For more than five decades, Taiwan’s fate has been a function of United States policy toward and relations with China. President Harry Truman’s decision in January 1950 not to intervene to stop a communist invasion seemed to doom the KMT and the island’s population. Then five months later, at the beginning of the Korean War, Truman reversed policy and Washington built up its defense relationship with the ROC military in order to deter the PRC. In the 1970s, the American calculus changed. China had become a useful strategic asset against the Soviet Union, and the Nixon and Carter Administrations were prepared to downgrade relations with Taipei in order to achieve that asset. Ronald Reagan provided some corrective and balance, and China’s strategic value was in some question after Tiananmen and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Now China it becoming an economic and diplomatic power, and it is worth asking the question how U.S. relations with Beijing will develop and what affect this will have on Taiwan.
Mr. X and the Pacific: George F. Kennan and American policy in East Asia
There’s no question that many in Southeast Asia see the region caught uncomfortably between the United States and China. The Trump administration’s repeated calls for a free and open Indo-Pacific have fallen flat in various capitals, which many see as very thin gruel, begging the issue of how the U.S. intends to remain relevant to the regional future.