“Strategic Ambiguity,” Indeed

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You would think, given Taiwan’s role as the most likely flashpoint in relations between the U.S. and China, that the faux U.S. embassy in Taipei, and its Washington outpost, would be well-oiled operations. You’d presume there would be bright and clear lines of authority and command to ensure diplomatic kerfuffles don’t turn kinetic.

But you would be wrong, according to this report from the State Department’s inspector general. “Significant vulnerabilities and risks exist within the AIT [American Institute in Taiwan] system,” it warns, “in both policy execution and financial management.”

“Strategic ambiguity” is the fruit of the 30-year-old U.S. policy that recognized Beijing while derecognizing Taipei. It made clear that the U.S. would not declare what it would do if war breaks out between the mainland communist People’s Republic of China and the capitalist breakaway island nation of the Republic of China, otherwise known as Taiwan. Not quite sure this is what the architects of the policy meant by that phrase.