwan.”

Schiff did not outright say that the US should commit to going to war with China if it invades Taiwan, acknowledging that there is a “fine line to walk in when we talk about coming to Taiwan’s military aid.”

President Biden called into question the strategic ambiguity policy last month when he said the US has a “commitment” to defend Taiwan if China invades. White House officials were quick to clarify that Biden’s comment did not mean a change in policy, but the idea of committing to going to war with China over the island is becoming more popular in Washington even though it risks nuclear war.

Ultra hawks in Washington like Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) have been calling for the US to adopt a policy of “strategic clarity” that would obligate Washington to go to war over Taiwan. Some Republicans and Democrats are even ready to give President Biden war powers that would allow him to intervene in the event of a Chinese invasion.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.