Biden administration’s arms sale to Taiwan serves as dangerous midterm elections gambit

Despite Beijing's stern warnings, Washington is heedlessly escalating the tensions across the Taiwan Straits, as the scale of the latest arms sale to Taiwan shows.

The arms deal worth $1.1 billion to Taiwan approved by the Joe Biden administration late last week, the sixth and the largest one since it took office, came one month after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's reckless visit to the Chinese island, which prompted the Chinese mainland to respond by conducting military drills around the island.

Not conducive to improving the well-being of residents on the island, the timing of the deal speaks volumes of the urgency with which the Biden administration is seeking to close the gap between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party in the approval ratings before the midterm elections.

The package, which consists of $665 million for contractor support to maintain and upgrade a Raytheon early radar warning system in operation since 2013, $355 million for 60 Harpoon Block II missiles and $85.6 million for more than 100 Sidewinder missiles, is apparently customized for the island in response to the characteristics of the military drills conducted by the People's Liberation Army as a countermeasure to Pelosi's provocation.

With the new package, the administration says the island will be better able to warn itself about incoming attacks, track and sink incoming vessels, and further enhance its air-to-air firepower.

And since supporting Taiwan is a bipartisan consensus in Congress-where the deal won a quick nod to go ahead-the Biden administration is also trying to ease tensions between the parties after their conflict began to get nasty following the Federal Bureau of Investigation's search of a Florida property of previous US president Donald Trump on suspicion he stole classified documents from the White House on leaving office.

As such, the US dealing with the Taiwan question, the most sensitive part of the Sino-US relations, is being hijacked by the political strife in the US. That represents a dangerous trend as it risks the US side losing the proper perspective and the prudence required for the proper solution to the Taiwan question, as the politicians in Washington will be blinded by short-term partisan and personal interests.

That's why, although the Biden administration still claims that the US continues to support a "peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues", and it still recognizes "only Beijing and not Taipei", the world should be wary that the solution to the Taiwan question is being steamrolled onto the wrong track by the dysfunctional political system in the US.

Since there is no sign of any functional self-correction mechanism in the US political system that might apply the brakes, that does not bode well for the future.