There are very few things the 535 members of Congress can agree on. Every routine news cycle, the latest controversies exacerbate the polarized entrenchments of the federal government. From abortion to inflation, most proposals presented on the floor of Congress will weather months of deliberation, verbal assaults and partisan rancor. The country is pulled at the seams, and the usual conversation on politics becomes more exhausting, especially when it transforms into a shouting match.
Yet, the single issue that Americans seem to broadly support is a tougher stance on China, especially as it poses the greatest threat to our national security. Endorsed by the most progressive or libertarian members of Congress, this stance alone may very well be the great uniter to our drawn-out political drama.
In early February, a massive Chinese surveillance balloon drifted over the continental United States and was subsequently shot down by an F-22 fighter jet on President Biden’s orders. Politicians on both sides condemned the balloon, and President Joe Biden said in his State of the Union Address a week later that “if China threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country. And we did.”
In response, Congress unanimously passed a bill with a vote count of 419-0 that condemned China for a “brazen violation of United States sovereignty.” Even if this bill was symbolic, this was a rare but pleasant show of unity that Congress so desperately needed as the nation stares down the existential threat of China.
Reportedly, hard-right factions of Congress wanted to include an expressed condemnation of President Biden for what they thought to be a delayed reaction to the balloon. Now, regardless of whether or not that criticism is valid, Republican leaders were correct in rejecting this proposal because this country needs a united front that is not tainted by partisanship.
However, this united front has to go beyond a symbolic condemnation, especially in the face of the greatest military rivalry of this century.
There is a stewing conflict on the horizon between these two formidable superpowers. Just last week, the United States Navy flew a spy jet over the Taiwan Strait, and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) responded by saying that it continues to monitor what it believes to be a deliberate disruption.
The spectacle of an increasing armed-forces presence in the Taiwan Strait is daunting because neither country will back down when both are flexing their military might. However, continuously having both sides increase naval build-up in the Taiwan Strait or Indo-Pacific Asia is not a sustainable policy.
One side has to blink in an endless military stare-down, and if the United States is the first to falter, Taiwan could fall.
Effectively, Taiwan is an independent country with an independent government. Securing their sovereignty is within both the national and economic interests of the United States, especially since Taiwan produces around 65% of the world’s semiconductors. Hopefully, the president and the intelligence apparatus wield the necessary diplomatic skills to stave off military aggression and, God forbid, an all-out war.
If there is an ounce of reasonable optimism for this grim horizon, it’s that Russia’s repulsive invasion of Ukraine propelled the unwavering strength of a united international community. This prolonged war crippled both the Russian economy and military because the United States led NATO in defending Ukraine through funneling weapons and money.
However, Russia is not China. Most nations rely upon the production powerhouse of Chinese labor, so hollowing out China’s economy through trade sanctions would not be as effective.
At home, this showcase of foreign power by the CCP should signal to Republicans and Democrats alike to stand for any U.S. military campaign that defends Taiwan and have faith that our political leaders are operating within our national interests.
However, that does not mean we should abstain from criticizing the President or any of our leaders for their foreign policy shortcomings at this critical juncture. We should vehemently denounce their blunders, but we must do so without a partisan bend. A united Congress does not mean the elimination of dissent; ideally, unity is a product of genuine concern and eventual agreement.
At this time, we cannot allow the fringe members of Congress or the general political class to take advantage of this existential crisis for political gain. That means congressional leaders must rebuff the more fantastical displays of performative politics in preparation for a serious military conflict. Therefore, the repressed people of China and Taiwan deserve to be free from the CCP’s crusade of totalitarianism, and no one is served by a circus of pubescent theater students in suits pinned with the American flag.
Without a doubt, our leaders should be criticized for perpetuating our political divide. However, if we fail to act on our united objection to China’s brazen encroachments then our condemnation is hollow. For our politicians, protecting the Taiwanese government is the inherent obligation of an American government that defends democracy worldwide.
Now more than ever, a hurricane of tyranny is brewing 100 miles west of Taipei, and the United States must aid the resilient people of Taiwan in their fortification.