Should the U.S. Military Intervene in Taiwan? A Soho Forum Debate

Is the United States allowed to use force militaryly against China in an attempt to stop Taiwan’s invasion?

This was the topic of the Soho Forum discussion, held in Manhattan’s Sheen Center.

The resolution was defended by William Galston who is a Brookings Institution senior fellow and former policy advisor to President Bill Clinton. His argument was that the U.S. should employ all its tools to discourage foreign powers from engaging with conflict with their neighbor, in order to avoid wars such as those we see in Europe. 

Peter Van Buren spent the past 24 years as a diplomat in the U.S. State Department. He took the opposite view. Van Buren argued that Americans don’t have the knowledge or context to effectively intervene in foreign conflict situations and that what appears to be deterrence for one side can actually prove to be provocation for the other. He cited the years of experience as a diplomat for the State Department in Asia and stated that there wouldn’t be an invasion of Taiwan from China in the near future or soon.  

Gene Epstein, director of Soho Forum moderated the debate.

Narrated and intro edited in part by Nick Gillespie

Photos: event photography by Brett Raney; CHINE NOUVELLE/SIPA/Newscom; Kyodo/Newscom; Daniel Ceng Shou-Yi/ZUMAPRESS/Newscom; Jameson Wu/EyePress News EyePress/Newscom; Ju Peng Xinhua News Agency/Newscom; TOM WALKER/UPI/Newscom