President Joe Biden’s administration could soon have its foreign policy mettle tested like never before as China boosts its military aggression against Taiwan while proceeding with its naval expansion into the South China Sea. If Biden thought he would get a breather from major national security challenges after the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, he figured wrong. A direct confrontation between China and Taiwan would dwarf the significance of Afghanistan. And the repercussions could hit every American hard in the pocketbook. So it’s worth paying attention.

America’s message to Beijing couldn’t be clearer: Now’s the time to apply maximum pressure on Taiwan to give up its independence and submit to Beijing’s rule. The expansionist threat from China is so real that even communist Vietnam, which fought a bloody war against the United States, is now welcoming U.S. warships to deter Chinese expansionism.

In an upcoming essay in Foreign Affairs magazine, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen warns ominously that her nation will do “whatever it takes” to defend itself against Beijing’s “increasingly aggressive posture.”

With any luck, it won’t come to that, but the escalating tensions underscore the consequences when the United States signals its disengagement from leadership on the international scene.

— St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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