🇺🇸 Taiwan Tangle
May 27, 2022

Good morning and happy Friday. As we enter the holiday weekend, let’s pause to think about what Memorial Day really means — honoring those servicemen and women who gave their lives in defense of freedom. We'll be back in your inbox on Tuesday, and hope you enjoy some time with friends and family.

Plus, you’d be surprised how many Americans think they can beat a grizzly bear in a fight…

Also, that immaculate front lawn you've always dreamed of is within reach with this Flag Find.

Flag Polls


ab521640-e2ad-6400-4ea0-8848d603c575.png 5/26: Biden Job Approval, Rasmussen Reports Approve 42,
Disapprove 56
R 5/25: Gen. Congress Vote, Economist/YouGov Republicans 45,
Democrats 41
D 5/25: Gen. Congress Vote, Politco/Morning Consult Republicans 41,
Democrats 45

Trending On The Left


Vox: America doesn’t take care of its kids: The US is failing children on guns — and so much more.

CNN: What Texas Governor Greg Abbott gets *totally* wrong about the Uvalde shooting

Huffington Post: Senate GOP Blocks Domestic Terrorism Bill, Gun Policy Debate

Trending On The Right


Washington Examiner: Border Patrol agents saw taking down Uvalde gunman as 'suicide' mission

Fox News: Police were inside building 'entire time' trying to get 'right angle' on shooter

DW: Oklahoma Enacts Avalanche Of Culture War Legislation Protecting The Unborn, And More

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Learning More About Uvalde, PA Recount Underway, GDP Decline


US: Police: Texas gunman was inside the school for over an hour (AP) + Husband of Teacher Killed in Uvalde Shooting Suffers Fatal Heart Attack (Newsweek) + Biden says "the Second Amendment is not absolute" after Texas elementary school shooting (CBS)

US: Recount Ordered in Pa. GOP Senate Primary with Less Than 1,000 Votes Separating Dr. Oz and David McCormick (People)

US: First-quarter GDP declined 1.5%, worse than thought; jobless claims edge lower (CNBC)

US: Gun control proposals face big hurdles in the Senate (The Hill) + Guns have become the leading cause of death for American kids (Axios)

US: Oklahoma governor signs strictest abortion ban law in US (The Guardian)

World: Kevin Spacey charged with 4 counts of sexual assault against 3 men in the U.K. (Entertainment Weekly)

US: Mark Zuckerberg says Meta's metaverse project will lose 'significant' sums of money for up to 5 years (Business Insider)

US: Ray Liotta, Actor in ‘GoodFellas,’ Dies at 67 (The Hollywood Reporter)

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Taiwan Tangle

On Monday, President Joe Biden signaled he’d use military force if China invaded Taiwan. His comments were made in Tokyo, during his debut trip to Asia as president. Biden and his administration eventually walked the statement back.

News Coverage from the Left: Dem China hawks hope Biden’s Taiwan gaffe was no accident (POLITICO)

News Coverage from the Right: After Biden's Taiwan remark, Blinken insists US 'remains committed' to One China policy (Fox News)


From The Flag: Taiwan’s contested status as a sovereign nation has long been a foreign policy challenge. The United States maintains diplomatic relations with Taiwan but also doesn’t recognize it as a sovereign nation. This is primarily because China claims sovereignty over Taiwan under the “One-China” policy. Here’s what both sides have to say about Biden’s remarks and the broader conflict at hand.

RIGHT-LEANING SENTIMENT

Biden’s Blunders are Dangerous


  • Biden’s comments aren’t overly significant, but he did miss an opportunity to include Taiwan in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. 
  • Biden’s inconsistent stance on this issue is irresponsible, leaving his administration directionless and unsure as to how to proceed policy-wise.
  • Biden’s age and “diminishing faculties” are risking a blunder that could pull us into a world war.

“Biden’s Real Taiwan Mistake” The Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal: “The arguably much bigger mistake is his decision not to include Taiwan in the new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework that the Administration launched on Monday. … And, as they often do, the ever-nimble White House communications shop quickly told the press that Mr. Biden hadn’t meant to suggest a policy shift. The President is a master of the verbal muddle, but perhaps he is doing this intentionally. Knowing the U.S. is likely to intervene—and if it does, that the U.K., Australia and Japan are likely to join—may give Chinese President Xi Jinping some pause about the costs of an invasion. The problem is that no one can be sure what the U.S. policy now is. The constant White House walk-backs of the President’s statements undermine his personal credibility with allies and adversaries. We’d support more clarity in defense of Taiwan, but it ought to be announced in more considered fashion—with support lined up at home and abroad.

“Biden should overhaul Taiwan policy — and quit letting his aides walk back his views” Michael Mazza, NY Post Opinion: “It would dangerously unsettle a region that has been largely at peace for 40 years. And, of course, it would see a free people conquered by a country for whom brutality is standard operating procedure. Given those stakes, it would be difficult for any American president to stand aside. Yet the dissonance between the president’s very public views and his administration’s stated policy is irresponsible. It leaves not only observers in Beijing, Taipei and allied capitals confused; it leaves directionless those within his administration tasked with carrying out policy. To address the inconsistency, Biden should launch a top-down, comprehensive review of America’s Taiwan policy, with the goal of aligning it with his own thinking and geopolitical realities in Asia. Now is the right time for such a review. Conditions in Taiwan, China and even the United States have evolved considerably since Washington cobbled together a then-new Taiwan policy way back in the 1970s and 1980s."

One more opinion piece from the Right: The accidental warmonger Brendan O’Neill, Spiked

LEFT-LEANING SENTIMENT

Mixed: This Isn’t That Bad vs. This Could Be Really Bad


  • The intention behind Biden’s comment is unclear, but it’s not the end of the world. In fact, there could be a benefit. 
  • Taiwan is not Ukraine, and China is not Russia. It’s unwise to provoke China into a conflict that Taiwan is ill-equipped to handle. 
  • Biden’s remarks feed China’s anxiety and could make Beijing think the US is no longer fully committed to the “One China” policy.

“On Taiwan, Biden gets less ambiguous and more strategic” Editorial Board, Washington Post: “We don’t pretend to know why Mr. Biden made his comment. What we will say is that it’s not cause for a crisis. To the contrary, there might be a benefit. Mr. Biden did not so much end strategic ambiguity as modify it. Between his repeated allusions to a US duty to defend Taiwan — Monday’s was the third such since August — and his staff’s repeated denials that the president’s words mean quite what they seem to mean, Beijing has new reasons to think long and hard before sending its armed forces across the Taiwan Strait. Yet the People’s Republic of China cannot quite accuse the United States of violating the understandings forged in Nixon’s time because, technically, it hasn’t. If there’s a flaw in Mr. Biden’s approach to countering China, it’s the vagueness of the plan for regional commercial integration he’s offering — the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework."

“Biden shouldn't confuse Taiwan with Ukraine” David A. Andelman, CNN Opinion: “That said, a confrontation over Taiwan or especially a Chinese invasion would leave the island and the US in worse shape than Ukraine, where long land borders allow regular shipments of materiel from NATO forces. Moreover, unlike Russia, China has been practicing and steeling itself for just such an attack on Taiwan for more than 72 years, since Mao Zedong's People's Liberation Army drove Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist forces off the mainland to exile on Taiwan. Beijing's 'gray zone' tactics are designed every day to hammer into the people of Taiwan just what danger they would be in. They've even practiced by sending huge sand dredgers swarming onto Taiwan's outlying islands -- in an effort to pulverize its willingness to resist. Moreover, Taiwan is an island, so resupply would be only by air or sea -- both potentially deeply vulnerable to Chinese air and naval resources.”

One more opinion piece from the Left: Biden is sending dangerous messages about Taiwan to China. The US should tread with care Stephen Wertheim, The Guardian Opinion

FLAG THIS

Americans Support Taiwan, but the Taiwanese Are Less Certain


Polling data suggests “more than half of the adults in Taiwan would be willing to take up arms if China were to invade.” Meanwhile, just one-third of Taiwanese residents anticipate the US would provide direct military support. One in six fear they’d fight alone (Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation).

Americans appear to be highly supportive of Taiwan. In 2021, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs found 69% of Americans favored recognizing Taiwan as an independent country, while 57% agreed that the US should sign a free trade agreement with Taiwan. The poll also found that 52% of Americans supported sending US troops to defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion (Foreign Policy Research Institute).

Flag Poll: Would you support sending US troops to help defend Taiwan if China were to invade? Click here to share your thoughts.

FLAG FINDS

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WATERCOOLER

St. Petersburg Founded, Energy Inequity, Amazon Returns

Image Credit: Alex Fedorov CC BY-SA 3.0
On May 27, 1703, after winning access to the Baltic Sea through his victories in the Great Northern War, Czar Peter I founded the city of St. Petersburg as the new Russian capital. Above is The Bronze Horseman, monument to Peter the Great.

Vox: The problem of global energy inequity, explained by American refrigerators

Fast Company: A psychologist explains why negativity dominates your daily thoughts, and what to do about it

The Cut: The Anti-Instagram App Promising to Make Us Feel Good

Today I Learned a third of the items returned to Amazon are simply destroyed in order to save time and space.

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