Tag Archives: Alliances

Trump and Biden Should Tell Americans When They Plan To Go to War, by Doug Bandow

What countries will the US defend, and under what circumstances? Inquiring minds would like answers from the two candidates. From Doug Bandow at antiwar.com:

With the election just weeks away, both President Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden claim to be the best person to protect Americans in a dangerous world. Yet neither one has explained when they would take the U.S. into war.

Trump was recently asked whether he would let China “get away with” invading Taiwan. That’s an important question, which deserves an answer. What would the administration do? Most important, would the president authorize military action to defend the island state and attack the People’s Republic of China?

He responded: “China knows what I’m gonna do. China knows.” However, he wouldn’t say any more: “I think it’s an inappropriate place to talk about it. … This is just an inappropriate place to talk about it.”

Why is it inappropriate? The president said that PRC officials know. Why shouldn’t the American people know as well? Indeed, with an election just weeks away, he has an obligation to tell us what he would do. Voters should be able to evaluate his foreign policy judgment in deciding who to support.

No doubt offhand presidential comments can be unsettling. Trump knows that very well, indeed, almost every day, but it never stopped him before. Nor is he the only culprit. In 2001 President George W. Bush created a stir when he declared that he would do “whatever it took” to defend Taiwan. However, that controversy reflected the fact that he appeared to be breaking from past policy without have notified anyone in his administration. Moreover, he had not informed Beijing of his policy. Then-Chinese President Jiang Zemin certainly did not know what Bush was “gonna do.”

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