US credibility is falling apart in Taiwan society, thanks to Washington itself
Published: Jan 28, 2023 10:20 PM
Illustration: Liu Rui/Global Times

Illustration: Liu Rui/Global Times

The US is reaping what it sowed - the seed of devaluing credibility. According to a recent poll conducted by Taiwan island-based academic institution Academia Sinica, doubt in US' reliability is bubbling within Taiwan society, with 56.6 percent of Taiwan residents finding the US untrustworthy, VOA Chinese reported on Thursday. 

Habitually, VOA looked for a scapegoat. While noting nearly 60 percent of Taiwan people are losing faith in US security assurance, the report also stressed that about the same amount of people are eagerly looking forward to US arms sales and defense assistance. VOA quoted observers and said this contradiction comes from Chinese mainland's "cognitive warfare" and "public opinion manipulation." 

There is a growing chorus of credible warnings about Washington's security promise. Like it or not, this is the fact the US has to face eventually. But if VOA blames Chinese mainland, it is basically taking Taiwan residents as fools. Take the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, provoked by the US-led NATO. Washington pledged support to Kiev time and time again, yet also made clear that US assistance has its bottom line - not being directly engaged in the conflict. The US will apparently not all-in for Ukraine, and pledging support is merely a catchy excuse of exploiting Ukraine to weaken Russia. 

And there was the US war in Afghanistan. After 20 years of military presence in Afghanistan, when the US found there was no gain but only losses, it made a hasty withdrawal in an extremely disgraceful and irresponsible way. Within these two decades, the Afghan people's life has not been improved. Afterward, the US went on to ignore Afghan refugees, including those arriving in the US. 

No cognitive warfare or public opinion manipulation is needed. Taiwan residents can see it by themselves. 

A 2020 poll by the NGO Taiwan Public Opinion Foundation found that 60 percent of Taiwan residents believed US would send troops if a conflict breaks out across the Straits. In August 2022, 50 percent of people in Taiwan believed that the US would "definitely" or "possibly" send troops in a cross-Straits war, according to another survey. Perhaps quite a few people in Ukraine also believe so. But with time, selfishness is becoming more and more obvious in US so-called global leadership. The reason for Taiwan residents' doubt in US credibility comes from the US itself. 

Taiwan residents are waking up to the truth: the US takes the island as cannon fodder. Washington often says its commitment to Taiwan island is "rock solid," yet has never specifically clarified how "rock solid" will its support be like.

When it comes to the Taiwan question, the US has no nerve to collide head-on with China, because an extreme asymmetry exists in this scenario - China's determination to safeguard its territorial sovereignty and the firm will of Chinese people vs US calculation for gains and losses over this overseas conflict and Americans' responses to it, Yang Xiyu, a senior research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times.

VOA tries to underline that many Taiwan people are still looking forward to US arms sales and assistance to defend the island. This is a fantasy created by secessionist forces represented by the Democratic Progressive Party. Taiwan secessionist forces are dreaming that with enough arms sales and if the US clarifies its plan to defend the island, they will be able to deter the People's Liberation Army's any possible action toward Taiwan island. This is nothing but illusion.

Relying on US support is tantamount to quenching thirst with poison. As VOA mentioned, in 1979, official US ties with the island were cut. Now the US is cozying up to Taiwan again simply because Washington rediscovers the island's value - the value to contain China. If there is no such value, there will be no arms sales and no visits of high-level politicians at all. Taiwan secessionist forces better watch out because they will be dumped once they become useless to the US. 

US credibility is at stake. Long before the trend is observed among Taiwan people, a growing number of US allies have started losing confidence in US security guarantee. And the US has no one to blame but itself.