Biden Slights Taiwan—and Suffering US Consumers

Less than two weeks ago, delivering a much-ballyhooed speech from the fake White House “game show set” across the street from the actual White House, with its digital projections masquerading as windows looking out into the Rose Garden and dozens of rectangular quartz/LED lights hanging from the ceiling, President Joe Biden said, “I want every American to know that I’m taking inflation very seriously and it’s my top domestic priority.”But Biden’s trip to Asia proves that that promise is just as false as the set, which was apparently constructed so the president can read speeches from a face-on monitor absent reflective teleprompter glass that TV viewers would be able to see. Conspicuously absent from the itinerary of his five-day sojourn to allies that included South Korea and Japan was free Taiwan, which many observers believe communist China is poised to invade, perhaps within months. A presidential stop there would have carried out two important objectives. First, it would have bolstered U.S. national security and given the Taiwanese confidence that America has their backs; a potential invasion could be deterred if it were made clear to Chinese leader Xi Jinping that the United States would do a lot more than talk in defending against forcible communist dominance. In the course of the last 30 years, polls show that residents of the island declaring their nationality to be Taiwanese rather than Chinese has swelled in the most staggering terms, from less than 18 percent to over 64 percent—so a Chinese invasion would be an act of foreign conquest in the eyes of most of the island’s citizens. But secondly, Biden could have personally implored Taiwan to help bring relief to the supply chain issues he claims are a major reason for the United States suffering the highest inflation in four decades. Apparently, however, inflation relief has little if anything to do with this trip to the continent from which we imported $1.2 trillion worth of merchandise last year. In Biden’s brief joint press conference with newly sworn-in conservative-oriented South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol in Seoul on Saturday, it was Yoon who stressed the importance of fighting supply chain disruptions, characterizing it as a national security issue. Partly due to COVID, according to Yoon, “we see permanent risks when it comes to the supply chain. So it is very important to stabilize the supply chain.” Biden only made a passing acknowledgment that Samsung and other Korean firms “help strengthen our supply chains, secure them against shocks, and give our economies a competitive edge”—the kind of typical rhetoric that would be expected were there no consumer price crisis happening. All the free nations in Asia could be coaxed to do more to offset the dangerous dependence on Chinese manufacturing that American business, accommodated by Washington politicians, has developed in pursuit of cheaper labor over the last four decades. To cite just one area illustrating the hazards, the United States actually ceased producing penicillin in the face of cheap imports, and this country is severely ill-equipped to make any of the other antibiotics for treating pediatric infections and pneumonia should a major global medical supply disruption arise. Some 95 percent of our ibuprofen and 70 percent of our acetaminophen are supplied by China. A decade and a half ago, hundreds of Americans died from contaminated Chinese heparin, the vital heart disease medication. Cutting off medical supplies is a particularly ruthless tactic in war, in the modern era and long past, but Beijing has the power to do such a thing to the American economy today. Taiwan stands out as an opportunity to wean the West off its dependence on China. Regarding medicine, for example, a U.S. president who recognized the superiority of a less-fettered private sector could stand on Taiwanese soil and rouse its governmental and business leaders to improve its onerous drug approval process, which reportedly averages 30 months and has left Taiwan competitively crippled in the global pharmaceutical market. If Taiwan can gain the kind of global trust it has in the semiconductor field, where it has come to enjoy a reputation for excellence and reliability and constitutes 90 percent of the global market, it can boost its performance in medicine and other areas. And a push from a U.S. administration that chooses to engage in leadership can be instrumental. The White House early in May hosted a summit of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the upshot of which is that the United States will send $150 million in infrastructure aid to the ASEAN countries as a chaser following the $1.5 billion communist China sent to Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam last year. Spending American taxpayers’ dollars is something Joe Biden never ceases to find new ways to do, but he apparently finds it impossible to get our foreig

Biden Slights Taiwan—and Suffering US Consumers

Less than two weeks ago, delivering a much-ballyhooed speech from the fake White House “game show set” across the street from the actual White House, with its digital projections masquerading as windows looking out into the Rose Garden and dozens of rectangular quartz/LED lights hanging from the ceiling, President Joe Biden said, “I want every American to know that I’m taking inflation very seriously and it’s my top domestic priority.”

But Biden’s trip to Asia proves that that promise is just as false as the set, which was apparently constructed so the president can read speeches from a face-on monitor absent reflective teleprompter glass that TV viewers would be able to see. Conspicuously absent from the itinerary of his five-day sojourn to allies that included South Korea and Japan was free Taiwan, which many observers believe communist China is poised to invade, perhaps within months.

A presidential stop there would have carried out two important objectives. First, it would have bolstered U.S. national security and given the Taiwanese confidence that America has their backs; a potential invasion could be deterred if it were made clear to Chinese leader Xi Jinping that the United States would do a lot more than talk in defending against forcible communist dominance. In the course of the last 30 years, polls show that residents of the island declaring their nationality to be Taiwanese rather than Chinese has swelled in the most staggering terms, from less than 18 percent to over 64 percent—so a Chinese invasion would be an act of foreign conquest in the eyes of most of the island’s citizens.

But secondly, Biden could have personally implored Taiwan to help bring relief to the supply chain issues he claims are a major reason for the United States suffering the highest inflation in four decades. Apparently, however, inflation relief has little if anything to do with this trip to the continent from which we imported $1.2 trillion worth of merchandise last year. In Biden’s brief joint press conference with newly sworn-in conservative-oriented South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol in Seoul on Saturday, it was Yoon who stressed the importance of fighting supply chain disruptions, characterizing it as a national security issue.

Partly due to COVID, according to Yoon, “we see permanent risks when it comes to the supply chain. So it is very important to stabilize the supply chain.” Biden only made a passing acknowledgment that Samsung and other Korean firms “help strengthen our supply chains, secure them against shocks, and give our economies a competitive edge”—the kind of typical rhetoric that would be expected were there no consumer price crisis happening.

All the free nations in Asia could be coaxed to do more to offset the dangerous dependence on Chinese manufacturing that American business, accommodated by Washington politicians, has developed in pursuit of cheaper labor over the last four decades. To cite just one area illustrating the hazards, the United States actually ceased producing penicillin in the face of cheap imports, and this country is severely ill-equipped to make any of the other antibiotics for treating pediatric infections and pneumonia should a major global medical supply disruption arise. Some 95 percent of our ibuprofen and 70 percent of our acetaminophen are supplied by China. A decade and a half ago, hundreds of Americans died from contaminated Chinese heparin, the vital heart disease medication.

Cutting off medical supplies is a particularly ruthless tactic in war, in the modern era and long past, but Beijing has the power to do such a thing to the American economy today.

Taiwan stands out as an opportunity to wean the West off its dependence on China. Regarding medicine, for example, a U.S. president who recognized the superiority of a less-fettered private sector could stand on Taiwanese soil and rouse its governmental and business leaders to improve its onerous drug approval process, which reportedly averages 30 months and has left Taiwan competitively crippled in the global pharmaceutical market. If Taiwan can gain the kind of global trust it has in the semiconductor field, where it has come to enjoy a reputation for excellence and reliability and constitutes 90 percent of the global market, it can boost its performance in medicine and other areas. And a push from a U.S. administration that chooses to engage in leadership can be instrumental.

The White House early in May hosted a summit of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the upshot of which is that the United States will send $150 million in infrastructure aid to the ASEAN countries as a chaser following the $1.5 billion communist China sent to Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam last year. Spending American taxpayers’ dollars is something Joe Biden never ceases to find new ways to do, but he apparently finds it impossible to get our foreign allies to help this country’s consumers keep more money in their pockets.

The president of the United States could have celebrated and shown the world Taiwan’s freedoms, demonstrating what is at stake in making sure Xi keeps his hands off the island. By visiting, he could have shown that the U.S. government understands Yoon’s reminder that “economy is security and security, in turn, is economy”—a sentiment, by the way, often recognized by President Donald Trump.

Considering their economic achievements, how snubbed must Taiwanese workers and business owners feel being ignored by the leader of the free world, as their massively armed neighbor across the Taiwan Strait contemplates violence against them and their way of life. Taiwanese could have helped Americans in our present misery, and Americans could have helped them, economically and on defense. Score another squandered opportunity from a U.S. president whose foibles and failures are well recognized by the public, but whose weakness is making the free world a lot more vulnerable than commonly appreciated.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.


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Thomas McArdle was a White House speechwriter for President George W. Bush and writes for IssuesInsights.com