A new study from the Council on Foreign Relations on US Taiwan policy is both dangerous and misleading.

by Michael D. Swaine, Jake Werner and James Park, Responsible Statecraft

Given its broad membership and prestigious leadership, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is generally considered to be the flagship foreign policy think tank in the United States, reflecting the judicious, mainstream views of America’s foreign policy establishment.

It is thus noteworthy and potentially dangerous that CFR has just published an assessment of U.S. Taiwan policy that largely reflects the viewpoint of hawks in Washington on a range of issues, including the strategic value of Taiwan to the United States and the goals of Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). If this highly contested view is misunderstood by the larger policymaking community as an expert consensus, the United States risks further escalation with China toward serious conflict.

China and Taiwan flags painted on a concrete wall with soldier shadow

The report supposedly drew on the views of a task force composed of a wide range of experts on U.S.-China and U.S.-Taiwan relations. However, the bulk of the study ignores or downplays many of the more balanced stances held by those currently taking part in the Taiwan policy debate. As a result, five of the 17 task force members issued dissents to the report citing foundational problems with the nature of its arguments and recommendations (two other task force members dissented in a more hawkish direction).

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