Former Trump official warns Biden not to 'poke the dragon' when discussing Taiwan

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A former Trump Pentagon official warned President Biden’s verbal commitment to militarily defend Taiwan may be something righteous but entirely ill-advised given the state of China versus the U.S.

During a joint press conference with Japanese officials, Biden responded in the affirmative when asked about defending Taiwan, which critics said ran counter to the U.S. policy of “strategic ambiguity” related to Taiwan.

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Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen
(AP/Chiang Ying-ying)

Elbridge Colby, who served as an assistant secretary for Defense strategy, told Fox News Taiwan should be defended, but that the strategic ambiguity is an important tenet of American foreign policy.

“[T]here’s a reason that we speak quietly about this,” he said, relates to President Theodore Roosevelt’s maxim of “speak softy but carry a big stick.”

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Pentagon, Arlington Co., Va.

Pentagon, Arlington Co., Va.
(iStock)

“We kind of lack the big stick,” Colby said. 

“You don’t poke the dragon, if you will, when you’re not quite ready. And that’s unfortunately the situation we’re in right now.”

Host Tucker Carlson noted America is heavily reliant on China for debt servicing, manufacturing, pharmaceutical development and other sectors further extenuated by transpacific supply chain disruptions.

The host wondered aloud how much it would take for China to one day simply “shut the United States down” – recognizing the outsized reliance the homeland has on Beijing.

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Biden. (Justin Sullivan/Getty)

Biden. (Justin Sullivan/Getty)

“Are we acting like a nation … that could possibly have a war with China in a few years? I mean, that’s a real thing,” Colby further warned. 

“And tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of Americans, both combat forces and civilians, could die. And my question is, why isn’t everybody, Democrats and Republicans, acting like that’s a real possibility instead of high-fiving over sending $40 billion to Ukraine.”

Colby added that while he is in favor of U.S. support for Kyiv, the United States may also be on the verge of a “superpower war” – and that diplomatic tactfulness is therefore key.

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