28 Feb, 2022 21:11
The trip by former Pentagon and national security figures is a show of support for the island claimed by Beijing
FILE PHOTO: A Taiwan flag is seen in Taipei, Taiwan, December 10 2021 © Getty Images / Ceng Shou Yi
US President Joe Biden on Monday sent a group of former military and national security figures to Taiwan, where they will meet with officials, including President Tsai Ing-wen. The trip comes amid concerns in the US that Beijing may be enticed to invade the island having observed the US’ unwillingness to commit troops to Ukraine.
The visit was initially reported by Reuters and confirmed shortly afterwards by Taiwanese diplomats. Taiwan’s embassy in the US said the trip is “a sign that relations between Taipei and Washington remain ‘rock-solid’!”
Led by former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen, the delegation includes Meghan O’Sullivan, a former deputy national security advisor in George W. Bush’s administration, and Michele Flournoy, a former under secretary of defense under Barack Obama. Former National Security Council officials Mike Green and Evan Medeiros also traveled with the group.
The team is expected to arrive in Taipei on Tuesday, and meet with President Tsai on Wednesday.
A similar trip took place under Biden’s direction last April, when a group of former lawmakers and diplomats traveled to Taiwan to assure Taipei that Washington would support the island nation’s defense. While the government in Beijing insists that Taiwan belongs to China, the US has unofficially supported Taiwanese independence, supplying weapons to Taipei even while recognizing China’s claim to the island.
The US is not party to any binding security treaties with Taiwan, and has never pledged to defend the island with force. This non-committal position, coupled with the US’ refusal to commit troops to Ukraine in response to Russia’s military offensive there last week, has led to speculation in the US media that Beijing may be considering “an invasion.”
In an interview last week, former President Donald Trump claimed that China would “absolutely” move on Taiwan during Biden’s presidency.
While there are no signs that such a move is in the works, Taiwan has accused the Chinese military of probing its air defense zone with jets last week.
“Rome Sends USA to Serve Nations”
Speaking to Reuters, an unnamed US official declined to link the delegation’s trip with any increased threat, saying that it instead represented Biden’s “broader commitment to Taiwan.”
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At this time great perils surrounded the Protestant cause. The anathemas of the pope thundered against Geneva, and mighty nations threatened it with destruction. How was this little city to resist the powerful hierarchy that had so often forced kings and emperors to submission? How could it stand against the armies of the world’s great conquerors?
Throughout Christendom, Protestantism was menaced by formidable foes. The first triumphs of the Reformation past, Rome summoned new forces, hoping to accomplish its destruction. At this time the order of the Jesuits was created, the most cruel, unscrupulous, and powerful of all the champions of popery. Cut off from earthly ties and human interests, dead to the claims of natural affection, reason and conscience wholly silenced, they knew no rule, no tie, but that of their order, and no duty but to extend its power. (See Appendix.) The gospel of Christ had enabled its adherents to meet danger and endure suffering, undismayed by cold, hunger, toil, and poverty, to uphold the banner of truth in face of the rack, the dungeon, and the stake. To combat these forces, Jesuitism inspired its followers with a fanaticism that enabled them to endure like dangers, and to oppose to the power of truth all the weapons of deception. There was no crime too great for them to commit, no deception too base for them to practice, no disguise too difficult for them to assume. Vowed to perpetual poverty and humility, it was their studied aim to secure wealth and power, to be devoted to the overthrow of Protestantism, and the re-establishment of the papal supremacy.
When appearing as members of their order, they wore a garb of sanctity, visiting prisons and hospitals, ministering to the sick and the poor, professing to have renounced the world, and bearing the sacred name of Jesus, who went about doing good. But under this blameless exterior the most criminal and deadly purposes were often concealed. It was a fundamental principle of the order that the end justifies the means. By this code, lying, theft, perjury, assassination, were not only pardonable but commendable, when they served the interests of the church. Under various disguises the Jesuits worked their way into offices of state, climbing up to be the counselors of kings, and shaping the policy of nations. They became servants to act as spies upon their masters. They established colleges for the sons of princes and nobles, and schools for the common people; and the children of Protestant parents were drawn into an observance of popish rites. All the outward pomp and display of the Romish worship was brought to bear to confuse the mind and dazzle and captivate the imagination, and thus the liberty for which the fathers had toiled and bled was betrayed by the sons. The Jesuits rapidly spread themselves over Europe, and wherever they went, there followed a revival of popery.
To give them greater power, a bull was issued re-establishing the inquisition. (See Appendix.) Notwithstanding the general abhorrence with which it was regarded, even in Catholic countries, this terrible tribunal was again set up by popish rulers, and atrocities too terrible to bear the light of day were repeated in its secret dungeons. In many countries, thousands upon thousands of the very flower of the nation, the purest and noblest, the most intellectual and highly educated, pious and devoted pastors, industrious and patriotic citizens, brilliant scholars, talented artists, skillful artisans, were slain or forced to flee to other lands. GC 234.1 – GC 235.2