Former Trump Defense Official Puts Taiwan Above Ukraine; Elbridge Colby Says Chinese Attack Could Come With Little Warning

Yuko Mukai / The Yomiuri Shimbun
Elbridge Colby, former U.S. deputy assistant defense secretary, speaks during an interview in Washington on May 30.

WASHINGTON — The United States should end its support for Ukraine, which is facing Russian aggression, and devote its resources to deterring China from seeking unification with Taiwan, said Elbridge Colby, who served as U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy and force development in the administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump, during a recent interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun in Washington.

Colby’s name has been floated for key positions, including assistant to the president for national security affairs, if Trump, 77, is reelected as president in November.

Explaining why he thinks U.S. support for Ukraine should end, Colby said, “Asia is now the primary theater; it’s no longer Europe.” He also said, “Europe is much more capable of handling Russia … on its own. I’m not saying we abandon Europe, but [it can be] much more on its own than Asia is.”

His comments stem from his belief that although the United States is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, European countries, which are geographically closer to Russia, can handle the situation on their own.

Regarding the administration of Chinese President Xi Jinping, which has not ruled out the possibility of using force to bring about unification with Taiwan, Colby said: “I think they must have concluded there’s no peaceful solution to unification with Taiwan.”

He recognized that it is necessary to strengthen readiness for an immediate response, saying, “I think we have to assume that an attack on Taiwan and probably could well include the United States, U.S. forces in the region, Japan, Philippines, Australia, could happen with very little clear warning.”

As a deputy assistant secretary for defense, Colby served as the lead official in the development and rollout of the National Defense Strategy in 2018.