Misjudging the Balance of Interests in Taiwan

Source: Eunomia
by Daniel Larison

“The U.S. doesn’t have vital interests in Taiwan, and it shouldn’t go to war to defend it. For that reason, the U.S. shouldn’t make an explicit security commitment that would oblige the U.S. to go to war. Kroenig tries to get around this by making Taiwan stand in for the entire global system when it does not. When hawks are forced to make an argument like this, it is always a good sign that the U.S. doesn’t have enough interests in a place to justify going to war over it. One problem with Kroenig’s argument is that the Chinese government can probably see through the smokescreen to realize that U.S. interests in Taiwan are not great enough to risk a war. He thinks that an explicit guarantee would be ‘helping them not to miscalculate,’ but making an explicit commitment is bound to provoke a challenge rather than discourage one.” (10/11/21)