Murder on the Q Train.
1. President Joe Biden said the US military would intervene to defend Taiwan in any attack from China, comments that appeared to break from the longstanding US policy of “strategic ambiguity” before they were walked back by White House officials. Asked during a press briefing on Monday in Tokyo whether the US would be willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan after not doing so in Ukraine, Biden said “yes -- it’s a commitment we made.” “We agree with the One China policy, we signed onto it and all the attendant agreements made from there,” Biden added. “But the idea that -- that it can be taken by force, just taken by force, is just not -- it’s just not appropriate. It will dislocate the entire region and be another action similar to what happened in Ukraine.” Earlier in the briefing, Biden had said that US policy toward Taiwan “has not changed at all.” A White House spokeswoman repeated that comment after Biden’s remarks, saying the president reiterated the US’s “One China Policy” and its commitment under the Taiwan Relations Act to provide Taiwan with the military means to defend itself. (Source: bloomberg.com. This Haass/Sacks essay from last fall provides useful context for understanding the policy of “strategic ambiguity.”)
2. Yascha Mounk:
As someone who lived in many countries—including Germany, Italy, France, and the United Kingdom—before coming to the United States, I have long had the sense that American levels of partisan animosity were exceptionally high. Although I’d seen animosity between left and right in other nations, their hatred never felt so personal or intense as in the U.S.
A study just published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace confirms that impression. Drawing on the Variety of Democracies (V-Dem) data set, published by an independent research institute in Sweden that covers 202 countries and goes back more than two centuries, its authors assess to what degree each country suffers from “pernicious” levels of partisan polarization. Do their citizens have such hostile views of opponents that they’re willing to act in ways that put democracy itself at risk?
The authors’ conclusion is startling: No established democracy in recent history has been as deeply polarized as the U.S. (Source: theatlantic.com)