For a solid backgrounder on U.S. Taiwan policy, take a look at this CRS report (.pdf, via FAS’ Secrecy News site). The foundations of current U.S. policy towards Taiwan date back to the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, as well as several communiqués signed with the PRC, the latest in 1982. As the report makes clear, there’s been enough changes in the past 30 weeks, let alone the past 30 years, to warrant a new look at some of the assumptions in our thinking on cross-Straits relations.
There’s currently room for leeway on China policy by individual presidential administrations, and Taiwanese domestic politics is driven by more than just the question of the mainland, adding a layer of complexity to U.S. posture. But now would be a good time to tease out how the U.S. can be a more active participant in the dynamic changes occurring in Taiwan-PRC relations, rather than find itself left behind by them. Oddly enough, that seems to be one strategic policy review the Obama administration has yet to commission.