Magazine August 2, 2021, Issue

Why Taiwan Matters

An illustration of Chinese and Taiwanese national flags alongside military airplanes, April 9, 2021 (Dado Ruvic/Reuters)
The island stands for freedom and is strategically and economically vital

In May 2001, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee wrote in the Washing­ton Post about U.S. policy toward China and Taiwan. The column chastised the new president, George W. Bush, for saying the U.S. would do “whatever it took” to defend Taiwan. It noted that the U.S. had no explicit obligation to defend Taiwan but had helped maintain peace for decades through “strategic ambiguity”: provide Taiwan military support, encourage peaceful resolution, do not support either side’s changing the status quo by force.

That senator is now the president. Much else has changed since 2001, when Senator Biden’s comments

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Therese Shaheen is a businesswoman and CEO of US Asia International. She was the chairman of the State Department’s American Institute in Taiwan from 2002 to 2004.

In This Issue



Economic Competition

Human Rights

Books, Arts & Manners


The Week

The Week

The geopolitical, economic, and ideological competition between the U.S. and China is now out in the open.


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