The Stability of Deterrence in the Taiwan Strait

The Bush Administration should take to heart the lesson learned by its predecessors: leave well enough alone in the Taiwan Strait.

Issue: Fall 2001

The case can and has been made that the foreign policy of the Bush
Administration differs little from that of its predecessor. Only the
rhetoric has changed, it has been claimed, and even some of that is
falling back into old patterns--with regard to North Korea, the
Arab-Israeli conflict, and what to do about Ba'athi Iraq. Remaining
differences of rhetoric, it is said, mask essential continuity. The
Bush Administration carries a more unilateralist tone over a range of
issues--the Kyoto Protocol, the International Criminal Court,
proposals to verify the 1972 Biological Weapons Treaty and control
the flow of small arms--but it is not clear that the Clinton
Administration was really more eager to press ahead on such matters,
or that a Gore Administration would have been. Even on missile
defense and the ABM treaty, the differences between Clinton and Bush
may end up being quite minor when all is said and done.

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