This exchange Between President Biden and a journalist, I noticed:
Much of the media coverage has focused on Biden’s misleading remarks about Taiwan. However, I am more interested in the reporter’s question. Why does the reporter think it is “clear” that the US should not be militarily involved with Ukraine?
[BTW, you can argue that we are militarily involved, due to massive weapon’s exports to Ukraine and perhaps other forms of aid. But (in context) the reporter is clearly referring to an unwillingness to send US troops to fight, so I’ll interpret the question that way.]
To be clear, I agree with the US decision not to go to war with Russia. I can think of many reasons for staying away from the Ukraine war, but most of them are not “clear”.
Here are two of the most obvious reasons I can think of:
1. We do not have a formal defense agreement for which we have to defend Ukraine.
2. Russia has a lot of nuclear weapons, and engaging in war could be dangerous, which could turn into a nuclear exchange.
Are there other obvious reasons that I miss?
Interestingly, Biden never challenged the reporter’s assumption that defending Ukraine militarily was clearly a bad idea. Biden decided not to use U.S. forces in Ukraine, he may agree with this reporter. But why? Has the administration ever explained the rationale for not intervening?
You can probably see where I’m going with this:
1. We do not have a formal defense agreement to protect Taiwan.
2. China has a lot of nuclear weapons, and it could be dangerous to get involved in a war that could turn into a nuclear exchange.
Perhaps the reporter did not think it was “clear” that defending Taiwan was a bad idea, or that he did not raise the question that way. It amazes me what the reporter had in mind when thinking about Ukraine.
This completes the main point of the post. But experience teaches me that some people may miss the point and point out some vague differences between Taiwan and Ukraine, many of which are. Here are 5 examples:
1. Taiwan has an important semiconductor industry.
2. Xi Jinping is a bad leader, but Vladimir Putin is less emotional and unpredictable.
3. Ukraine’s sovereignty is internationally recognized, while Taiwan is officially part of China.
4. Ukraine is larger than Taiwan and located in Europe. Taiwan is small and an island. Russia is more likely to attack multiple countries if it wins in Ukraine.
5. Ukraine is a major food exporter.
The first two suggest that Taiwan’s defense may be more justified. I have an important high-tech sector and (compared to Xi) Putin has a big risk of using nuclear weapons. Ukraine’s defense of the final three points is becoming more justified. But none of these five points are “clear.”
The reporter who said that the United States did not intervene in Ukraine for obvious reasons probably did not think that the obvious reason we were lagging behind Ukraine was because it had no semiconductor exports, or was more unreasonable than Putin’s shit. These reasons may be true, but they are not Obviously Decisive differences.
PS Here Financial times:
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has said that despite Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, Washington will focus on China as the most serious threat to international order.
Translation: Don’t bother us with the truth, we made up our minds.
I’ve seen it in economics. We now know that the 2000 tech stock price boom and the 2006 housing price boom were not bubbles. But economists have already made up their minds, so. . .