I think the best interpretation the US can make is the one that reduces the risk of war. And that one is “if China attacks Taiwan we will intervene on the side of Taiwan. If Taiwan declares independence unilaterally, any issues with China are their problem.”
The problem with Biden is that he has changed the first part of this policy
[quote]What is the appropriate role for the United States? The president’s national security adviser last Wednesday claimed that “the Taiwan Relations Act makes very clear that the U.S. has an obligation that Taiwan’s peaceful way of life is not upset by force.”
No. Not exactly. The United States has not been obligated to defend Taiwan since we abrogated the 1954 Mutual Defense Treaty signed by President Eisenhower and ratified by the Senate. The Taiwan Relations Act articulates, as a matter of policy, that any attempt to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means would constitute “a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area” and would be, “of grave concern to the United States.”
The act obliges the president to notify Congress in the event of any threat to the security of Taiwan, and stipulates that the president and Congress shall determine, in accordance with constitutional processes, an appropriate response by the United States.[/quote]
So under the Bush administration, attacking Taiwan means a guaranteed smackdown for China. Under an Obama administration it means the President and Congress will determine the response. Except of course VP Biden has already said Taiwan is not worth American lives. So the Admin might well decide to write the Chinese a very stern letter and go back to business as usual after a year or so. Which is how the US has responded to all the other bad stuff that China has done for a very long time.
Pop quiz: if you were a Chinese leader and you were planning to attack Taiwan, would it be safer to do it under the Bush admin or the Obama one?
This sort of thing is what leads to war, not the kind of dumb sabre rattling the people criticize the Republicans for. And it’s pointless too, the US would inevitably be dragged into a war over Taiwan, the difference is that the US will have to enter the war late rather than deterring it.
I don’t think we can know that. The PRC government is dictatorial and incredibly secretive. How can you know that they won’t take advantage of a US weakness to complete their long term aim of “re” unification?