Biden's 'bystander in chief' approach to Ukraine may embolden China in attacking Taiwan; expert warns

China could invade Taiwan, Rep. McCaul predicts

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas and ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, slams Biden for lack of proactivity in Russia-Ukraine tensions and believes another dictator is watching the brewing crisis closely.

President Biden’s decision to wait and see what Russia would do in the lead-up to the invasion of Ukraine represents a “bystander in chief” approach that may embolden China’s President Xi Jinping to launch his own aggressive move against Taiwan, a foreign policy expert warned.

On the day Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops to invade Ukraine, nine Chinese aircraft entered Taiwan’s air defense zone, the Taiwan Ministry of Defense announced Thursday. James Jay Carafano, a national security and foreign policy fellow at the Heritage Foundation, told Fox News Digital that President Biden is not taking the right approach to preempt a possible Chinese attack.

“The worst possible situation is to sit back and wait until the enemy acts and respond to it,” Carafano told Fox News Digital in a Thursday interview. “That’s essentially what we’ve done in the cases of Putin and Xi.”

As President Biden’s tenure in the White House hits the 100-day milestone, media watchdogs and journalism professors alike have noticed that journalists are "overwhelmingly favorable, polite, and gentle" when covering the current administration. 
(Getty Images)

Carafano warned that Biden is “very risk averse. He waits for the enemy to do something and then he tries to respond.” 

“We are sitting back and waiting for the Chinese to decide what they want to do and when,” he warned. “This is the mistake we made with Putin.”

Carafano did not predict whether or not Xi would attack Taiwan – an island that China considers part of the People’s Republic of China in a similar way that Putin considers Ukraine a historic part of Russia – but he did say that Biden is letting Xi set the terms of any potential engagement. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, June 5, 2019. 
(REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool)

In October, Biden said the U.S. would defend Taiwan if China attacks. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson responded by saying, “No one should underestimate the strong resolve, determination and capability of the Chinese people to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity. China has no room for compromise.”

Carafano said the Chinese planes in Taiwan’s airspace “could mean they’re going to war or not,” but Biden’s lackluster approach makes the situation worse.

“This is the difference between being the world leader and being the bystander in chief,” Carafano said. “When you’re waiting for the other guy to do terrible things before you do anything, you fail. The whole idea is to have them not do anything bad to begin with.”

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, “Biden has already failed,” Carafano said. “The idea was to prevent Ukraine from being invaded and he failed. In Taiwan, we won’t know if he succeeded or failed until China invades.”

Former U.S. diplomat Winston Lord, who traveled with Henry Kissinger to China in 1971 to prepare for President Nixon’s trip the following year, told the German outlet Der Spiegel that he does not think China will invade Taiwan.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian invites questions during the daily press conference held at the Foreign Ministry in Beijing, China, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. China on Tuesday protested the passage of a U.S. Navy destroyer through the Taiwan Strait, calling that a deliberate move to undermine stability in the region. 
(AP Photo/Liu Zheng)

“I don’t think that China is going to invade Taiwan, no matter how overwhelming their powers are. Even without American help, it would be very costly in military and economic terms,” Lord said. Even so, he encouraged the U.S. to focus on “deterrence” through “strong statements, continued arms sales and continued unofficial ties with Taiwan,” along with a free trade agreement with Taiwan.

Lord touted the Nixon administration’s Shanghai Communique, in which the U.S. agreed to an “ambiguous One China policy,” agreeing that Taiwan is part of China on paper while allowing Taiwan to flourish outside of the brutal Chinese Communist regime. 

Other foreign policy experts have warned that China is “watching” for American weakness amid the Ukraine invasion.

The debris of a privet house in the aftermath of Russian shelling outside Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. Russia on Thursday unleashed a barrage of air and missile strikes on Ukrainian facilities across the country.
(AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

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