China Archive

So far this week in Politics.

On Monday, Biden said without reservation that if China looks twice at Taiwan with military force, the U.S. will fall on the South China Sea. Leaving most of the world’s press at a loss to string together a last minute editorial on this unexpected turn of events. Biden was not meant to break a long standing tradition of ‘Strategic Ambiguity’, in the region where China bullies the Indo Pacific region and the U.S. is meant to stand by unless China makes a move.
No-one has seen a way out of this rabbit hole so the only explanation is that Biden is a doddery fool, right?
Biden appears to be a rulebreaker when it comes to Press Corps Diplomacy or acting as a Commander In Chief in a different vein as his predecessors.
Biden doesn’t start wars without going to Congress; aka Trump and Obama. Both sent troops to the Middle East first and were questioned later. One such deployment resulted in the assassination of Al Qaeda top boss Bin Laden and under Trump; Iranian General: Qassem Soleimani. It was debatable if this was legal.
Biden doesn’t deploy troops before Congress has taken a vote to authorize it like H.W. did when he deployed troops to the Persian Gulf region in 1991. There were 150,000 troops sent to the region within seven weeks of the operation commencing after it was narrowly passed in Congress and H W Bush urged world leaders to join the Coalition of the Willing.
Biden won’t go in defiance of the ‘War Powers Resolution’, which modifies the Constitutional War Clause that requires a President to go to Congress before deploying troops to new conflict:
“The War Powers Act is a congressional resolution designed to limit the U.S. president’s ability to initiate or escalate military actions abroad. Among other restrictions, the law requires that presidents notify Congress after deploying the armed forces and limits how long units can remain engaged without congressional approval. Enacted in 1973 with the goal of avoiding another lengthy conflict such as the Vietnam War, its effectiveness has been repeatedly questioned throughout its history, and several presidents have been accused of failing to comply with its regulations.” ‘War Powers Act. History.Com

Clinton was the main ‘offender’, here:
NB: Clinton waged war in the Balkan’s in the early ’80’s without Congressional Approval. Ordering in concert with NATO allies a massive air and missile assault against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Clinton moved troops first without authorization by both Houses of Congress. Serbia was responsible for the massacre of thousands of Bosnian Muslims and Croats by the end of the period of the Bosnian War: 1993-1995. “The Law”: The Clinton Theory of the War Power by David Gray Adler.
“The attack which ranks as the most intensive and sustained military campaign conducted by the United States since the Vietnam War may have been justified on moral and policy grounds but it nevertheless required authorization by Congress.”
Clinton’s downfall may very well have been the aphrodisiac effect that came from flouting the Resolution and sending forces and strikes to the Balkans that killed thousands. All that power on one man’s shoulders was what the Congressional forefathers wanted to avoid.
Championing the breakaway Muslim country was also a good distraction from the sex scandals that plagued Clinton through the”90’s.
Acting alone was not without without Presidential precedent. In June 1950, President Harry S. Truman sent armed forces to fight in Korea without obtaining the permission of Congress. Most Presidents ever since have grappled with or used the resolution as High jump practice to hurdle over in the pursuit of a resolution to drawn-out wars or regional conflict.
That’s commonly why accusations are thrown around of the U.S. being ever ready to start a war. It’s not true but there is some merit to the accusation at the Presidential level. There has been a succession of Presidents abusing their Presidential powers.
Obama is probably one who could be seen in the most favorable light. Unfortunately when you open your yap in such High Office, and make promises you had better follow through with them. Obama threatened to take troops to Syria if Bashar AL Assad used chemical weapons and then backed down and used the old: “I better run it past Congress”, proviso.
What a dummy. Assad got worse. Putin pinched the breadbasket of Ukraine and made plans to pinch the Eastern regions down the track (and Moldova) and housewives all over the world were shaking their heads saying: “You can’t do that!
You can’t make empty threats and back down and expect there to be any kind of discipline. And now here we are.
So Biden has seen the lay of the land. The mistakes of his predecessors. the U.S. is not the Sheriff of the world and neither can it afford to isolate and pander to non-Democratic Superpowers.

So What Just Happened?

Biden just made the most nifty Foreign affairs Maneuver of this decade by re-energizing the Quad ( initially proposed by the Japanese) with his presence. I’ll finish this up and come back to the details but this is what he has said without the use of force:

“No, China. We acknowledge your position that you believe you have legal sovereignty over Taiwan but not by the use of force. We will not allow the use of force in the Indo Pacific region”. Full Stop. Underlined. Next stop the Solomon Islands.
The US naval forces are very carefully strategically placed to reinforce that the US is prepared to battle here where it won’t go head to head over Ukraine.
Biden:

“Be glad that we’re now going to drop it and roast Modi for not facilitating a diplomatic solution to the shit going down in Odesa.” (And also for banning wheat exports adding to worldwide inflationary wows.) Modi looks like a Rockstar at home where they actually value age.

Australia’s Albo probably got an invite to the White House after the Primaries have played out which has to be spaced with a visit with New Zealand’s Ardern.

Biden’s other message to the world loud and clear was: “It’s time to chose. You are either with us and Democracy or you have other priorities. We stand for many values. But fundamentally what underpins our decent and fair society are the values pulled together by Democracy. And we will fight you over that.

Again, But Why? It looks a LITTLE… AMBIGUOUS.

Biden doesn’t need to wage an unwinnable war in distant terrain with the effort required to ship an endless supply of cannon fodder to a distant land to be one of the most influential Presidents of the century. He doesn’t need to. He understands that Russia won’t escalate the Ukraine occupation militarily. Rather, it is a war of economic attrition on the West by Putin.
To prevent misunderstandings with China in the Indo Pacific region and make it clear to all those that threaten allies and friends of the U.S. Biden is sending a message to both China and Russia: You will not threaten the pillars of Democracy or we will be forced to defend it with all the might of the U.S. armed Forces. Stationed in Japan.
(Except for the Amphibious assault forces on the Kearsarge and the troops on the USS Truman, near Ukraine )

“You will not threaten Democracy”. That’s pretty black and white. No strategic or moral ambiguity and there should be no Congressional ambiguity either if push came to shove.

The Leaders of Japan, India, Australia, United States. Japan Times: May 22


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