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Jakarta Post

Wither US strategic ambiguity

  • Bill Sharp

    -

PREMIUM
Honolulu, Hawai   /   Tue, August 13, 2019   /  05:42 pm
Wither US strategic ambiguity To stem the growth of Chinese influence, the Trump administration produced the National Security Strategy of 2017 pointing out the importance of Taiwan to the US. (AFP/Mandel Ngan)

As the United States’ Indo-Pacific strategy evolves, the notion of strategic ambiguity, which has guided the US-Taiwan relationship since mid-1950s, is withering. After the Taiwan Strait crisis of 1954-1955, the US brought into force the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) with Taiwan. The treaty was never intended to be a war-fighting pact. It was designed to boost Taiwan’s morale and to tie the hands of its leader Chiang Kai-shek, who was always scheming to involve the US in his attempts to return to China. Both president Dwight Eisenhower and secretary of state John Foster Dulles did not trust Chiang or Beijing. Thus they built strategic ambiguity into the treaty to keep Taipei and Beijing both guessing about the circumstances under which the US might intercede in a military conflict in the strait. Since the 1950s, each successive US administration adopted a version of strat...

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