Republican Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said earlier in April the U.S. “should look at” declaring war in the event China attacks Taiwan, according to an interview with Politico published Tuesday.
McCaul, who took the reins of the top foreign policy committee in the House when Republicans gained control in 2023, gave the remarks while traveling to Taiwan with a Congressional delegation in early April. He also said the U.S. is not currently prepared for a military conflict with China.
The Chinese Communist Party’s aggressive response to the trip I led in Taiwan was predictable. Their intimidation tactics will only strengthen our resolve. pic.twitter.com/eqCwg3jAqZ
— Michael McCaul (@RepMcCaul) April 10, 2023
“I do worry about how Congress will respond if China attacks Taiwan. In my committee, we either pass an authorization for the use of military force, or we would pass a declaration of war, which we haven’t done since World War II,” McCaul told Politico. “I would argue that it’s not going to be a little war, it will be on the scale of wars of my dad’s generation. I think a declaration of war should be something we should look at because that’s how the Defense Production Act kicks in, and then we won’t have a problem with our defense industrial base.”
McCaul discussed whether he believes there will be splinters in GOP support for aid to Taiwan like there has been for Ukraine, arguing most of the faction opposed to aid for Ukraine still has strong anti-Communist-China sentiment. He did acknowledge that everyday Americans may be more skeptical: “But I can see a lot of people going ‘Why are we going to war over an island off the coast of China? Why is it so important?’ I don’t know how the American people would respond if it meant declaring war.”
When it comes to China’s next steps in and around the Taiwan Strait, McCaul said to expect the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to interfere in Taiwan’s upcoming elections, slated to be held in January 2024. The CCP will launch a disinformation campaign to try and sway the vote to their preferred candidate, McCaul predicted, and if that fails, either an invasion or a blockade would follow. (RELATED: LEAKED DOCS: New Chinese Hypersonic Missile Has ‘High Probability’ Of Penetrating US Defenses)
Beijing responded with aggressive military exercises around Taiwan after McCaul visited the island in early April, at the same time that Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen stopped in California to meet with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on her way back home from Latin America. The Biden administration has characterized China’s response as an “overreaction,” stressing repeatedly it is not seeking to change the status quo with regard to China and Taiwan.