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History As It Happens

Oct 12, 2021

China’s wave of military exercises over Taiwan, which is raising the possibility of armed conflict, is overshadowing the development of the Biden administration’s soft power approach to confronting China’s coercive economic measures in the Indo-Pacific. In late September the White House hosted the first in-person meeting of “the Quad” leaders, where the prime ministers of Australia, Japan, and India met President Biden to coordinate action on a number of fronts. Vaccine diplomacy, climate change, infrastructure, and education were on the agenda; notably absent was any talk of military action or agreements. Following the humiliating U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, the alignment of the Quad is signaling a different approach to global power dynamics, at least in East Asia, even as China’s posturing toward Taiwan threatens to suck the U.S. into a potentially calamitous military confrontation. The U.S. Institute of Peace's Daniel Markey and Andrew Scobell, experts on U.S.-China relations, discuss why the U.S. cannot escape the past when it comes to Taiwan.