China’s belief U.S. won’t fight for Taiwan a ‘risky gamble’: Schriver

Randall Schriver/ CNA file photo

TAIPEI (CNA) — Randall Schriver, a former United States Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs, said it would be a “risky gamble” for China to think that the U.S. would not go to war over Taiwan.

“If you’re [Beijing is] going to gamble everything on the United States not being there, I think it’s a pretty risky gamble,” Schriver said earlier this week in an online interview with the National Security Institute.

The former Pentagon official, who also co-founded the American think tank Project 2049 Institute, made the comment while answering a question on whether it was right to assume that Americans would not send their children to die for Taiwan, a belief said to be the view of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“I think the United States is often characterized as reluctant warriors and would much prefer to avoid a fight,” he said, adding that the “deterrent capability is an important part of the equation because we want the Chinese to think not today, not tomorrow, not next week, and not next year because of how difficult it would be for them to obtain their objectives.”

In every crisis in the Taiwan Strait, Schriver said, the U.S. has had some level of involvement, citing instances such as when its Seventh Fleet sailed through the Taiwan Strait during the Korean crisis when “Mao Zedong was getting some ideas,” and especially in 1996, when the U.S. sent two aircraft carrier battle groups to the region during the run-up to Taiwan’s presidential election that year.

Meanwhile, he also mentioned the Gulf War as an example, when many people at the time believed that the U.S. would not go to war for Kuwait because the conflict was outside of its vital national interests.

“That’s a pretty big gamble and I think given the historic ties between the United States and Taiwan it’s not one that I think they [Beijing] should take,” he added.