Dave DeCamp Foreign Policy Taiwan

Senate Panel Advances Bill That Would Radically Change US Taiwan Policy

The legislation would give Taiwan $6.5 billion in military aid through 2027.
Greeting Gathering by members of World United Formosans for Independence-Taiwan, Taiwan Statebuilding Party, and Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan for U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Congressional Delegation Visit to TAIWAN. Wildcursive (由 台灣獨立建國聯盟 惠捐釋出版權) (all rights released by World United Formosans for Independence), CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

By Dave DeCamp / Antiwar.com

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a bill on Wednesday that would radically alter US policy toward Taiwan and significantly escalate tensions with Beijing.

The amended version of the Taiwan Policy Act would give Taiwan $6.5 billion in military aid, give the island the benefits of being a “major non-NATO ally,” expedite arms sales to Taipei, and require sanctions in the event of Chinese aggression.

The bill was easily passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in a vote of 17-5. The senators who voted against the legislation were Rand Paul (R-KY), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Ed Markey (D- MA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).

The initial version of the bill would have given Taiwan $4.5 billion in military aid through 2026, but the Senate panel added $2 billion and extended the aid until 2027. The aid will be given to Taiwan through Foreign Military Financing, a State Department program that gives foreign governments money to buy US arms.

The initial version also would have designated Taiwan as a major non-NATO ally. But the updated bill would give Taiwan the benefit of the designation without technically labeling Taiwan as an ally. The changes were made after the White House raised concerns about the legislation.

The initial bill would have allowed President Biden to create a “war reserve stockpile” of arms that would be placed in Taiwan to be used against a Chinese attack. It was amended to say that the stockpile would be placed in an unspecified location in the region but still allocates $500 million for the effort.

If the legislation makes it through Congress and is signed by President Biden, it will be a major overhaul of the US policy toward China and Taiwan, which was defined by the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act. Since 1979, the US hasn’t had formal diplomatic relations with Taipei, and China views any move away from that policy as a major provocation.

One of the biggest changes would be requiring sanctions if China “is knowingly engaged in a significant escalation in aggression.” The current US policy related to a Chinese attack on Taiwan is known as strategic ambiguity and means the US won’t say one way or the other if it will intervene.

Sen. Paul said that now was not the time to move toward a policy of strategic clarity. “This is not a time to radically change long-standing policy … without an appreciation of the consequences that may follow,” he said, according to Politico.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) voted in favor of the bill, but also recognized how it risks provoking China. “We’re doing something that’s highly provocative and bellicose,” he said.

China’s recent actions have made clear that Beijing will strongly react to US provocations over Taiwan. The legislation comes after China launched its largest-ever military exercises around the island in response to Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei.

While done in the name of deterrence, the Taiwan Policy Act will make a conflict over Taiwan more likely. Chinese officials have said that US support for Taiwan’s “independence forces” could lead to war between the US and China.

Dave DeCamp

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

15 comments

  1. As we watch our democracy and country collapse from the inside, we are out picking new unnecessary fights. What’s this all about? Does the US need enemies to try to hold itself together?

    1. First the US was never a Democracy. After all what Democracy would go around the world toppling reformist governments, propping up murderous dictatorships and staging coup d’etats? The US is run by a Mafia of oligarchs with fascist tendencies and imperial pretensions. The so-called military aid is nothing more than a hard sell of weapons systems, often obsolete, that brings in billions to the MIC and its henchmen.

  2. What is this? A suicide ecocide maneuver? The weapons manufacturers are peeing in their pants with glee over it. A clear signal to any sentient two legged being that the whole thing is a debacle waiting to be lit by a flaming match. Weird. We strangle Cuba with how many years of sanctions? But are willing to destroy ourselves and the planet for a country how many thousands of miles away? Meanwhile in-country here the homeless proliferate while the equity fund chiefs as landlords can’t wait to evict the thousands financially eviscerated by Covid lockdowns etc. If there ever were a more graphic example of the neoliberal elites – no matter their political stripe – functioning with less humanity than drug cartel kingpins but still overlords after power and money who don’t give a rat’s ass about the conditions of their own citizenry, I can’t think of one. They sure are out of touch with soul and are drunk on their own power. Utterly bad.

  3. The Trumpers complain that Biden is beholden to China, yet, as we see, his policies on China are clearly antagonistic and arrogant. I figure that those on the right just don’t see Biden as hawkish enough- as not up to the job of completely destroying China. Pretty scary and suicidal thinking, if you ask me.

    1. I think neither Biden and his Neo-team nor the Trump-team give a damn about blowing up China….Now that’s REALLY scary.

    2. “the amerikan liberal wants to preserve the essence of the past, the conservative wants more and more progress; the European radical wants to hasten the transformation of the future, the conservative the essence of the past”. Geoffrey Gorer
      “americans are entirely confused about themselves”. Simone de Beauvoir

  4. What on earth is the point of interfering in every other nation, causing needless conflict and ignoring the disgraceful condition of your own population and infrastructure???

  5. Requiring sanctions if China “is knowingly engaged in a significant escalation of aggression.” ? Always the textbook projection. China has in fact not engaged in any UNPROVOKED aggression; as with all of America’s manufactured “enemies”, designated “rogue states”, or nations that supposedly threaten U.S. national security. Though China has, like Russia or Venezuela, committed the unpardonable sin of choosing economic independence from the hegemony of the leading global parasite. And as the U.S.A. continues to plunder, bully, attack, and, with increasing desperation, try to maintain planetary dominance Asian countries will continue to consolidate economic and political autonomy. The only action on the part of The United States that will halt this multipolar march forward is WWIII.

  6. send the jobs overseas, fuel inflation like crazy in the short time in office, open the borders, don’t legalize pot after saying they would, WHAT DRUGS ARE THE NUTS IN D.C. TAKING??????

  7. Is President Biden completely blind/stupid/evil? Can’t he see that he is also provoking a war with China too? What can we do?

  8. only an obsequious narcissist or perhaps a moron believes leaders matter—Marx didn’t nor do bourgeois apologists—deleuze Foucault etc…Gramsci c wright mills etc observed that the interstate’s of bankers often conflicted w industrialists—the interests of the military—USA a military dictatorship may diverge from some elements of the bourgeoise/business class, align w others—US. academics—“technicians that serve power w a thin understanding of everything”. Hofstadter do not challenge imperialism US fascism—this includes sheep dog Chomsky. Trump’s great sin was that he threatened too many factions of the ruling class—military, the statist liberal intelligence agencies the fake news from google/ FB etc

  9. Talk about bills radically changing…

    https://www.motorious.com/articles/features-3/kill-switches-new-cars/

    “According to an article written by former U.S. Representative Bob Barr, hidden away in the recently passed infrastructure bill, the very one I warned before would negatively impact drivers across the country if it were to pass, is a measure to install vehicle kill switches into every new car, truck, and SUV sold in this country. The regulation likely won’t be enforced for five years, so maybe there’s time to do something about this.”
    Cuts:
    “As we’ve seen both in this country and others recently, what constitutes “law-abiding” can change drastically overnight.”

    “It gets even better: Barr points out that the bill, which has been signed into law by President Biden, states that the kill switch, which is referred to as a safety device, must “passively monitor the performance of a driver of a motor vehicle to accurately identify whether that driver may be impaired.” ”

    “But wait, there’s more. This kill switch “safety” system would be open, or in other words there would be a backdoor. That would allow police or other government authorities to access it whenever. Would they need a warrant to do that? Likely not. Even better, hackers could access the backdoor and shut down your vehicle.”

    ” There was never a debate on the House or Senate floor about this issue. Instead, this bill was passed through with many backroom deals I detailed out before here (refer to site article), if you care to learn more about that.
    – – – – – – –
    HALF PAST ORWELLIAN, BETTER THAN HALF WAY TO HELL
    I suspect that individuals considered a threat are already outfitted with this device.

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